The Credit Card Expiration Blues

I am sure this has happened to everyone. My work credit card expired and I was issued a new one. Sadly, I forgot to update that info in Google checkout. And so yesterday at 6:55am, the extra 20gigs of storage I was paying Google for in Gmail went away. Emails started bouncing, even on the forwarded ones which I was actually getting. Email has been a mess for 24 hours and Gmail is still not working right for me even though I fixed the credit card and repurchased the extra 20gigs yesterday morning.

I can deal with a messed up email situation. In fact it is a blessing for me. I got so much work done yesterday that I was able to leave the office early and take a yoga class in the late afternoon.

But this credit card expiration thing is a big issue when so much of our commerce goes through stored payment credentials on web services. I must have stored payment credentials on between fifty and a hundred web services at this point. And I have a number of credit cards, a VISA and an AMEX for personal, and AMEX for several of our business entities. So this creates a lot of complexity when my credentials change.

I've blogged about this problem before and people have pointed me to various services that were built to address these issues. I've looked at many of them and have not found one that really works for me. Frankly, I think the credit card issuers should solve this problem for us. Why can't all these payment systems auto update the credentials when a new card is issued? That would save us all a lot of problems.

If the credit card industry can't fix stuff like this, new payment methods are going to come along that are easier to use and work better on the web. There is no shortage of entrepreneurs working on payments ideas. So I expect problems like this one will be a thing of the past a decade from now. The only question is who will solve these problems first.


Comments (Archived):

  1. Fernando Gutierrez

    Although I agree that the credit card companies should solve this, retailers could also help. At least to avoid the problems derivated from a declined payment.Some already send you an email reminding you that the credit card they have in their records is about to expire. It’s not the best approach because you can miss the email and you have to go to each one to change the data, but it gives you a chance to avoid problems like the ones you had yesterday. They could also give you a few days without cutting the service and a new notice if the failed payment is because of this.BTW, it also happened to me, but with the hosting of my business website. Not nice either. Since then I try to make all recurrent payments with Paypal whenever possible. It’s easier to mantain the credentials just there and then they bill my credit cards. But my credit card situation is much simpler than yours.

    1. fredwilson

      I am sure google notified me. But I skim emails by subject line and don’t pay as much attention to commercial mail as I should

      1. Fernando Gutierrez

        Yeah, when it happened to me with a hosting account I later found an email from the provider, but the subject was only “Important product notification”… could have been anything. I find much more useful the oDesk approach. I received five emails in a month with the subject “Your American Express ending in xxxx is about to expire!”.In your case, given than they are Google, they could have put a huge banner in the middle of your Gmail page saying that your storage was about to expire.

  2. LIAD

    your lucky there wasn’t any data loss.I’ve known people who’ve last whole live servers in similar situations.Ridiculous that the service doesn’t trigger an automated email warning about the pending expiry.Auto-expiring of CC credentials is a great built-in security mechanism.Back in the days of the wild web the only way to unsubscribe from some services was to wait for the CC to expire.

    1. fredwilson

      As I said in another comment, I am sure I was warned.But I get so much email that I tend to ignore commercial email

      1. LIAD

        philosophically – do you believe all these kind of problems can be fixed through technical innovation and ingenuity or do you feel that somethings will always necessitate a human touch/the love of a good PA?

        1. fredwilson

          Machines will get better but we will always need humans for the last bit

          1. maxniederhofer

            I will think of you when we hit Singularity 🙂

          2. fredwilson


      2. Tereza

        My girlfriend who is far more on top of things than I, sets up an email just for signups and commerce to keep it out of her regular inbox. E.g. “[email protected]” so they all go to the same place.OK so I’m lying a little. She is totally anal so she sets up a separate email per vendor (“[email protected]”) so she can see, just for fun, who has sold her name to whom so she can call them up and terrorize them.She is also a mother of four young kids and is one of the heads of social media at IBM. Don’t ask me where she finds the time.The single email for all purchases is what I’d do if I had the time an inclination.

