What happens when you lock a credit card?

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When you lock a credit card, it means that you have taken steps to prevent unauthorized use of the card. This can be done for various reasons, such as if the card is lost or stolen, or if you suspect fraudulent activity on your account. Locking a credit card provides an added layer of security and can help protect your finances. In this article, we will explore what happens when you lock a credit card and how it affects your ability to use the card.

How to Lock a Credit Card

Before we delve into what happens when you lock a credit card, let’s first understand how to initiate the process. Most credit card issuers provide online or mobile app options to lock your card. You can typically find this feature in the account settings or security section. Once you locate the option, you will be prompted to confirm your decision, usually by entering a password or providing other authentication details. It’s important to note that locking a credit card does not cancel the account or close it permanently.

Effects of Locking a Credit Card

Card Usage: When you lock a credit card, it immediately becomes unusable for any new transactions. This means that you cannot make purchases, withdraw cash, or perform any other transactions using the locked card. However, any recurring payments or pre-authorized transactions that were previously set up will continue to be processed.

Online and In-person Transactions: Locking a credit card affects both online and in-person transactions. If you try to use a locked card to make an online purchase, the transaction will be declined. Similarly, if you attempt to use a locked card for an in-person transaction, such as swiping it at a point-of-sale terminal, the card will be declined, and the transaction will not go through.

ATM Withdrawals: When a credit card is locked, you will not be able to use it to withdraw cash from an ATM. Any attempt to do so will result in the transaction being declined.

Unlocking a Credit Card

If you need to use your credit card again, you can unlock it using the same method you used to lock it. Typically, this involves accessing your account settings or security section online or through the mobile app. You will need to provide the necessary authentication details to confirm your identity and unlock the card. Once the card is unlocked, it can be used for transactions as usual.

Benefits of Locking a Credit Card

Security: One of the primary benefits of locking a credit card is enhanced security. By locking the card, you can prevent unauthorized individuals from using it, even if they have physical possession of the card. This can help protect you from financial loss in case of theft or fraud.

Peace of Mind: Locking a credit card can provide peace of mind, especially if you have misplaced the card or suspect fraudulent activity. Knowing that the card is locked can alleviate concerns about unauthorized transactions and give you time to take appropriate action, such as reporting the card as lost or stolen.


Locking a credit card is a proactive step to protect your finances and prevent unauthorized use of the card. When you lock a credit card, it becomes unusable for new transactions, both online and in-person. However, recurring payments and pre-authorized transactions will continue to be processed. Unlocking the card is a straightforward process, and it restores your ability to use the card for transactions. By locking your credit card, you can enjoy enhanced security and peace of mind.


– bankrate.com
– creditcards.com
– experian.com