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How to Properly Destroy a Credit Card

Follow these steps when destroying a credit card to protect your identity – and your credit.


  • Step 1: Demagnetize the magnetic strip Run a magnet along the card's magnetic strip to demagnetize it and remove the information it holds.
  • Step 2: Cut up the numbers Slice each four-digit set of numbers into at least two pieces.
  • Step 3: Finish the cutting job Ensure that the signature, magnetic strip, and CVV number – the three-digit code on the back – have all been cut into small pieces.
  • TIP: Feed your credit card through a shredder with a cross-cutting function.
  • Step 4: Destroy the chip Destroy the credit card chip by cutting it up or smashing it with a hammer.
  • TIP: Don't burn the card. Credit cards made of plastic often contain inks, holograms, and metals that create toxic fumes.
  • Step 5: Spread out the pieces Deposit the pieces of your credit card in different trash cans around your house so that they end up in different garbage bags.
  • FACT: Did you know? Identify theft carries a maximum prison term of 15 years, a fine, and forfeiture of property the thief used, or intended to use, to commit the offense.

You Will Need

  • A magnet
  • Scissors
  • A hammer
  • Several trash cans
  • A cross-cutting shredder (optional)

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