Whether we’re using contactless to buy lunch or our phones to pay for a train or bus journey, many of us are now cashless, relying on cards to run our daily routines. So how would you cope if you lost the lot?
I recently lost my wallet while walking home from the train station one night, including my credit and debit cards and my driving licence. Over the next few hours a stranger found my cards and fraudulently spent £200 on my credit card in multiple contactless purchases.
This was the first time anything like this had happened to me, so I was understandably worried about the following days and how this would affect my daily routine.
In the end I worked out I had to call all of my card providers/issuers and order replacements, some of which incurred a fee. But is there anything I could have done to make the process simpler?
Unfortunately, the answer to this, on the whole, is no. Replacing everything in your wallet is a lengthy process as each card issuing authority has to be contacted in turn.
But even though the process can be long, it’s important to do each step in the right order.
So if you lose your wallet, before doing anything else, make sure to contact the police and report a theft.
Scarier than it sounds, this was an easy and quick process that protected my identity (along with giving me a chance of reclaiming the wallet, if it had instead been handed into the police as lost property).
Your next priority should be to protect your money, so freezing your lost cards is essential. In the first instance, you should phone your card provider to report the stolen card.
I found that my providers were incredibly sympathetic and immediately helpful, freezing and ordering new cards while on the phone (it took no more than 10 minutes).
Many banks also provide the option to do so online or through their apps. As a Monzo and Starling user I was able to freeze the lost card and order a new one within minutes at the touch of a button.
What else did I need to replace? After cancelling my cards, my driving licence was next on my list. It was a straightforward phone call but there was a £20 fee for the replacement licence.
My EHIC was another card I’d lost that needed replacing with some urgency. This is, again, a simple enough process that you can do through the EHIC website.
Preventing identity theft should, of course, be a big concern if you’ve had your wallet stolen. As well as by alerting the police, you can do this by monitoring your credit report for signs of ID theft.
If you’ve registered your old card details anywhere, it’s important to update them to avoid any penalty charges such as late fees. If you’re a regular online shopper, you’ll need to change your saved cards in any online accounts.
Finally, why not treat yourself to a new wallet? Personally, it was an excuse to buy one I’d been eyeing up for a long time (always focus on the silver linings!).
Have you had a similar experience losing a wallet or purse? Did you encounter any problems? What advice would you give to someone in this situation?