        1. fredwilson

          I wish I was that anal

          1. Mark Essel

            I wish I had an autonomous agent that was on top of things like that. Being that way has incidental persona effects bundled. Plus you may snap off old comments where we contradict ourselves without a blink 😉

        2. Geoff

          Exactly what I do 🙂 Its a great way for catching out all those phishers too!

        3. Gerald Buckley

          Tereza – Someone showed me a neat little trick re. email addresses.When I sign up for stuff I usually append my name as such:[email protected] the +servicenamehere part is ignored by some types of email servers YET the mail is still delivered to [email protected]. The nice thing about this is I could register as Gerald+Twitter@… or Gerald+Facebook@… or Gerald+Discus@… and if someone SELLS my name I’m going to know EXACTLY who did it and it sets me up to react accordingly.It also makes autorouting emails a dream.Works great on Gmail (just tested it again to be sure). BUT, YOUR EMAIL HOST MAY NOT LIKE THIS. SO TEST FIRST. Just send yourself a message by putting +something after your name but before the @ and see if it bounces. If it delivers… you know you’re all set. If it bounces… you’re out of luck.

          1. ShanaC

            I use gmail. So this should be shana.carp+thing at gmail and this should work…really?

          2. Fernando Gutierrez

            Yes, and then you can create filters based on the addresses and do whateveryou want with those emails.

          3. Gerald Buckley

            That will do the trick Shana. Unfortunately, you can’t just turn Shana.Carp+thing at gmail OFF… right? The best thing you can do (if you start getting spammed at that address) is send it straight to the bin. The only things it affords you is tracking and sorting: You can track who passes along your email addy to others; and you can set up rules in your email client to do things based on the specially altered “To” field. So… Shana.Carp+Disqus get sorted, highlighted maybe even forwarded. And so on.Totally works with gmail!

          4. ShanaC

            Amazing. Great Advice.I usually filter disqus emails by just the @disqus. It works, mostly.

          5. Fred T

            I kinda did a similar concept with Facebook – setup an account to find out if they will give it to their affiliates. Well, just had one email address used solely for Facebook. Then one of those fateful days when Zuckerberg had his infamous Kodak moment at D8 this year, I received a spam from their third-party affiliates.So the experiment worked.

          6. Tereza

            OMG it works!!!Gerald this is brilliant!!!

          7. Gerald Buckley

            Just passing along a nifty little goody someone showed me. So happy you’re happy. Hope you find a use for it in your bag of tricks.

          8. Donna Brewington White

            Another thank you!

          9. ShanaC

            Thank you!!!

        4. ShanaC

          I like this woman.

        5. Donna Brewington White

          I also have an email account that I use for anything related to online commerce and find this to be extremely helpful.The idea of having an account just to manage credit card information is brilliant. I just had my email go down because I forgot to change my cc number on my web hosting account after discovering that someone used it for a shopping spree in France. Sure enough, I waded through over 100 emails in an account I barely use and there was the notice!Thanks for passing this along, T. Your friend must have a personal assistant with four kids and time to be this anal. But impressive nonetheless.

          1. Tereza

            Believe it or not her husband’s been out of work for almost 2 years. She carries the whole load. No assistant. Not easy!

      3. sfmitch

        Have you considered a personal assistant? I know it’s a low tech solution but it seems like your actual problem is not enough time available.

        1. fredwilson

          i have one

      4. ShanaC

        opted-in, or opted-out?And that is a whole post in and of itself (again)- commercial email and how it is used. I think even with opt in emails, we might not be optimizing for people to read them.

  3. Tereza

    With both AmEx and Mastercard in our backyard, I’d hope the startup with a solution can spring up in New York.They have a lot of alums with a lot of domain knowledge. And plenty of layoffs, too.

  4. kidmercury

    “The only question is who will solve these problems first.”IMHO the real question is whether or not governments will allow entrepreneurs to solve this problem, and how entrepreneurs will respond to government’s actions.

    1. bojanbabic

      The way mint entered the game can be path to all other entrepreneurs. Unfortunately, they could not last longer to become real game changer.

