26 Jun 2019

Four in ten Brits lose then find their bank cards as Nationwide enables people to temporarily switch them off

  • Members can freeze and unfreeze their bank card by phone instead of cancelling
  • Most commonly lost items include glasses, keys, bank cards and gadgets
  • Most likely places to lose items include our bags, back of the sofa and our pockets
  • 53% of those in West Midlands lose bank cards vs just 38% of those in South West

More than four in ten (46%) people who have cancelled a lost bank card find them again, according to research from Nationwide, as it introduces a way to temporarily switch cards off instead of cancelling them.

The new tech could put an end to waiting unnecessarily for a replacement card to turn up, while also allaying fears of crooks stealing and using card details.

The survey of over 2,000 people shows that each year 60 per cent of the nation loses items such as glasses, keys, their bank cards and mobile phones. More than half (58%) confess to having put these items in a ‘safe place’, only to forget where they are.

Nationwide data highlights that around 7,000 Nationwide members report their card lost or stolen each week. This can be an inconvenience as people have to wait for a replacement card to arrive in the post, making it harder to access their money until the new card arrives. There is also the added issue of having to update card details on multiple websites.

According to the poll, younger generations are most likely to misplace their banks card, with more than half (59%) of those aged 25-34 and 51 per cent of 35-44 year olds confessing. This compares to just over a third (34%) of those aged 65-plus., putting pay to the view that older people are more forgetful.

Regionally, there is also some variation. The top and bottom regions for misplacing cards are:


 Top  Bottom
Region  Percentage who have misplaced their card Region Percentage who have misplaced their card 
West Midlands 53% South West 38%
North West 51% East Midlands


Greater London 51% South East 40%

The fear of losing items

Nearly two thirds (64%) of people said they fear they have lost something every week. However, despite fears of becoming more forgetful as we get older, the figure decreased to two in five (41%) for those over 55. This is something many people can relate to, from losing glasses and finding them on the top of their head, to returning to a car park after a day out and about, only to have completely forgotten where the car is parked.

The worst culprits are the young, with 86 per cent of 16-24 year olds admitting to losing items in the last year – most commonly mobile phones, headphones and watches. Meanwhile, nearly a quarter (25%) of people over 55 admit to misplacing their glasses – something many rely more on as they get older. False teeth, slippers, the remote control and jewellery were also noted on the list of the missing, whilst some of the most bizarre items lost included a four-tonne army lorry, a hockey stick and a dirty bag of clothes on the way to the laundrette.

The top items lost in the last year were glasses (20%), house keys (19%), headphones (18%), phone (17%) and bank card (16%). However, there were noticeable variances by age, with headphones the most likely lost item for the younger generation (16-24), whereas for the older generation (55+) the most lost item was their glasses. The top lost items per age were:

Age  Most commonly lost item  Second most commonly lost item  Third most commonly lost item 
16-24  Headphones (29%)  Phone (24%)  House Keys (24%) 
25-34  Phone (19%)  House Keys (19%)   Headphones (17%) 
35-44  House Keys (23%) Phone (17%) Car Keys (13%) 
45-54  Glasses (26%) House Keys (17%)   Phone (15%) 
55+  Glasses (23%) Car Keys (10%)   House Keys (9%) 

Around one in five (18%) admitted that lost items caused arguments in their relationship, although a similar amount (19%) owned up to being the most forgetful person they know. The survey highlighted that men are the most likely to lose items for good, with 31 per cent saying they had mislaid items that were never found again, compared with just 21 per cent of women. When it came to rediscovering lost items, almost half (49%) of women were likely to find things in a bag or coat, compared with just under a third (29%) of men.

Most items were found in a different bag or coat (29%), followed by down the side of the sofa (28%) and in a pocket (25%), but other odd places of discovery included the fridge, a children’s toy box, down the back of a radiator, in the microwave or buried in a compost pile. The most common place for men to find lost items was down the side of the sofa (28%) – probably as many men keep items loose in their pockets - while for women it is the bottom of a bag (35%). Surprisingly, 60 per cent said they’d looked for something already in their hand, with more women (71%) prepared to admit to this than men (48%).

Dave Palmer, Nationwide’s Head of Mobile and Online Banking, said: “We’ve all had that feeling of dread when you go to use something and realise it’s not where you thought it would be. That feeling is exacerbated when the item you’ve lost is your debit card, as you instantly start to worry that someone may have started spending your money.

“Our research shows that a large majority of people who report their card lost or stolen go on to find it, so being able to freeze their card will reduce both stress and inconvenience. If members can’t find their card, then they can easily report it and order a new one within the Nationwide banking App.”

About Nationwide

Nationwide is the world's largest building society as well as one of the largest savings providers and a top-three provider of mortgages in the UK. It is also a major provider of current accountscredit cardsISAs and personal loans. Nationwide has around 15 million customers.

Customers can manage their finances in a branch, via the mobile app, on the telephone, internet and post. The Society has around 18,000 employees. Nationwide's head office is in Swindon with administration centres based in Northampton, Bournemouth and Dunfermline. The Society also has a number of call centres across the UK.