Even if you’re excited when you get your first card, it can get tiring trying to stay on top of your credit and budget everything.
But it’s even worse if you don’t receive a new card and end up without one for two weeks.
You need to keep up with your bank information, so you’re not surprised by your monthly bills.
Generally, a credit card stays valid for three to four years, while a debit card lasts for two to three years.
Once your card expires and you still intend to keep your account open, you can apply for a new one.
After around 15 days, the bank will issue you a new card with another expiry date.
How Long is a Credit Card Valid For?
Credit cards are usually valid for around three or four years, but this also changes depending on various factors.
The credit card’s exact validity period depends on who is issuing it and to who it is being given.
Banks have the authority to decide how long a card will last and determine the time frame based on internal and external factors.
Internal factors mean how long the card will survive wear and tear, preventing fraud, and keeping customers updated regarding new cards and offers.
External factors refer mainly to the holder’s credit. Banks are cautious when handing someone credit.
If a person has a good history and pays everything on time, their card can stay valid for up to five years.
If your first card was issued to stay working for two or three years, but you were good at handling credit, the following validity period might be four, then five years.
An expiration date means that the card will stop working after the mentioned date, and you won’t be able to make online transactions or buy anything using it.
However, it does not mean you won’t have to pay any credit left on it.
When Does a Debit Card Expire?
Similar to credit cards, debit cards are valid for around three years, after which you’ll get a new one.
You can check when your card will expire by looking at the MM/YY mentioned on the card itself.
Remember that the mentioned date means that the card will be valid after the date has passed, which is why many cards say ‘valid thru.’
If your account is doing good and has regular use, you’ll be issued a new card before the expiration date, so there isn’t a period where you are without one.
Unlike a credit card, debit cards work like electronic checks, which means you won’t have any withstanding payments if you close your account after expiry.
Why do Credit and Debit Cards Have Expiration Dates?
There are several factors, such as the physical life of the card itself, fraud prevention, and risk assessment.
The goal of credit and debit cards having expiry dates isn’t to cause unnecessary inconvenience, especially since the date applies to the card and not the actual account, which stays open unless you decide to close it.
For one, no matter how careful you are with your card, there will eventually be a physical toll on it.
There can be several scratches from repeated use, which might unexpectedly decline if the machine cannot recognize it. Even EMV chips can eventually malfunction.
Next, there is fraud prevention. Changing a card every few years is vital for security because the longer a card is valid, the higher the chances of it being used for fraudulent activity.
A new card comes with a new Cash Verification Value code (CVV), so even if a fraudster has obtained your credit or debit card number, they won’t be able to use it because of the changed CVV.
This protects both the issuer and the holder. It’s similar to changing your password from time to time.
Finally, it allows the bank to market new cards and reward programs. It also lets the holder evaluate whether they want to change their card. Generally, you’ll put it off even if you intend to look into newer cards.
When the card’s expiry date draws near, they can call you and offer a card with better perks, an upgraded system, or even a new design.
This means they can engage their customers to stay with them for longer.
For the holder, they can adequately observe their account and check if the Annual Percentage Rate (APR) is the same.
How Can I Renew My Credit or Debit Card?
Usually, the bank will send you a notification and a new card around 30 to 60 days before the expiration date.
Others might simply notify you through your email and contact number and ask you to contact the bank if you wish to renew.
Sometimes, you might not get an alert, so it’s best to set a reminder a month before the date.
Once you get your card, it needs to be activated before you start using it. When it arrives, there is an activation sticker on the front with a number.
You’ll need to insert the 16-digit number, CVV and PIN. Simply call it, and the automated system will activate it.
The new version will have the same card number and PIN but a different CVV. You can also choose to change the PIN for added security.
Remember to dispose of your expired card, preferably after shredding it, to prevent anyone from using it for fraudulent activity.
Next, you need to update any financial accounts associated with your cards to prevent problems.
Notify merchants of the new card and update the information for automated charges like bills and subscriptions.
How are Debit Cards and Credit Cards Different?
A credit card involves borrowing money from the bank and paying it back later, while a debit card works as an electronic check.
The funds in the account are the holders if they have a debit card, and credit bureaus aren’t informed of transactions.
The money is deducted from your funds, so there isn’t a monthly bill apart from card charges.
When you pay something using credit, you pay the total amount at the end of the month or over time with interest, while the money belongs to the bank.
Do Credit Cards Renew Automatically?
No, a credit card will not renew until you call the activation number.
The bank will send a new card within a month or two before its expiration date. You’ll need to read the terms and conditions carefully and check if there are any changes in the APR or other fees.
Finally, you may have to submit an application and pay a fee. After that, you can call the number provided and enter your card number, CVV, and PIN code to activate your new card.
How Can I Check if my Credit Card is Valid?
Simply check the expiry date given on the card.
It will say something like ‘expiry date’ or ‘valid thru.’ For instance, if the date is 08/22, the card will still work on 31st August, but it will decline on 1st September.
Similarly, a debit card won’t work after the expiry date, but you can usually still make transactions like bills online. This is because debit cards don’t allow you to borrow money.
Do You Have to Pay off a Credit Card Before it Expires?
Even if you close your account, you’ll still have to pay off any remaining credit to your bank.
Having good credit and making payments on time is important because you’ll need to pay it off eventually.
Usually, if you don’t pay your credit card bill, you’ll have to pay a late fee and lose your grace period. You’ll also need to pay interest at a higher penalty rate.
The situation remains the same even after your card has expired or you suspend your account.
What Happens if I Don’t Activate my New Card?
Merchants might charge you for automatic transactions.
Even though you can’t make any transactions from your account without an active card, the account is still open, and you are legally liable for any transactions made through it.
If you don’t activate your new card on time, you could incur a penalty, late fees, and interest. It can also mess up your credit score, so it’s advised that even if the bank doesn’t send a new card on time, you contact them to inquire about it.
What Do I Do if My Credit Card is Lost or Stolen?
You should inform your bank immediately after you realize your bank card has been lost or stolen.
The thief might use your card for fraudulent activity or unauthorized purchases if your card was stolen. If you haven’t informed your bank, then all legal repercussions fall to you.
The next step would be to issue a new bank card. If you are worried about the time without a card, they might send you a temporary one.