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AmEx Debuts ‘Freeze Your Card’ Feature

Aug. 8, 2018
Credit Card Basics, Credit Cards, Promos, Rewards Credit Cards
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One of American Express’ newest features could come in clutch the next time you misplace your credit card.

The issuer recently announced that cardholders can now “freeze” their card for up to seven days if it goes missing, blocking most new purchases. This capability first became available in early July. Forgot your card at a restaurant? Dropped it somewhere in your house? This feature gives you plenty of time to look for it, while preventing unauthorized purchases in the meantime.

How it works

You can freeze your card through AmEx’s website, which you can access on your smartphone, computer or other devices. Currently, you can’t freeze your card through the AmEx app, the issuer confirms. The feature is available on all AmEx consumer and OPEN small-business cards in the U.S. Here’s how you can freeze your account.

  1.  Log on to your account via AmEx’s website.
  2. Click on “Account Services” on the top rail.
  3. Under “Card Management,” click “Freeze Your Card.” This will take you to a page explaining what happens when you freeze your card. Complete the action by clicking the “Freeze Card” button.
  4. Your card will automatically be unfrozen seven days after freezing it. However, if you want to unfreeze it sooner, you can repeat steps 1-3. The page “Freeze Your Card” will now be titled “Unfreeze Your Card.” Follow the prompts on the page to undo the freeze.

If you have authorized users, freezing your card won’t affect all the cards associated with your account. Each card needs to be frozen independently, according to the issuer.

AmEx isn’t the first to give cardholders the option to freeze or lock their cards. Both Discover and Citi offer similar features.

» MORE: NerdWallet’s best American Express cards

Which transactions are blocked?

When you freeze your AmEx card, it blocks some transactions, but not all.

  • Transactions that are blocked when the card is frozen: Most in-person purchases.
  • Transactions that are not blocked when the card is frozen: Recurring bills, digital wallet transactions, certain online merchants and offline authorizations (for example, if you make a purchase aboard a flight, according to American Express).

What if you can’t find your card?

Freezing your card temporarily buys you time to look for your card, but it’s not a permanent solution if your card is truly missing.

If you really can’t find your card, the drill is still the same as before: Call your issuer. It’ll give you a new card number and a new card. This way, no one will be able to use your old card to make unauthorized purchases.

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