      1. kidmercury

        IMHO the best strategy is through games and virtual currencies, as this allows a centralized authority to control both banking and payment transfer. I think the issue of payments is too closely related to banking and thus needs to operate outside traditional banking systems to truly be disruptive IMHO.

        1. Brad Dickason

          Games/virtual currencies still rely on the end user to insert money via credit card. The point where we can start paying for things via alternate accounts such as our phones or other utilities will finally provide a chance for people to leverage alternate payment technologies.

          1. kidmercury

            Not necessarily. Gamer does work, earn points. Points can be spent. No “real world” purchase required.

          2. bojanbabic

            In mobile payment system you still have an issue of bypassing mobile carriers that hold infrastructure and keep large chunk of pie. I agree with Kid that gaming works, but still there is long way to go. One of biggest challenges will be creating unique market place for virtual currency, where you could exchange Farmville goods with WOW items or 2nd life avatars. Anyway, point is to bypass existing infrastructure as much as possible.

    2. markslater

      people cant be trusted with their own money

  5. Sandro

    I’d add data breaches to this nightmare as they’re becoming much more frequent and credit card companies are taking the brute force approach of canceling your old card and issuing a new one.This combined with the myriad recurring charges I have in place and I have several hours of pain ahead of me.This has already happened to me twice in 2010 and it leaves me wishing for a better way.

    1. fredwilson

      Totally. Any screwup with the card generates a reissue which then is a clusterfuck for stored payment credentials. So much pain

    2. lauraglu

      This situation happened to me last year as well, and my credit union totally came through, when the mass issuers wouldn’t/couldn’t. There was a breach a few days before international travel. My credit union overnighted the replacement card – to my work and not billing address, at no charge to me, and expedited the PIN set up over the phone. They consistently impress me with their customer service and high touch care that the larger providers are worlds away from providing.

  6. paramendra

    A decade? That’s too long.

  7. Jan Schultink

    Google Check Out should have sent you a warning email?But maybe they did, and it got lost in your 20GB inbox 🙂

    1. fredwilson

      I am sure they did. I need a text message or a dm for urgent stuff

      1. RichardF

        watch this space 😉

      2. ShanaC

        Then you are just replacing email. One of the wisest ideas mentioned to me- email first made us efficient, then we got inundated. DMing and texting can (and probably will) go the same way.

  8. Morgan Warstler

    Man, if you keep mentioning Yoga I’m going to end up in Bikram with my wife. I’m filled with dread.

    1. fredwilson

      That’s incentive enough. I am going mention it in every post this week!

      1. ShanaC

        tying yoga into every post, that’s a challenge!

        1. fredwilson

          nah, it will be easy. what i want to see is the video of morgan doing a crow pose

      2. Fred T

        After further discussion with my buddies that yoga does stabilize your “support” muscles (having them stretch for long periods of time does burn calories); I am going back to yoga today…

    2. awaldstein

      Do it.Really tough even for the very gym fit….but worth it!

    3. ShanaC

      You’ll love it. (though I didn’t like Bikram, I felt sick in the heat)

      1. Matt A. Myers

        You have to play around to see why you’re nauseous.It could be emotions coming up that you need to let go of.It could be you ate too soon before.It could be something you ate you’re sensitive to, but your body is only reacting stronger when it’s under more stress.It could be you drank too much water in class (I don’t drink water in yoga classes anymore – it’s much better if you don’t but it’s definitely a strong emotional/physical response to learn to relax to).It could be you just need time to allow your body to learn to adjust to the heat.It could just be a feeling you get during the transitional period your body and mind goes through when heating up so much.The yoga isn’t hurting you (in most cases anyway) – it’s more likely your body isn’t used to it. 🙂

        1. ShanaC

          Combo of emotions getting to me. I’m a stressball, as someone I brieflydated called me. And I don’t drink enough water during the day- I take somemedication, and I found that depending on what I eat (I have to be somewhatcareful, and it sounds funny to say, it’s one of the reasons I’m not superhappy at home, I don’t control what I eat as well) I exit heat differently. It doesn’t help that sugar levels can make me moody.I found this from a lovely woman named Jenifer Cameli- agree wholeheartedly.Edit: the other reason I don’t like bikram is because I want to feel my body in pose and make sure it is aligned. I did bikram once, it’s a method that doesn’t seem to be into having the pose held in alignment. I enjoy the feeling of being in pose, and I am searching for a method that emphasizes that as well. Anyone got a recommendation?

