Privacy Virtual Cards
Spending Limits

Set a spending limit and Privacy will decline any transactions that go over the limit

Merchant-Locked Cards

Lock Privacy Cards to the first merchant they’re used at to prevent misuse if stolen

Single-Use Cards

Create Privacy Cards that close automatically after the first purchase is made on them

Pause/Close Cards

Pause or close your Privacy Cards at any time to block future transaction attempts

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Can You Track a Debit Card That’s Lost or Stolen?

Ashley Ferraro, Product
Jul 24, 2023
 Min Read

According to the Forbes Advisor 2023 Survey, debit cards are the most frequently used payment method. Users find them convenient because they’re widely accepted and promote mindful budget management.

Still, debit cards, at least physical ones, have one major setback—they can easily get lost or stolen. Once that happens, tracking them down can be a complicated process.

This guide aims to shed light on this issue, answering commonly asked questions, such as:

  • Can you track a debit card’s location?
  • Can the bank track down your debit card?
  • What are the best steps to take in the case of a lost or stolen debit card?

Is It Possible To Track a Debit Card’s Location? 

A close-up image of a person holding a debit card

Source: Pixabay 

The short answer is no. You can’t track a debit card as you would a phone or another GPS-enabled device. While they have numerous security measures, debit cards aren’t equipped with a GPS chip or any other kind of technology that allows you to locate them remotely. The same goes for credit cards.

While you can’t discover the current location of the card, you can track the history of transactions through your bank or banking app and find out the details of the last payment. This information could help you verify that the card was stolen.

If you’re waiting for your new debit card to arrive via mail, you might be able to monitor the delivery status. That depends on your bank, though, as not all of them provide tracking services.

Can You Track a Debit Card With a Chip?

Some debit cards contain a smart or EMV (Europay, Mastercard, and Visa) chip. EMV technology is a security system used to authenticate transactions and enhance the security of the cards by creating unique codes for each one. Learn about the main differences between non-chip and chip-enabled cards below:

Non-Chip Debit Cards
Chip-Enabled Debit Cards
- Store and transmit information via a magnetic strip, which can be easily copied or skimmed
- Could require additional authentication, i.e., a signature or PIN
- Have low issuing and maintenance costs
- Generate a code for every transaction, making it more difficult for fraudsters to steal your information
- Usually don’t require additional authentication
- Could incur slightly higher issuing and maintenance costs

The EMV chip provides an additional layer of security and decreases the chances of fraud. Still, it won’t help you track your card if it goes missing since it doesn’t have GPS or any other location-tracking capabilities.

Can the Bank Track Your Debit Card?

A common misconception among users is that their bank can locate a missing card. While you should contact your bank's customer support as soon as you notice your card is missing, note that they can only locate the merchant the last payment was made to, not the card itself.

Security Measures of a Debit Card 

Source: Karolina Grabowska

According to a report by, over 65% of credit or debit card users have fallen victim to fraud at least once. To protect your transactions, the bank will usually take the following preventative measures:

  • Request a Personal Identification Number (PIN) or signature—When you attempt to make a purchase with your card, you need to provide one of these two to verify your identity.
  • Enable two-factor identification (2FA)—For specific purchases, banks require an additional authentication method, such as a code sent to your phone or a fingerprint.
  • Require the use of EMV technology—As mentioned, some cards contain a smart chip, which generates unique transaction codes, adding another security layer to your purchases.
  • Implement purchase and withdrawal limits—Most cards don’t allow you to make a single transaction or withdraw funds from an ATM over a certain limit.
  • Enable fraud monitoring—Banks can detect unusual activity, such as transactions from an atypical location, and alert you straight away via phone or email.

Note that as fraud protection evolves, so do fraudsters’ techniques. While the above measures are effective in some instances, they may fail to prevent new and sophisticated types of fraud.

What To Do in Case Your Debit Card Goes Missing

Once you discover your debit card is missing, here’s what you should do:

  1. View the transaction history—Doing so will help you spot unauthorized purchases.
  2. Immediately contact your bank—Most of them provide 24/7 customer support.
  3. Request to put the card on hold—If you think your card is lost rather than stolen, ask the bank to pause it until you find it or confirm that it’s gone for good.
  4. Cancel the card and request a new one—If you have reasons to believe your card was stolen, request the card to be blocked immediately and request a new one. Some banks allow you to do so directly via your banking app.

Many banks have a zero-liability policy, which is a form of consumer protection that ensures cardholders aren’t held responsible for unauthorized charges. Still, while credit cards are protected by the Fair Credit Billing Act, debit cards fall under the regulation of the Electronic Funds Transfer Act, which may sometimes be less favorable for cardholders.

According to federal law, to get a reimbursement for your losses, you generally need to report them on time—within two days for a $50 liability limit and within 60 days for a $500 liability limit. If you report your card lost or stolen before any transactions take place, you won’t be held liable for them.

