If you have recently gotten a credit card replacement for an expired credit card or you want to close your account, you might need to dispose of your credit card. Disposing of a credit card is not as simple as throwing it in the trash can as it contains your personal as well as financial information. Not disposing of your credit card could lead to financial fraud therefore you must destroy the card in a way that no one can put the pieces and retrieve any information from it. There are multiple ways to dispose of credit cards. Continue reading to find out the right way to get rid of one.
Ways To Destroy A Credit Card
Following are some of the most significant ways that can be used to destroy a credit card that is no more in use:
Demagnetize the magnetic strip
To securely dispose of your credit card, you need to damage the magnetic strip first. These strips are designed to aid fast credit card processing, hence they are encoded with all the data that is written on the card along with transaction information. Therefore, cutting the credit card alone doesn’t help as you could still become a victim of credit card fraud.
To demagnetize the strip, slowly run a magnet along the strip. This will erase your personal information stored on the credit card. After doing so, you can cut the strip as an added precaution.
Hammer the chip
Nowadays, most credit cards are chip and PIN encrypted. The chip contains the same information as the magnetic strip does hence it is necessary to destroy the chip as well. Since it is difficult to cut or shred the chip, hammering the chip is a good way to smash the chip and remove any data present.
Cut with scissors into small pieces
After you have demagnetized the magnetic strip and hammered the chip, you can proceed to cut the card. Make sure to cut the pieces small enough so that it becomes very difficult to put the pieces back together. You can first cut the chip through the center of the number line and after that vertically and diagonally. Also, cut the security code and signature on the back of the card into extremely small pieces.
Shred your card
Shredding is a more secure method than cutting the chip. The quickest way to destroy your credit card is to pass it through a cross-cut shredder. If you have a credit card with a chip, then it’s recommended that you use a machine that can shred CDs as well, otherwise the card could damage the machine.
Destroy credit card related documents
If you have closed your credit card account, consider destroying any related documents. Any bank statements or receipts which include your personal information should be shredded. Ideally, a micro shredder would work best in this situation, but if it’s unavailable, you could use a cross-shredder as well.
Incinerate any remains or dispose of them in different trash cans
In case you have any doubts and want to ensure complete security, incinerate the shredded documents. It is not recommended that you incinerate the credit card as it may contain harmful substances and the released fumes would be toxic. Also after destroying the credit card, trash the shredded pieces in different trash cans so that it’s impossible to recover the pieces and figure out any information related to them.
What to do if I have a metal credit card?
In the case of a metal credit card, mailing it back is the easiest and safest way to dispose of it. Almost all credit card issuers recommend mailing it back and the bank ensures to make this process smooth for the customers. Another way to dispose of a metal credit card is to destroy it with tin snips which are specially designed for metal cutting. Avoid using a shredder (as they can’t shred metal) or any third-party service to dispose of a metal credit card as they could be unreliable.
The Bottom Line
Your credit card contains an incredible amount of information in a small piece of plastic. Most people think that cutting credit cards with scissors is enough but that is not true. Since expired credit cards can pose a danger to our safety and financial security, you need to follow some other steps as well to prevent identity theft and fraud. These methods include demagnetizing the strip and destroying the chip which erases the stored information. Nevertheless, if you are cautious and follow the above method, you will be able to dispose of your credit card securely.