No matter what bank you’re with, most credit and debit cards have a couple of things in common – they all have a unique card number, a 3 digit card security code on the back, a blank space for the cardholder’s signature, and two phone numbers – a customer service number you can call locally and another international number to call your bank when you’re out of the country.
So when should you call your bank? Do you really need to wait until you’re dealing with an emergency or are there other occasions that warrant you giving them a call?
If you Lose your Card
The moment that you notice your card is missing, you absolutely must call your bank to report it lost or stolen. In the case of a debit card, anyone who finds (or who has taken your card) will have instant access to your money (especially if they tap the card at checkout -they’ll be able to make purchases under $100.00 without your PIN). The same applies for your credit card, but as long as you report your card missing quickly enough, you won’t be on the hook for any purchases you didn’t make.
If You Notice Suspicious Activity on Your Account
Notice a charge on your statement that you’re positive you’re not responsible for? Is your balance much higher or much lower than it’s supposed to be? Call your bank. Do you suspect someone’s opened up a second account in your name? Definitely call you bank.
If you even suspect that your account has been compromised, you should call the number on the back of your card. It’s better to be safe than sorry where your money is concerned.
If you Accidentally Make a Payment to the Wrong Account
Most people use online banking. Whether you log-in on your computer or use the app on your phone, transferring money between accounts and paying your bills quickly is a cinch. Until, of course, you discover you’ve accidentally transferred a large sum of money to the wrong account.
The answer in that situation, of course, is to call your bank. As long as you call right away, it should be easy enough for them to put a stop to the transfer. If you wait too long, the process of getting your money back will be significantly more arduous.
If You Need to Raise or Lower Your Credit Limit
You can usually apply to have your credit limit changed online, but calling your bank directly is the easiest and fastest way to have it taken care of. You also have the opportunity to explain exactly why you want your limit changed (which might make it easier to persuade them).
If you think your Card Number/Account Info has been Compromised
Just like with a lost or stolen card, the moment you think it’s even remotely possible that someone has your account information, call your bank and report it. Whether you feel someone staring over your shoulder at the ATM or you accidentally click on a spam email and enter sensitive information, your best bet is always to be proactive and call your bank before anything bad can happen.
If You’re Going to Travel
It’s generally a good idea to give your bank a call if you’re planning on leaving the country. Not all banks require you to notify them but it’s best to double check before you depart just in case.
If You’ll be Unable to Make your Payments
If you’ve lost your job or know you’ll be suffering a decrease in income and likely won’t be able to make your payments then you should definitely call your bank to give them a heads up. If you keep them in the loop, they’ll be more likely to work with you to make the best of a difficult situation.
When it comes down to it, you can call your bank whenever you feel the need to. Even if you think you have a dumb question, it’s always better to get an answer directly from the source rather than worrying about it unnecessarily.
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