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Does this sound familiar: you’re at the check out about to grab that item you’ve been eyeing off for a while. With more than a bit of satisfaction, you hand over your card when you hear it…that sad beep of your card being rejected.

You know you have money on it and your debit card expires next year…you think…so what could the problem be? Until you take a look at that little piece of plastic and there it is: it seems you got the date wrong and it actually expired last month. Whoops.

So what should you do when your debit card expires? Take a look at some key points about this below, including how to make sure you still have access to your money while also protecting your financial information.

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What do I do when my debit card expires?

When your debit card expires, the most important thing you have to remember is that you need to get a new one. It can be inconvenient, but this measure is put in place for your financial protection – and it’s not actually as hard to do as you may think. 

There are several steps you need to follow to protect your financial information and get your new card working.

1. Get a new debit card

Of course, the first thing you need to do is get a new debit card. Fortunately, most banks have an automated system in place that will track your debit card, letting you know that it is going to expire soon.

Typically, debit cards expire between two and five years after you get them. You will probably see the expiration date printed on the front of the card.

FYI: There is a good chance you will receive an email alert letting you know that your old debit card is going to expire soon. The same email should let you know that your new debit card is on the way.

This new debit card is going to come by snail mail, so you need to remember to check your mailbox regularly. If your mailbox is in a communal area, make sure you lock your mailbox when you are done. That way, nobody will take your mail by mistake.

Related: When You Get a New Debit Card Does the Card Number Change?

2. Activate the new debit card

Once you have your new debit card in the mail, you will probably see a sticker on the front of it. This sticker will let you know what you have to do to activate your new debit card.

Typically, there is a number you have to call. Then, you will follow the prompts. You usually have to enter your card number, the security code, and your PIN. The number on your debit card should be 16 numbers long.

person online shopping realizing that their debit card expires this month

If you do not feel like going through the automated prompts to activate your debit card, you might be able to make a purchase using your new debit card. Then, you can enter your PIN at the store to activate the card. Most people prefer to call the number on the card because they do not want to hold up the line behind them at the grocery store.

Finally, another method you can use to activate your new debit card is to use an ATM. If you use your new debit card to make a deposit or withdraw, you will have to enter your PIN, which will activate the card.

3. Get rid of the old debit card

Now that your new debit card is active, you must make sure to dispose of the old debit card. You have probably been using it for several years, and you may have generated an emotional connection with it, but you need to get rid of it.

At the same time, you have to make sure you dispose of it properly. You should never simply toss it in the garbage can, as someone might be able to take your old debit card and use it to access your confidential financial information.

Instead, you should make sure you shred your debit card properly. Even though cutting it in half is good enough, a lot of paper shredders have slots for cards. If you want to make sure you protect your confidential financial information, you should take advantage of that slot.

You may also be interested in: Greenlight Review: Your Kids’ Ultimate Debit Card

4. Update your payment settings

You need to make sure that your existing payment settings do not fall through the cracks, as any automatic subscriptions you have might be rejected next month if your card details have changed. Therefore, you need to generate a list (you’ve been keeping track of your bills, right?) and make sure everything is updated appropriately. This includes any online subscriptions you have, automatic bill payments, and any other accounts that use your debit card.

It might be easier for you to link these accounts to your checking account. That way, you don’t have to worry about missing a payment the next time you have to activate a new debit card. 

Keep in mind that the number on your debit card is not going to change when you get a new one, but the security code and expiration date may change. This could cause a missed payment.

After you have done all of these steps, you should be able to use your new debit card in the same way you used your old one.

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Can you use an expired debit card?

If your debit card has expired, it will not work. It will probably come as quite a shock to you to see your debit card get declined. After all, you have probably used it flawlessly for several years, and it can be a sinking feeling when it does not work anymore.

If your debit card isn’t working because it’s expired, you cannot use it to make any purchases. Furthermore, if you have automatic payments set up, they are going to get declined as well, so you may get a few annoying emails.

couple on laptop working out how to use an expired debit card

Remember that debit cards have been set up to expire from time to time for your protection. Therefore, do not try to use an expired debit card. Instead, activate the new one to carry on with your life.

