Debit card expires - Frugal Reality

What Happens When Your Debit Card Expires? [Ultimate Guide]

A debit card is a payment card that connects to one’s checking account. It’s also called a check card or a bank card and deducts money directly from your checking account when charged. Thus, a debit card makes it easy for consumers to make purchases without the hassles of going to the bank to get cash all the time.

A debit card can be used to withdraw money from ATMs that dispense $5, $1, $10, $50, or $100 near me, make purchases online or in-store, auto-pay bills, get cash back from places that give $5 or $10 cash back, or from stores that give the most cash back.

Issued by banks and credit unions, debit cards come with expiration dates printed on them in MM/YY format. All debit cards expire every 2-5 years, and then you’ll need to get a new one to make a transaction. You won’t be able to transact with a card past the expiration date.

It leaves many asking, what happens when a debit card expires? When do debit cards expire? Does it expire at the beginning or end of the month?

Short Answer: Normally, your card issuer will send you a new card a few weeks or months before your current one expires. Debit cards expire at the end of the month, not at the beginning. If your card is just a few days from expiration or it’s already expired without receiving a new one, then call or visit your bank branch to get a new card.

If you’re unaware of your card’s expiration date, it can throw your financial life in disarray. When your debit card expires, you won’t be able to transact with the card. All your payments that are online, in-store or automatic bill payments will be rejected.

It may put you in debt and result in late payment fees, increasing the cost of your monthly bills. It’s unacceptable for frugal consumers trying to drastically cut expenses or for someone with financial goals of saving $10,000 in a year. That’s why it’s vital to keep an eye on your debit card’s expiration date.

Why Do Debit Cards Expire?

The hassles and inconveniences of expired debit cards make many people question the importance of having expiration dates. For instance, you won’t be able to withdraw or deposit money at an ATM. Also, all automatic bill payments will bounce if your debit card expires.

So why do debit cards expire? Wouldn’t it be better if you continue using your card endlessly? In an ideal world, yes, but in reality, no.

Here are the reasons why it’s necessary to have expiration dates on debit cards:

  • Method of fraud prevention: To make purchases online, the card owner must present the expiration date and the CVV number. Just like changing your PIN occasionally, the expiration date and the CVV number must change over time to make the card more secure.
  • Ensure your card stays in good working order: Debit cards get damaged over time from wear and tear. Whether it’s the number wearing off, the magnetic stripe or chip getting scratched, the card cracking, a card’s wear and tear can render it unreadable and stop working unexpectedly. To keep the plastic card in good working order, issuers set expiration dates for an old card to be replaced with a new one.
  • Keep up with tech changes: Debit cards and card readers must keep pace with rapid tech changes. When old cards expire, banks issue new ones that come loaded with the latest security features, making it harder for fraudsters to use a stolen card. For instance, earlier versions of debit cards used a mag strip vs. new debit/credit cards replaced with more secure EMV chips.

When Does A Debit Card Expire?

The expiration date will depend on your card issuer and the date printed on it. Generally, most debit cards expire within 2-3 years from the date issued, while a few may be as long as five years.

You’ll find your debit card’s expiration date printed on the front of your card in MM/YY format. The first set of numbers show the month, while the second set shows the year your card will expire. Your card is valid until the last day of the month printed on the card.

Your debit card expires at the end of the month indicated on the card. For instance, if the date on your card is 12/2023, it means your card expiration date is December 2023. So, you can use your card until the 31st of December 2023 before midnight in our example here.

Once the clock strikes midnight, your card becomes invalid and cannot be used to make purchases or withdraw cash at an ATM. Then you’ll start using the replacement card with a new expiration date mailed by your bank.

The same applies to credit cards. Just like debit cards, credit cards are valid until the last day of the month printed on the card. You can use the card for purchases just before midnight. After that, the card is rendered useless, and you must get a new replacement card to continue transacting and buying stuff.

If my Debit Card Expires This Month, Can I Still Use It? 

