Why Do Credit Cards Have Expiration Dates?
For many of us, the credit card expiration date is just an additional field to fill while doing online transactions. It’s not like credit cards are perishable goods. As long as I maintain them properly, I should be able to use them without any hitches. Then why do they come with an expiration date?
There is a sound reason behind this practice.
An expiration date ensures additional security for your credit card. How? Let us see –
Credit card expiration date prevents fraud; Though some crooks can clone your card using new technologies, they wouldn’t be able to copy the expiration date on the card unless they have it physically. So, expiration dates essentially prevent online credit card fraud. That is one of the primary reasons you receive a message from your banker telling you not to share your expiration date with anyone.
Another primary reason is to replace the card due to general wear and tear; Cards usually come with a validity of 4-5 years. During this time, you would be swiping the card hundreds of times. The card also comes out and goes into your wallet umpteen times. These things are bound to damage your card gradually. Replacing your card once it expires, ensures that the card is in good condition and working perfectly.
There are also regular technological and security updates; Credit cards initially came with magnetic strips. Then came picture credit cards, chip cards and the latest advancement is ‘Tap Cards’ or ‘Contactless Cards’. These upgrades are done to your card as and when these features are introduced or at the time of card expiration.
It is also a marketing opportunity for lenders; Lenders use your expiration date to send you offers and deals on new cards or upgraded cards based on your usage and spending habits. You may use these offers and get better card features when the card is getting renewed. It is a win-win for both of you.
Where do I check my credit card expiration date?
The expiration date on your credit card is printed or embossed on the face of your credit card. It is usually just below your 16-digit card number, next to your name. Most cards only have the expiration date, while some cards may have the ‘Valid From’ date also.
It will be in the format MM/YY or MM/YYYY. For example, if the card expiration date says 09/2025, it means that the card expires in September of 2025. It usually expires on the last day of the month, so it would be the 30th of September.
What happens when a credit card expires?
Most banks will send a reminder, a few months in advance, before your card expires. Based on the bank’s policy, they may be sending a new card to your address or give you the option of upgrading and renewing your card.
Whatever may be the case, you will get intimated well in advance to make an informed decision.
Once the card expires, it will become invalid and you won’t be able to use it to pay either online or at offline merchant establishments.
What should I do if my card has expired?
You would have received intimation about your card expiry at least a month in advance. So here are the points to remember when your card has expired or is about to expire:
- If the bank is going to send you a new card, verify and update the communication address on file so that the card doesn’t land in an old address by chance.
- If the bank wouldn’t be sending you a new card and requires you to file a new application form, get in touch with the relevant team to process your application and get your card.
- Use a trusted credit card comparison site like CreditMantri to get detailed information on the latest credit cards in the market. If there is an option to upgrade your card to one with better features, don’t forget to compare and evaluate the most prominent credit cards before you apply for one. When you have all the relevant information, you are in a better position to strike a deal with the credit card company to get the best terms and offers on your new card.
- Never share your credit card expiration date with any person who calls you and claims to be from the bank or any other authority. Disconnect the call and report the number to your bank’s fraud reporting number.
- Be aware of your credit card expiration date so that you can take the necessary steps to have the new card at the right time.
- When given an option, spend some time researching and shopping for the best credit card in the market.
- Interest rates and reward programs are not the only features to look for in a credit card. These days, free travel insurance, airport lounge access, hotel rooms, brand discounts, fuel surcharge waiver and many other features make for an attractive card.
- Keep yourself updated with all the latest benefits and features available on a credit card so that you can compare and choose the best one for you.