How long can you use a debit card after it expires?

If your debit card is going to expire soon, you might be wondering how long you can use it for. Take a look at your debit card and locate the expiration date. It usually has a month and a year attached to it. You can use that debit card through the end of the month in which it expires.

For example, if your debit card expires this month, it should be good through the last day of this month. Whether that is the 30th day, the 31st day, or the 28th day, your debit card should work until the end. At the same time, you should not put off getting your new debit card. You don’t want to be stuck without a valid payment method for a few days.

Can I withdraw money with an expired debit card?

No, you cannot withdraw money with an expired debit card. If your debit card has expired, you will have to get a new one if you would like to withdraw money. This is an important security measure, and you cannot use an expired debit card to do anything.

Even if you enter your PIN correctly at the ATM, you will not be able to withdraw any money with an expired debit card. You are better off shredding the expired debit card and activating a new one.

Can an expired debit card be charged?

No, an expired debit card cannot be charged. If you take an expired debit card to the grocery store, you will not be able to buy anything. If you have automatic payments set up to go through an expired debit card, this is not going to work either.

couple using laptop and bank card to work out how to renew their expired debit card

Do not try to buy anything using an expired debit card. Instead, you need to order a new debit card and activate it when it arrives.

Do I need to order a new debit card when it expires?

You should not have to order a new debit card when the old one expires. The vast majority of financial institutions have an automated system that will track when your debit card is going to expire. Then, when it is close to your expiration date, you should automatically get an email saying a new one is on the way.

Remember that you need to keep a close eye on your mail so you do not miss the new debit card when it arrives. That way, you can activate it as quickly as possible and get rid of your old one.

My debit card expired and I haven’t received a new one

If your old debit card has expired and you haven’t received a new one, you should check your email to see if there was a tracking number provided on the debit card. Then, check your mail again and make sure you did not overlook it.

If you have moved recently, it is possible that your debit card has expired with no replacement being sent because it may have been sent to your old address. This can be a significant security concern, so you need to let your bank know right away. That way, they can deactivate the card they sent and get a new one for you.

Can I get a new debit card at the bank?

The vast majority of financial institutions will give you a new debit card when you open an account. Therefore, if you need a debit card, they may be able to arrange one at the bank; however, there are some situations where you may need to request a new debit card on your own.

person holding a bank card while using a laptop

You’re also unlikely to simply be handed a new one at the bank. Instead, the bank can help you arrange for the card to be sent to your nominated address, along with (likely in a separate envelope) your new PIN, if needed.

How do I know when my debit card expires?

You should be able to see your expiration date right on the front of your card. Usually, this is given in terms of a month and a year, normally written as MM/YY. This means a debit card that expires on 04/23 will work until 30 April 2023.

That is, keep in mind that your card should be valid through the end of the expiration month.

Do debit cards automatically renew?

Yes, your debit card should automatically renew. As long as you still have a valid checking account with that financial institution, they should send you a new card when your old one expires. You will probably receive an email letting you know that your old card is going to expire soon and that your new card is on the way.

You will need to keep an eye on your mail so you do not miss your new debit card. Make sure you activate your new debit card as early as possible when it arrives. Then, dispose of the old one safely.

What happens to your subscriptions when your card expires?

If you have subscription services tied to an old debit card, you need to update the account with your new debit card. Even though your new number is probably the same, the security code and the expiration date will probably change. Therefore, you need to update your information if you want your charger to go through.

If you do not update your card information, your automatic charges will be declined when your debit card expires. You will probably receive an email alert, and you will need to update the payment information if you want to avoid a lapse in your services.

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About the author

Anna is the founder of LogicalDollar and a personal finance expert, having been seen in Forbes, HuffPost, Reader’s Digest, MSN Money, Yahoo! Finance, CreditCards.com and many more. She’s committed to helping others get on the path to financial freedom using the experience gained from turning $60,000 in debt into a thriving investment portfolio. Find out more.