No, your debit card won’t work past the last day of the month printed on the front of the card. You won’t be able to transact with the card anywhere. For example, an expired debit card will prevent you from withdrawing or depositing money at an ATM and making purchases online and in-store. Also, all auto bills charged to your card will bounce.

You won’t be able to access your money except for going to the bank, which is time-consuming. To avoid any inconvenience that comes with an expired debit card, keep an eye on the expiration date printed on the card.

For example, if the expiration date on your card is 05/2021, and the date today is 06/2021,then your debit card is already expired and won’t work. Your bank should have sent you a new card a few weeks or months before the expiration date. You’re now supposed to use the new card and not the old one.

Call or visit your bank if you’re approaching the expirations date and haven’t received the new one.

Do Debit Cards Expire at the Beginning or End of the Month?

Yes, debit cards expire at the end of the month and not at the beginning.

Say the indicated expiration date on your card is 06/2021. Your card is valid until the 30th of June 2021 at 11:59 pm. So you can still use your card throughout the month of June. But once the clock hits the 1st of July 2021 at midnight, your card becomes invalid and cannot be used for any kind of transaction.

Don’t wait until the last minute to start looking for a replacement card. Usually, your bank will automatically send you a new card before your current one expires. But if that doesn’t happen, be proactive and get a card with a new expiration date to avoid inconveniences.

What Happens When Your Debit Card Expires?

You may ask, what happens when your debit card expires? Will a debit card work if it’s expired? And what is the debit card renewal process?

Well, a lot happens when your debit card expires. First, your debit card won’t work if it’s expired. It means you won’t be able to transact with the card anywhere. If you try to make an online purchase by entering the expiration date on the MM/YY field, you’ll get an error message like, “Invalid Card.” The same applies to in-store purchases and ATM withdrawals and deposits.

The worst part is all your automatic bills charged on the card will bounce and incur late payment fees. It can increase the cost of your bills and put you at ends with your utility providers. One of the best frugal living tips with a big impact on saving money is paying your bills on time to avoid late payment fees.

Normally, your bank or credit union should have mailed you a new card before the current one expires. If your current card is nearing the expiration date and you haven’t received a new one in the mail, visit or call your bank. If your financial institution doesn’t have a 24-hour store branch, then call a customer service representative. It’s worth your financial protection.

What You Should Do Once You Receive A New Debit Card

Once you get a new card in the mail, the debit card renewal process is easy. Take these three steps when you receive a brand new debit card from your card issuer:

1. Activate Your Card

Your new card should come with an activation sticker attached to the front. On the sticker, you’ll find an activation number to call. Simply call the number and follow the voice instructions. Generally, you’ll be required to enter the 16-digit card number, PIN, and CVV to activate your card.

Another great option to activate your newly issued debit card is to make an in-store purchase. For this option to work, you must process the transaction as debit, not credit. As long as your card has a previously established PIN, just swipe it with the card reader and enter your PIN to pay for the purchase to activate your card.

You won’t be able to use the debit card without a PIN. It’s not a great option because, in case of any mishaps, you’ll keep others waiting in the line behind you and may not be able to complete your purchase.

A better alternative is to visit your bank branch and withdraw any amount from ATMs that dispense $1 or more. Once you enter your PIN, your card will be activated and is ready to make online and in-store purchases.

See our guide on how to activate your American Express Gift card.

2. Update The Information on Your Card

To avoid missed payments and late payment fees, make sure that you update your new card’s info on all the accounts linked to your debit card. Linked accounts include online subscriptions, automatic bill payments, Venmo, PayPal, newspapers, childcare, gym memberships, life insurance payments, discount massage membership, and any other accounts used to charge on your expired debit card.

An even better option is to update all accounts linked to your debit card so that they are directly associated with your checking account. Thus, you won’t need to update anything next time your debit card expires. In addition, unlike expiration dates and CVV numbers that change with every debit card, your checking account number and bank’s routing numbers remain the same unless your bank recommends that you open a new checking account.

