When does a credit card expire?

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Credit cards are an essential financial tool that allows individuals to make purchases and access credit. However, these cards have an expiration date, which raises the question: when does a credit card expire? In this article, we will explore the expiration process of credit cards, including the reasons behind it and what happens when a credit card expires.

Understanding Credit Card Expiration

Expiration Date: A credit card expiration date is the month and year after which the card is no longer valid. It is typically printed on the front of the card and is an important piece of information for merchants and cardholders alike.

Reasons for Expiration: Credit card expiration dates serve several purposes. Firstly, they help ensure the security of the cardholder’s account. By regularly issuing new cards with updated security features, credit card companies can mitigate the risk of fraud and unauthorized use. Additionally, expiration dates prompt cardholders to update their information, allowing the credit card company to maintain accurate records and contact details.

Expiration Period: Most credit cards have an expiration period of three to five years. The exact length of the expiration period varies depending on the credit card issuer and the type of card. For example, some premium or high-end credit cards may have a longer expiration period.

Renewal Process: When a credit card is nearing its expiration date, the credit card issuer typically sends a new card to the cardholder’s registered address. This new card will have an updated expiration date and, in some cases, may also include new security features. Cardholders are advised to activate their new card promptly and destroy the old one to prevent any confusion or misuse.

What Happens When a Credit Card Expires?

Card Deactivation: Once a credit card expires, it becomes inactive, and merchants are unable to process transactions using that card. This is because the expiration date is an essential part of the card’s verification process. Therefore, it is crucial for cardholders to keep track of their credit card expiration dates and ensure they have an active card available for use.

Automatic Account Update: In some cases, credit card issuers may automatically update the cardholder’s account with a new card before the current one expires. This is known as an automatic account update or a card reissuance. It helps ensure uninterrupted service for the cardholder, as well as maintaining the relationship between the cardholder and the credit card company.

Updating Card Information: When a credit card expires, it is essential for cardholders to update their card information with any merchants or service providers who have their card on file. This is particularly important for recurring payments or subscriptions, as failure to update the card information can result in declined transactions or service interruptions.


Credit card expiration dates are an integral part of the credit card system. They serve to enhance security, prompt cardholders to update their information, and ensure smooth transactions. By understanding the expiration process and taking the necessary steps to update card information, cardholders can continue to enjoy the benefits of their credit cards without any disruptions.


– creditcards.com
– bankrate.com
– experian.com