Lost your wallet at home or abroad? Here’s what to do next

Go Global By Cecilia Hendrix July 10, 2019

Many of you will remember the initial panic of misplacing a purse or wallet; frantically patting down your pockets and checking and rechecking your bag/car and even the bread bin. There’s nothing like a rude awakening and having to call your bank and cancel all of your cards, especially if you’re on holiday.

Once you’ve retraced your steps and turned everything upside down and are certain your misplaced wallet is sadly gone, here are the next steps to take to keep your finances safe and hopefully prevent it from happening again.

1. Cancel any debit or credit cards immediately

If you haven’t done so already then call your bank and cancel any credit or debit cards that were in your lost wallet or purse. If you’re abroad then you can use Whatsapp to make calls and reduce any international call charges.

Some banks such as Monzo give you the ability to immediately freeze or cancel your card which is great for taking action quickly and protecting your account.

2. Report a stolen wallet to the police

If your wallet was stolen then it is recommended to report this to the police. In the worst case scenario and you fall victim to fraud or any form of identity theft, a police report is really important for any further investigation and to protect your personal information.

Ensure you take note of any reference numbers and a printed copy of the police report as well as any contact information in case you need to follow up on the report or provide further information to your bank or insurance company. It’s advised to start a call log and list the date, time and names and contact information of who you speak to.

The best case scenario of course is that your wallet turns up and the police have your contact information to return what’s rightfully yours.

3. If abroad, visit the local embassy or consulate

If you’re without your wallet in a foreign country, your local embassy if there is one for your country of origin can help sort things out. They’ll help you reach your emergency contacts, help you file a police report if you’re unfamiliar with the local language and customs, and provide temporary travel documents to make it back home.

4. Get cash fast! Ask for help from a friend or relative to transfer cash

It’s hard to get a hold of cash without your wallet, which can leave you in a bit of a fluster and unable to enjoy your time away. The Western Union® 1 can help you receive cash as soon as you need it, ready to pick up your money at one of more than .

Not near a location2? You can download the app and set up a mobile wallet3 to receive funds straight to your smartphone.

5. Damage limitations; how to protect yourself in the future

Finally, prepare yourself for the unfortunate circumstance that you lose your wallet again. Carry photocopies of important documents like your passport or driver’s license so you can prove your identity which will be useful for filing a police report or if you need to get home.

Strip Your Wallet of Anything You Don’t Really Need

Especially where travel money is concerned, you really need to ask yourself why you’re carrying around all the cards you usually would when at home. Carry one main card and keep the rest in cash, sticking to how much you think you’ll need just for that day and keep the rest at home.

Of course keep any written, personal information either in your head or separate to your wallet.  Also, write down your credit card numbers and customer service telephone numbers and store them in your room safe if this is available to you.

Try a Lost Wallet App/tracking device

It might even be worth investing in a Bluetooth tracking or Tile Wallet to track your wallet and it’s whereabouts, especially if you’re prone to misplacing things. These devices are super slim (about two credit cards thick) so aren’t bulky to carry around and are cunning enough that a thief won’t detect them straight away. You can also get the tile to sound or see the last place you had it on a map.

Scan or Photocopy Everything That’s in Your Wallet

It may sound like a laborious task but future you will thank you if you happen to lose your wallet again. That’s right, scan or take a photo of everything that’s in your wallet and throw away anything that isn’t necessary! Store on your computer or smartphone and keep it updated when you get a new loyalty card or credit card.  You could go the whole hog and store a password protected file on your phone. So, if you do lose your wallet in future you know exactly where to go to retrieve all of your important documents, immediately.


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Agent location count valid as of March 31, 2019

Funds will be paid to receiver’s mWallet account provider for credit to account tied to receiver’s mobile number. Additional third party charges may apply, including SMS and account over-limit and cash-out fees. Funds availability subject to terms and conditions of service. See Mobile Form for Restrictions.