Old Credit Cards can be kind of dangerous if you don't properly dispose of them. I’m sure practically every person reading this has a wallet full of credit and debit cards and maybe even old ones lying around in drawers. These seemingly harmless, little slivers of plastic actually have the propensity to cause you serious damage should they fall into the wrong hands. Not only should you look after your current credit and debit cards but you should routinely destroy old credit cards as soon as they expire. No one wants their old cards to be used by criminals for fraud or identity theft. It can be a quite satisfying exercise to expunge all traces of your identity from them and here are 7 Ways to Safely Destroy Old Credit Cards.
1. Demagnetise the Card
If you want to destroy an old credit card, the first thing you should do is use a magnet to wipe all your data stored in your former plastic friend. Just a regular fridge magnet will do, but be sure to rub the card against the magnet several times, to make sure that all your personal details are wiped. Better safe than sorry, after all.
2. Cut the Card
You need to do some physical damage now, so get out your scissors! Physically destroy an old credit card by snipping it up, taking particular care to cut each block of four digits into at least two pieces, and also be sure to cut the magnetic strip and chip too. If this sounds like hard work, then some paper shredders also shred cards. See below for advice on getting rid of what’s left.
3. Chop the Chip
The little chip can be difficult to cut into with scissors – but breaking it up is an essential part of making sure no dodgy dudes get hold of your card. Try hitting it with a hammer to mash it up. If this doesn’t work, then you may need something sharper. The chip should get broken up if you hit it with a meat cleaver, a chisel or even a stiletto heel. Careful now – you want to destroy your old card, not your fingers!
4. Shredder the Letters
The most thorough way to destroy an old credit card doesn’t stop just with the demise of the card itself. You will also have letters and statements that include your old card number and transactions. This should all be shredded – preferably with a cross-cutting shredding machine. However, if you just have a regular shredder that will cut everything into long strips, you will need carefully separate out what remains. You should dispose of everything carefully, as the next step details.
5. Dispose of the Remains
You should now have shreds and shards of a credit card, a credit card chip, and assorted statements. Your job is not quite done yet, however; committed conmen have been known to go through the trash and tape everything back together. You should take care to split everything between several different bags – or even between different bins. This is the best way to utterly destroy an old card to the point that no-one is ever going to stick that thing back together!
6. Be the Firestarter
If you’re worried about throwing paper into the trash, then an alternative way to destroy is to set fire to the remains of the statements. Remember that just burning them without shredding isn’t a reliable way to get rid, as sometimes pieces of paper will survive the flames. Also, don’t burn your old credit cards – the melted plastic will stink, and possibly release nasty chemicals into your house.
If all that sounds like too much work, then try immersing everything into extremely strong acid – it will dissolve instantly! You might find it difficult to get something strong enough at your local pharmacist, though! And remember: be careful!
By following these steps, you should confidently be able to destroy your old credit cards. It may seem rather a rigmarole to go through and you may think you’ll never be the victim of financial fraud, but none of us can be sure that we won’t fall prey to an identity thief. Using these 7 Ways to Safely Destroy Old Credit Cards is small effort compared to undoing the havoc caused by someone stealing them. Do you think that I’ve missed anything or could be any more thorough? Please give us your hints and tips on destroying old credit cards below.
Top Photo Credit: syversonco