Credit cards have an expiration date because federal law requires it. The typical card lasts three years. A primary reason for the expiration date is to confirm the purchaser has the card. You can use a credit card during the month it expires. For example, if a card expires in January of a particular year, you can typically make purchases through the last day of the month.
Additional Expiration Details
Actually, you can sometimes get by with making purchases after the expiration date. An April 2010 article form credit processor Braintree noted that many transactions go through with expired cards simply because the card number and date match in the card processor's validation check. However, you typically want to active your new card when it expires to avoid rejections or gaps in card availability.
- ChargeSmart: The Mystery Behind Expiration Dates on Credit Cards
- Braintree: Credit Cards Aren't Like Milk - They're Still Good After Expired
- Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. "Can My Credit Card Company Change the Terms of My Account?" Accessed Feb. 29, 2020.
- FollowUpThen. "How To Use." Accessed Feb. 29, 2020.
- Discover. "New Card Activation." Accessed Feb. 29, 2020.
- American Express. "Request a Replacement Card." Accessed March 1, 2020.
Neil Kokemuller has been an active business, finance and education writer and content media website developer since 2007. He has been a college marketing professor since 2004. Kokemuller has additional professional experience in marketing, retail and small business. He holds a Master of Business Administration from Iowa State University.