Credit card expiration dates provide an opportunity for the card issuer to send you a new card with updated technology, which can help keep your account secure and your card usable. Furthermore, your card’s expiration date can be a good reminder to review how you use your card.

What is a credit card expiration date?

The expiration date of a credit card indicates when the card is no longer valid. You should not be able to use your card after it expires because issuers should deactivate the credit card when it reaches the expiration date.

Card expiration dates are typically in a two-number format, with the first representing the month and the second representing the year. For example, 09/23 corresponds to September 23rd, 2023. Cards typically expire on the last day of the month a few years after being issued, so this will not be a common issue (but contact your issuer to confirm the specifics).

What happens when a card expires?

You don’t have to be concerned about your credit card expiring. Your card company is most likely handling the process in the background.

The issuer should automatically send you a new card in the mail shortly before your card’s expiration date. To help prevent theft, this card is usually packaged in a plain envelope. Make sure you’re on the lookout so you don’t throw away your new card by accident!

When you receive the new card, you should be able to activate it and begin using it right away; you should not have to wait for the old card to expire.

If you’re only getting a replacement card and not making any other changes to your account, you shouldn’t have to worry about a hard inquiry.

What should I do when my card expires?

The expiration of your credit card may be a good time to reflect on all of the ways you use it.

Analyze your credit card statements for recurring charges. If you still want to use a service that is automatically charged to your card, you must update your payment information with each vendor separately. Because you’re already reviewing your recurring payments, now is a good time to cancel any services you no longer use.

As for your old card, make sure to destroy it to prevent someone from using it to commit financial fraud. It should be sufficient to shred or cut up the card. If you want to be extra cautious, place the card’s pieces in separate trash bags.

Why do credit cards expire?

So why do banks go to the trouble of letting their cards expire and then reissuing them?

One reason is that it allows banks to upgrade the technology in their credit cards. Card-security technology is constantly evolving, and card expiration dates assist issuers in keeping all of their cards current with similar technology.

Another reason that cards expire is that they deteriorate and become less reliable over time. Replacing them on a regular basis helps to ensure that yours is in good working order.

Bottom line

Credit cards typically expire a few years after they are issued, but this does not imply that the account will be closed. After activating your new card, securely dispose of your old one, and take the time to update recurring payment information so that you can continue to use your card without missing a beat.