In this Post:
- Why Is There An Expiration Date On A Credit Card?
- Finding Your Credit Card Expiration Date
- Renewing Your Credit Card
- How To Activate Your New Credit Card
- The Debit Card Difference
- Updating Your Credit Card Expiration Date
- A Word Of Warning
The Federal Reserve Bank counts more than 176 million credit card users in the United States. That means there are more credit cards in circulation than households in the country. Whether you use them sparingly or often, sooner or later your credit cards will expire. Have you ever wondered why that happens? Here’s what you need to know about credit card expiration dates.
Why Is There An Expiration Date On A Credit Card?
Credit card companies regularly update their cards. There are several reasons they do this.It might be as simple as a new design or name, or because cards wear out.
The wear and tear may cause cards not to function properly. Since companies want you to use your credit card, they want to make sure you have a card that works correctly.
The laminate might come off and interfere with the magnetic stripe on the back.
Most likely, however, the new card will have better technology and security.
For example, most new cards come with a chip installed. Instead of swiping your card, you can use the card by inserting it into a card reader which reads the chip, instead of swiping it. This new technology does a better job of preventing thieves from stealing your credit card information by providing the option for more secure card transactions. How? Criminals use devices called skimmers that can mimic card readers by reading date on your credit card. They place it over the top of credit card readers and can be difficult to detect. When you scan your magnetic stripe on the back of your card, the skimmer intercepts your account information as it’s being read. The chip encrypts your data and defeats the skimmers.
Finding Your Credit Card Expiration Date
Finding your credit card expiration date is easy. It will be printed on the front of your card in a 00/00 format. The first number will represent the month and the second set of numbers will represent the last two digits of the year your card expires. For example, 05/21 would indicate your card expires in May (the fifth month of the year) in the year 2021. In this case, your card would most likely expire on the last day of the month in May 2021.
When do credit cards expire? They should work right up until the last minute before the clock rolls over to midnight on the last day of the month. In our example, you could still charge on the old card at 11:59 pm on May 31, 2021, but not after midnight on June 1, 2021. If you have concerns about when your card will expire, your best bet is to check with the card provider.
Typically, credit card expiration dates are set 2-3 years after issuance.
Renewing Your Credit Card
You don’t need to do anything to renew your credit card. Companies will handle this automatically and send new ones out to you in the mail 30-60 days before your card expires. The cards will usually be in a plain white envelope, so that they don’t signal to potential thieves that credit cards are inside.
If for some reason your expiration date is approaching and you haven’t received new cards in the mail, call the company number on the back of your card to inquire about why you haven’t received it yet. You want to make sure they haven’t mailed out new cards that were intercepted someplace along the way.
Companies may also use renewal periods to send out new terms and conditions. Make sure to take a good look at the paperwork that comes with your card to make sure that you know how rates, terms, and conditions have changed, and whether they are acceptable to you.
Often, these letters may include lengthy terms and conditions, and terminology, which may be difficult for you to understand. Firstly, know that you’re in good company: Many people don’t fully understand the legalities credit card companies share with their consumers — and many people don’t even bother to read it.
That is not an excuse to discard the letters unread, however. If you’re not clear about the contents after reading through it on your own, call up the credit card company and have a representative explain it to you. After all, you’re entering a financial agreement with the credit card company as a lender; never go into a financial agreement without being fully aware of every single detail.
Getting a new card does not have an impact on your credit score. However, how long you’ve had credit does play a role in your overall credit score. The longer you have a credit card, and maintain good payment history, the more important it becomes in your score. Length of credit history can make up 15% of your total credit score.
How To Activate Your New Credit Card
While your credit card will expire, your account does not. Credit card companies aren’t canceling your credit; they are just issuing a new card. You will still owe any outstanding balance, but you won’t be able to charge anything until you get a new card and activate it.
When you get a new card in the mail, it will come with instructions on how to activate it.
Most credit card companies give you the choice to activate by phone or online. They will provide a special phone number or web address. It comes in the form of a sticker on the new card so you won’t miss it. Call the number or go online and enter the card number and the activation code to start using it. Once you have the new card and activate it, it’s ready for use right away, even if the previous card hasn’t yet expired. Activating the new card will deactivate the old card.
Once the expiration date hits, the old card stops working. If you don’t activate the new card before the old one expires, neither card will work.
The best advice is to cut up your old credit card and throw it away. It doesn’t work anymore but you don’t want to risk losing it or having it stolen. Even though it is deactivated, it still has your name and credit card account number on it. Unless you have reported the card as stolen, the replacement card will have the same account number as the old one.
The Debit Card Difference
A debit card is not a credit card. When you use it, payment is deducted directly from the checking account to which it is attached. Expiration dates on the debit card, though, work the same way it works on a credit card. Most (though not all) debit cards have the debit card expiration date on the front of the card in the same 00/00 format as explained above.
Once the expiration date occurs, you will no longer be able to use your debit card, but never fear. Your financial institution will send you replacement cards before the debit cards expire. If you have concerns about your debit card expiration date or have not received replacements within two weeks before expiration, get in touch with your card issuer.
Updating Your Credit Card Expiration Date
Your credit card issuer will update the expiration date automatically when it issues you new cards. This means you’ll have to update card information for anyone that has your card information on file for recurring or future use. For example, online shopping sites will no longer accept payment from the card cards you keep on file after the expiration date.
You’ll need to go online and update the information with each site where it’s stored. If you have automatic payments or subscriptions charged to your card, you’ll also have to update those with each merchant. Typical recurring payments might be from your cable or utility company, magazine subscriptions, lawn care companies, or merchants where you get monthly deliveries.
A Word Of Warning
One word of warning here and it’s an important one. Just because your current card has expired doesn’t mean merchants that have your card on file won’t be able to continue to charge you. The three major card companies (American Express, MasterCard, and Visa) offer update services to merchants. This means they will provide your new credit card number and expiration dates to the merchants as part of the service.
This helps the merchants avoid having to contact customers to get new card numbers. It may also save you the hassle of having to update every merchant with your new card expiration dates. However, if you were planning to terminate services from a specific provider, when your card was coming due, don’t rely on the card’s expiration date as an end to service date. Aside from it being wrong not to inform a service provider that you no longer need their services, it may very well end up costing you money in recurring charges.
So, to sum it up, some key factors you want to know about credit card expiration dates include the following information: Nearly every credit card will carry an expiration date, and after the expiration date your credit card provider will deactivate the card and you will no longer be able to use it. Your card provider will notify you prior to the expiration date and send new cards to replace the old ones.