Debit Card Expired – Now What?

You’re about to head out the door, so you grab your wallet. Flipping through it, you realize your debit card is…expired? Now, what do you do?

Or maybe you see the date on the card looming closer and closer, but you have no idea how to fix it.

Why would a debit card even have an expiration date? Can you still use it? Find out the answers to all of this and more here!

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Do Debit Cards Have an Expiration Date?

Why yes, they do. When you look at your card, you’ll notice both a month and a year on it. This is the expiration date.

It’s on the front of the card or the back and is easy to find. You’ll probably be asked for this often when buying something online.

Why Do Debit Cards and Credit Cards Have Expiration Dates?

It seems a bit inconvenient, after all. Why can’t you just keep using the same debit and credit card forever? There are a couple of reasons for this. 

The first is that it helps prevent fraud. If your card expires at some point, there’s less opportunity for it to be used by someone other than you.

And if someone finds an old card laying on the street or something, it’s likely expired and unusable.

The second reason is to update cards with current technology. For example, chip readers are relatively new, and now most cards have chips. But that wasn’t the case several years ago.

So when a significant change happens with cards, everyone will be expected to adapt eventually. They’ll get a new card with the latest technology when their’s expires.

Does a Debit Card Expire at the End of the Month?

This is good news. Yes, your debit card will keep working until the end of the expiration month.

So if it expires in October of 2022, it will continue to work through October 31st. That gives you ample time to get in touch with your bank and make sure they send you a replacement. Although, you’ll likely receive one without needing to contact them.

Can you still use an expired debit card?

It’s a fair question. What if you really need to use your debit card and just discovered that it’s expired?

Unfortunately, this will not work. All transactions will get declined as the card is no longer usable.

ATM transactions will not work, so you can’t take it to a machine to get some cash. This also applies to point of sale purchases and automatic payments.

An expired debit card will not work anymore, so you need to get a new card, activate it, and add the latest information to any automatic payments.

Do banks automatically renew debit cards?

Is this something you need to handle on your own, or will your bank help you out with getting a new debit card? Fortunately, yes. Your bank will send you a new debit card in the mail when yours is about to expire.

They do a lot of the work for you. That being said, you still need to do a couple of things. 

First, when you receive your card in the mail, remember to activate it. There should be instructions on the card telling you how to do so.

There are several ways to activate it, including calling a number or going online, but if you run into any issues, contact your bank.

Next, be sure to update any automatic payments with the new card information. Otherwise, your payments will get declined.

When you’ve done all this, destroy the expired debit card. No, it isn’t usable, but it’s still a good safety practice to protect your information.

Plus, you don’t want to confuse it with your new card and wind up not being able to pay for anything.

What Happens When Your Debit Card Expires?

When your debit card expires, it will simply stop working. Using it will not be possible for any reason and you will need to get a new one.

If you try to buy something at the grocery store, you won’t be able to. All payments of any kind will get declined.

And if you have any bills set up on auto-pay, they will not be completed. There’s simply no way to use an expired debit card.

What Should You Do When a Debit Card Expires?

Did you just realize your debit card expired and are wondering what to do? You’ve likely received a new debit card in the mail, so check that you don’t already have one before doing anything else. 

If you did not get one in the mail, contact your bank and tell them you haven’t received a new card. They should be able to send one or advise you further on what to do next.

When will I receive a replacement for my expired debit card?

Typically, you’ll get a replacement card automatically from your bank between 1 and 2 months before your old card expires. It should get to you in plenty of time for you to make the switch to the new card.

If you find that your card is expired and you haven’t gotten anything from your bank, you can go to a bank branch and ask for a new debit card there.

Some banks offer this service, so you can see if yours does. Or if not, it usually takes 7-10 business days for you to get one in the mail.

How to Prepare in Advance for an Expired Debit Card

Maybe your debit card isn’t expired yet, but you don’t want to deal with anything complicated when the time comes. You’d rather have it all taken care of.

In that case, follow these steps.

1. Check the expiration when you get your card

When you very first receive your debit card, check the expiration. Knowing the year you’ll need to get a new card is a good start.

That way, you can be aware of it. If you’ve already had your debit card for a while, take a look at the expiration and see how long before you need a new card.

2. Remind yourself

Put a reminder in your calendar to get a replacement card. Usually, a month before should be enough time.

For example, if your card expires in July, set a reminder to check up on this in June. That way, there’s plenty of time to handle any issues.

3. Look for replacement in the mail

A new debit card should be in the mail 1-2 months before it’s needed. Be on the lookout for it.

If your card will expire in a month and you still haven’t received a new one, it’s time to notify your bank.

4. Quickly update all payments

Have a list of all places you make automatic payments to, with contact information. Regularly update this list and keep the info on your phone or somewhere you will be able to easily find it.

When you receive a new card, immediately update all your payments at once. Do this as soon as your card is activated.

That way, you won’t miss a beat with payments or have to think about the organization of everything.

5. Contact your bank if all else fails

If it’s less than a month until the expiration and you still don’t have what you need, it’s time to find out what’s going on.

Contact your bank or go in person to a bank branch and let them know that you have a debit card that’s about to expire. Then follow their instructions for updating it.

What if You Realize Your Debit Card is Expired While Trying to Buy Something?

If you go to the register to pay for an item and realize at that moment that your debit card is expired, don’t panic. There are a couple of things you can do.

First, the quickest way to handle this is to use a different form of payment. Use cash or a different card because your debit card will not work if it’s expired.

Next, as soon as you buy the item using a different form of payment, check to see if you received a replacement card in the mail. If you did, activate it and update your automatic payments.

If you don’t have a new one, let your bank know right away, and find a different form of payment to use in the meantime.

An expired debit card will not work but is easily updated.

An expired debit card can be inconvenient if you aren’t prepared, but it’s pretty easy to deal with and is no cause for concern.

Your expired card will definitely not work anymore, so you do need to get a new one. But most of this is very simple as your new card will come in the mail, or you can contact your bank. 

You can further simplify this process by thinking ahead, knowing when your card expires, and updating all payments accordingly. That way, an expired debit card never even becomes an issue.

When you stay organized, you can continue with no real problems from an expiration.

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Steffa Mantilla

Certified Financial Education Instructor

Steffa is a Certified Financial Education Instructor (CFEI) and the founder behind Money Tamer. Her 12-year background in operant conditioning and positive behavioral change training is used to help people find effective motivators to change their harmful money behaviors. Steffa explains the reasons “why” behind people’s financial behaviors and how to successfully change them. After paying off over $80,000 in debt through budgeting, she now teaches families how to get their own finances in order. You can learn more about her here.

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