Sooner or later, you’ll need a replacement credit card. If it’s sooner, it’s because you’ve either lost it, it was stolen, or the bank that issued it found a compromised situation and is sending you a new one as a preemptive strike to protect you. If it’s later, it’s because the card is coming up on its expiration date at which point you’ll have to activate the new one the bank sends.
So, will that replacement credit card have the same number? That depends. See, to protect you in the event of a theft, loss, or compromised situation, the credit card issuer will send you a brand-new card with a brand new number on it. While getting to know a new card number might seem inconvenient, it’s much better than acquiring charges that you didn’t make.
But if your card is simply expiring, the credit card number itself will be the same. However, your expiration date will change. So, will that CVC or CVV number (Card Verification Code or Card Verification Value). That’s the 3-digit security code you find on the back of the card.
It’s not so simple to just start using that new card though. There are a few things you should know first to avoid making any mistakes that could wreck your credit standing. Keep reading and I’ll let you know what those are!
Your replacement card will have a new expiration date
You don’t need to worry about your credit card account expiring with the expiration date. That’s not why it’s on your card. The card issuer always uses an expiration (or expiry) date because with normal wear and tear, the card will need to be replaced.
The chip in your card can become worn out, making it a pain to insert for transactions. The swipe stripe can also wear out, and so too can the entire plastic face of it. Your numbers may even wear off, making it hard to see what it says.
Generally, your card issuer will send you a new card about every 3 years to prevent wear and tear, and something else… fraud. No matter where you’re using your card whether it’s in person, on the phone, or online, that expiry date is an additional data point that can be used to double-check the card is valid and that you’re the authorized user of that card.
Credit card expiration dates are also used as a chance to give you a periodic marketing opportunity to reevaluate your credit terms based on how well you’ve been handling your credit. You could even find they want to send you a card with an updated design or logo to keep things current.
In any event, expiration dates are a good thing because they keep your card safe. It’s a pain to change them on your recurring accounts though so be aware of making those adjustments when you do get a new card sent over.
Your replacement credit card will have a new CVC/CVV (Card Verification Code/Value)
The CVC (CVV) number on your credit card will change too. There’s a certain algorithm that is used for the data pertaining to your card plus the card data which creates this 3-digit code. It’s certainly possible for you to get the same code, but highly unlikely.
There’s a CVC1 and CVC2 code which are both static. The CVC1 is encoded into the magnetic stripe data on your card. The CVC2 is printed on the back of the card which is what you see and type in when you’re ordering something online or by phone. A merchant may ask to see the back of your card too to input this physical 3-digit code.
There’s also CVC3 which is a dynamic code that is created by the chip on your card and it changes with every transaction.
If your card was lost or stolen, or you think the information was compromised, you won’t need to request a new CVC (CVV) if you requested a new card. Just having the card replaced will take care of it. When you make this report to your card company, they will send one that has all new numbers linked to your account to prevent anyone that may have access to your old one from spending a dime in your name.
I once forgot to change my address on one of my cards. I’d updated it in the mail service, but on the account, it had my old address. Fortunately, they emailed me when a new card was going out and listed my old address. I called immediately and while they couldn’t stop that card from arriving at my old address, they locked it down and sent me a completely new card to my correct current address. This prevented any problems for me and if anyone did try to use my card at the old address, it wouldn’t be able to activate.
If you’ve reported your card because of theft, loss, or being compromised, you may not get a new expiry date though everything else will be new. It depends how old the card in question is. The important part is having the card number and CVC changed. This prevents you from becoming a victim of fraud.
Does the account number change when a credit card expires?
Let’s say it’s about time for that card to expire. Before you can even worry about it, you’ll likely get a notification from your card issuer, as I mentioned above. Double-check that all information for your account is current. In fact, you should do that now even if your card isn’t close to expiring. This way, you’ll know your card will be going to you and won’t wind up at a previous address.
Even if your credit card is expiring, your credit account is not closing. That credit card expiration date is for the physical card you have in your possession. Your account will never expire and shouldn’t close at all without your consent. The only exceptions to that are if it is inactive or you don’t follow the terms of the account.
Your account number won’t change when the expiration date does unless you request them to do so. Your card will arrive with the same account number printed on it and a new expiry date and CVC number.
Does activating a new credit card automatically deactivate the old one (with the same card number)?
It really depends on the issuer of the card whether a new credit card activation will deactivate the old one. For mine, it certainly does. You’ll usually get that new card just prior to the other one expiring. You don’t have to activate it that day, but you should do so as soon as possible.
Be prepared to contact your creditors for your phone, Netflix, or whatever you’ve got on recurring charges to update the payment information (I’ll discuss that in more detail below). Generally, you’ve got about a month or two before that old card will stop working though most banks will deactivate the old card automatically when you activate the new one.
The newer chip technology is usually the reason for this. When you do get that new card, once you’ve activated it (which takes less than 2 minutes), cut up your old card. There’s no reason to hold onto it. Plus, you’ll drive yourself nuts if you leave it in your wallet or purse and accidentally pull it out to pay. You’ll find yourself swearing at the gas pump until you realize you were using the old, deactivated card.
It’s better safe than sorry too. While there is a little overlap to allow for change over to the new account number with your regular accounts that you pay for with the card, that window meant for convenience could mean your old card still works, depending on the bank.
Do my rewards points expire when my credit card does?
Let’s talk about rewards points. You definitely don’t want to lose those, especially when you’ve racked up quite a few of them. But that expiry date on your card tells you when the physical card in your possession is going to expire. Your account will not expire, and as long as your rewards account is open and active, your points that you’ve accumulated should be safe and sound.