Talking about routing numbers, see our guides on how to find your Navy Federal Credit Union routing number or TD Bank routing number.

3. Dispose of Your Expired Debit Card

Now that your newly issued debit card is active and working, it’s time to get rid of the old one. But don’t just throw it in the trash bin because it will give fraudsters a chance to steal your identity.

The best practice is to shred or cut the worn-out debit card into small pieces. Then, throw away the different pieces in separate trash bins. It reduces the risk of the card falling into the wrong hands.

Do Debit Card Numbers Change with a New Debit Card?

No, your debit card number remains the same with a new debit card unless the card was lost or stolen. If it’s a case of the card outliving its valid-thru date, the 16-digit number on the card remains the same. The only details that change on the card are the Card Verification Value (CVV) and expiration dates.

That said, all your card details may have to change if you have been a victim of identity theft or your card was stolen or lost. To avert the security risk of someone having your card details, you’ll be issued a new debit card with a completely different number, CVV, and expiration date.

In some cases, your bank may even advise you to close your checking account and open a new one. In that case, even your account number changes, and you’re issued a brand new debit card that reflects your new bank details.

Can I Still Use My Debit Card if I Ordered a New One?

Yes, you can continue to use your current debit card while you wait for the newly ordered card to arrive. For example, say you order or receive a new debit card three weeks before your current card’s expiration date. Then, you can continue using the old card until the expiration date and as long as you haven’t activated the new one.

But you don’t have to wait until the expiration date to activate your newly issued card. The best thing is to activate your card immediately upon receiving it. That way, you’ll have time to update your online and bill payment account information to reflect your new debit card details and avoid any payment inconveniences.

Once you activate the new debit card, it automatically deactivates the old one. As a result, you can no longer use your old debit card even if it hasn’t passed its expiration date.

For instance, you receive your new debit card on June 31, 2021, and your current card’s expiration date is July 31, 2021. If you receive the new replacement card with a new expiration date and decide to activate it immediately, that’s it. After that, you have to start using the new card going forward.

Even though you have one month before your old card expires, you can no longer use it once the new one is activated. It’s rendered inactive by the new one. You have to use the new replacement card once you have activated it.

Will my Direct Deposit Change if I Get a New Debit Card?

When you get a new debit card, your direct deposits and standing orders for monthly bill payments do not change. It’s because your direct deposits are linked to your checking account details, like your account number and routing number, not your debit card. These do not change when you get a new debit card.

However, your recurring payments or auto payments set up with the debit card will stop working and must be changed when you get a new debit card. It’s because auto payments are linked to your debit cards details, such as the CVV and the expiration date.

Since these change with every newly issued card, you’ll need to update each autopay account with the new card details to start payment processing again.

What Should I Do if I Didn’t Receive my Replacement Debit Card?

Normally, your card issuer should send you a new replacement card weeks or months before your current card’s expiration date. Thus, you should receive a new card without requesting it.

What if I don’t receive my new replacement card?

If your current cards expiration date is approaching quickly and you haven’t received any new replacement debit card on the mail or haven’t heard from your bank, take the following steps:

Check Your Mail Once More

Maybe your card arrived yesterday, or it just arrived. You never know. Recheck your mailbox before taking any further steps. Don’t expect your card to be sent in an envelope that bears your bank’s name. To prevent instances of mail fraud and interception, financial institutions decide to send sensitive bank documents in plain white envelopes. Go through everything to ensure that you haven’t missed the envelope with your debit card.

Call the Bank

Once you’ve determined that there’s nothing on the mail, reach out to your bank. The best way is to call the customer service number printed on your soon-to-expire card. If the number has worn out, visit your bank’s website and call the number published there. Ask the customer service agent whether your new card has been issued and when you should expect it.

Alternatively, you can visit your nearest bank branch and sort out things in person if you don’t want to answer all the security questions to verify your identity on the phone.

