To activate a bank card once you have received it in the mail, call the toll-free number provided in the package accompanying the card, use the card with its PIN at a bank's ATM, or sign in to online banking. The options for activation depend on the bank.
Activate a card using the toll-free number by calling from your home phone. Using the card at the bank's ATM with its PIN automatically activates the new card, and some banks even activate cards automatically the first time you use them with the PIN to make a purchase. If the new card is a replacement for an expired one, use the same pin you used for the old card. If the card is completely new, then the bank commonly provides a PIN number in a separate correspondence from the one in which the card was sent.
Activating a card as soon as it is received is required to use it, and quick activation also helps prevent fraud. Sign the back of the card as soon as you activate it, and destroy any old or temporary cards for security. Banks that offer the convenience of online banking typically also offer online activation options.