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One simple step to avoid a drain on your bank account

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Beth Marcinko, Clark.com

We all lose and misplaces things things sometimes, but the cause for alarm is the worst when you can’t find your wallet!

Freeze your debit card in its tracks

If there’s one thing that sets off a personal panic, it’s when you misplace a debit or credit card. Generally, credit cards are easily cut off and unauthorized purchases that have been made will be wiped from your bill.

Debit cards are not as forgiving and if you don’t act quickly after the card has gone missing, you could be on the hook for all fraudulent payments made with it.

The U.S. government consumer finance website details steps to take and the regulations your financial institution must abide by when dealing with credit and debit fraud.

Read more: Credit Freeze Guide: The best way to protect yourself against identity theft

Luckily, many banks and credit unions have a quick freezing feature for your debit card that could save your account.

Freezing your debit card via online or mobile banking means that you don’t have to call up customer support and wait while someone’s on a shopping spree with your money.

Suspending your card is often as simple as logging into your account online or with your bank or credit union’s app, then selecting the card and freezing it temporarily so that no purchases can be made while it’s not in your possession. If you find the card, simply log back in, unfreeze it and continue like nothing happened!

Read more: 11 places you should never use a debit card

Different banking institutions may have specific instructions or guidelines for the exact procedure on their site or app, so be sure to search the bank’s website if you’re unsure how to proceed.

This feature lets you avoid the fear and hassle of replacing your card if you’ve just misplaced it and no charges have been made.

Perhaps the biggest upside is that you don’t feel foolish if you’ve called the bank, cut off the card completely and then discover it was in the pocket of the pants you wore yesterday!

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