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:
|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:
|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|