          1. Tereza

            Shana if Bikram doesn’t work for you then drop it and have no shame in that. It’s not for everybody.

          2. ShanaC

            I dislike it also because you don’t hold the pose and think about it. It’s my off time. They move too much in too much heat. i like to think/not think then- and the heat + bootcamp yoga makes that too complicated.

          3. Matt A. Myers

            If sugar levels make you moody try to buy some probiotics. You might have an imbalance of bacteria / yeast in your body if sugar has such a strong effect on you. A local natural health food store will have them.… is what the bottles look like (they will be in a fridge likely too); I recommended the same to Fred awhile ago when he was sick, not sure if he ever tried them though. :)You may also want to try an Elimination diet to find out if it’s something you’re eating that’s increasing the stress on your body. Eg: Eat just fruit and rice for a week (most people don’t have problem with rice, or most fruit), and then say start drinking milk with it and see how it affects you, or start eating some wheat and see how it starts affecting you. It’s not a fast process but what you can figure out can have a great impact on the quality of life.

          4. ShanaC

            From experience- It’s primarily a refined sugars problem and remembering to eat.Less Junk food, more vegetables. I’m not in a cooking household right now, though…

      2. kortina

        Agreed, when I first tried yoga, I did Bikram because I wanted to feel like I was getting a real “workout” by sweating, and I think that’s why I did not stick with it. After a few years, I returned to yoga, and am now absolutely loving Vinyasa. The honey flow class I go to on Friday evenings is simply amazing. Better than sleep

    4. Brad Dickason

      I enjoy Bikram in NYC. There are a few good studios. Recently, however, we dumped yoga for Mixed Martial Arts and have been loving it. We do a good 10-15 minutes of stretching then 45 minutes of combo strength/cardio training. It’s an intense workout and my flexibility is in line with how it was when we were yoga’ing (Bikram, in our case).

    5. Matt A. Myers

      Some tips for going to your first Bikram yoga class:Don’t try to wear a shirt, you’ll take it off anyway. :)Hydrate all day. Don’t just drink water though, drink water with electrolytes because otherwise your body doesn’t absorb. Have something with electrolytes to drink afterward too; I lose about 4 Lbs of water weight when I do a Bikram class. Fruit tastes amazing after a hot yoga class too.

  9. Venkat

    I have never had issues because of forgotten credit card updates, since all my services seem to send me reminders in time and have a grace period.I would NOT want an automated update system humming in the background. When these things get too automated, I start getting security worries. This at least naturally kills forgotten recurring charges and creates a natural barrier :)But I *would* like the auto-update solved around address changes. I’d like to designate one of my online presence accounts (say LinkedIn) as default and only change my address there, and have every other service which needs my address subscribe to a secure feed from my main one. Like a human DNS. I should be able to see all services accessing or “following” my identity feed and block anything… control at source as security against rogue services. I am also willing to have my CC info live on such a central identity source, and be hooked up to my credit card provider. That way I at least have a single point of control from where I can prevent/allow further spread.For your specific problem, I’d think a gracious SLA degradation on the part of vendors is a better customer service strategy, since other situations besides unanticipated expiration can cause such issues (accidental denial of a card due to security lockdown, CC number change due to id theft, credit limit reached…). I see several vendors who lock certain features till you fix CC info, but don’t disrupt you in random ways.Venkat

    1. fredwilson

      Great comment. A lot of wisdom in there

      1. Venkat

        Thanks.To be fair to FB Connect, OpenID, Google and even Twitter, each is trying to create a hub-and-spoke ID management system, but unfortunately the anarchic total isn’t built with DNS like P2P interoperability in mind or the publish/subscribe UX that end users would want…Reminds me of pre-standard gauge railways.Venkat

