Rejoice, forgetful Citi credit cardholders: You can now turn your card off when it goes missing.
The bank recently launched Quick Lock, a new feature that allows cardholders to temporarily block new purchases and cash advances on their plastic if it’s been misplaced. The feature, which can be immediately activated via a single tap on the bank’s mobile app or website, allows recurring transactions, payments, balance transfers and credits to be processed without disruption while you try to locate your card. (Full Disclosure: Citibank and Discover advertise on Credit.com, but that results in no preferential editorial treatment.)
If you find your credit card, you can unlock it and instantly resume making purchases. If you don’t, you can — and should — call Citi to have the card officially canceled and replaced.
Citi notes on its website that cardholders are responsible for making all their payments while their card is locked. The feature is available to primary and authorized users. Primary cardholders can quick lock (or unlock) their cards at any time; authorized users can only do so if they initiated the lock. If cardholders share an account number, the lock will apply to everyone. If they don’t, the lock will be applied to each card independently.
Citi’s not the only credit card company to provide this type of service. Discover became the first major issuer with an on/off switch for its credit cards when it launched the Freeze it feature back in April 2015. RushCard added an account-freeze feature as part of a suite of security upgrades introduced in August. You can call your issuer to see if they currently offer, or plan to offer, a similar service.
Losing & Locking Your Credit Cards
On/off features can save credit cardholders a host of headaches since, first and foremost, they block any fraudulent charges from going through. They also preclude a person from having to unnecessarily cancel a card, should they, say, find it buried in the bottom of a bag shortly after it’s gone missing. That may seem like a small service, but formally canceling and replacing a credit card can actually be a bit of a process —particularly if you have a lot of recurring payments, like your cable bill, gym membership or monthly streaming subscription, attached to that piece of plastic.
Typically, a new piece of plastic with different account numbers is issued when you report a card lost or stolen. And once that new card is in hand (which can take a few days), you will have to update your information with service providers. Otherwise you can miss a payment, which could lead to late fees or, worse, hurt your credit score, should that bill be a loan payment or go unaddressed long enough and wind up in collections.
Of course, if you do deem a credit card definitely missing, it’s in your best interest to go through the cancelation process and update all your service providers associated with recurring transactions on that account. It’s also just generally a good idea to keep a close eye on your statements for fraudulent charges. And, if you ever have reason to believe your personal info was compromised alongside your payment numbers, you can monitor your credit. Mysterious inquiries or a sudden drop in credit scores are a sign deeper identity theft is occurring. (You can pull your credit reports for free each year at AnnualCreditReport.com and view two of your credit scores, updated each month, for free on Credit.com.)
At publishing time, Citi and Discover products are offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com is compensated if our users apply and ultimately sign up for these cards. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment.
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