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What to Do When Your American Express Credit Card is Expired

Just about every credit card comes with an expiration date. Your American Express cards are no different. If you attempt to use your expired card, your transaction will be declined. So how can you avoid this and what do you need to do if your credit card’s expiration date has passed?

American Express actually makes it quite easy. In fact, there’s a pretty good chance your new card is already in your mailbox, or wherever you keep that stack of unopened envelopes just waiting for your attention.

If your card was declined but your expiration date hasn’t passed, there may be a number of other reasons for the failed transaction. Check out our article for a look at eight possible reasons your American Express card might have been declined.

Otherwise, read on to find out what to do if your American Express credit card has expired.

Why does my credit card have an expiration date?

Credit cards generally expire for a number of reasons. First and foremost, your credit card will likely endure some wear and tear through natural usage. This can cause your card number and CVV to fade and become difficult to read; can diminish the effectiveness of the magnetic strip or chip in your card; and can lead to cracks and other damage that can cause your card to malfunction at the most inconvenient of times. In other words, by the time you do get that replacement card in the mail, you will probably be due for it.

The other very important reason that your credit card expires is because credit card companies are always adding new security features and updated technology to their cards. If it’s been a few years since your last update, you can typically expect that your replacement card will include any number of new features not found on your old card.

For instance, newer American Express cards include contactless payment technology, which may not be available on credit cards now nearing their expiration date. If you are nearing your credit card expiration date and you’re due for a new credit card, you might want to check out our article on contactless cards from American Express.

When is my credit card considered to be expired?

Credit card expiration dates are generally presented as a month and a year, but not an actual date. So when is your credit card expired, technically? On the last day of the expiration month, not the first. So if your expiration date is 12/25, you will be able to use your card until December 31st, 2025. However, if you attempt to use your card on January 1st, 2026, it will be declined.

How do I get a replacement card from American Express?

Lucky for you, American Express already knows that your card’s expiration date is nearing. The credit card company will automatically send you a replacement card in the mail before your old card’s expiration date passes.

It’s a good idea to keep track of your expiration dates and open any mail from your credit card issuer in a timely fashion. If your expiration date is approaching, you’ll want to be sure your replacement card isn’t lost in a heap of junk mail.

How to activate your new credit card from American Express

Once you receive your replacement card in the mail, you will need to activate it before you can use it. Activation confirms that you have received your new card, and gives your credit card issuer an opportunity to confirm your identity as the intended primary user on the credit card account.

American Express gives you three ways to activate your new credit card:

  1. American Express Online Services at;
  2. The AmEx app on your mobile device; or
  3. The toll free American Express customer service helpline at 1-800-419-2122.

You will need your Personal Identification Number (PIN) to activate your replacement card. If you have not requested a new PIN, this four-digit number will remain unchanged from your original card. If you have requested a new PIN, you will need to reset your PIN using one of the channels above.

For more detail, check out our article on how to activate your American Express credit card.

Updating Your Credit Card Information

There is one other important step you’ll want to take after activating your replacement card. You’ve likely used your old card to make any number of online purchases, which means your card information is probably autosaved with several different online merchants. You may even be using this expired credit card to make automatic recurring payments to certain service providers.

When your credit cards expire, all of these autosaved cards also expire. When you receive your replacement card, you will be assigned a new expiration date and CVV. In order to avoid declined transactions and interrupted services, you will want to update your card information anywhere you make recurring payments. And be prepared to update payment information as you check out with online vendors that you’ve used in the past.

What should you do with your old card?

Destroy it. That’s what American Express advises. Once you’ve activated your new credit card, use a good old fashioned pair of scissors to cut that plastic into tiny bits so that the information within can’t be used to commit fraud or identity theft in your name.

If you’ve got one of those fancy metal credit cards, you probably won’t be able to destroy it with a pair of scissors. You could take it out to the garage and go to work with some heavy duty metal shears. Alternatively, you can reach out to American Express to request a secure envelope. You can send the expired card back to the card issuer, who will then recycle the metal without compromising your security or identity.

To find out more and request help in disposing of your old metal card, you can reach out to customer service at American Express using any of the channels listed on our contact sheet.