Most credit cards last between three and five years.
The expiration date of your credit card is typically embossed on the front of the card, right under the card number. It’s listed as a month and year – for instance, “07/25” means the card is valid until the end of July 2025.
The primary reason why credit cards have an expiration date is for security.
These dates help protect against fraudulent activities by adding an additional layer of verification. When you make a purchase, especially online, you’re usually required to provide the expiration date along with your credit card number and CVV code. This helps ensure that the person making the purchase has physical possession of the card.
Expiration dates also provide a chance for credit card issuers to update their card technology. Over time, the magnetic stripe or EMV chip in your credit card can wear out. Issuing a new card every few years helps ensure that you have a functioning card with the latest security features.
Let’s consider an example: Let’s say it’s June 2023, and you have a credit card in your wallet with an expiration date of “07/23”. This means that your card will be good to use through the end of July 2023. After July, the card will no longer be functional, and any attempts to use it for transactions will be declined.
So, what happens when your credit card is about to expire? Usually, the card issuer will automatically send you a new card in the mail about a month before your current card expires. This new card will have the same credit card number but a new expiration date and CVV code.
When you receive your new card, you’ll need to activate it and sign the back as a security measure. Activation usually involves calling a number or logging into your online banking account. Once the new card is activated, you should destroy the old one to prevent any potential misuse.
Just a heads up, any auto-payments linked to your old card might need to be updated with the new card’s expiration date and CVV code. If you have your card details saved on online shopping sites, streaming services, or bill pay services, you’ll need to update the information there too.
It’s important to note that the expiration of a credit card does not close your credit account – it’s merely the physical piece of plastic that’s expiring. As long as your account remains open and in good standing, you’ll continue to build credit history.
It’s also worth mentioning that certain types of credit cards, particularly metal ones, may last longer than the typical three-to-five-year range due to their material. But no matter the material, the card will still have an expiration date for the reasons discussed above.
1. How long do credit cards last? Credit cards typically last between three to five years. This lifespan is determined by the expiration date that’s printed on the card itself. This date includes a month and a year, and your card is valid until the end of that specific month. For instance, if your card says 07/27, it’s valid until the end of July 2027.
2. Why do credit cards have expiration dates? There are two main reasons. First, the expiration date adds an additional security layer. You usually need to enter this date when making purchases online, which helps confirm that the person making the purchase physically possesses the card. Secondly, expiration dates allow card issuers to periodically upgrade their card technology. Over time, the magnetic stripes or chips in credit cards can wear out, and security standards may evolve. By issuing new cards, card companies ensure you have a working card that meets current security requirements.
3. What happens when my credit card expires? When your credit card approaches its expiration date, your card issuer will generally send you a new card. This usually happens about a month before your current card expires. Your new card will have the same credit card number but a new expiration date and CVV code. You’ll need to activate this new card, typically by calling a number or logging into your online banking account, and then destroy your old one.
4. Do I need to update auto-payments when I get a new card? Yes, it’s crucial to update any auto-payments or saved card details on online sites with your new card’s expiration date and CVV code. Failing to do so could result in declined transactions, late fees, or service interruptions.
5. Does the expiration of a credit card close my credit account? No, the expiration of a credit card doesn’t close your credit account. The physical piece of plastic is expiring, not the account. As long as your account remains open and in good standing, you’ll continue to build credit history.
6. Can I still earn rewards after my card expires? Absolutely! As long as your account is open and active, you can continue earning rewards, points, or cash back, depending on your card’s program. Just make sure to activate and start using your new card once it arrives.