5 Steps to Take When Your Credit Card Changes Issuers

Parents using computer while sitting with boy

At Experian, one of our priorities is consumer credit and finance education. This post may contain links and references to one or more of our partners, but we provide an objective view to help you make the best decisions. For more information, see our Editorial Policy.

From time to time, credit cards may switch from one card issuer to another. When this happens, you'll typically get a notice in the mail, and it's important to understand how the change can impact you and your account.

It's common for card issuers to change with co-branded retail, airline and hotel credit cards, but it can also happen with other cards. For example, Costco didn't renew its partnership with American Express, preferring lower fees from Visa, and Citi began issuing the wholesale club's flagship card. Fidelity and Walmart are other major companies that have switched from one card issuer to another.

Regardless of the reasons for the switch, here are five steps you can take if you've learned that you're getting a new issuer.

1. Understand When the Change Is Happening

You should receive a notice from your current or new credit card issuer letting you know that the switch is happening and when. This can give you the time you need to ensure that you're prepared for the change.

During this time, consider getting a backup credit card if you don't already have one. While the transition can go smoothly in a lot of cases, that's not always going to happen. When cardholders change, cards may get delayed or there could be issues activating the new card.

Having a backup card means you don't have to worry about interruptions in your everyday spending.

2. Save Your Electronic Statements and Notices

Once the transition to the new card issuer is complete, you may lose access to the digital files in your account with the original card issuer.

If you rely on electronic statements and don't download them or print them out, you may have trouble deducting certain business and medical expenses on your tax return, and you may have a harder time keeping track of your budget for past months.

Before your card switches over to the new issuer, make sure you get a copy of all of your account statements and notices, and keep them in a safe place until you need them.

3. Make Sure the Rewards Transfer

If you have a rewards credit card, it's important to keep an eye on your rewards. If it's a co-branded card, such as an airline or hotel card, you won't need to worry about your existing balance because your points or miles are stored with the co-branded partner, not the card issuer.

However, you may want to review how many points or miles you should have earned on your recent purchases to ensure you get credit.

If the card's rewards are stored with the card issuer, take note of the balance so you can double-check once everything has been changed over to the new card issuer. If you don't want to worry about it at all, consider redeeming your rewards before the switch has been completed.

4. Set Up the New Card

Once you receive your new card in the mail, you'll need to activate it before you can use it. You'll also likely get a new account number, which means that if you use the card for recurring charges, you'll need to update the account information on your autopay accounts to avoid missing a payment.

This is crucial for utility accounts in particular because a missed payment could result in having your electricity, water or gas turned off.

5. Review Any New Features

Depending on the terms of the new partnership, you may have a new suite of benefits on your card—and you may also lose some. While certain terms, such as your annual fee and credit limit, will likely remain the same, other features might not.

For example, rewards earnings could change with the new card. Whereas you may have earned a higher percentage on dining out—and regularly used your card to earn those rewards—your new card may offer a reduced benefit or none at all.

Review the terms of the new card and how they differ from your old card, and decide whether or not you want to use the new card or if you want to get a new one for everyday use.

Check Your Credit Before Applying for Another Credit Card

If you're considering getting a new credit card because you don't like what the new issuer on an existing card offers, it's important to check your credit score before you apply. Most of the top rewards cards require good or excellent credit, which means a FICO® Score of 670 or higher.

Use Experian's free credit monitoring tool to get free access to your FICO® Score and Experian credit report. If your score needs some work, take steps to improve it so you can get the type of credit card you want.

The purpose of this question submission tool is to provide general education on credit reporting. The Ask Experian team cannot respond to each question individually. However, if your question is of interest to a wide audience of consumers, the Experian team may include it in a future post and may also share responses in its social media outreach. If you have a question, others likely have the same question, too. By sharing your questions and our answers, we can help others as well.

Personal credit report disputes cannot be submitted through Ask Experian. To dispute information in your personal credit report, simply follow the instructions provided with it. Your personal credit report includes appropriate contact information including a website address, toll-free telephone number and mailing address.

To submit a dispute online visit Experian's Dispute Center. If you have a current copy of your personal credit report, simply enter the report number where indicated, and follow the instructions provided. If you do not have a current personal report, Experian will provide a free copy when you submit the information requested. Additionally, you may obtain a free copy of your report once a week through April 2022 at AnnualCreditReport.