Article | 4:03 min read

What is Card Lock and How it Protects your Money


Use Card Lock to prevent new purchases if you misplace your card. Here’s how it works, and popular ways to use Card Lock to protect your finances.

Woman looking at phone

You’ve enjoyed a nice evening out, only to get home and realize you forgot your credit or debit card at the restaurant. At least you think it was at the restaurant. Or maybe it fell out of your pocket at the movie theater? We’ve all been there – the feeling of alarm as you try to retrace your steps and track down your card. All while hoping no thieves find your card first. The good news? Now you can lock your card! So, what is Card Lock, how does it work, and can it protect your money? Here’s what you need to know.

What is Card Lock?
Card Lock is a security feature which allows you to block new authorizations on your debit card and/or credit card. If you misplace your card, locking can prevent criminals from using your card, until you need to report the card as Lost/Stolen. When you report a card as Lost/Stolen, we will issue you a new card and number. If you are using Card Lock and find your card, you can unlock and use it as normal.

How does Card Lock work?
If you lock your card, any new transactions will be declined. If there’s an attempt to use the locked card, we’ll send you (the cardholder) an alert. We’ll contact you by Push Notification, SMS Message, or Email, letting you know the card declined because it has a “locked” status. Your card will remain locked until you decide to unlock it. In addition, there is not a limit to how many times you can lock your card.

Worried you’ll forget which cards are locked? We have you covered! You’ll see which cards are locked when you log into Online Banking or the Mobile Banking App.

What Transactions are Allowed While Locked?
Any recurring or automatic charges set up correctly by the merchant will still process as normal. When a merchant sets up a recurring payment, part of their process is adding an indicator to show the transaction will happen repeatedly. For example, streaming services, subscriptions, memberships, or automated billing payments will continue to work.

A few examples of recurring, automatic bill payments can include:
• Cell phone bill
• Gym membership
• Utility bill
• Cable or streaming service bill
• Magazine subscriptions
• Subscription boxes for food, clothing, beauty, and pet supplies

The merchant will need to set up any recurring charges correctly, otherwise Card Lock will block the transaction. You likely won’t need to take any action – setting up a recurring transaction is something the merchant indicates on their side. Also, when it comes to subscription services, they can be useful, but the cost can add up quickly. Here are five tips for budgeting your subscription services.

When Should you use Card Lock?
If you misplaced your card, and can’t find it, lock your card to prevent new purchases until you find it. Your card will be locked until you choose to unlock it, so if you give up looking for the card, report it Lost/Stolen and we’ll reissue you a new card.

Aside from keeping your money safe, there are other popular ways to use Card Lock.
Control spending – Small purchases here and there can add up quickly. If you’re wanting to limit impulse buying, consider keeping your cards locked until you need to make a purchase. The short window of time it takes for you to unlock your card, may help you decide against buying something you may not need.
Rarely used credit cards – Locking credit cards you don’t use very often can give an extra layer of protection. Having a long history with a credit card increases your length of credit, which positively affects your credit history. So, if it’s not a card you regularly use, consider locking it instead of closing the account.
Preventative protection – It may be a good idea to lock your card if you hear about a breach somewhere you normally shop, or recently purchased from. Card Lock blocks the card number, so it will prevent the fraudster from using the card’s information, even online.

How to Lock your Card
To lock your card, log into Central Bank Online Banking or the Mobile Banking App. Under Card Management, select Card Lock. Toggle the switch “off” to lock your card and block new transactions. Any existing, recurring charges will still process while your card is locked. Ready to unlock your card? Just toggle the switch “on” to allow all transactions.

Using Card Lock is not a substitute for cancelling your card. If your card is truly lost or stolen, the most important step to protect your account from unauthorized use is to report it to your bank. As always, we’re here to make banking easier for you. If you have any questions about Card Lock, or if we can assist you in any way, don’t hesitate to contact us.

The information provided in these articles is intended for informational purposes only. It is not to be construed as the opinion of Central Bancompany, Inc., and/or its subsidiaries and does not imply endorsement or support of any of the mentioned information, products, services, or providers. All information presented is without any representation, guaranty, or warranty regarding the accuracy, relevance, or completeness of the information.