Sometimes it seems that expiration date on your credit card is nothing more than an annoyance: one more space to fill in when you make online purchases, and another task to deal with every few years when the card expires. Why do credit cards come with an expiry date, and what is your responsibility as a cardholder when it does happen?
Why Do Credit Cards Expire?
The reasoning is that the strip on your credit card will stop working eventually with wear and tear. (This has happened to me with my bank card!) These days, the new security chip on the bottom of cards are more durable. But when card companies come up with new technologies, like the chip or the three-digit CVC2 code on the back of your card, having an expiration date allow companies to give you a new card with new innovations built in.
As well, having you need a new card allows companies to get in touch with you again. They can send you information to sell you new products.
What To Do About An Expired Credit Card
The beauty of the expiring card is that it’s pretty easy from the consumer end. Your credit card company will mail you a new card with the same number and a new expiration date (cards have a lifespan of a few years, varying by credit card company) about two weeks before your card expires. Keep in mind, your credit card expires on the last day of the month of the expiration date. So if it’s set to expire at 5/13, that means you have until May 31 this year to use the card.
The company will send instructions on how to activate the new card. That can involve calling a 1-800 number or doing an internet log-in. The process takes a few minutes. Then, simply cut up your old card and throw it in the garbage. Your account stays the same – the only difference is you have a new card.
Expiry Warning Signs
If your card is about to expire and you’ve heard nothing from your credit card company, give them a call. It’s possible they have not send your new card yet. However, it could also mean it was mailed out and got lost or stolen in the mail. In this case, the company will reissue you a new card and may even send it by courier to ensure you get it safely. Credit cards do get stolen from the mail and discarded cards can get fished out of the garbage, so be aware of fraud.
Spread the Word
The most annoying thing about a new credit card is you may have to inform certain companies that you buy from that you have a new expiration date. If you have regular purchases on your card (for me, that’s my newspaper subscriptions) or you do online shopping and retailers or PayPal have your number on file. You need to contact these folks and get them up to date on your new expiration number. In fact, they’ll likely contact you first, in the month leading up to your card expiry, as their records show your payment information requires an update.