Credit cards have an expiration date because federal law requires it. The typical card lasts three years. A primary reason for the expiration date is to confirm the purchaser has the card. You can use a credit card during the month it expires. For example, if a card expires in January of a particular year, you can typically make purchases through the last day of the month.

Additional Expiration Details

Actually, you can sometimes get by with making purchases after the expiration date. An April 2010 article form credit processor Braintree noted that many transactions go through with expired cards simply because the card number and date match in the card processor's validation check. However, you typically want to active your new card when it expires to avoid rejections or gaps in card availability.