Even if you love your credit card, you probably shouldn’t get too attached to the 15 or 16 digits emblazoned across the plastic (or metal). At some point, your card may be lost, stolen or compromised, and a new card — with a new number — will need to be issued to keep you from acquiring charges you haven’t made. But will this new number affect your credit score? Here’s what you need to know!
Will a replacement card hurt my credit score?
If your card is lost or stolen, or suspected to be compromised, you will be issued a new credit card. But don’t worry, this won’t directly cause a damaged credit score. Because it is associated with the old account, there isn’t a credit inquiry involved or a closed account on your credit report. So no, technically, getting a new card number won’t hurt your score.
However, a replacement card can indirectly hurt your score if you aren’t vigilant about changing over your automatic payments to your new card number. If you don’t, payments may be charged to your old number — which obviously won’t go through and will likely cause a late payment and fees.
To avoid this, log in to each of your online accounts with automatic payments and change them over to your new card. Keep in mind that some of these changes take one or two billing cycles to process and you’ll have to make these payments manually. Changing an automatic bill payment credit card number isn’t an excuse to make a late payment, and you’ll likely be penalized for not paying on time.
How can I keep a new card from sabotaging my credit score?
First of all, if any of your automatic payments are made out of your checking account, set them up as automatic withdrawals from your account, instead of automatic credit card payments if possible. You’re less likely to get a new checking account than a new credit card, so you won’t have to worry about changing anything if something happens to your card.
If you use your credit card to get points on automatic bill payments, keep a list of any accounts linked to your card. This includes monthly bills — like utilities and subscriptions — but could also include accounts with credit card information saved — like Amazon’s one-click buying. That way, you can update all of your accounts and not worry that you’re missing something. For those accounts that need to be paid manually for a month or two, set reminders on your phone or email accounts or add notes in your planner.
Bottom line: A new credit card number won’t directly influence your credit score. However, if you don’t update your automatic bill pay information, you could miss payments and damage your score. To avoid this, move any automatic bill payments from your checking to automatic withdrawals, and keep a list of all credit card automatic bill payments so you can update them when necessary. Also, don’t forget to make manual payments if your changes aren’t updated immediately.
Credit card image via Shutterstock