When you receive your new credit card in the mail, there are a few things you need to do before you can go out and use it. The process of activating a credit card protects you from credit fraud. According to online financial resource Bankrate.com, a new credit card in your name could get mailed to your old address. The activation process is designed to make sure that only you are able to activate cards in your name.

Step 1

Call the activation phone number found on the sticker placed on your credit card. If there is no activation sticker on your card, call the customer service phone number on the back of the card.

Step 2

Dial the proper code for unblocking your phone number if you have a private number. The credit card issuer wants to ensure that you are the one activating your card, so only calls coming from your home phone can activate your card. If you have a cellular phone number on file with the credit card company, that will work as well. Having your number blocked as private will prevent the credit card company's phone system from being able to recognize your phone. Phone number identification is why you cannot activate a card over the Internet.

Step 3

Follow the instructions given by the automated prompts over the phone to activate your card.

Step 4

Destroy your old credit card after you have successfully activated your new card. Keep your old card until the new one is activated in case there is a problem activating the new card.

Step 5

Sign the back of your new credit card and remove the activation sticker.