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Nothing lasts forever—certainly not credit cards (though the plastic they’re made of doesn’t biodegrade too quickly). Here’s what any cardholder should know about credit card expiration dates.
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What Does the Expiration Date Mean on a Credit Card?
An expiration date on a credit card is simply the date on which the card itself will no longer work and must be replaced. For cardholders, it doesn’t mean the actual credit account will cease to exist, it simply means you’ll need a new piece of plastic from the bank. Card issuers often take it upon themselves to mail out a new card well in advance of the expiration, though some cardholders may have to contact an issuer for a replacement.
How To Find Your Credit Card Expiration Date
Expiration dates appear on the front or back of a credit card in a two-digit month/year format. Credit cards expire at the end of the month written on the card. For example, a credit card’s expiration date may read as 11/24, which means the card is active through the last day of November 2024. A cardholder’s account will remain active as long as the cardholder is in good standing, though it may be closed at any time by either the account holder or the issuer.
How Credit Card Expiration Dates Are Determined
Credit cards expire every three to five years, depending on the issuer. Banks set expiration dates based on a number of factors, including physical wear-and-tear on the card, security and encouraging consumers to reevaluate their credit card plans for upgrade.
What Happens After a Credit Card Expires
After a credit card expires, it will no longer be possible to use it to make purchases. The card won’t work in stores and with online purchases and will return a “declined” notice from the bank.
Most credit card issuers automatically mail cardholders a replacement card 30 to 60 days before the card’s expiration date. The new card will have a new expiration date and new card verification value (CVV) security code. Unless the account is upgraded or product changed, the credit card number usually stays the same.
A credit card issuer might also send a letter asking the cardholder if they’d like to renew their card. The card issuer then has the option to reevaluate an account before they send out a new card. This might happen if the cardholder is in poor standing or has ceased using the account, in which case the issuer may decide to terminate the relationship and not send a new card as a result).
What To Do When the New Card Arrives
Every new card must be activated by calling a number noted by a sticker on the card or by visiting the card’s activation website. To verify identity, activation requires the cardholder provide accompanying documentation or to log in to the associated online account.
Review that the terms are what you were approved for by checking the card’s APR, payment due dates, credit limit and any associated fees. Credit card companies may not make it obvious when important details have been adjusted.
Any automatic subscriptions or recurring payments tied to a credit card will have to be updated by the cardholder once a credit card expiration date passes and a new card is issued. Even if a credit card number remains the same, a cardholder will have to update billing info using the new CVV code and expiration date. It may seem like a hassle, but credit card expiration dates help all parties involved ensure financial information remains secure.
How To Dispose of an Expired Credit Card
Old credit cards should be destroyed or recycled. Some experts recommend shredding old credit cards to protect the credit card number from falling into nefarious hands. Cutting the card into small bits before tossing into the trash works as well. Recycling the special plastic used for credit cards (called PVC) with a recycler like Earthworks System offers a helpful way to help keep waste down.
Metal cards are harder to dispose of properly. Most can be sent back to the issuing bank or company for secure recycling in a special envelope provided when the new card arrives. (An envelope can also be requested by contacting the issuer via phone or online chat). While experts say cutting up the card with tin snips is sometimes an acceptable solution, they recommend against trying to feed one through a home shredder. Cardholders should steer clear of third-party disposal services. The only place someone should mail an old card for disposal is the place it came from.
Why Do Credit Cards Expire?
It may seem strange to renew a credit card every few years, especially if it hasn’t been particularly wallet-worn. Credit card issuers have a few incentives to keep up with this practice:
- Important parts of the card may wear out. The magnetic strip on the back of a credit card may rub off over time or become less effective, even if the card doesn’t appear worse for wear. The card’s plastic may also chip or fall apart. Receiving a new card every few years is a surefire way to prevent any inconvenient purchase disruptions.
- The expiration date is a vital anti-fraud security measure. Combined with the CVV code on the back of a card, the expiration date prevents people who have gained access to only the credit card number from making fraudulent purchases. Renewing this date more frequently limits opportunities for this fraud.
- It’s an opportunity for credit card companies to renew inventory. New card technology like chips or tap-to-pay abilities benefit both the issuer and the customer. When cards are renewed, both parties can be sure that the cardholder is using the most up-to-date version with maximum security and updated technology.
- It’s a marketing opportunity for the credit card company. Sometimes the card issuer will take it upon themselves to upsell the customer with an upgraded account. They may notify a customer of new deals, which could lead the customer to sign up for an entirely new account instead of or in addition to their existing one. It’s also an excuse for the issuer to remind an inactive customer of a forgotten card.
Best Instant Approval Credit Cards Of 2023
Credit card expiration dates can feel like a hassle, but they have some specific benefits. Not only do they provide a shiny new card in the mail, they also help ensure a card is always in working order when you set out to use it and provide critical protection against fraud. Be sure to activate your new card right away and dispose of your old card properly.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do credit cards expire at the end of the month?
