What Happens When Your Debit Card Expires? (And What To Do)

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Here at Be The Budget, we spend a lot of time talking about the benefits of debit cards. But if you’ve been swiping the same card for a while, you might be wondering, what happens when your debit card expires?

Typically, your bank or credit union will mail you a new debit card in the weeks or months leading up to your current card’s expiration date. However, if your card has already expired, you will need to call or visit your bank and ask them to issue you a new one.

For the rest of this guide, I’m going to answer some of the most common questions surrounding expired debit cards.

So, if you still have a few burning questions, keep reading!

Will A Debit Card Work If It’s Expired?

No, you cannot use an expired debit card to make a purchase of any kind. Additionally, if you have any automatic payments that are connected to your expired debit card, you will need to update your billing information so that your future payments don’t get declined.

This is also why we recommend paying as many of your automatic payments with an ACH check. Since ACH payments are connected directly to your checking account, you will never have to worry about missing a payment.

As an extra step, you can even connect your PayPal account to your bank account instead of your debit card, and then use that to make all of your automatic payments.

I can tell you from personal experience that this little tip can help you avoid all sorts of headaches around the time your debit card expires.

I will touch more on this subject a little later on, but for now, just know that you can’t use an expired debit card to make any purchases. Your card will get declined every time.

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Why Do Debit Cards Expire?

Simply put, the reason debit cards expire and need to be renewed every few years is for fraud prevention.

First of all, the expiration date acts as just one more item a consumer must present in order to prove they are the owner of the card. It’s not enough to just know the card number, a consumer must also know the name on the card, the expiration date, and the CVV number. The expiration date is just one piece of the puzzle, which makes the card a little bit more secure.

Additionally, with the rapid advancement of technology these days, card readers, and debit cards need to keep pace. So, renewing your card every few years allows the issuer to provide you with a more secure and up-to-date card.

As an example, I remember not too long ago when debit cards in the U.S. were swipe only. The chip readers weren’t really a thing. But, as debit cards started to expire all across the country, consumers began to receive more secure cards with chips in them. Now, it’s rare to find a debit card without a chip in it.

When Does A Debit Card Expire?

Debit cards typically expire within 2 to 5 years of their issue date, and are good through last day of the expiration month printed on the front of the card. For instance, if your debit card’s expiration date reads 08/23, then it will expire at the end of the day on August 31, 2023.

Do Debit Card Numbers Change With A New Debit Card?

When your card expires, the sixteen-digit number on your new debit card will remain the same as your old card. The only numbers that will change, are the expiration date, and the CVV (Card Verification Value) number.

However, this is not the case in situations of identity theft, or stolen cards.

If somebody steals your debit card, or uses your current card to make unauthorized purchases, you will more than likely be issued a new debit card with a completely different number.

In fact, in many cases, your bank will recommend closing your current checking account, and opening a brand new one.

I know this from experience, because a few years back I found a couple of suspicious transactions in my checking account, and found out that somebody had stolen my identity. Unsure whether they had somehow gotten ahold of my debit card information, or checking account information, I elected to open a brand new checking account. In this situation, both my debit card number, and my checking account number changed.

Do Banks Automatically Send You A New Debit Card?

Yes, your bank will mail you a new debit card a few weeks before your current card expires. With that in mind, be sure to open every piece of mail you receive from your bank. Since most banks send new debit cards in a standard envelope, it can be easy to mistake your new debit card as junk mail.

If, by chance, you do make the mistake of accidentally throwing your new debit card away, just give your bank a call or head into your local branch. In most cases, they can have a new card mailed out to you within a week or so.

And, if you’re really in a pinch, they may be able to provide you with a temporary debit card to help you bridge the gap while you wait for your new card to arrive.

Can You Still Use Online Banking When Your Debit Card Expires?

Yes, you can use all of your online banking features even if your debit card is expired. You just won’t be able to make any purchases with your expired debit card. You should, however, be able to make ACH payments, wire transfers, or Zelle payments–if that’s something your bank offers.

