Credit Cards That Offer a Pause Button and When to Use It

May 6, 2019

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When you can’t find your favorite card, what do you do? Everyone who uses credit cards has likely had this happen at least once. You could retrace your steps with the hope of finding the missing card at the last restaurant you ate at, or perhaps in the pocket of the pants you wore yesterday.

The safe bet, though, is to contact the card issuer and report it missing. However, this will permanently invalidate the lost card, and you’ll have to wait until you receive a replacement. But there’s a better option. Many major credit card issuers allow you to temporarily disable a particular card, and reactivate it later. As you’ll see, it has lots of potential uses, even beyond a misplaced card.

Major Card Issuers That Offer a Pause Button

Here’s a look at which issuers offer this option.

American Express Freeze Your Card

Amex introduced its card-freezing option in August 2018. It prevents your card from being used for new purchases, but allows payment of recurring bills on the account. You can also continue to use it in a digital wallet like Apple Pay or Samsung Pay. However, your card will automatically be unfrozen in seven days. Both primary and authorized card holders can use this feature.

Bank of America Lock/Unlock

This feature is only available on Bank of America’s debit cards at this time.

Barclays SecurHold™

Barclays allows you to lock and unlock your card from its mobile app. Barclays is one of the few card issuers that gives authorized users unique card numbers. This allows you to set transaction limits and even block entire purchase categories for authorized users. The Barclays app can also notify you of each transaction in real time, which can be great for monitoring spending and catching fraudulent purchases as soon as they happen.

Capital One Card Lock

Capital One offers Card Lock in its mobile app only. It blocks all in-store, online, in-app and phone purchases for cards. However, you can continue to return items, make payments and redeem rewards while your card is locked.

Chase Lock/Unlock

This feature allows Chase card holders to lock and unlock their credit card from the Chase Mobile app or on their computer. Locking the card doesn’t affect automatic payments, so there are no disruptions to recurring charges.

Citi Quick Lock

Citi allows card holders to lock and unlock their credit card online or from its mobile app.

Discover Freeze it®

Discover was one of the first card issuers to offer a card freeze feature, which can be activated online or through its mobile app.

US Bank

The bank doesn’t offer a lock/unlock feature at this time.

Wells Fargo Control Tower

This allows you to turn your cards on and off, as well as restrict international use. It will also allow you to view digital wallets and turn digital card numbers stored in your devices on or off. Recurring payments may still be approved or processed even if you turn your card off.

When to Use Your Credit Card’s Pause Button

There are several additional situations where a pause button can come in handy.

  • To control spending: Credit cards are so convenient to use that some people overspend. By pressing pause on your credit card it could help you control your spending.
  • Put your cards in safe mode: If you have cards that you don’t use often, or you only use for recurring monthly payments, then you might want to pause them to prevent unauthorized use.
  • Controlling the use of authorized card holders: Pressing pause can be a good way to prevent an authorized card holder from using his or her card.

Bottom Line

It’s great that most major card issuers now offer the option of temporarily pausing your credit card. It would be better if they all did, and if they gave you the option of doing so online and in their mobile app. But this is a good start. If you understand which cards have a pause button and how to use it, you can easily implement the feature when needed.

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