Plastic credit cards are easily destroyed by simply cutting them up with a household pair of scissors. But in recent years, some credit card issuers have started issuing metal credit cards. While these have become somewhat of a status symbol, the problem comes in trying to figure out how to dispose of metal credit cards.
It’s good practice to destroy a metal credit card once you’re done using it so that nobody can access your personal information. However, disposing of a metal credit card is not as easy as using a pair of regular household scissors. Thankfully, there are a few options to consider if you want to know how to destroy a metal credit card.
Why Should You Destroy a Metal Credit Card?
The biggest reason to destroy a metal credit card is to make sure that nobody uses your credit card information.
Even though most credit card companies have a $0 fraud liability policy, you don’t want to deal with the hassle of unauthorized purchases. And even if you’ve canceled your credit card or it’s expired, you’ll still want to destroy it, since it has personal information that might be used in different types of identity theft.
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Factors to Consider Before Destroying a Credit Card
Before destroying a metal credit card, you’ll want to make sure that it makes sense to cancel your account.
If you’re still using a credit card through automatic payments or recurring purchases, make sure to cancel those or move them to other cards. Once you close your account and dispose of your metal credit card, any such purchases will be declined.
Also take into account any potential impacts on your credit score that closing your account may have. Closing an account could increase your credit utilization ratio since you’ll have less available overall credit, and it could also lower the age of your accounts, depending on how long you’ve had your account. Both factors could lead to a dip in your credit score.
Before moving forward with closing your account, you’ll also want to take a look at your rewards to ensure you wouldn’t lose what you’ve already earned. Also remember that you’ll still need to pay off your card’s balance in full. Keep an eye out for any final payments that might roll in after your account is closed.
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Ways to Get Rid of a Metal Credit Card
If you’re confident you want to move forward, here are some options for how to dispose of a metal credit card.
Sending It Back to Your Credit Card Issuer
One of the best ways to dispose of a metal credit card is to return it directly to your credit card issuer. Most credit card issuers will provide you with a postage-paid envelope to return your metal credit card, if you ask. This can be a great (and relatively secure) way to dispose of your metal credit card.
Returning It to a Physical Bank Branch
Another option for returning your metal credit card to your credit card issuer is by bringing it to a physical bank branch. Of course, this is only a viable option if your issuer has physical branches near you. If your card has reached its credit card expiration date and you want to get rid of it, this can be a reasonable option.
Stowing It Away
Another option for disposing of a metal credit card is to simply stow it away somewhere safe in your house. This could be a filing cabinet, sock drawer, or anywhere else in your home. While this isn’t a great long-term solution, since there is some risk, it may work in the short-term.
Destroying It on Your Own
The final option for disposing of a metal credit card that you’re no longer using is destroying it on your own. After all, this is the preferred solution for most non-metal credit cards. And it is still possible with a metal credit card, though it is a bit trickier, as you’ll see in the next section.
Guide to Disposing a Metal Credit Card on Your Own
For those who want to DIY the destruction of their metal card, here’s how you destroy metal credit cards.
Using Tin Snips
If you have a pair of tin snips, that’s probably the easiest way to destroy a metal credit card on your own. Tin snips should make quick work of most metal credit cards. If you don’t have a pair of tin snips yourself, check with friends and family to see if you can borrow a pair.
Using Heavy-Duty Scissors
While most traditional or kitchen scissors will not do much to a metal credit card, if you have a heavy-duty pair of scissors, you may be in luck. Heavy-duty scissors made of stainless steel or titanium may be able to help you destroy and dispose of a metal credit card.
Mangling It With Pliers
If you don’t have heavy-duty scissors or tin snips, another option is to use a regular pair of pliers. While this may not be the most practical way to dispose of a metal credit card, it could be worth a try.
Drilling Holes Into It
If you have a power drill with metal-cutting bits, you might be able to dispose of your metal credit card by drilling holes into it. You’d just need to drill enough holes in your card to remove any of your personal information as well as the EMV chip. Keep in mind that you’ll need a powerful drill with special bits — it’s unlikely that a regular drill will do the job.
Using a Blow Torch
If you have access to a blow torch, and are knowledgeable enough about it to be able to use it safely, you may have luck using it to destroy your metal credit card. Of course, if you have a big enough shop to have a blow torch, you probably also have a pair of tin snips. That will be much easier, but maybe not as fun!
Throwing It in Your Fire Pit
While you may be able to destroy your metal credit card by simply throwing it in your fire pit, this may not be the most environmentally-conscious way to dispose of your metal credit card. Many metal credit cards have different kinds of metals in them that may not be safe to burn.
Avoid These Methods for Discarding a Metal Credit Card
Out of the many ways you can dispose of your metal credit card, here are the methods to steer clear of.
Giving It to Third-Party Services
One of the top credit card rules is that you should not give your personal information out to anyone. This still holds true, even if your credit card account is closed. Your personal information can still be used for identity theft or other nefarious purposes. Either destroy your metal credit card yourself, or deal directly with your credit card issuer.
Throwing It Away or Recycling It
You’ll also want to avoid simply throwing your metal credit card away or recycling it. You may be trying to take advantage of “security by obscurity,” hoping that nobody will find it. But because of how a credit card works, it’s easy for anybody that has your card to access your account and your personal information. Don’t take that risk — make sure to destroy your card responsibly.
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Using a Paper Shredder
While most paper shredders do have the capacity to shred a non-metal credit card, it is unlikely that your typical paper shredder can handle a metal credit card. You are more likely to damage your paper shredder and still have an intact metal credit card.
Using Traditional Scissors
Traditional kitchen scissors will not be able to destroy most metal credit cards. While you’re unlikely to damage your scissors, you’re also quite unlikely to make any progress trying to destroy your metal card with a traditional pair of scissors.
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While it may be trickier to destroy a metal credit card than it is to get rid of a plastic credit card, it’s still important to do. You don’t want your personal information floating around for anyone to possibly use. Even if your credit card account is closed, you still run the risk of someone using the card to steal your identity. The easiest way to destroy a metal credit card is securely sending it back to your credit card issuer.
While a metal credit card may feel like a novelty, the top priority when choosing a credit card is how it will serve you. With the SoFi Credit Card, for instance, you can earn unlimited 2% cash back rewards that you can use to invest in fractional shares or to pay down eligible SoFi debt.. For a limited time, new credit card holders who also sign up for a SoFi Checking and Savings with direct deposit can start earning 3% cash back rewards on all eligible credit card purchases for 365 days*. Offer ends 12/31/22.
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What is the safest way to destroy a credit card?
The safest way to destroy a metal credit card is to securely send it back to your credit card issuer. Most credit card issuers will send you a postage-paid envelope that will allow you to send the metal card back to them. Alternatively, you can return it directly back to a physical branch location.
How do I get rid of a metal credit card at home?
One of the easiest ways to get rid of a metal credit card at home is using tin snips. If you have a pair of tin snips, they will make quick work of a metal credit card. Just make sure to be careful with the rough metal edges once you cut it up.
Can you burn a metal credit card?
It is possible to burn a metal credit card, though it may not be the most environmentally-conscious thing to do. Burning a metal credit card may release toxic gasses into the air.
Can I destroy my metal credit card with tin snips?
Yes, destroying a metal credit card with tin snips is one of the easiest ways to dispose of a metal credit card. Of all the different options for destroying a metal credit card at home, tin snips are the tool that is most likely to be found in the homes of most credit card consumers.
Photo credit: iStock/Katya_Havok
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