Why Does A Credit Card Expire and How Do You Renew It

Date Added: February 11, 2007 04:16:17 PM
Category: Money & Finance: Credit & Debt: Credit Cards

Besides the long string of numbers that identify your account, there is a short little series of numbers that makes up your card's expiration date. Most of us don't even pay any attention to that date, but you can bet that the credit card approval network knows exactly when your card expires, and for good reason. Actually, there are several reasons, so let's take a look.

Top Reasons Why a Credit Card Has an Expiration Date

One of the most simple and uncomplicated reasons the credit card will expire is that the magnetic strip will not last forever.  Although the plastic card itself is virtually indestructible, the magnetic strip is a little touchier and will eventually wear out.  When that happens your card will no longer be readable by credit card terminals and ATMs.

Some institutions use an expiration date as a way of reconnecting with the cardholder.  It gives the company and the user the opportunity to get together and discuss any issues or complaints that the customer may have.  It also allows the card company to appear to care about you as a customer.  They will send you a friendly reminder, kindly offering you the chance to renew with your same comfortable company.  With all the competition out there, comfort and history can go a long way in keeping customers.

Cardholder security is another reason.  This allows the company to check up on you and make sure you are who you say you are and nothing has changed.  With identity theft being what it is today, this is a good thing.  Some people have had credit cards opened in their names without their knowledge and charges have been made.  If the card expires, the company will contact you and possibly warn you about current fraud trends.

The company may use the expiration date as a way to remind you they are there.  For people who don't use their cards very often, this can be a gentle reminder of just what's in their wallet and, hopefully, remind you to use it.

Nearing The Expiration Date

It is actually quite easy to renew your card.  About a month before your current card actually expires, a new one will suddenly appear in the mail to replace your expired one.  This is great if you're in town.  If you are going to be traveling, check your card before you go.  If it will expire before you get back, call ahead and get your new one before you leave.

Once you have your new card, read the material that came with it.  This may very well include a list of new and improved terms.  If you find these terms to be new, but not improved, contact the card company.  Do not use the card until you have received verification that the terms have been changed to your approval.  If they refuse, you can always cancel the card.  Trust me, it won't take long to find a replacement.


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