    2. Michal Migurski

      Human DNS – Mike Kuniavsky has suggested that this really ought to be the responsibility (and privilege!) of the USPS, here:

  10. Morgan Warstler

    I think the bigger question is why can’t you log into your bank’s credit card site and manage all your subscriptions? I’d rather XML from every order form, every receipt be submitted via API to my bank as part of the transaction.If only we had private money, such services would be common place! Looking at you Kid. 🙂

    1. fredwilson

      Yes! That is what I was thinking about

    2. curmudgeonly troll

      Private money, right on!Because if there’s one thing we’ve learned the private sector is good at, it’s creating a stable financial system that never needs government to back it up.

  11. Scott Yates

    This part is annoying, but it is not as deeply troubling as some of the stuff you’ve written about before, like the credit card companies basically screwing over the credit rankings of its customers and then charging them higher fees because they have bad credit.I’m hoping BankSimple quickly fixes banking and then moves on to this problem.By the way, in the RSS feed… the ad that came with your post was from AmEx.

    1. fredwilson

      Google sure can target!

  12. reece

    I had a meeting with a former CEO of a SaaS company recently who explained that his company used to automatically guess the new expiration date for their customers and take care of it in the background.This saved the customer any hassle, but more importantly to the business, it never gave the customer a chance to say “should I really keep paying for this?” (so long as the cost isn’t too high).

    1. fredwilson

      That’s a nice trick. I would appreciate my vendors doing that for me. But I suspect many would not

      1. reece

        Yeah, it’s definitely a little sneaky, but the company could be transparentabout it and offer an opt-in to auto update new credentials for you.If they are open and embrace what they’re doing, instead of doing itsilently, I think customers (like you in this case) would appreciate it.

        1. Mark Essel

          Great tip Reece, the auto resub option to users. Perfect for all parties.

          1. reece


          2. Mark Essel

            It’s these little design choices that pop up at the perfect moment to help make a product dynamite.

      2. Brad Dickason

        Fred, were you issued an entirely new card number or just expiration? I have been researching payment gateways recently as I’m launching a subscription-based web app, and there’s a post on the Braintree blog that claims that cards will still work past their expiration. Could it be that your company cancelled your old card’s NUMBER rather than the expiration running out?http://www.braintreepayment…In this case, ‘guessing’ the expiration date doesn’t do much for you. I’ve always been issued an entirely new number upon expiration.

        1. fredwilson

          i was an expirationit worked for about three months past expiration and then stopped working

    2. mydigitalself

      Not sure about all the banks, but in the UK with Barclays every time I’ve had a card expire the new one has, wait for it, an entirely new long number!

      1. Caspar Aremi

        Cards issued by Lloyds in the UK tend to have the same number. I’m more worried about whether it’d be legal to just guess the new number. Also, it’s likely the 4 digit security code was different.

    3. Donna Brewington White

      Reece — OT — cleaning out my email yesterday, I came across a comment from you about my son and Lacrosse — he’s at a Lacrosse camp at Notre Dame this week. I still have you on tap in case a question comes up. Thanks again for the encouragement.

      1. reece

        sounds good. happy to help!———————Sent wirelessly.


    Actually, Visa and Mastercard have solved this problem for subscription services, but its not very well known about. Like a log of things in the payments world the APIs are hidden and hard to use. Since they are so opaque and kind of new not every processor or gateway supports them.Visa calls this Account Updater —…Mastercard calls it Automatic Billing Updater Shameless plug: My company, TransFS is a vertical search engine to find the right payments solution for your business – we are like LendingTree for payments. If you want to find a credit card processor and gateway that handles account updating, we can help, for free.Sean HarperCo-Founder, TransFS

    1. fredwilson

      you would think google checkout would figure out how to work with these apis

      1. Brad Dickason

        I would expect Google to jump in here with a ‘Google Card’ ala Google voice 🙂 Get your own Google credit card number that can route to your different cards depending on bank account logic (if I have less than $200 left, use this card), etc.

