MSE News

More banks to let you freeze your card – check if you can

Nationwide now lets you freeze your card if you temporarily lose it, with the Co-op Bank set to follow next year. A dozen major banks had already introduced the feature – check here if your bank offers it.

If you can't find your bank card and rush to cancel it in a panic, you're left with a useless piece of plastic and a several-day wait for your new card to arrive.

But over the last couple of years, an increasing number of banks have allowed customers to temporarily freeze their cards, often at the push of a button in their app.

The card can't be used while it's frozen, but if you do find it, you can 'defrost' it and start using it again straight away.

Metro Bank first introduced the feature back in July 2014, and since then 12 other banks and building societies have followed suit, with Nationwide the latest to offer the service. However, not all offer it for both debit and credit cards, and some don't block ATM cash withdrawals.

Which banks let you freeze your card?

We asked 17 banks which provide current accounts whether they have freeze features on both their debit and credit cards:

Banks which let you freeze your card

Bank Available for debit and credit cards? When was the feature introduced? How to 'freeze' your card
Bank of Scotland Debit cards only September 2018 In its app
Barclays Debit and credit cards November 2017 In its app, by phone or in branch
First Direct Debit cards only (currently developing for credit cards) Unable to say By phone
Halifax Debit cards only September 2018 In its app
HSBC Debit and credit cards October 2017 Online or in its app
Lloyds Debit cards only September 2018 In its app
Metro Bank Debit and credit cards July 2014 In its app
Monzo Debit cards (it doesn't offer credit cards) September 2015 In its app
Nationwide Debit cards only May 2019 In its app 
NatWest Credit cards only Unable to say In its app
RBS Credit cards only Unable to say In its app
Starling Debit cards (it doesn't offer credit cards) May 2017 In its app
Tesco Bank Debit and credit cards August 2017 In its app or by phone (phone only for debit cards)

Two other banks also said they had plans to introduce this technology.

The Co-op Bank said it was planning to introduce this feature in 2020, while TSB said it was "something we're looking at for the future", although it didn't give any indication of when this might be.

Sainsbury's Bank and Santander are yet to respond.

Which transactions will be frozen?

Once the card is frozen, for the majority of banks all transactions made on your card will be blocked, including cash withdrawals, in-store payments and online transactions. Banks told us the block will also include any payments made through digital wallets, such as Apple Pay and Google Pay.

The exceptions are Bank of Scotland, Halifax and Lloyds, which let you choose which types of transactions you want to freeze – such as transactions where the card is present (which include digital payments), or online and app transactions. These banks also warn that freezing transactions won't stop ATM use, and may not block all smaller contactless payments where the merchant doesn't ask the bank for authorisation.

Warning: Freezing your card is only a temporary solution, say if you're searching for a misplaced card or know it's in a safe place.

If you think your card has been lost or stolen, you should report it to your bank straight away so it can be cancelled.

How long will I need to wait for a new card?

If your card doesn't show up and you need to cancel and order a new one, wait times vary between different banks:

How long a replacement card takes to arrive

Bank Wait time for replacement card
Bank of Scotland 3-5 working days
Barclays 2 working days
Co-op Bank 4-7 working days
First Direct 3-4 working days
Halifax 3-5 working days
HSBC 5 working days
Lloyds 3-5 working days
Metro Bank 3-7 working days
Monzo 2 working days
Nationwide Yet to respond
NatWest 3 working days
RBS 3 working days
Starling 3-5 working days
Tesco Bank 5-7 working days
TSB 3-5 working days

MSE weekly email

FREE weekly MoneySaving email

For all the latest deals, guides and loopholes simply sign up today – it's spam-free!