What to do with expired credit cards

The safest thing you can do with an old credit card is destroy it. So get your scissors and follow the 4 quick steps below.

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All credit cards eventually expire. The month and year will be printed on the front of your card and your bank will usually send you a replacement card before this date. But what should you do with your old card? Here's how to safely dispose of your credit card and get answers to other frequently asked questions about credit card expiry.

What to do with your old credit card

Once you've received and activated your replacement card, you can get rid of your old card. You should avoid throwing your card straight into the trash, as someone could find it. While they won't be able to use the card to make transactions, someone could use the personal information listed on the card or the data stored in the card's magnetic strip to commit identity fraud. So you should destroy it first.

How to destroy your expired credit card

Here are the steps you can take to safely dispose of your expired credit card:

  1. Cut your card horizontally. Use a strong pair of scissors to cut through your card horizontally, making sure you're cutting straight through the embossed account number on the front, your signature on the back and the magnetic strip (which contains your personal information).
  2. Cut your card vertically. Cut the pieces of your card vertically at every two to four digits.
  3. Don't forget the CVV code. Your CVV number (or security code) is the 3-digits listed on the back of your card. Find this part of your card and cut it into small pieces so that it can't be read or put back together.
  4. Destroy the chip. This is the silver or gold square chip that's usually found on the left-hand side of your card. You can either cut this up with scissors or smash it with a hammer - have some fun.

Once you've cut up your card and you're sure that the pieces can't be put back together or used, you can dispose of the card. You should throw the separate fragments away in a few different bins so that the pieces can't be recovered and put back together.

If you're also throwing out any documents (such as old bank statements), you could consider putting those through a paper shredder, cutting them up and recycling them in a separate bin to the remains of your card.

Frequently asked questions about expired credit cards

When does my credit card expire?

Your credit card expiry will be listed as a month and a year on the front of your credit card. Let's say that your expiry date is 05/2024, your card would expire at the end of May 2024.

Can I use my credit card after it has expired?

No, you can't use your credit card after its expiry. If you do, your transaction will be declined. You should receive a replacement card that you can activate and use before your old card expires.

Will my new credit card have the same numbers?

If your card has expired, your replacement credit card should have the same account number and name printed on the front but it will have a different expiration date and security CVV number. This is why you'll need to update any direct debits with your new card information once it's been activated.

Can I recycle the plastic from my destroyed credit card?

Unfortunately not. According to waster.com.au, because credit cards are made of PVC (a synthetic chemical plastic), they cannot be recycled.

Replacing your old card? Compare some of the latest credit cards

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$0 annual fee for the first year ($55 p.a. thereafter)
0% p.a. for 30 months
0% Balance Transfer Offer & $0 First Year Annual Fee
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Citi Clear Card - Balance Transfer Offer
14.99% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$49 annual fee for the first year ($99 p.a. thereafter)
0% p.a. for 28 months
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Kogan Money Black Card - Exclusive Offer
20.99% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$0
0% p.a. for 22 months
0% Balance Transfer Offer & $50 Kogan.com Credit
Save with a $0 annual fee and a 0% introductory rate on balance transfers. Plus, earn $50 Kogan.com Credit and uncapped rewards points.
Citi Rewards Card - Points & Gift Card Offer
21.49% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$49 annual fee for the first year ($149 p.a. thereafter)
0% p.a. for 15 months
90,000 Citi Rewards Points and $100 Coles eGift Card
Receive 90,000 bonus Citi reward Points (worth $400 in gift cards) and a $100 Coles eGift Card when you spend $3,000 in the first 90 days.
HSBC Platinum Credit Card
19.99% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$29 annual fee for the first year ($129 p.a. thereafter)
0% p.a. for 36 months
0% Balance Transfer Offer & $29 First-Year Annual Fee
Save money with a 0% balance transfer rate for 36 months (with no BT fee), a first-year annual fee discount and free travel insurance.
NAB Qantas Rewards Signature Card
19.99% p.a.
Up to 44 days on purchases
$295 annual fee for the first year ($395 p.a. thereafter)
0% p.a. for 6 months with 2% balance transfer fee
Up to 110,000 bonus Qantas Points & First-Year Annual Fee Discount
Earn up to 110,000 bonus Qantas Points (90,000 when you spend $3,000 in the first 60 days and 20k after 12 months).
humm90 Mastercard - Balance Transfer Offer
23.99% p.a.
Up to 110 days on purchases
$99
0% p.a. for 36 months
Long-Term 0% Balance Transfer Offer
Get 0% interest on balance transfers for 36 months, with no balance transfer fee. Plus, up to 110 days interest free on purchases.
Bankwest Breeze Classic Mastercard
0% p.a. for 15 months, reverts to 9.9% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$0 annual fee for the first year ($49 p.a. thereafter)
0% p.a. for 15 months
0% Purchase Rate & Balance Transfer Offers
Save with 0% p.a. on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months (with no BT fee). Plus, a $0 first-year annual fee.
Citi Rewards Card - Balance Transfer Offer
21.49% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$49 annual fee for the first year ($149 p.a. thereafter)
0% p.a. for 30 months
30-Month Balance Transfer & Annual Fee Discount
Save with a $49 first-year annual fee and 0% on balance transfers for 30 months with no balance transfer fee.
PayPal Rewards Card
20.99% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$0
0% p.a. for 20 months
50,000 Bonus Points & 0% Balance Transfer Offer
Get 50,000 bonus points on eligible spend (worth $250 to spend at over 750,000 businesses) and a $0 annual fee for life.
Qantas American Express Ultimate Card
20.74% p.a.
Up to 44 days on purchases
$450
110,000 bonus Qantas Points & $200 Statement Credit
Receive 110,000 bonus Qantas Points and $200 back on your card when you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months. Plus, a yearly $450 Travel Credit.
Citi Clear Card - Cashback Offer
14.99% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$49 annual fee for the first year ($99 p.a. thereafter)
0% p.a. for 15 months
$250 Cashback & 0% Balance Transfer Offers
Get $250 cashback when you spend $3,000 in the first 90 days. Plus, a 0% balance transfer offer for 15 months.
NAB Low Rate Credit Card
12.99% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$0 annual fee for the first year ($59 p.a. thereafter)
0% p.a. for 32 months
0% Balance Transfer Offer & $0 First-Year Annual Fee
Get a 0% interest rate on balance transfers for the first 32 months (with no BT fee). Plus, save with a $0 first-year annual fee.
St.George Amplify Platinum - Qantas
19.74% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$99
0% p.a. for 15 months with 1% balance transfer fee
Balance Transfer Offer & 60,000 Bonus Points
Earn 60,000 bonus Qantas Points, plus enjoy 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 15 months with a 1% BT fee.
Citi Premier Card
21.49% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$150 annual fee for the first year ($300 p.a. thereafter)
0% p.a. for 6 months
130,000 bonus Citi Reward Points & First-Year Annual Fee Discount
Enjoy 130,000 bonus points (worth $450 in eGift cards) when you spend $4,000 within the first 90 days. Plus, a first-year annual fee discount.
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