Check Your Mailing Address

Check the mailing address your card was mailed to, and the date sent. For instance, you forgot to change your old mailing address to the new one. In that case, your bank will send the card to the old address associated with your account.

If you find out that the card was mailed to the wrong address, ask your bank to cancel the card and issue you a new one.

Request for a Replacement Card

If your card hasn’t been issued or was sent to the wrong address, ask your bank to issue you a new replacement card. You should be able to receive your card within a week. Some banks allow rushed delivery for a fee.

Can Refunds Be Made to Expired Debit Cards?

Yes, card issuers allow refunds to be made to expired debit cards. What happens when I purchase an air mattress at Walmart or TV and realize that it’s defective on 1st November 2021, but my card expired in October?

For instance, Walmart’s TV return policy requires you to return a TV or any other items to the store within the Walmart return hours for a refund, store credit, or exchange. Refunds can only be issued to the original payment method and the same card used to pay for the purchase. It means my refund can only be processed to the already expired card.

Luckily, card issuers allow refunds to be processed to expired debit cards. So if you have a replacement card already, your refund will go into your account automatically, and use the new card to access the money.

But, the process is different in the case of debit card fraud, where your bank closes both your card and checking account. If they open a new account with a new debit card, your refund will be put on hold. You’ll need to contact your card issuer to arrange for a transfer to the new checking account if 15 days elapse before the money is automatically wired into your new account.

Alternatively, you can opt for store credit in the form of a Walmart gift card. It’s an easy way to avoid the hassles of refunds on an expired card. At least, you can use the money to shop for other items, even auto services like a Walmart wheel alignment.

Is There a Spending Limit When Using a Debit Card?

Yes, there is a spending limit when using a debit card. For instance, don’t expect to walk into an ATM and withdraw cash up to seven figures or make six-figure purchases online at Amazon or buying a car from a dealer. That would be too risky for you.

For your protection, banks set daily debit card withdrawal and spending limits. Without spending limits, debit card fraudsters would be smiling at the bank. However, if a thief gets ahold of your debit card, they can withdraw all your money from your account within minutes. A thief can also go on a shopping spree and spend all the money in your checking account on purchases, like Southwest Airlines deals.

Banks also set daily withdrawal and spending limits on debit cards to avoid running out of cash on hand. If everyone is allowed to spend or withdraw as much as they wish, there will be no cash to distribute to others.

Debit card withdrawal and spending limits vary from bank to bank, the type of your account, and whether you are using your debit card with or without a PIN. For instance, the Wells Fargo account’s daily ATM withdrawal limit is $300, while the daily debit card spending limit is $1,500. On the other hand, a Chase bank account has a debit card spending and withdrawal limit of $3,000.

PNC Bank has a daily ATM withdrawal limit of $500 and a daily debit purchase limit of $2,000 with PIN and $5,000 when using your debit card without a PIN.

You’ll need to check your bank to know your daily debit ATM withdrawal or purchase limit. If you find yourself consistently exceeding your debit card purchase limits, ask your bank to increase your limits temporarily or permanently.

What are the Benefits of a Debit Card?

Debit cards have their share of benefits compared to checks, credit cards, and cash. Debit makes it easy for customers to access and spend their money without the trouble of going to the bank to withdraw cash all the time. It also reduces the risk of losing carry-around cash or writing a check to a fraudster.

The top debit card benefits include:

Money Order Alternative

Looking for places to buy or cash money orders can be time-consuming. With a debit card, you can pay for purchases right away and avoid the hassles of looking for places to get a cheap money order nearby.

Personal Check Alternative

Personal checks display your checking account details and expose your money to dishonest people who can use that information against you. You will also find relatively few places to cash personal checks when you need money quickly due to the risk of fraud linked with them. For example, it’s tough finding open gas stations that cash checks when you’re low on fuel.

With a debit card, you can easily find 24-hour ATMs that dispense $10 nearby and get your cash quickly, even at night!