Note that most of the time, your bank won’t request you to pay even the $50 you could technically be liable for according to the law. Nonetheless, you should first check with your bank what kind of policy applies to your particular case.

How To Protect Your Debit Card From Getting Lost or Stolen

Source: Anete Lusina

According to Payments Journal, 12% of users had their debit card lost or stolen in 2020. Here’s what you can do to ensure your debit card’s security and peace of mind:

  1. Avoid sketchy websites and public Wi-Fi networks—Use your debit card only when connected to secure private networks and on trusted websites, i.e., those that have an “https” prefix and a valid SSL/TLS security certificate (look for the padlock symbol next to the address bar).
  2. Check your transaction history on a regular basis—Keep an eye out for unusual activity and report it to your financial institution right away.
  3. Make sure to enable all security measures—In case you haven’t already, enable two-factor authentication and transaction alerts via text or email. That way, you can detect any unusual activity immediately.
  4. Pay using your phone if possible—To avoid carrying a physical card, connect your account to a digital wallet such as Google Pay or Apple Pay and pay contactless using your phone.
  5. Use a virtual card—One of the safest ways to buy is by using a virtual card such as the Privacy Card, which masks your real account information when you transact.

Keep Your Financial Data Safe With a Privacy Virtual Card

An image of a person holding three bank cards in their hand

Source: Aukid Phumsirichat

Privacy Virtual Cards provide an added layer of security to your shopping experience

After connecting your debit card or bank account, you can auto-generate 16-digit virtual card numbers with their own CVV and expiration dates. You can use these numbers for transactions without revealing your real bank information to the merchant. In case of a data breach, your real payment information stays safe as the hacker can only see the virtual card number. 

If your real debit card is lost or stolen, you’ll need to replace the payment information on all accounts connected to the compromised card. With Privacy, this process is much less tedious. You only need to close the card (without the action affecting your real bank data).

Privacy holds a Better Business Bureau® (BBB) accreditation, which means it abides by customer service standards and ethical business practices. It also features numerous security and fraud protection measures, such as advanced encryption and firewalls.

Advantages of Using a Privacy Virtual Card

Read about some of the benefits you can enjoy with Privacy:

Generate Single-Use virtual cards 

Single-Use Cards provide additional security by closing after the first purchase, which prevents fraudsters from using the card number even if they acquire it.
Lock the card to a specific merchant

Merchant-Locked Cards ensure potential hackers can’t use the card number at any other merchant. They are especially convenient for recurring payments, such as subscriptions.
Auto-fill virtual card data at checkout with the browser extension 

This feature allows you to speed up checkout time by auto-filling your card information at checkout. You can complete a spontaneous purchase without having to look for your wallet or memorize card numbers.
Set spending limits

Spend limits prevent overcharges and additional fees, which are common among subscription services, helping you manage your budget. If a subscription service attempts to overcharge you, the transaction will be declined by Privacy. Note that you still have to cancel the subscription with the merchant directly.
Integrate with 1Password

The password manager helps you manage all your passwords and financial information from a single, centralized dashboard.
Share the card with the people you trust

Card sharing allows you to securely share your Privacy Card with trusted family members while maintaining full control of the card settings at all times.
Use the Privacy mobile app

The mobile app enables you to create virtual cards on the go and stay on top of all transactions with real-time notifications.

Sign Up for Privacy Today

To start using Privacy, here’s what you need to do:

  1. Sign up
  2. Fill out the required KYC information
  3. Connect a funding source (debit card or a bank account)
  4. Request and create your first Privacy Card

You can generate up to 12 virtual cards per month with the base tier, which is free for domestic transactions. You’ll also be able to add spending limits, pause and unpause the cards, and use the browser extension and app.

If you’d like additional cards and features such as transaction detail masking, priority support, and 1% cashback on eligible transactions (up to $4,500 per month in total), opt for the Pro plan ($10/month) or Premium plan ($25/month). By choosing the Premium plan, you’ll also get dedicated account management.

Privacy — Seamless & Secure Online Card Payments
Checkout securely online by creating unique virtual card numbers for every purchase. Avoid data breaches, unwanted charges, and stolen credit card numbers.
Sign Up
Privacy — Seamless & Secure Online Card Payments
Checkout securely online by creating unique virtual card numbers for every purchase. Avoid data breaches, unwanted charges, and stolen credit card numbers.
Sign Up
Privacy virtual cards
Spending Limits

Set a spending limit, and Privacy will block all charges that go over the limit

Merchant-Locked Cards

Lock your Privacy card to one merchant you frequently shop from

Single-Use Cards

Secure your one-time payments to websites whose trust worthiness you're unsure of

Pause/Close Cards

By pausing or closing a card, Privacy will block all future transactions

Get a Privacy Card Now
Privacy — Seamless & Secure Online Card Payments
Checkout securely online by creating unique virtual card numbers for every purchase. Avoid data breaches, unwanted charges, and stolen credit card numbers.
Sign Up
Privacy — Seamless & Secure Online Card Payments
Sign Up