Money

Report Your Lost Wallet To Simplify Card Replacement

Losing your wallet for any reason is a gut-wrenching experience. Reporting it to the police not only means you might get it back, but can also save you money when you need to get replacement cards and documents.

Picture by Thomas

Lifehacker reader Peter wrote in to explain how his recent wallet-loss experience taught him a useful lesson:

A couple of weeks ago I had that sinking feeling when I patted my pocket and the reassuring lump of my wallet wasn’t in there. I convinced myself that I must have just left it at home, but when I got back from work and turned my room upside down I realised that no; gone it was and so commenced the joyless task of calling all of the various authorities – banks, RTA, etc.

You can’t imagine how much of your life you keep in your wallet until you try to replace it all, and it’s not just the regular cards, it’s the photos and odds and ends you keep there for a rainy day – my favourite guitar pick was in that thing….

So anyway, cue call after call with the same content “Hi, my name’s Peter. Wallet: gone. Cards: need.” Some of these are quick and easy – banks replace your cards free of charge. Places like the RTA, on the other hand, do not. Would you believe that Qantas charges for a replacement Frequent Flyer card?

Fortunately the first thing I’d done was to call the police to see if it was handed in and raise an incident report. It turns out that a lot (not all, but most) of the organisations who issue cards will ask “Was your wallet lost or stolen?”. If it’s stolen and you have a police report number you can generally get your cards replaced gratis. This saved me $36 with WA Vehicle Licensing – not a huge saving, but when it comes to avoiding the insult of having to pay to replace all the cards after the injury of losing the best part of your proof of identity I’ll take that as a small win.

So the moral of the story here is that if you DO wind up in the unfortunate situation where your wallet’s gone walkabout and taken your life with it, make sure the first call you make is to the police.

Sensible advice. Setting aside time to record details of all cards stored in your wallet (and contact numbers to replace them) and storing them in a secure online system is also a wise idea. Thanks Peter!


Have you subscribed to Lifehacker Australia's email newsletter? You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.