Step 1: Disable Magnetic Strip
The easiest way to disable the magnetic strip is to run a magnet across the strip. This should disable the data contained in the strip. You can also take scissors and score the strip to make it unreadable.
Step 2: Destroy Smart Chips/RFIDs
Some credit cards contain smart chips/RFIDs. If your card has a smart chip, you can smash it with a hammer prior to destroying the card.
Step 3: Destroy the Card
The next step is destroying the card. While some people like to burn their cards, another effective method is to cut the card into pieces. Some shredders have the ability to shred credit cards, but a standard pair of scissors should work just fine. The key is to cut your card strategically. This means cutting across the numbers and name information of the front of the card, cutting through the magnetic strip, and cutting through your signature and CVV number on the back of the card.
Step 4: Dispose of the Card
It's not enough to cut up your card and throw it in the trash. Savvy thieves can piece your card together. Use separate trash cans to dispose of your card. You may even want to throw out half of it one week and the second half the following week.
When disposing of old credit cards, take the time to do it properly--your identity, banking, and credit card information will thank you.
- I used my credit card at Target during the holidays and am worried the hackers got my card information. What can I do to protect myself?
- I want a credit card that has a low authorized lending amount so if it's stolen or compromised my liability is limited.
- I was Christmas shopping and went to the counter to check out and my credit card wouldn't work. Discover turned it off! I had made too many transactions. Should I be angry? I lost all my Christmas gifts.