No ID Required (in most cases)

It’s not easy finding places that cash checks without an ID nearby. With a debit card, you can buy stuff at a store without an ID. You can also process debit as credit and use your debit card to make purchases without a PIN.

Spend Paycheck

Poor credit and no credit is a major barrier to getting a credit card. Unfortunately, nearly 30% of American adults don’t have a credit card. A debit card allows people who don’t have a credit card, like teenagers, to spend their money via a debit card. Unless you have an under-the-table job that pays cash, you’ll want a checking or savings account with debit card privileges.

See our teen hiring guides below:

Avoid Sinking Into Debt

One of the greatest frugal living tips with a big impact on saving money is to learn to live within your means. You should spend only the move you have. Unlike credit cards, where you borrow money from the card issuer to pay for purchases, you pay with available cash when using a debit card.

Also, a debit card doesn’t carry annual fees and late payment fees associated with credit cards. Using a debit card can help you avoid debt and save money in the long run.

Responsible Spending

You see your account balance reduce in real-time when you swipe your debit card. It’s different from a credit card, where you borrow and repay at the end of a billing cycle. A debit card can help you avoid impulse purchases and spend money more responsibly to avoid running out of cash.

Good Alternative to Cash

Carrying a lot of cash comes with an increased risk of loss or theft. It’s because nobody can use your debit card to withdraw money from your account unless they know your PIN. So it adds an extra security buffer to your money.

When do EBT cards expire?

All debit cards expire at some point. EBT cards are not an exception. An Electronic Benefits Transfer(EBT) card is simply a type of credit card used to distribute SNAP food stamps and other government aid such as TANF and WIC to low-income families and other disadvantaged groups. Just like any other debit card, an EBT card is subject to wear and tear as the card gets swiped over time. Renewing your EBT debit cards helps keep the card in good working order so you can continue to access your SNAP funds hassle-free. 

Whether an EBT card expires depends on the state you are in. States have the option of implementing expiration dates for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Electronic Benefit Transfer(EBT) cards. As a result, your SNAP certification period may lapse while the card is still active. In that case, you’ll have to submit a new application to SNAP.

If your card has an expiration date, you’ll find the “Good Thru” date printed on the front of your card in the MM/YY format. Your EBT card will expire on the last day of the month printed on it and not at the beginning of the month.

For instance, let’s say your EBT card’s “good thru date” is 10/21. Your card will expire on October 31, 2021, at midnight. You can still use the card to purchase protein powder or take-and-bake pizza on the 31st up to 11:59 pm. But once the clock hits the 1st of November 2021 at midnight, your SNAP card becomes invalid.

Generally, SNAP will mail you a new EBT card by the 20th of the month your card is scheduled to expire. However, if you are still under SNAP and your card is stolen, lost, or becomes unreadable before the expiration date, contact your state’s SNAP agency to request a replacement.

Places That Accept EBT cards to make purchases include:

What Happens When Your Debit Card Expires Summary

For security reasons and unavoidable wear and tear, all debit cards have a valid-thru date. It’s usually 2-5 years from the day the card is issued. Once that date is passed, your debit card won’t work. Therefore, it’s vital to know your debit card expiration date and obtain a new replacement card before your current one expires to avoid inconveniences.

Typically, your bank sends you a new debit card with a new CVV number and expiration date weeks to months before your old one expires. Once you receive your new card, activate it and dispose of the old one properly; we suggest shredding it! Then update all the autopay accounts with the new card details to avoid bounced transactions and late payment fees.

If you’re concerned that your new card isn’t coming, then talk to your bank and determine whether your card has been issued or when you should expect your new plastic in the mail. You don’t want to get rejected from a hotel that takes cash payments and debit cards because your card is expired.

Having a debit card is vital to most people for budgeting. It only lets you spend up to the amount of money in your checking or savings account. Using debit vs. credit is a Great Depression survival tip. It makes you think about buying an expensive outfit vs. cheap trendy clothing online that are more budget-friendly.

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