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One of the most annoying things to me about credit cards is the expiration date. Whenever my card expires, I have to call or go online with half a dozen merchants to "update" the expiration date to whatever the new one is. My blank checks, and for that matter my bank account itself, don't expire in any way as long as I keep everything open.

Is there such a thing as a major (usable at more than one merchant) credit card without a specific expiration date? I'm well aware that a card can be revoked or closed even before the expiration date has been reached, so it would seem that a good-indefinitely card could work - as long as the bank still accepts the transaction it wouldn't matter if the card itself was issued two weeks ago or in 1976.

Is this a financial product that can be obtained from certain banks if one knows where to look? Is it something that exists in theory, but is only really offered to the ultra-wealthy? Is there a law that says that such a thing can't legally exist?

To be clear, I'm not asking about a credit card that is literally good until the heat death of the universe no matter what happens, but one that is good indefinitely until some positive action is taken to close it - e.g. customer calls to close it, the bank closes it for non-payment, the bank goes bankrupt, a law is passed explicitly making possession of a non-expiring credit card a class 4 felony, etc.

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  • If one existed, how would you make a transaction since most sites require an expiration date to validate the card?
    – JohnFx
    Apr 13 '20 at 21:38
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    I've had many different credit cards for well over 40 years and I have never once had to call or go online to update the expiration date. A month or so before expiration they send me a new card and all I have to do is call the toll free number to activate the card. Is there some other issue involved here like a low credit score or your age or something? Apr 13 '20 at 22:38
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    @BobBaerker no, I mentioned in the question that the bank sends a replacement every so often. The updates I'm talking about are with merchants who regularly charge my card. What I'm asking about is a card where that doesn't happen - where I can keep my old card indefinitely. Apr 13 '20 at 23:01
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    OK, my bad. I didn't read your question carefully. The best that I can offer is that new cards are usually good for two years or so so that means that per card, every two years you're going to have to update the new expiration date for all vendors. Perhaps you can do business with fewer merchants? :->) Apr 13 '20 at 23:08
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    It's not a problem for me. About every year or so, one or another company I deal with gets 'hacked' and I get sent a new credit card, so I never have to worry about my card expiring.
    – user11599
    Apr 14 '20 at 2:12
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No. Card expiration dates are a required variable for processing payments on all payment networks i've interacted with both as a user, seller, and developer of backend payment systems. Even if such a card existed, it would still need to have a listed expiry that would have to be rolled forward indefinitely (theoretically)...and a change in expiry dates even with all other datapoints remaining the same would trigger the exact thing you're trying to avoid.

A different solution to your problem would be enrolling in automatic card updates which is an arrangement between merchants and issuing banks to automatically update your card information when it changes. It might involve some headache trying to figure out what merchants/banks have this option, but Amazon is one example. I personally shy away from these as I prefer having more granular control of my finances.

On a different note, I would actually advise you to have your cards re-issued with new CC# and expiry as frequently as possible (I shoot for around 9 months). These days, it is more a question of when rather than if your card information would be compromised. Yes, liability/exposure is limited to none with most credit cards if someone uses it fraudulently, but my thinking is that the headache of ordering a new card is less than that of calling in a fraudulent charge, having your card cancelled at an inconvenient time and sometimes having to follow up to make sure the charge is properly removed from your account.

If you maintain a list of all the places you use a card (initial headache...yes...worth it in long run...yes), cycling through to change card info will be less of a headache/guessing game. I find that it actually helps me identify subscriptions I need to end as opposed to the forgetting and getting caught paying for stuff I don't use...esp those with annual billing lol.

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