I have a mentor whose trademark was carrying a very big wallet in his trousersÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ back pocket.
The wallet was always stacked with money and cardsÃ¢â‚¬â€just reminded you what a cash economy Malawi is. With all his mentorship, this was one trait I never wanted to get consciously or unconsciously.
Last week, I met him at the bank and I was surprised to see his back pocket looking flat. “Simunanyamule wallet lerotu [you are not carrying a wallet today]Ã¢â‚¬â„¢ I observed. “I have, only that itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s leaner this time,” he responded.
I laughed my lungs out, “umphawi wavuta akulu [Is that poverty at its best, my friend]?” I said.
“What is funny about losing my wallet?” he asked, anger visibly crimping on his face. Apparently, he had lost his wallet the previous week. He narrated of how he lost his money, fuel cards, driving licence, bank cards and a whole lot of other small but important pieces of paper. I empathised with him and apologised for my innocent storm of laughter.
This incidence pushed me to write on the importance of keeping a lean wallet and how to protect yourself after you lose it. Hopefully this will help us all to take preventative action and make the loss of a wallet less headache.
As a good practice, keep as few cards in your wallet as possible and load the money you really need that day. Photocopy or scan both sides of everything in your walletÃ¢â‚¬â€except money of course.
This will help you to easily remember everything that was misplaced and easily deal with the consequences of card cancellation and replacement. If you can manage, like I do, never use a wallet, instead have a bank card holder which only carries a few cards and spread your money in almost all pocketsÃ¢â‚¬â€diversification.
The short of it, keep your wallet lean. Actually, a conspicuously heavy and protruding wallet that is overstaffed with receipts and notes and junk attracts unnecessary attention and could be a personal security concern. Get rid of all of the junk you donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t use regularly. A wallet is not a briefcase.
However, no matter how smart you can be, accidents do happen and you can lose your wallet. If you do, then the first step is to contact your bank. This ensures that if the wallet is potentially in the hands of someone else, they donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t withdraw your money and that you are not going to be liable for charges they may run up on your bank cards.
Most likely, your bank will issue you a new card with a new number and the old card will be cancelled, which just means that youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll have to wait a week or so and things will be back to normal.
Another vital step is to file a police report. Likely, it wonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t help you find your wallet, but it does provide a paper trail that you are following up on this. Plus, if your identity is used to make purchases, you can use this police record as a vital tool to help clear your credit record. Be as specific as possible on the report and keep a copy for yourself.
When you have lost your wallet, the most important thing is not to panic. Remain cool and calm. Retrace your steps carefully and see if you can locate it. Then follow the steps above.
Panic does nothing more than alert those that may have found it that your wallet contains valuable items and it delays you from getting to your bank and police.