        1. hangtime79

          Doubtful. Number #1 you are acting as a bank. Number #2 HUGE money laundering risk.

    2. Mark Essel

      Well placed marketing 🙂

  14. itamarl

    It’s definitely a painful experience, which touches any subscription/auto bill payment base business. The sad thing is that a solution exists and is just not being implemented.You have Visa account updater that does exactly what you want, unfortunately the market penetration is not what it should be:

  15. Mark Essel

    A single financial flow source would remedy the situation without taking financial choice away from an individual. All you really need is a nice way to visualize and control your financial choices across the web. A startup that does this would be in a prime purchasing position from players like Pay Pal.Ps: have you considered changing your email habit to twice per week (too big of a backlog)? The change in your schedule could have unexpected payoffs. It may translate to more phone/IMs/social web messages though. Blogging and walking ritually has had a wonderful effect on my state of mind and energy.Limiting stuff that drains and replacing it with activities that power you up (or physically task you) like Yoga is a little talked about secret to a long and healthy life. Most founders can’t comprehend email stress, but they’re not juggling hundreds of responses a day. Give a small audience bat phones 🙂

  16. BmoreWire

    I’m playing the waiting game as we speak. Have a 7/10 expiration and still waiting on the new card ready to jump into action.

  17. Roko

    Congratulations for being one of the few who exceeded the gmail free space quota. Here is one solution: One card to rule them all. There should be a service that gives you one card and allows you to link all your other cards to it. You could make purchases and at the end of the day/week you can go online and choose on which card to put what expense(s).

  18. ceonyc

    I’ve totally had an idea for this solution before… Even searched my blog to see if I had blogged it. Guess not, so I suppose it didn’t really happen.You can’t have Visa and Mastercard hold this, b/c half the time you need to get your numbers changed, it’s because they lose data and issue you a new card. It needs to be a third party.I imagined a network whereby if you sign up with one vendor, they say “Hey, would you like us to notify other vendors if you replace your credit card or if it expires? Check off the following other vendors we should tell.” Then, the second you update it, the new numbers go around the network only to vendors you’ve approved. Those vendors pay the original vendor and the company based on a percentage of the lost revenues they would have had.

    1. fredwilson

      yeah, that’s the kind of services i’ve been pointed to in the pasti really want the vendors and the card providers to solve thismorgan’s suggestion is what i want

  19. Leigh Acton

    what if we had an open id style credential for payments

  20. Travisk

    I’ve always wondered what is the point of the expiration in the first place?

  21. ShanaC

    And here I thought this was going to be about how credit cards are like crack for adults.

  22. deepeshbanerji

    i work at a company that handles subscription payments for access to content. there are bank web services out there that as a payment handler you can go to try and auto-update your credentials with the latest for a consumer. Unfortunately only about 50% of credit cards can be handled in this way (mostly bank issued credit cards) – but this could be a step in the right direction.

  23. Venkat

    apropos of your intention to tie yoga into every post Fred, thought you might enjoy one of my recent posts on the trailmeme blog: I am more enlightened than thou.Statutory disclaimer: Being of Indian origin does not mean I can do pretzel stuff.

  24. Sailesh

    Actually there is an auto-updating mechanism that is in place. It’s unfortunately up to the various merchants to implement it and very few do so yet. I believe that Amazon already implements the protocol but don’t know about others.

  25. NICCAI

    Aren’t credit card expiries obsolete in this day and age? With all of the other security checks, it seems as though they play less of a roll on the whole. Mind you, physical cards should also be obsolete soon.

    1. hangtime79

      No. Because the expiration option isn’t just a security/nag option. The expiration on your card also denotes the date your credit card agreement completes. The issuer has the ability and right to continue/terminate/change the agreement (at least the ability to change the agreement has dramatically changed over the last 1 1/2) . Just like you would sign for a line of credit at the bank – it has an expiration, the same goes for a credit card.When thinking about credit cards you have to think beyond it just as payment mechanism. That’s the only part the merchant sees, but there is an entire legal framework beyond the simple transaction.

