What Do I Do With My Old Expired Credit Card?

Do you have any old expired or cancelled credit cards laying around the home?

Most of us actually carry them in our wallets, not realising that the card has actually expired until we get stuck on the checkout and look on in embarrassment as the card gets declined because it is no longer valid. When you receive a new credit card in the mail, you need to dispose of your old one.

To make the changeover work efficiently, your new credit card will be good for use before your old one actually expires. This means that you may start using your new one, but your old one could also be used by someone else if it is not completely destroyed. Remember that even when it is past its expiry date, your old credit card contains all the account information that a thief would need to carry out some serious mischief.

Can I toss my expired credit card into the trash bin?

Since you ask, no - at least not as it is in its current state. An expired credit card should never be tossed out as a whole. Many people believe that because a credit card has actually expired they no longer need to treat it with caution, so they throw it into the trash only to become the next identity theft victim.

In order to be and stay safe, destroy your expired credit card first using safe methods to do so.

Credit card thieves and identity theft crooks only need to have your name, your credit card number and the card's expiry date to make purchases or fake an identity and even if the card is no longer valid, a good liar can do more than you wish in order to get your private data.

If you dispose of your expired credit card in the right way you avoid further hassles in the future.

So what would you rather do with your expired credit card?

middle-aged guy thinking about what to do with expired credit card

How to go about destroying your old credit card:

The most obvious is to dispose of them safely, regardless how. But the following ideas will take care of the worries of finding a safe method to get rid of expired credit cards for you.

  • Scissors. Take a good strong pair of scissors - not the plastic ones your kid has for art and craft. This is like playing paper, rock and scissors. Certain materials defeat other materials, and plastic scissors will not cut plastic credit cards.
  • Horizontally. Make your first cut horizontally straight through the main set of embossed numbers on the front of the card, dividing each one in half.
  • Hologram. Make certain to cut around any entertaining little hologram thingy and keep it for absolutely no good reason.
  • Magnetic strip. Cut diagonally through the magnetic strip.
  • Vertically. Cut the top half vertically at every two to four digits, then do the same with the bottom half.
  • Check. Check you haven't just destroyed your new card by mistake. This check should really be done at the start.
  • Security code. Find the part that contains the three-digit security code on the reverse and cut that into pieces so it cannot be read or pieced back together.
  • Security chip. Hack through the little security chip diagonally.
  • Check cut pieces. Make sure that none of the pieces contain any information that could mean anything to anyone.
  • Dispose. Dispose of the pieces over a period of time, throwing out a few pieces for the bin men each time they come.

Other ways to dispose your expired credit card

  • Spread the pieces. Alternatively, take them out when you go into town and spread the pieces over several waste bins in various locations. Explain to the nice policeman who has been monitoring your suspicious activity that you are not actually a drug dealer making his drops.
  • Find a safe place. If you are the hoarder type then you can certainly store your expired credit card in a safe place. Whether you freeze it, dig a hole in the garden and bury it, sow it into your clothes or hang it up as a wall ornament is entirely up to you.
  • Craft. Crafty people have yet another option to dispose of their expired credit cards, they can join the wicked world of credit card art and design their own crazy, sexy, cool piece of art, made of expired credit cards.

A word of warning: Unless you own a professional shredding company with industrial shredders, be careful about putting your old credit card through a shredding machine, unless it is specifically advertised as being capable of mincing credit cards. This is the very easiest way to break a home shredder, then you will have to use your new credit card to buy another.

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