Knowing exactly when your credit card expires can save you from the potential embarrassment of having it declined when you attempt to make a purchase and ensure you receive a replacement credit card with plenty of time to spare. While dates printed on cards do not specify a particular day, the rules are the same regardless of which financial institution issues the credit card.
All credit cards expire on the last day of the month printed on the front of the card.
Credit card expiration dates printed on cards usually consist of a month and year only. In such cases, the cards remain valid until the last calendar day of that month. If, for example, an expiration date reads "06/19," this means it can be used until midnight on June 30, 2019. If you attempt to use the card after this time, it will be declined.
Don't forget to update any automatic charges you have on the card by adding the new expiration date, otherwise your card can still be charged even past its expiration date, accruing costs you may not even be aware of.
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Expiration Date Purpose
Expiration dates add another layer of fraud protection for online transactions as you will normally be asked for these details before a merchant can authorize a payment. Dates are also needed to ensure cards are replaced before their magnetic strips and embossed numbers become too worn out. The actual plastic on a card also wears down over time, especially if it's a card you use frequently in bricks and mortar establishments.
The expiration date allows the card issuer to send you a new card with the latest technology embedded within it. A credit card typically expires three years from the date it was issued.
Your bank or credit card company will automatically send a new card up to 60 days before your current card expires. Depending on the policies of your card issuer, you may need to activate your new card before you can begin using it. Once you start to use your new card, the old one will no longer work, even if it has not yet reached its expiration date. If your card is due to expire in a few weeks and you have not received a replacement, contact the card issuer.
Credit Card Disposal
To ensure your personal financial information does not fall into the wrong hands, you should destroy your expired credit cards carefully. Cut lengthwise through the embossed digits and then make vertical cuts to separate the individual numbers. Ideally, throw the pieces away separately so there is no chance the card can ever be reassembled. Another alternative is running the expired card through a paper shredder or recycling it.
- Discover: Why Do Credit Cards Expire?
- GoBankingRates: 10 Things You Need to Know About Credit Card Expiration Dates
- CardRates.com: When Do Credit Cards Expire?
- Credit Card Number Generator & Validator - FreeFormatter.com
- 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.
Based in London, Anthony Thompson originally worked in the financial sector but has been writing professionally since 1992. The former editor of a monthly computing and technology magazine, his work has appeared in The Guardian, GQ and Time Out.