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

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What to do when your debit card expires | Be The Budget

Here at Be The Budget, we are all about living a debt free lifestyle. So naturally, we spend a lot of time talking about the benefits of debit cards. But if you’ve been swiping the same card for awhile, 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.

So, it’s usually not too big of a deal.

That said, if you don’t handle this promptly, your expired debit card can cause quite a few problems in your financial life. That is why we put together this guide to dealing with an expired debit card.

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Will A Debit Card Work If It’s Expired?

If you’ve ever tried to use an expired debit card, you have probably experienced the sinking feeling that accompanies your card getting declined. That is because expired debit cards cannot be used to make purchases of any kind.

Additionally, if you have any automatic payments that pull from your expired debit card, you will probably get an email alert that your card was declined. I will touch more on this subject a little later on, but for now, just know that expired debit cards don’t work.

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.

How Do I Know When My Debit Card Will Expire?

If you look at your debit card, you will see an expiration date in the format, mm/yy. For example, your card might read 07/23. This means that your card will be valid for use through July 2023. It is important to note that your card does not expire at the beginning of your expiration month. Rather, your card will be good to use through the very end of the expiration month.

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.

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.

In fact, 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.

Related Questions:

Will my new debit card have the same pin? In most cases, 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 be required to create an entirely 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.

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

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About The Author

About The Author

Zach Buchenau is a web developer, woodworker, and a 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 or developing websites. He is the co-founder of BeTheBudget, and Chipotle's most loyal customer.

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