How to Dispose of Metal Credit Cards

Credit card issuers are constantly coming up with new strategies to bring on new card members or keep current card members satisfied.

Metal credit cards are proving popular with a lot of people. The heavier weight gives the cardholder a feeling of importance and heft behind the transaction that a flimsy, plastic card doesn’t provide.

As glamorous as it might seem, it has this upside, however, that also makes metal cards harder to dispose of when it comes time to stop using them. It’s not as simple as the easy disposal of a plastic card, which can be easily destroyed with scissors.

Why Should You Dispose of Your Metal Credit Card?

Dispose of Your Metal Credit Card

Usually, disposing of a credit card you no longer use is as easy as reaching for a pair of scissors or a home shredder.

As more issuers are making the switch to sturdier metal credit cards—and this trend doesn’t seem to be going anywhere—safely getting rid of old cards is a little more complicated.

All credit cards have expiration dates. In most cases, the credit card issuer simply sends a new replacement card within a few months of that date. A user can cut up the old card with plastic credit cards and discard it. But with metal cards, it’s not as easy to just destroy them by cutting them into pieces when they expire.

Credit card users may also want to destroy a metal card if fraud has occurred on the account, if they no longer want easy access to the card in an effort to reduce spending, if the account is no longer in use, or perhaps the card number was compromised in a scam and needs replacement.

No matter the reason, it’s just as important to dispose of the card in a way that prevents further use and destroys personal information.

How Can I Safely Dispose of Metal Credit Cards?

Fortunately, you have a number of options if you want to dispose of a metal credit card for whatever reason. Here are the most popular methods for disposing of a metal credit card and how well they work.

1. Return It to the Card Issuer by Mail.

The easiest and safest way to dispose of a metal card is to return it by mail to the card issuer. Almost all issuers recommend this, and most even provide an addressed, postage-paid envelope with the card when it’s mailed or when a replacement is issued.

If you don’t receive a prepaid envelope with your newly-issued card or you lose track of the one included with your old card, simply call the phone number on the back of your card to request one or ask for further assistance in disposing of your card.

Old cards are subsequently disposed of or recycled by the credit card company, and cardholders can be guaranteed that the card issuer safely disposes of their card details.

2. Keep It in a Safe Place

If you have a secure filing cabinet that houses your important documents, you may decide to just throw this card in there to keep it from getting into anyone else’s hands.

Keeping your card safely out of sight can be a good solution for avoiding temptation if you don’t want to risk (temporarily) hurting your credit score by closing the account. It also allows you to maintain access to the card in an emergency.

If you do decide to stash your old card away at home, make sure that you keep it in a safe, relatively inaccessible place where your information’s security won’t be compromised.

By doing this, you are not legally destroying it, but locking it away prevents your card from ending up in the wrong hands. Even if you subsequently want to mail your card to the issuer or buy tin snips, it’s a smart idea to keep it locked up temporarily.

3. Take It To The Bank

If you live near the financial institution that issued the card, you should be able to surrender the card to a bank or credit union employee for proper disposal.

They may be able to accept the card on the spot, or they can indicate other options and services.

How Can I Destroy Metal Credit Cards?

The options listed above are easy to follow through, but if you’d rather take care of it yourself, here are some other things you can try.

1. Use Tin Snips to Cut It into Pieces

use tin snips to cut metal credit cards
Metal Snips

Credit cards made entirely of metal will not be cut with regular scissors. Use tin snips or another instrument made specifically for cutting down the metal in its place. If you don’t already have a pair at home, you may get one at your local hardware shop.

Tin snips are useful for slicing through other metals or even thick plastic packaging, so they may be worth keeping around. It’s useful to have a pair of snips on hand in case you need to destroy any further metal credit cards in the future.

Tin snips are shears used to cut sheet metal and other tough materials, and they should do the trick with any metal card you have lying around. You can get the Crescent Wiss 9-¾ Action Snips on Amazon.

2. Use Heavy-Duty Scissors

Most likely, your standard paper scissors or your child’s school scissors won’t be sufficient for the task. So, by bypassing those, you may spare yourself the stress and possibly the cost of buying new scissors.

On the other hand, there are certain robust scissors that advertise being able to cut thin metals. Beyond the destruction of credit cards, they appear to operate pretty similarly to tin snips, so you could discover further useful uses for them.

3. Mangle It With Pliers

use pliers to cut metal credit cards

If you have a good set of pliers in your toolbox, you could probably bend and contort your metal credit card to ensure it’s no longer useable or recognizable. When disposing of a card, this is the most important thing; make sure the important information is otherwise unrecognizable.

4. Use a Drill or Torch

A more extreme method of destroying a metal credit card is to get more advanced tools. Some credit card users have reported using a drill or metal cutting machine to destroy a metal credit card with varying levels of success. You could use a drill to put holes through your chip, magnetic stripe, and some of the numbers on the card to leave it unusable.

5. Throw It in Your Fire Pit

melt metal credit card in firepit
Source @Samantha Cain

This is very popular. Many people have tried this and recorded success. Backyard fire pits are as popular as ever, and it shouldn’t take much time at the bottom of the pit before your card is almost unrecognizable.

Other Tips and Precautions

Avoid Using a Paper Shredder

It is highly dangerous even with high-capacity shredders only designed to shred paper sheets and plastic credit cards. Metal cards often come with a warning that they shouldn’t be used. 

According to several manufacturers, metal should never be put into a shredder since it might harm the machinery. Additionally, it can violate the guarantee on your shredder, leaving you to pay for any necessary repairs or replacements.

Beware of Third-Party Services

Don’t hand over an old credit card to anyone other than the card issuer, even if the card has already been canceled or expired.

If you decide to use a third-party service, make sure you do your research before mailing your credit card to a firm that claims to destroy it for you. If your card falls into the wrong hands, you risk it being used fraudulently.

Do not Trash or Recycle It

Throwing it away doesn’t accomplish the goal of destroying the card. And while there’s probably a reasonable chance that it will end up harmlessly in a landfill or recycling center, it’s still an unnecessary risk.

Bottom Line

Metal credit cards can be a little trickier to dispose of than plastic ones, but it’s still possible. Asking your credit card provider for advice on properly disposing of your metal credit card is typically the safest and most practical course of action.

Also, remember not to discard your cash back or earn points even if you cancel the card itself. Verify your accounts to make sure you don’t still have any incentives that need to be used up before they expire or get forfeited when an account is closed.

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