      1. NICCAI

        Does it need to be an active part of every transaction however?

  26. Jason Preston

    What we need is OAuth for banks? Instead of putting in a credit card, a service can just call your bank and establish a link, which you can then manage from your bank much like you can manage Twitter services connected to your account…

    1. fredwilson

      oh man, that would be awesomewe have that already in some sense with electronic funds transfer

      1. Indus Khaitan

        A precursor to an OAuth like thing (I said like, with lot of caveats) was called SET (Secure Electronic Transactions), actually it was 2-way OAuth between consumer and merchant and between consumer and the acquirer. SET died as it was way ahead of it’s time c. 1990s and the user experience sucked coz the web was too early then.

      2. PeterisP

        Well, there are working direct debit systems in practically every country in Europe (and they will be unified throughout the eurozone by SEPA at 2012 if I recall correctly) – the idea is pretty the same; for services like cable-TV, gym subscription, etc, you authorize a merchant (say, in your internetbank) to periodically debit your account, and then they periodically send an electronic invoice to your bank, which handles the rest. The merchant pays some cents to the bank per transaction, but it’s comparable to credit card processing fees.

    2. kortina

      The hugely important piece of oath to carry over is token expiration. Often you cancel a card because you gave the number to someone you no longer trust, and this is the only way to “expire” their access to your funds.

  27. Chase

    There are a handful of online billing vendors (contract with businesses) that solve this problem and many more for card not present transactions – Vindicia, Zuora, and Aria Systems are the three most prominent players.Any business that does a significant amout of eCommerce would be wise to incorporate. Chase Paymentech and some of the other payment processors (CyberSource, etc) fall short in this arena.

  28. John Sharp

    I think the solution already exists. I’m using PayPal to service my account at GoDaddy. Under this arrangement, the service provider just debits my bank (or, more correctly, PayPal does). No expiry date anywhere (that I’m aware of.)I find this pretty convenient. Maybe worth a try Fred – though you’ll need to go through the (minor) hassle of validating your bank account.

    1. fredwilson

      i am validated via paypali don’t recall google checkout offering a paypal option though

  29. Deva Hazarika

    Maybe the real and easier answer is that credit card expiration dates are largely obsolete and should just go away. The two main reasons I’ve heard they exist are fraud protection and physical deterioration of mag strip. With better fraud/security systems in place and chips becoming more common (plus they can always send you a shiny new card from time to time as needed), and recurring subscriptions and auto-payments becoming standard, seems like CC expiration dates should be a thing of the past.

  30. Donna Brewington White

    Intuitively it seems that there is a question lurking around here somewhere that is similar to the question railroads failed to ask, “Are we in the railroad business or the transportation business?” What business are credit card companies really in? (grammar fail?) That may not be the exact question, but something along those lines.

  31. obscurelyfamous

    There are dozens of places that have my credit info (which sucks and is another problem altogether) and there’s no good way of remembering them, not even to mention the pain in updating the accounts. I basically just wait for the email or phone number from someone who tells me that they can’t get money from me.

    1. fredwilson

      that is what most everyone does danielbut if you don’t see every email that comes your way, as is my situation, then you are screwed

  32. Tatum

    “The Credit Card Expiration Blues” would have been a fine title for one of the new Exile on Main Street songs.

  33. jarid

    If the credit card industry can’t fix stuff like this, new payment methods are going to come along that are easier to use and work better on the web… The only question is who will solve these problems first.Whoever tries to solve it, let’s just hope Whoopi Goldberg is not available this time around. Though, I’m afraid she may be.

  34. Evan

    paypal has been pretty well positioned for this for a long time, but has never really pulled it off.

  35. Miguel

    There is, of course, a psychological link between the credit card industry and ‘downward-facing dog’.

  36. Rocky Agrawal

    a more general problem i’d love to see solved- separating transaction confirmations from merchants from pure promotional emails. purchase receipts, travel itineraries, etc. would be easily separated from the twice weekly promotion some extent this can be done with filters because merchants sometime send from different addresses. order-confirm@ vs. deals@ (see… for more)but creating filters for each merchant is too much work. maybe a group created knowledgebase?