Be alert though because some rewards programs do have expiration dates on those reward points, even if your card hasn’t expired. You should always be aware of the terms and conditions of any card you use. If you wind up closing your account because you never use it, or the card issuer does so because of inactivity, you might still be able to score those rewards points for a limited time. It doesn’t hurt to check and see, plus you could wind up getting to use them before they’re gone.
Getting a new credit card WON’T prevent merchants from billing you
Now, remember when I mentioned about your recurring payments on file with your old card? Here’s where you have to be careful. Getting a new credit card will NOT stop merchants from billing you.
If you no longer want a future bill from a merchant, let’s say a subscription service, you’ve got to cancel it with the merchant. If you did and that keeps appearing on your statement, you will then need to talk to your bank about it.
But first, that new card doesn’t mean they can’t bill you in the future. It may work in some cases, but it also can come back to bite you which I’ll explain shortly.
For starters, many of the major card networks like Visa for example provide a service to vendors by updating account numbers so they can keep billing you. This isn’t done out of dishonesty, but rather, for a matter of convenience. It’s often called ‘account updating’.
A merchant will sign up with this for the major credit card processing networks and is designed to help you since card numbers change more often for security concerns. Basically, it’s to help avoid chaos when you’ve got a recurring service. You surely don’t want your electricity shut off because you forgot to update the new card number, do you?
By signing up for the service with a utility or merchant (like Hulu for example), you are authorizing them to bill your account. Even if there’s a new number, it doesn’t change a thing if the bank chooses to update your account number with a particular merchant.
So, let’s say though that you’ve decided to end your particular recurring services for a merchant. Maybe it was a snack box, beauty box, or you’ve decided to change phone carriers. If you told your bank that you have switched or canceled a service and you do not authorize that particular merchant to bill you, that should stop the charges.
Ideally, you should do so in writing. Sending a copy of your original letter and telling the bank politely yet firmly to reverse the charges and forbid future ones should put an end to it. The letter should be sent via registered mail. You should keep copies of everything and a log of when you sent everything too.
You can also call them and the bank should have a record of that. But if you’re still getting charged for something you canceled, you should take any details about the cancellation of service, the phone call with the bank, and that you require a reversal of charges made by that merchant after the cancellation date.
It’s not enough to change cards if you decide you don’t want a service anymore. You need to contact the merchant. In most cases, everything will cancel properly and you won’t receive any further billing. If you do though, contact the merchant first. If they continue to charge you even after you’ve contacted them (and documented that contact), get in touch with your bank immediately. Usually, this all goes away with the first contact, but sometimes it may take a follow-up phone call or letter just to be certain.
Will a replacement card hurt my credit score?
Try not to worry too much about your replacement card affecting your credit score. If your card is lost, stolen, or the bank feels a breach of security occurred with a merchant you use, you will be issued a brand new card. And this new credit card will not damage your credit score. It’s associated with your account as it stands now so there is no new credit inquiry involved or a closed account noted on your report.
Here’s where a replacement card CAN harm your credit score though. Remember what I said about changing your payment information with your recurring creditors? If you forget to update that information on something like your phone bill for example, you will have payments charged to your old card number. Those payments won’t go through and you’ll likely wind up with a late payment and fees because you probably won’t find out until after the payment window has come and gone.
But if you’ve been a solid customer for a while and you always pay on time, call them up and explain before paying that late fee. If you’re in good standing, most are inclined to forgive and waive the fee if you ask nicely, especially if you do make the payment in full, make sure to check out this post I wrote on how to get your late payment fee waived.
After I activated my most recent replacement card, I used it to pay for one of my utilities. I went online earlier this month to make the payment and it had a big alert on my screen saying my card was about to expire. Concerned, I looked at the account information. It was my old card, but I had already input and authorized my new card. This was merely alerting me in case I had wanted to use the old one. In this case, I deleted the old card so I wouldn’t have to worry about that again.
We all space out from time to time, but a good habit to have is to keep tabs on all your accounts online, especially those with auto-pay. Go in and change all of them to your new card information. Depending on the service, you may be warned that the change could take one or two billing cycles to go through and you may need to make your payments manually. Unfortunately, this can’t be used as an excuse to make a late payment and you’ll probably be penalized if you don’t make your payment on time. Make the changes and if for some reason you do encounter a problem and you’ve paid in full every time and on time, you might be able to convince them to forgive you.
How can I keep a new card from sabotaging my credit score?
One of the smartest ways to go about using auto-pay features is to authorize payments to come out of your checking account rather than your credit card account. This is what I do for my electric bill for one simple reason – I may change card numbers but I’m not getting rid of this checking account. It makes things so much easier because while card numbers will change over the years to keep you safe, your checking account number won’t.
But what if you’re using your credit card so you can get points on those auto-pay bills? You should keep a detailed list of any of these from monthly bills like your utilities or subscriptions or anywhere you’ve saved that card information. Keep that list in a safe place and when the time comes for a new credit card, you can update all of the accounts without worrying you’ve missed one.
When you need to pay manually for a month or two, put a reminder in your phone or email, or leave yourself notes in your planner. Whichever method of reminding yourself works best for you is the one that you should use to remember to make your payments in a timely fashion.
Even if you never have any troubles with your credit card, you can expect that the bank will send a replacement every few years so that it doesn’t get worn down. When it’s merely a replacement for expiry purposes, it will have the same number but a different expiry date and a different CVC number on it. If your card was lost, stolen, or compromised, you’d have a different number on the card and a different CVC, though depending on how old the card is, you may not get a new expiration date.
Always be vigilant with your cards and be sure you’ve updated payment information for all your accounts. This way, you won’t cause any credit problems for yourself by missing payments when you forgot to link the new card in place of the old one.