You’ve Lost Your Wallet…Now What?

You’re rifling through your bag at the checkout counter, coffee in hand, and all you’re coming up with is handfuls of crumpled receipts. Nothing. All of a sudden, you see it with startling clarity: your wallet, left behind on the train or a restaurant table. What do you do next?

The first thing you should do is to try and create a list from memory of all the things inside your wallet—this will give you a list to work through as you attempt to replace the contents of your wallet! While some things—your third-grader’s gap-toothed photo—may be irreplaceable, you should be able to get new cards pretty quickly! Below, we’ve broken down the contents of the average wallet into a few common categories, and given you instructions for each.

    Debit Card — Visit your local bank branch and ask them to cancel your card, and issue you a replacement or temporary card. You can also call the bank, and they will mail you the card, but in order to use the card right away, and to get any cash you may need for the next few weeks, you should visit the bank instead.

    Credit Cards — Some credit card companies may allow you to freeze the card, rather than outright canceling it, while you try to get your wallet back. However, someone can still use the card to make online purchases, so be sure to monitor any activity on it while it is frozen. However, if you’re sure your wallet is gone forever, take the same steps as for the debit card—call the issuing company, and request a replacement card.

    Driver’s License — Visit your local DMV and report your license lost or stolen, and you can apply for a replacement card. Be sure to check your state’s requirements before going, and be sure you have the paperwork necessary. If you are living in a different state from the state where you got your driver’s license, there may be additional requirements for you.

    Transit Passes — There’s nothing worse than realizing that you lost your wallet on the very same day you reloaded your unlimited MetroCard, Charlie Card, or Clipper Card! Many cities will protect your remaining balance on the card, so be sure to always save your receipts&mdashsomewhere other than your wallet! Usually you need to bring in a receipt or the credit card used to purchase the pass in order to receive a card with the remaining balance. Check the website for your city to figure out what your next steps are.

    Loyalty Cards — Whether it be your CVS Loyalty Card or your Starbucks Rewards Gold Card, you may have loyalty cards for some of your favorite stores (not a store credit card.) Many cards will accept your phone number in place of scanning the card, but if you would like the plastic back, it can be a good idea to stop in at the store (during less-busy hours) to ask about getting a replacement. This may vary from store to store, but if you’re a great customer, you should be able to get a card! However, the punch card one punch away from a free ice cream cone is likely lost forever.

    With these few things, you should have recovered most of the items inside your wallet! Other things, like library cards or information cards, you can recover as you go along—most will just issue you a replacement card with no further ado.

    And for next time–you can upload key phone numbers, or keep a running list of the items in your wallet as you go on Jazmine.com.

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