Credit cards

How to dispose of credit cards

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If you’ve canceled a credit card or received a replacement for an expired card and need to get rid of it, never throw it in the nearest trash can.

It’s practically asking a divine trash can fraudster to steal your information – and possibly your identity.

Instead, make sure you destroy this map so no one can ever put it back together. But before you take out that jackhammer or that chainsaw to destroy it, hold on tight.

There are different ways to get rid of different types of cards, so read on for the best way to get rid of yours.

How to destroy a plastic credit card

There are several ways to get rid of an old plastic credit card. Follow these steps:

  • The easiest way is to just get a pair of sharp scissors and cut it into very small pieces. – be sure to cut off your signature and if there is an RFID chip cut that too.
  • Make sure to turn off the metal strip on the card – pass a strong magnet over the tape to scramble the data or simply cut it into small pieces.
  • Once you have cut out the card, you may want to pack the pieces separately as an added precaution against someone digging through your trash and collecting it to get your credit card number.
  • It might sound a little paranoid, but with credit card fraud on the rise it’s worth taking extra care with your sensitive financial information.
  • Another way to destroy an old plastic credit card is to burn it, although this method is not environmentally friendly and the vapors are quite toxic. But if you have a fireplace, use it or bring your old cut out cards to your next bonfire.

If you want to let someone else take care of this task and you’re ready to head to a bank branch, just hand the old card to a cashier and let them know you want it gone. .

How to get rid of a metal credit card

Do not use the above methods to destroy a metal credit card – it is more difficult and could be dangerous. That said, if you have a pair of tin snips, you may be able to safely cut them. Follow these steps to get rid of a metal card:

  • Call your issuer and find out their policy on returning metal cards. For example, American Express sends cardholders an addressed return envelope to return their old cards when they receive a new card.
  • You can also deposit your old metal card at one of your issuer’s branches.

Consult your closed account statement

Whichever method you use to destroy your old credit cards, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on your account to make sure you haven’t been the victim of fraud. Make sure your last statement on this card matches your activity for the month.

Think twice before closing accounts

If you get a replacement card, have fun destroying the old one.

But if you are closing the account yourself, you might want to think twice. Closing a card reduces your overall available credit, which could lead to higher credit usage, and could hurt your score.

If you are sure you want to close an account, however, there are a few important steps to follow:

  • Call the issuer (look for the number on the back of your card) and request that the account be closed.
  • Transfer all automatic payments on this card to another card.
  • Pay your final bill in full for the card you want to cancel.
  • Redeem all your points or cash back before canceling.
  • Destroy the map using one of the methods above.

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The editorial content on this page is based solely on the objective evaluation of our editors and is not motivated by advertising money. It was not supplied or ordered by the credit card issuers. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products from our partners.