What to do with expired credit cards
The safest thing you can do with an old credit card is destroy it. So get your scissors and follow the 4 quick steps below.
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All credit cards eventually expire. The month and year will be printed on the front of your card and your bank will usually send you a replacement card before this date. But what should you do with your old card? Here's how to safely dispose of your credit card and get answers to other frequently asked questions about credit card expiry.
What to do with your old credit card
Once you've received and activated your replacement card, you can get rid of your old card. You should avoid throwing your card straight into the trash, as someone could find it. While they won't be able to use the card to make transactions, someone could use the personal information listed on the card or the data stored in the card's magnetic strip to commit identity fraud. So you should destroy it first.
How to destroy your expired credit card
Here are the steps you can take to safely dispose of your expired credit card:
- Cut your card horizontally. Use a strong pair of scissors to cut through your card horizontally, making sure you're cutting straight through the embossed account number on the front, your signature on the back and the magnetic strip (which contains your personal information).
- Cut your card vertically. Cut the pieces of your card vertically at every two to four digits.
- Don't forget the CVV code. Your CVV number (or security code) is the 3-digits listed on the back of your card. Find this part of your card and cut it into small pieces so that it can't be read or put back together.
- Destroy the chip. This is the silver or gold square chip that's usually found on the left-hand side of your card. You can either cut this up with scissors or smash it with a hammer - have some fun.
Once you've cut up your card and you're sure that the pieces can't be put back together or used, you can dispose of the card. You should throw the separate fragments away in a few different bins so that the pieces can't be recovered and put back together.
If you're also throwing out any documents (such as old bank statements), you could consider putting those through a paper shredder, cutting them up and recycling them in a separate bin to the remains of your card.
Frequently asked questions about expired credit cards
When does my credit card expire?
Your credit card expiry will be listed as a month and a year on the front of your credit card. Let's say that your expiry date is 05/2024, your card would expire at the end of May 2024.
Can I use my credit card after it has expired?
No, you can't use your credit card after its expiry. If you do, your transaction will be declined. You should receive a replacement card that you can activate and use before your old card expires.
Will my new credit card have the same numbers?
If your card has expired, your replacement credit card should have the same account number and name printed on the front but it will have a different expiration date and security CVV number. This is why you'll need to update any direct debits with your new card information once it's been activated.
Can I recycle the plastic from my destroyed credit card?
Unfortunately not. According to waster.com.au, because credit cards are made of PVC (a synthetic chemical plastic), they cannot be recycled.
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