Do Lost or Stolen Credit Cards Hurt Your Credit Score?
Laura answers questions about how replacements for lost or stolen credit cards affect your credit. Find out how to protect your credit and the best places to get your reports and credit scores for free.
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A Money Girl Podcast listener named Karen says, “Your recent show about credit card pitfalls reminded me of a recent experience. I lost my card and had it reissued—but the new card has a different number.
Will the cancellation of the old card hurt my credit score?”
You’re probably like Karen and know that closing a credit card can hurt your credit scores. But what if you can’t avoid it because your card was lost, stolen, or the number got compromised in a data breach that wasn’t your fault?
In this post, I’ll explain how replacement cards are handled and answer an additional listener question for more clarification. You’ll find out if your credit scores could take a hit when you have lost or stolen credit cards.
Free Resource: Credit Score Survival Kit—a multimedia tutorial with smart strategies to build and maintain excellent credit for life!
How to Handle Lost or Stolen Credit Cards
I’m no stranger to having credit cards hacked. I review my transactions frequently and a few months ago I saw an $800 charge for Disneyland tickets that I definitely didn’t buy.
I’ve also caught thieves sending test transactions for one or more small amounts that I didn’t charge. Once test charges clear, thieves know that your card number is valid and they move quickly to make even bigger charges before you shut down the card.
While losing your card or having the number stolen is a huge nuisance, fortunately, the potential liability for credit card fraud is just $50. However, if a criminal gets hold of your debit or ATM card there’s much more at stake.
To learn more about the differences between using debit and credit cards, be sure to read or listen to 6 Risky Situations When You Should Avoid Using a Debit Card.
Once you realize that your card is missing or notice unauthorized charges, report it through your online account or call the card issuer right away. You’ll need to file a formal fraud claim to help the issuer understand what happened and make sure they can credit your account for any bogus charges.
Those Disneyland tickets that I mentioned were flagged as fraud and credited back to my account in just a couple of days. Once a thief uses your card number, the credit card company cancels it right away so it can't be used fraudently again. Then they reissue you a card with a new number.
Free Resource: Join the Dominate Your Dollars Facebook Group—Laura's private group to help you tackle debt, build credit, and reach big financial goals!