What to Do When You Lose Your ATM Card
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The rule of triple tap is to help you go through your day while having the right items with you. The first tap is to make sure your wallet is with you, the second one is for your keys and the third is for your phone. With all of these three where they should be; you are ready to face the world, my dear friends (well, sort of).

However, what happens if the triple tap is incomplete: let’s say that your wallet has gone missing with your Identity Card (IC), ATM cards, and Credit Cards? ICs are simple enough to replace nowadays: you can simply head to Jabatan Pendaftaran Negara to get a new one. The added security of a police report ensures that the authorities are on alert about possible identity theft.

What to Do When You Lose Your ATM Card

On the other hand, ATM Cards can be rather tricky when lost. Stealing cash is a lot quicker and easier to do than stealing an identity with a photo (though not impossible!). So what should you do?

Report and Replace ASAP!

You might be thinking: “What a no-brainer,” but hear us out. The first thing you need to do is call your bank making it imperative that the number is saved in a place you can get to it quickly (emergency digit dial?). Time is literally of the essence because a swipe at the petrol kiosk is all a thief needs to make off with your money.

Once you’ve got the operator on the phone; inform them of the loss and ask to have the card immediately cancelled.

The operator will probably ask you a bunch of security questions, but in the end, the whole point is to stop your stolen card from functioning. Although, your card may not have been stolen and may simply be lying undiscovered under a Starbuck’s couch; this step is still necessary as a pre-emptive measure so that anyone who finds will not be able to cause any mischief with it.

Once you’ve deactivated the lost card, just head to your nearest bank branch and fill up the requisite forms. Your new card should be ready instantly and all you need to do is reset your password at the ATM outside. Easy-peasy.

Liability Limitations

Many ATM cards today are Debit cards too – making its loss even more dangerous. If you’ve lost your handphone as well, say during a mugging or snatch theft incident; it will be harder to report your missing card ASAP. In such a situation, valuable time may have lapsed before you find a phone to report.

Under the circumstances, it is important to note your bank’s liability limitations in the event of a theft. Generally, a bank will stipulate the maximum amount you will be liable for in the event of unauthorised charges. This means that if your card is used by the thief, you will have to pay up to the maximum liability limitation (approximately RM150 but this amount varies from bank to bank) even if the charges are not yours, if you can show that you had good reason for not contacting the bank before the charges are made.

However, if the bank can show that you did not have good reason to dilly-dally your notice to them about the lost card, they cannot be held responsible for your lost money.
In a situation where you are unable to make a phone call, find the next best move – is there a bank branch nearby or a police station? Although, a police report won’t help you cancel your card – it will be evidence of your attempt to notify the authorities of your stolen items and provide you with written, official reports for your bank to consider – hopefully alleviating the cost of bearing the lost amount all by yourself.

Please note however, that a police report isn’t a cancellation of the card and only a form of evidence to present your case to the bank in the event of a loss.

No doubt such a circumstance is unfortunate; you can take early precautions to minimise your losses.

Get Emergency Cash

Once you’ve reported the loss, you might be concerned about getting cash in the interim whilst your new ATM card is made. Luckily, for us many banks now offer cardless withdrawal services from an ATM. The amount is capped, usually at an amount below RM500 (however, the exact cap will depend on your bank) and you will have to run through a lengthy security questionnaire with the bank officer on the phone but it will give you money to tide you over.

The bank will use your phone number to transfer the code you need to withdraw so don’t use this method if you’ve lost ALL your belongings including your mobile phone!

This emergency bit of money will also help if you’ve lost your wallet and have no way of getting home or to the police station.

Protect Yourself

Losing your ATM card is a real hassle and can result in an empty bank account if you aren’t quick with the cancellation. Help protect yourself by practicing these easy-to-follow habits.

  1. Do not keep your pin numbers anywhere in your phone, wallet or bag. Your PIN should be in your memory and written nowhere else. It’s best never to reveal this PIN to anyone.
  2. Check your account activity often and remember how much you should have in your account at all times.
  3. Have a plan of action for when you are caught in a snatch theft or have lost your belongings. It’s not about being overtly fearful but knowing exactly what to do if it happens.
  4. Always keep records of your account numbers, customer service numbers and other important digits related to your account so that your reporting process can be done quickly and smoothly.
  5. Understand your bank’s terms regarding the loss of Debit and ATM cards so you know just what to do and expect if such a thing befalls you. You will also know how far you will be liable so no extra unpleasant shocks.

There definitely looks like there are more steps before that you can take rather than after the fact. This is because, prevention is always better than cure. So be a cautious and most importantly, present in your surroundings to avoid falling victim!


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