Wife finds another woman's credit card under bed

To Her Credit columnist Sally Herigstad
Sally Herigstad is a certified public accountant and the author of "Help! I Can't Pay My Bills: Surviving a Financial Crisis" (St. Martin's Press, 2006). She writes "To Her Credit," a weekly reader Q&A column about issues involving women, credit and debt, for CreditCards.com, and also wrote for MSN Money, Interest.com and Bankrate.com, and has guested on Martha Stewart Radio and other programs.

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Dear To Her Credit,
I've found another woman's credit card under my bed, and I want to know who to give it to. My other half says there's no other woman. I know the area where the card was issued from, but that's all.   -- Raine


Dear Raine,
Your question leaves me with more questions. Why do you think a credit card was under your bed? How do you know where the card was issued from? Are you sure that if you find this woman, all you'll do is hand her the card?

There could be a perfectly reasonable explanation for a credit card under your bed ... maybe. Do you have a cleaning service? Someone vacuuming or making your bed could easily drop something. How about small children, who may find a pretty card enticing? If you live in a furnished apartment, maybe it was there before you moved in. Or maybe the dog did it.

Regardless of how another woman's card found its way under your bed, you have three basic choices. You can try to contact her, you can call the number on the back of the card or you can destroy the card and ignore it.

I'm sure you've already looked in the phone book and on Facebook for this woman's name. You may be tempted to start calling or sending messages. I'd be hesitant to do so, however. I'd especially be reluctant to start off a conversation with, "Oh, I found your credit card under my bed." Awkward.

A bigger problem than awkwardness is that you can't be sure you've found the right card owner. Very few people have a unique name. If you send the card to the wrong person, it could be used fraudulently. That only makes things worse.

Another problem is that if the card was used by someone other than the owner before it found its way under your bed, reporting the card to the owner could make them suspect you.

The safest thing to do is to simply call the number on the back of the card and notify the credit card company that the card has been lost. The bank can easily notify the cardholder and send them a new card, if they haven't done so already. Replacing lost cards is a matter of routine, and the woman should have a new card within a couple of days.

If what you really want is to find the owner of the card and ask her what she and/or her card were doing in your bedroom, I'm afraid neither I nor the bank can help you. Privacy laws prevent the bank from telling you anymore the name you already know about the card.

Unless you clean under the bed more often than I do, it's hard to tell how long the card has been there. It may have been long since canceled. Under the circumstances, a good shredder might be the best solution. Destroy the card, and then forget it.

See related: What to do when you find a lost credit card, You found someone's debit card. Do you pick it up?

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Updated: 01-23-2019