What happens if my credit card expires?

Close up on hand opening up letter from bank with replacement credit card after credit card expired

For most Aussies, credit cards are an essential bit of plastic helping us navigate life’s many financial trials and tribulations. With over 13 million credit and charge accounts in Australia according to the RBA, it’s important you understand how your credit account works and what you need to do when your credit card expires.

How do I know if my credit card is about to expire?

Noone wants to be caught in the awkward position of being stuck at a restaurant or checkout with no way to pay, so having a heads up for when your card is going to expire is important.

The expiry date shown on your card tells you what month it will expire, and you should be able to make purchases on the card right up until the end of that month. The good news is that prior to this date, your bank will notify you that your card is going to expire and you’ll usually receive a  replacement card well before it does.

If you’ve recently moved houses, be sure that you check in with your bank and update your old address so there’s no delay in receiving your new card.

Do my rewards points expire when my credit card does?

If you’ve built up a decent amount of credit card rewards points, you’ll want to make sure you get to use them. Your credit card’s expiry date tells you when your physical card is about to expire, not your credit account, so as long as your rewards credit card account is open and active with your banking institution, your rewards points should be safe.

With some rewards programs, rewards points do have expiry dates, so even if your card hasn't expired, you’ll need to keep an eye on the expiry date for the points themselves.

If you do decide to close your credit card account, or it gets closed due to inactivity, your rewards points might still be available for a short amount of time so check first before assuming that they are gone for good.  

Do I need to renew my credit card?

In most cases, banks will automatically send you a new credit card before your current one expires. If you don’t receive a new card in the mail, it’s worth giving your provider a call or visiting a branch to make sure it’s on its way. When you receive it, renewing it is often as easy as going online and activating your new card by updating old information.

If your credit card is expiring, you’ve likely had it for a number of years, and an upcoming expiry date can serve as a push to compare what interest rates and benefits other providers are offering. Based on how your card stacks up, you might then consider switching credit cards.

What else do I need to do when I get my new credit card?

Once you’ve received your new credit card, it’s important to remember that if you have direct debits in place to pay for bills or any subscription services, those providers need your new credit card details. Your card number might not change, but your expiry date and security code will, so it’s important you go online, or get in contact with your providers over the phone to update these details. Check your old credit card statements to make sure you don’t forget any payments.

How do I change credit cards?

Balance transfers, annual fees and reward points- oh my! The world of credit cards can be confusing, and changing to a different card when yours is expiring can seem daunting. If you’re looking to make the changeover easier, you might want to follow these easy steps...

  • Decide on a card type. Finding a card that suits you and your spending needs is the first step. If you pay off your balance in full each month, a rewards credit card could be a great choice. If you only use a credit card occasionally, then finding a card with a low or no annual fee could me more suitable. If you think you’re likely to carry a balance on the card occasionally, then you’ll want a card that has a low interest rate and if you travel often, you’re likely to want a card with low or no foreign exchange margins. If you’re struggling to decide, our guide to credit card types breaks down the key features, benefits and costs associated with each card variety.
  • Consider balance transfer options. If you’re changing cards, this could be the perfect opportunity to clear a lingering balance. Find a card with a great balance transfer offer to help your clear your debts faster and save on interest repayments.
  • Find a better deal. Once you know what you’re looking for, finding the right provider should be a walk in the park. Our credit card comparison hub lets you compare over 200 credit cards from 58 providers so you can find one with all the great features you’re looking for.
  • Cancel your old account. An expired card doesn’t mean your account has closed. To avoid any extra charges on a credit card you don’t plan to use (such as annual fees), it’s a good idea to cancel that account. It’s important to keep in mind that before you close your account, you need to make sure your balance is paid in full and there aren’t any pending transactions on the account.
  • Activate your new card. Before you start spending, go online or follow the prompts provided by your bank to activate your card. Thanks to the wonders of modern technology, this can all be done online, allowing you to use your new plastic in no time.
  • Update any old information. Once you’ve activated your new card, you need to update the credit card information on any direct debits you have, such as netflix and gym memberships, so they don’t go to your now cancelled account.

TOP TIP: Every time you apply for a credit card it goes on your credit history, so you should take the time to compare your options, and understand the features and fees that come with the card to ensure you meet the eligibility requirements before making an application.

How do I dispose of my expired card?

It’s important that you get rid of your expired credit card properly to stop anyone from trying to use it and for added security against identity thieves. Rather than just cutting your card in half, make sure you’re making cuts through every piece of information and through each security chip and code. It’s safest to also spread the pieces amongst different bins so it’s impossible to reconstruct the card.

If your credit card is due to expire, you might be looking at ditching your old card for something new. Our credit card comparison hub makes this easy for you by comparing purchase rates, balance transfer offers and other great features. Check out the best credit cards in Australia this month for Mozo Expert's Choice winners and editor's picks.

Top credit cards - last updated 13 August 2022

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