We’ve all had that moment of panic when you suddenly realise that your credit card or debit card has vanished.
Whether it’s been pinched or misplaced, it’s important to take action before anybody else can get their hands on it ‒ and potentially help themselves to your cash.
Some account providers have embraced the potential offered by banking apps, allowing customers to freeze their card through just a couple of clicks, and potentially ‘unfreeze’ it should they then find the plastic down the back of the sofa.
So which are the best banks and building societies to go for if you’re liable to lose your card and need to swiftly freeze it?
Halifax has just added a card freeze service to its mobile app, which lets credit card borrowers choose which types of transactions can go through they have lost their card.
They can choose to stop all card-based transactions, stop all usage outside the UK, freeze online and remote transactions (where the card is not physically present), all till and terminal transactions (so those where the card is physically present) or all cash machine withdrawals.
Card freeze is also available to debit card customers too.
This functionality is available with other members of the Lloyds Banking Group too, such as Lloyds and Bank of Scotland.
If you’re a Nationwide bank account customer then you can freeze and unfreeze your debit card within the app.
You just have to log on and slide the freeze button. Should the card turn up again, you can then unfreeze it in the same way. Otherwise you can report the card as stolen without the app too ‒ no need to make a phone call.
Nationwide doesn’t offer this functionality yet on credit cards though.
Log onto the Barclays app, select the debit card that you’ve lost and you can click to temporarily freeze it.
It’s the same process to unfreeze the account if the card turns up, while you can report the card as stolen through the app too.
Clydesdale customers need to call the bank in order to get a temporary block placed on their card.
It’s the same process with sister bank Yorkshire Bank.
You can block and unblock your card through the bank’s app, within five clicks according to HSBC. Doing so will prevent all cash withdrawals, contactless payments, online and in-store shopping, as well as digital wallet payments, so the likes of Apple Pay or Google Pay.
The block lasts until you either remove it or report the card as stolen, and the functionality is available on both debit and credit cards.
Whether it’s a debit or credit card that’s gone missing, you can put a temporary block on it through the Metro Bank app.
You can also use the app to outright cancel the card and order a replacement if it has definitely been lost or stolen, rather than simply misplaced.
You can freeze and ‘defrost’ your Monzo debit card in a matter of seconds with the online bank’s app.
You can also use the app to block gambling transactions, turn on or off the ability to use magstripe ATMs for withdrawals, and order a new card if yours is lost, stolen or damaged.
Another app-bank is Monese, which lets users freeze and unfreeze their debit card with a couple of clicks on the app.
It plans to add further functionality to this to allow users to turn on and off contactless and swipe payments, ATM withdrawals, online payments and overseas transactions.
NatWest customers can lock and unlock their credit card through the bank’s mobile app. You can also lock or unlock certain transaction types. It’s worth noting that only the primary cardholder will have access to these features ‒ if you’re a secondary cardholder for your partner’s account, you won’t be able to.
This feature is only available on credit cards, so you can’t freeze or unfreeze your bank account with a NatWest app.
Its sister bank Royal Bank of Scotland has the exact same set up.
If you’re a customer of online bank Starling, then it’s very simple to freeze or unfreeze your debit card through the app. Select the card you’ve misplaced and then slide the ‘unlocked’ tab over to locked.
Starling also offers customers the chance to block specific types of transactions, such as online spending, ATM withdrawals or even gambling transactions.
Online bank Tandem allows credit card users to freeze their card through its app, and then unfreeze it again should it turn up.
You can temporarily block and unblock your Tesco Bank credit card through its app, by simply heading to the ‘account management’ tab and pressing the big red ‘Block’ button that you’ll find under the lost/stolen card tab.
Doing the same thing will then unblock the card should you find it again.
You can freeze your debit card too, though you can’t do it through the app. You’ll have to call the bank instead.
Virgin Money customers can freeze their credit card through the Virgin app, but it’s not offered on debit cards.
And who doesn’t
As you can see, there are plenty of well known banking names like Santander and TSB that currently don’t allow you to freeze your debit or credit card, whether through an app or a quick call.
Of course, as it becomes a more common feature, those banks that don’t currently offer the functionality may feel forced to join the bandwagon. But for now, if the option of freezing your account is a big selling point, you’ll need to look elsewhere.
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