Lost and Stolen Bank Cards

Here we provide you with information about what to do in the event of card loss or theft in an EU member state.

1. In the event of loss or theft, block your card immediately!

For liability purposes, it is essential to consider the time frame in which the theft/loss is reported to your bank. These international cancellation hotlines are accessible from any EU state:

+49 116 116

+49 30 4050 4050

Beware: Some banks do not provide the international cancellation hotline service. Please consult your bank in advance and take down the relevant phone number to block your card.

As an alternative, credit card companies offer their own lines:

MasterCard:        +1 636 7227 111 (except from the US)
Visa:                  +1 410 581 9994
American Express: +49 69 9797 2000
Diners Club:    +1 303 799 1504

You will need to enter the following information in order to block your card:

  • Name of the account holder
  • Account number or IBAN
  • Bank code or BIC


2. Note down the specific times when you noticed the card was missing and when the card was blocked.


3. In the event of card theft, immediately report it to the police and request a written certification.



In the event of card theft and misuse, the question becomes: Who should be liable for the damages incurred?

  • Damages incurred before reporting the issue: If someone makes money transfers with a stolen card before the loss/theft has been reported, the account holder is liable for a maximum amount of 50 €. Some banks offer exemption from liability. Take a look at the general terms and conditions to know what you are liable for in the event of theft/loss.
  • Damages incurred after reporting the issue: You are not liable for damages that occur after reporting the problem and blocking the card. Any losses thereafter are generally refunded. Problems arise when the damage is caused due to gross negligence. For example, this is the case when your PIN code is noted on your card or kept within close proximity. In this case, you will be expected to bear all the costs.
  • Replacement card: The Federal Court has ruled in one case that banks cannot charge customers for a new card (Judgment of October 20, 2015, case XI ZR 166/14).

Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Innovation Council and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Executive Agency (EISMEA). Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.