Nothing lasts forever and the same goes for your credit card that comes with an expiry date. Before the expiry of your credit card, your card issuer sends a new one to your address around 1 or 2 months before your current card expires. Now, once you activate your new card you can start using it but what about your old, expired credit card.
You should not just dispose off your old card in the trash as someone may get a hold of it and use it for fraud. Your new card details like the number and PIN will be same as the old card and there is no need to update any information or credentials. However, as the details are same, if someone gets your old card, you can be a victim of fraud.
In this article we’ll learn about what to do with your expired credit cards, how to dispose or destroy them, and everything related to it.
Things to do Before Disposing Your Old Credit Card
In case you are cancelling your credit card or if it has expired, do not destroy it right away. Take care of certain things before doing so and there will be no issues with your card account. Before you dispose off your credit card, make sure you have activated your new one.
Follow these steps to make sure that everything is smooth and there are no issues with the expired credit card –
- Your outstanding dues won’t be forgiven if you cancel your old card. Make sure to pay your dues in full before closing your old card to avoid any issues.
- You must have accumulated certain reward points and other benefits while using your old credit card. Once you close your account, your reward points will also disappear so it is recommended to redeem or transfer all your reward points before you close your old credit card.
- You must close your old credit card account by getting in touch with your card issuer. Some financial institutions require you to call a customer service executive while some issuers allow you to do it online.
- There may be some add-on cardholders using your account. Remember to tell them about the expiry and closing of your credit card. They should destroy their cards as well because the cards won’t be valid anymore.
- Many individuals set up automatic, scheduled payments on their credit card. If you have any auto-payment set on your old credit card, remember to transfer it to a new method of payment.
Once you’ve taken care of the above things, you can safely dispose off or destroy your old, expired credit card.
How to Destroy a Plastic Credit Card?
When you close your account or need to dispose off your expired, old credit card, you must make sure that it is useless and no one can use it even if they find it. Even an expired credit card can provide fraudsters with your personal or payment information.
Whenever you begin destroying your old credit card, the first step should be destroy its brain, the magnetic strip. Get a powerful magnet and use it to demagnetize the magnetic strip on your old credit card’s back. In comparison to the magnetic strips, chips are harder to destroy. You can use a pair of scissors or a hammer to destroy the credit card’s chip.
Next, you should try to cut your expired credit card into three different pieces minimum so that no one can put it back together if they tried. If you find it difficult to cut the card, bend the card back and forth to weaken the plastic and then cut with the scissors along the bend. Also, try to throw away every piece at a different place so that no one can gather the pieces back together.
Some people do not prefer destroying the card manually, so you can even use a paper shredder. Some shredders nowadays have small slots in them to destroy payment cards. A cross-cutting shredder will work even better than a normal shredder. Even if you destroy your expired card with a shredder, make sure to dispose its pieces at different locations.
How to Destroy a Metal Credit Card?
Many travel rewards and super-premium credit cards have started using metal instead of plastic to offer more strength and protection to the card. These credit cards are great to use but when it comes to destroying them, a scissor won’t even dent these cards.
Not just scissors, even standard paper shredders will find it difficult to destroy or shred these metal credit cards. To destroy a metal credit card into small pieces, you will have to visit a hardware store and get some metal shears. If you do not want to do all this, get in touch with your card issuer because some of them will dispose off expired cards for you.
You just have to send your expired credit card to your issuer through the mail and they will take care of the rest. You can also visit a physical branch of your card issuer and hand off your card to an executive there. They will destroy your card and notify you when its done.
Never Burn Your Old or Expired Credit Card
There are many effective ways to destroy an expired credit card like we discussed above. However, if you are using anything other than scissors, make sure you have the adequate safety equipment with you. Also, you should never try to burn or melt your expired, old credit card.
Most credit cards are made of plastic and when you burn plastic, a lot of harmful toxins are released. These toxins can harm the human respiratory system and even damage your eyesight. Go with other methods to destroy your expired card instead of burning or melting them.
There were over 4,00,000 credit card fraud cases in the past year and it is a common crime. You could be a victim of fraud if you do not dispose off or destroy your old credit card and someone gets a hold of it. Fraudsters can misuse your personal or payment information if they get your credit card.
Whenever you get a new credit card, it is your responsibility to destroy your old one correctly. It takes some time to dispose off an old credit card but it is an important thing to do. You can follow the methods discussed above in the blog to destroy either a plastic or metal credit card. This way, you will be safe from identity theft, and no one will be able to know your credit card number.