  37. MikeSchinkel

    In a similar vein, you’ve been using a credit card conservatively but consistently for years. But when you have a big event you are hosting and you need to make a lot of purchases rapidly to support the event, what does the credit card company do?They lock down you credit line and cut off your ability to pay for critical things when you are maxed for time and stress. This is when you don’t even have an iota of time for anything else, least of all calling the credit card’s fraud department to walk through their tedious procedures to minimize *their* risk. (I just love it when they try to tell me they are doing it as a “favor” to me! If they’d at least tell the truth it wouldn’t be so bad.)Anyway, happened to me today related to this event I’m hosting:

  38. BenM

    Sounds like you could do with Direct Debits like we have in the UK 🙂

  39. Josh

    Reading the comments some people allude to the auto-update capabilities provided by payment gateways. AMEX and MC both have an API available for merchants to get a new expiration date so long as they have you on a list of continuity billing customers (subscriptions). Google could implement those APIs.In addition, most large-scale e-commerce companies I have worked with (after trying to get the user’s attention) have a heuristic in place to auto-correct for expiration date by trying 3, 5, and 7 years to the date programatically before giving up.BUT Taking a step back, if you think about a credit card as a set of payment credentials, it’s not crazy that your credentials ‘time out’ after a period of time and require a renewal. Just as your gmail login times out every few weeks/months, the ability to charge you money because you once said it was ok probably shouldn’t live on forever without you ever renewing that approval. As consumers its not the way we think about payment credentials today, but it is the way we think about other authorizations everywhere else we ‘log in’. Certainly from a merchant perspective it’s a point of friction and lost revenue in their funnel, but as a credit underwriter I can see why card issuing banks wouldn’t mind the need for consumers to re-up their approvals every few years — I was surprised when AMEX first allowed auto-updating of exp dates, and MC soon followed – I guess they need to focus more on the competition with ACH than the risk.

  40. Kyle

    Agree. 100%Have their been any services to effectively combat this problem for change of address.?! Had a conversation about this last night. I am moving and need to notify no less than 20 services to start/stop/change address.Complexities due to security risk, but seems that someone would have figured this out.

  41. RacerRick

    My credit card expires every 2 years… it’s horrible. I lose phone, Directv, cable…Why does a credit card have to expire?If we don’t have to sign for the less than $20 items now…why can’t we have a credit card that doesn’t expire?

  42. paulcub

    I’m saving power between the payment of fifty and a hundred Web services at this time. And I have several credit cards, I prefer XML for each order all the receipts submitted via the API of my bank, as part of the operation.r4i sdhc

  43. Bryan Johnson

    Fred – there is a service out there that does this. It’s called Account Updater. Visa and MasterCard are currently the only card brands that participate. The problem is that the service is dependent up on the issuing financial institution to send the updated information and not all issuers participate making coverage spotty.At the same time, as a provider of credit card processing services, we’ve noticed that a fairly high percentage of issuing banks will approve transactions without a correct expiration date: http://www.braintreepayment…Bryan JohnsonBraintree

  44. SEO Backlinks

    I agree with you because of the relevant content provided I also agree with Morgan. This has happened to me before

  45. Rob

    Had this exact problem several times.

  46. Gustavo

    Hello, Fred. How did you manage to solve your problem with gmail? I am having the same problem, but even though I change my credit card I cannot renew the storage. It keeps saying that I have to wait 24 hours to place another order – but it’s been a more than a week now. At first I was happy for not receiving emails. Now I’m kind of desperate.Thanks,Gustavo

    1. fredwilson

      I had to delete my card from google checkout and enter a new one (in my case the same one with new expirationdate)Then after 24 hours, I got a good transaction

  47. Scott Loftesness

    Visa and MasterCard do provide merchants with mechanisms for obtaining updated account information – see, for example, this description of Visa’s Account Updater service:…That said, there may be an opportunity for a “meta level” service sitting above the scheme-level services – one that plays a role on behalf of the consumer, not the merchants.Scott