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What to Do If You Lose Your Debit Card Overseas

Losing your belongings when you’re traveling abroad may be one of the biggest nightmares for everyone. But what makes it worse is when you find out that you’ve also lost your debit card along the way.

Without a doubt, losing a card in a foreign country will put anybody in a panic—How are we going to eat for the three remaining days of vacation? Who has my card?

Take a deep breath. The first thing you should do, however, is stay calm and follow these simple steps to still enjoy your holiday—even more ideas from the Gali-Vanter here.

Step 1: Keep Calm and Search

If you’ve misplaced your debit card, don’t panic! Elevated stress makes it harder for you to pinpoint where you’ve last seen your belongings.

The best thing you could do is keep calm and retrace your last steps with your debit card. Don’t lose hope just yet!

Chances are that it may have slipped between your belongings or dropped into your shopping bags. You’ll also want to walk back into the shops and restaurants you’ve visited before losing your debit card to check if you’ve left it there by accident. In some cases, the staff will hold onto your debit card until you return for it.

Step 2: Report Your Missing Card

Once you’re very sure your debit card has gone missing, you’ll want to cancel your card immediately. Most banks will have a customer service number that you can contact in case of emergencies.

Be sure to provide all relevant details that you can remember about your card so the bank representative can cancel your card immediately. This will help reduce the chances of anyone misusing your funds if they’ve picked it up.

Before your trip, it may also be a good idea to take a front and back picture of your debit card so you all the important information on hand. Keep these pictures encrypted in case you also lose your device.

Step 3: Get Some Emergency Funds

Getting emergency funds when you’ve lost your debit card abroad may be the most difficult step of all. If you don’t have a spare debit card or some emergency money in hand, you may have to rely on your friends and family, or even the hotel to assist you.

Here are some ideas on how you can quickly get your hands on some emergency funds:

  • Locate an affiliate bank and see if your home bank will wire funds to you. Most banks have affiliate partners abroad. If your bank does have an affiliate partner, go into the branch and see if a bank to bank wire is possible.
  • Use a credit card to withdraw some cash. In some instances, your credit card may also be used to withdraw some cash at the ATM. This, however, may not work if you have an American Express credit card. You’ll also want to look out for withdrawal fees and exchange rates when you’re withdrawing cash through a credit card. If all else fails, you may want to simply charge all fees to your credit card instead.
  • Activate the virtual card on your smartphone. Most large banks like Chase and Bank of America have virtual card access, along with non-bank companies like Google and Apple, where you can access your card virtually after agreeing to a few permissions. The only issue with this option is that you are dependent on merchants and stores that accept this form of payment.

Here are some prevention tips below…

In conclusion, losing your debit card while you’re abroad could be a harrowing experience, but just remember to keep calm and follow these steps. If you do, you’ll be back to enjoying your vacation in no time.

Image by Anete Lūsiņa

Post Author: Lillia Hall

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Welcome to Foreigner’s Finances, your guide for new money decisions at home and traveling abroad!

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May 2024