If you’re unsure about anything, it’s best to just call your bank and ask away. Not only will they be able to answer your questions, but they may even be able to help you accomplish whatever it is that you need to do.

Do Debit Cards Have An Expiration Date?

Yes, all debit cards have an expiration date. In most cases, you can find it printed on the front of your debit card, and formatted as mm/yy. For example, a debit card that is set to expire at the end of August of 2025 would be shown as 08/25.

Will My New Debit Card Have The Same Pin?

Yes, when you get a new debit card, your PIN will remain the same. However, in cases of identity theft, or a stolen debit card, you will likely need to create a new PIN. Your PIN is for your financial protection, so be sure to write it down and never share it with anyone.

How Long Can You Use A Debit Card After It Expires?

You cannot use a debit card after it has expired. For example, if the expiration date on a debit card reads 07/23, then the card cannot be used for any purpose after July 2023. This is why banks will send you a new debit card in the months leading up to the expiration of your current card.

3 Things To Do When You Get A New Debit Card

Getting a new debit card can be a little inconvenient, but as I mentioned earlier, it is necessary for your financial protection. And, having been through multiple expired debit cards, I can tell you there are a few things you should do. In fact, here are the three steps I recommend you take when you are issued a brand new debit card.

1. Activate Your New Card

When you get your debit card in the mail, you will notice an activation sticker on the front. Typically, it will have an activation number that you can call, which is the option I always choose. It’s pretty simple. You just call the number, and follow the prompts. Typically you will need to enter your 16-digit card number, the CVV number, and then your pin. And there you go. Your card is activated.

Alternatively, you can just use your new debit card to make an in-store purchase using a card reader. You will need to run the transaction as debit (not credit) and enter your pin in order to activate it. This is a much simpler option, but I still prefer the phone call method to avoid any mishaps at the grocery store while people wait in line behind me. Also, in order for this method to work, you must have a previously established pin.

Another great method for activating your debit card is to use an ATM. If you use your new debit card to make a deposit or withdrawal through an ATM at your bank or credit union, and enter your pin, your card will be activated.

There you have it, three quick and easy methods for activating your new debit card. Now, on to step two.

2. Dispose Of Your Expired Debit Card

Once you know your new debit card is active, it is time for you to get rid of that old, worn down piece of junk debit card you’ve been using for the last three years. But, it is a bad idea to just throw it away.

Instead, you should either shred it, or cut it into small pieces. I even go as far as separating the shredded pieces into a couple different trash bags, which I then throw out on separate trash days. Maybe I’m paranoid, but I figure a couple extra steps to prevent someone from stealing my identity is well worth my time.

3. Update Accounts Associated With Your Debit Card

I made this mistake once, and I will never make it again. When you get a new debit card, you need to go through your finances, and update any accounts associated with your expired debit card. I’m talking about automatic bill payments, online subscriptions, PayPal, Venmo, and anything else that could cause a payment to slip through the cracks.

To reiterate what I already discussed, I recommend updating all your accounts so that they are associated with your checking account, rather than your debit card. That way, the next time your debit card expires, you won’t have to worry about updating anything. Remember, tour checking account number and routing number don’t change when you get a new debit card.

Summary

If you’re coming up on your debit card’s expiration month, keep an eye out for a new one in the mail.

Remember, most banks will mail you a new card a couple of months before your current card expires.

That said, if you feel like you might have accidentally thrown your new card away with the rest of your junk mail, or maybe you bank forgot to send you one, the first thing you should do is reach out to your bank.

They will be able to answer any questions you might have, and give you an update on your new card.

In the meantime, I hope this article has provided you with the answers you needed.

Do you feel like I missed any important debit card questions? Be sure to drop them in the comments below, and I’ll do my best to find the answer for you!

What happens when your debit card expires? | Be The Budget

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About The Author

About The Author

Zach Buchenau is a self-proclaimed personal finance nerd. When he isn't writing about budgeting, getting out of debt, making extra money, and living a frugal life, you can find him building furniture, fly fishing, or developing websites. He is the co-founder of BeTheBudget, and Chipotle's most loyal customer.

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