Get Rid of It [How to Dispose of a Credit Card]

The first step in disposing of a credit card is to cut it up into small pieces.

This helps to prevent someone from stealing the card and using it fraudulently.

It’s important to cut through the magnetic strip and the chip to render the card completely unusable. Once the card is cut up, it can be thrown away in the trash.

Understanding Credit Card Disposal

When it comes to disposing of a credit card, there are a few things to keep in mind to ensure that your personal information remains secure.

First, it’s important to understand that simply cutting up your credit card is not enough. The magnetic stripe on the back of the card contains sensitive information that can be used to make unauthorized purchases or steal your identity.

To properly dispose of a credit card, it’s recommended to shred the card into small pieces using a cross-cut shredder. This will prevent anyone from being able to piece the card back together and access your information.

If you don’t have a shredder, you can also contact your credit card issuer and request a prepaid envelope to send the card back to them for proper disposal.

It’s important to note that you should never throw away a credit card in the trash, as this can make your personal information vulnerable to theft.

By taking the proper steps to dispose of your credit card, you can help protect yourself from identity theft and unauthorized purchases.

Why Proper Disposal is Necessary

Improper disposal of credit cards can lead to identity theft, fraud, and other financial crimes. When a credit card is thrown away without being properly destroyed, it can be easily retrieved by thieves who can use it to make unauthorized purchases or access personal information.

While some people may think that cutting up a credit card into a few pieces is enough to dispose of it, this is not the case. Thieves can still retrieve the information on the card and use it to commit fraud. It is important to destroy the card completely to ensure that no information can be retrieved from it.

Proper disposal of credit cards also helps protect the environment. Credit cards are made of plastic and other materials that can take hundreds of years to decompose in landfills. By properly disposing of credit cards, individuals can help reduce the amount of waste that ends up in landfills and contribute to a healthier environment.

Overall, it is important to take the necessary steps to properly dispose of credit cards to avoid the risk of identity theft and fraud, as well as to protect the environment.

Methods of Disposal

Physical Destruction

One method of disposing of a credit card is through physical destruction. This method involves rendering the card unusable by damaging it beyond repair. Here are some ways to physically destroy a credit card:

  • Cut the card into small pieces with scissors or a paper shredder.
  • Use a hammer or other heavy object to smash the card into pieces.
  • Burn the card in a fireproof container.

It is important to note that simply cutting the card in half may not be enough to prevent fraud, as thieves can still use the intact magnetic strip to make purchases online or over the phone.

Electronic Wipe

Another method of disposing of a credit card is through electronic wipe. This method involves erasing all data from the card’s magnetic strip and chip, rendering it useless. Here are some ways to electronically wipe a credit card:

  • Use a degausser, which is a device that uses a magnetic field to erase data from the card.
  • Use a data-erasing software program, which can be downloaded onto a computer or mobile device.

It is important to note that some credit card companies offer their own methods of electronic wipe, such as through their mobile app or website.

Overall, it is important to dispose of credit cards properly to prevent fraud and protect personal information.

Disposal Services

For those who want a more secure and convenient way to dispose of their credit cards, there are several disposal services available. These services can help ensure that sensitive information is properly destroyed and that the physical card is disposed of in an environmentally friendly way.

One popular option is to use a shredding service. Many office supply stores and shipping centers offer shredding services for a fee. Customers can bring in their credit cards to be shredded along with any other sensitive documents they need to dispose of. This is a quick and easy way to ensure that the card is destroyed beyond recognition.

Another option is to use a professional disposal service. These companies specialize in the secure disposal of electronic devices and other sensitive materials. They can provide a certificate of destruction to ensure that the card has been properly disposed of. Some companies even offer on-site shredding services for added convenience.

For those who prefer to dispose of their credit cards themselves, there are a few steps to take. First, cut the card into small pieces using scissors or a pair of shears. Be sure to cut through the magnetic strip and the chip to prevent anyone from being able to retrieve the information. Then, dispose of the pieces in a secure trash can or take them to a recycling center that accepts plastic materials.

Overall, there are several options available for safely and securely disposing of credit cards. Whether using a professional service or doing it oneself, taking the time to properly dispose of these sensitive materials can help prevent identity theft and protect personal information.

Preventing Identity Theft

When disposing of a credit card, it is important to take steps to prevent identity theft. Criminals can use the information on a discarded card to steal the owner’s identity and make unauthorized purchases. Here are some tips to help prevent this from happening:

  • Shred the card: Use a cross-cut shredder to destroy the card. This will make it more difficult for someone to piece together the information on the card.
  • Cut the card in half: If a shredder is not available, cut the card in half with scissors. Make sure to cut through the chip and the magnetic strip.
  • Dispose of the card properly: Do not simply throw the card in the trash. Instead, dispose of it in a secure manner, such as at a shredding event or in a secure disposal bin.
  • Monitor credit reports: Regularly check credit reports for any unauthorized activity. This can help catch identity theft early and minimize the damage.
  • Protect personal information: Be cautious when sharing personal information, such as a Social Security number or date of birth. Only share this information when necessary and with trusted sources.

By taking these steps, individuals can help protect themselves from identity theft when disposing of a credit card.


Disposing of a credit card is an important task that should not be taken lightly. It is crucial to ensure that the card is disposed of properly to avoid identity theft and fraud.

There are several methods for disposing of a credit card, including cutting it into small pieces, shredding it, or using a card destruction device. It is important to choose a method that will completely destroy the card and make it impossible for anyone to use the information on it.

Before disposing of a credit card, it is important to remove any personal information, such as the card number and expiration date. This information can be found on the front and back of the card. It is also important to cut up or shred any documents that contain personal information related to the credit card, such as statements or receipts.

Remember, once a credit card is no longer needed, it is important to dispose of it properly to protect yourself from identity theft and fraud. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can safely and securely dispose of your credit card and protect your personal information.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some creative ways to destroy credit cards?

Some creative ways to destroy credit cards include shredding them with a paper shredder, cutting them into small pieces with scissors, or using a pair of pliers to bend and break them. Some people have even used a hammer or a drill to destroy their credit cards.

Can you recycle old credit cards?

Unfortunately, credit cards cannot be recycled in the same way as other plastic items. This is because they are made of a combination of different materials, including PVC, which cannot be easily recycled. However, some companies offer credit card recycling programs, so it’s worth checking with your credit card issuer to see if they have any options available.

How do you safely dispose of a metal credit card?

Metal credit cards should be treated differently than traditional plastic credit cards. To safely dispose of a metal credit card, it’s best to cut it into small pieces with a pair of heavy-duty scissors or a pair of pliers. This will prevent anyone from being able to use the card or its information.

What should you do with expired credit cards?

Expired credit cards should be cut up and disposed of in the same way as active credit cards. It’s important to make sure that all of the information on the card is destroyed to prevent identity theft.

Is it safe to burn credit cards?

No, it is not safe to burn credit cards. Burning credit cards can release toxic chemicals into the air, which can be harmful to both humans and the environment. It’s best to stick to other methods of destroying credit cards, such as shredding or cutting them up.

What are some alternatives to throwing away old credit cards?

If you don’t want to throw away your old credit cards, there are a few alternatives. Some people choose to keep them as a backup in case their current card is lost or stolen. Others choose to repurpose them into craft projects, such as creating jewelry or art. However, it’s important to keep in mind that any personal information on the card should be removed before repurposing it.