What is the best (in terms of security) way to destroy old (but still working) credit card?

  • 5
    oh sure, I can take care of that. Send it to my address :) :) Commented Jul 11, 2012 at 22:53
  • 5
    great! What is your address and full name? Commented Jul 12, 2012 at 1:56
  • drop it in a blender Commented Jul 12, 2012 at 9:49
  • Cut it and/or Shred it.
    – Ramhound
    Commented Jul 12, 2012 at 14:04
  • 1
    Propane torch. It will degauss the magentic strip, melt the card so the numbers are unreadable and destroy the chip/nfc components. Commented Sep 6, 2015 at 1:28

5 Answers 5


Best way? I'd say, melt it into a ball. However, I generally just aggressively attack them with scissors and throw various parts in various trash containers.

  • 1
    Why don't you just burn it? Put it in an ashtray with some flammable material, set it on fire and come back a few minutes later, there will be nothing left of the card. Plus, it's more exciting than cutting it with scissors... :p
    – Thomas
    Commented Jul 12, 2012 at 6:31
  • I also do this, cut it in infinite (yes, infinite) small pieces, and throw them in various trash.
    – Cyril N.
    Commented Jul 12, 2012 at 7:24
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    @Thomas - Burning it would decrease security - of your house... Commented Jul 12, 2012 at 12:33
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    @martinstoeckli Well, aggressively attacking the card with scissors decreases security of your fingers :)
    – Thomas
    Commented Jul 12, 2012 at 14:09
  • 1
    @Thomas - Ah yes, it's a really hard decision then :-) Commented Jul 12, 2012 at 14:17

Call the bank and cancel the card. It's the only way to prevent it from being used, since any merchant with whom you've previously used the card, or anyone who otherwise already has the card data (including simply a photograph of the card) could theoretically run it in a card-not-present transaction.

Once you cancel the card, the physical plastic card is relatively useless.

But if you want the most certain way to destroy a card, then the only way that is 100% effective and guaranteed to be absolutely irreversible is burning/melting it.

  • (Late comment but was the first result on my google search): Cancelling the card may not be sufficient/possible. In my case my card expired and bank sent me a new card, but it's exactly the same number, just the expiration date and cryptogram differs. I can't cancel the new card but have to destroy the old one.
    – zakinster
    Commented Jan 15, 2019 at 16:15

It depends on how far your want to go, but my choice is:

  1. Scrape a sharp pair of scissors across the magnetic strip on the back (thanks to the Mythbusters, it seems that running a regular magnet across the strip does not destroy the data).

  2. For the smart chip, make multiple cuts straight thorough the centre of the chip.

  3. Lastly, drop the remains into a cross cut shredder.

  • Hmmm, my shredder can't process the card... Commented Jul 12, 2012 at 0:04
  • @PaulPodlipensky - Purchase a shredder that can. If it can process a media disk then it should be able to process a credit card.
    – Ramhound
    Commented Jul 12, 2012 at 14:05
  • 2
    @PaulPodlipensky: Ask your favorite bank. They should accept cards and have some a card destruction policy. Likely a specialized shredder standing around somewhere.
    – pepe
    Commented Jul 12, 2012 at 17:15

Nail the card to a small piece of 2X4 scrap wood that you can throw away later with the magnetic side up. Use a piece of sand paper on a block to sand down the magnetic strip and the signature box on the back of the card. Then use a drill to drill holes in each number on the card and through the microchip embedded in the card. Most of these things you will see from the back side, that's why I suggest nailing it with the magnetic strip facing up. However, some cards also have numbers inked on the front so you may have to first use sand paper on those spots on the front of the card first. Once you've destroyed the magnetic strip, the microchip, the numbers that are impressed into the card and any inked on identification information, you can throw the wood away nobody can get the info off of it after you've done all that. But anyway, I think the question was already answered, I just thought I'd put my 2 cents in too.


Shredder AND cancel it with the bank!

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