Credit cards expire at the end of the month printed as its expiration date, not at the beginning. Many cards actually technically expire one day after the end of that month. In any case, unless they list a specific day of expiration along with month and year, they should work all the way through the end of their expiration month. Cardholders should not wait until the last moment to secure a replacement card.
Where is the expiration date on a debit card?
Expiration dates appear on the front or back of a credit card. Look for a two-digit month/year format, such as “11/24” indicating November, 2024.
Do credit card points expire?
When your card expires, it doesn’t take your rewards with it. Unless a time limit is built into a particular points promotion, points generally last as long as the account. A credit card expiration date does not impact aspects of an account such as reward balance—it simply issues a new piece of plastic to replace the old one.
What happens if I use an expired credit card?
In short, nothing. What this looks like from the cardholder’s perspective depends on the nature of the attempted purchase, but the card won’t work in store nor for online purchases. It will read as “declined” just as a suspended card might for any number of other reasons.
Credit cards usually expire anywhere from three to five years after being issued, depending on the card issuer. The expiration date will appear on your credit card in month/year format. For example, a credit card expiring in July 2025 would show “07/25.” The card remains active until the last day of the month listed.Does expiration date matter on credit card? ›
The expiration date on your credit card is a checkpoint. When you use your card, the expiration date is an added data point that must be verified. This provides an extra level of fraud protection, for example, during transactions where your card isn't present.
Credit cards expire every three to five years, depending on the issuer. Banks set expiration dates based on a number of factors, including physical wear-and-tear on the card, security and encouraging consumers to reevaluate their credit card plans for upgrade.Does CVV change when card expires? ›
If you sign up for a new credit card or replace an existing one, you'll end up with a new code; the same applies if your current card expires and you receive a replacement. Even if your credit card number is exactly the same, you will still have a different CVV.When I get a new card do I have to update everything? ›
Update your new card information with all merchants that bill your card automatically. Destroy any credit or debit cards with the old card number or expiration date. Destroy all convenience checks with your old credit card number, if applicable.Does letting a credit card expire hurt your credit? ›
If you stop using the card altogether, there's a chance that your account will be closed (typically after at least 12 months of inactivity). This will appear on your credit report and could drop your score, so it's vital to keep your account active and make the payments needed to keep your account in good standing.Is it safe to give credit card number and expiry date and CVV? ›
Always closely guard your card's CVV code. If a thief has your credit card number, expiration date and CVV number, that is all the information the thief needs to make an online purchase. While it is generally safe to give your CVV number to trusted merchants, it's not always necessary.Can you get the same credit card number but a different expiration date? ›
What To Do When Your Card Expires. For your convenience, the credit card company will automatically send you a new card with the same number but a different expiration date. This will usually be sent via postal mail weeks before the old card's expiration date. Included will be instructions to activate the new card.How many credit cards should you have? ›
It's generally recommended that you have two to three credit card accounts at a time, in addition to other types of credit. Remember that your total available credit and your debt to credit ratio can impact your credit scores. If you have more than three credit cards, it may be hard to keep track of monthly payments.What happens if my credit card expires and I still have a balance? ›
Just keep in mind that even if your physical card has expired and you haven't activated your new card, your credit card account is still active. An expired or inactive card won't affect your balance. And you're still responsible for making monthly payments.
A validation code—also known as a CVV, CV2, or CVV2 code—is a series of three or four numbers located on the front or back of a credit card. It is intended to provide an additional layer of security for credit card transactions that take place online or over the phone.What happens if someone knows your CVV? ›
Handing over your CVV for purchases completed offline is risky, because it gives someone the opportunity to steal that information. With your CVV code, they would have everything they need to make fraudulent online transactions in your name. When making in-person purchases, do not give out your CVV code.What is the last 3 digits of CVV? ›
The CVV2 (Card Verification Value 2) is a 3-digit security code that is printed on the back of your card, at the end of the signature panel. CVV2 is generally used for transactions when the card is not physically presented, such as in online purchases.Does ordering a replacement card cancel the old one? ›
Ordering your new card will immediately disable your old one. Activate your replacement card once you receive it. For recurring payments such as subscription services or saved cards in online accounts, please make sure to update with your new card information before the next payment cycle to avoid declines..Do replacement credit cards have the same number? ›
If you get a replacement card, you'll need to update your recurring payments with your new card number. You'll receive a new card number when you request a replacement card.When I get a new credit card do I need to update autopay? ›
Your recurring payments may post correctly, but it is best to update your card information with all applicable vendors to ensure payments are not interrupted or declined.What is the longest expiration date on a credit card? ›
Credit cards usually expire anywhere from three to five years after being issued, depending on the card issuer. The expiration date will appear on your credit card in month/year format. For example, a credit card expiring in July 2025 would show “07/25.” The card remains active until the last day of the month listed.Is the expiration date the last day? ›
What Is an Expiration Date? An expiration date is the last day that a consumable product such as food or medicine will be at its best quality, according to the manufacturer.Does a replacement credit card have the same number? ›
If you get a replacement card, you'll need to update your recurring payments with your new card number. You'll receive a new card number when you request a replacement card.