How to Destroy a Metal Credit Card
If you are researching how to destroy a metal credit card, you will find this is no easy task.
After my metal Discover card expired, I needed to find a way to destroy it so my card data did not end up in the wrong hands.
The card issuer was no help, so I had to figure it out on my own.
Below is my research and personal experience on the best and worst ways to destroy a metal credit card.
The best way to destroy a metal credit card
The absolute best way to destroy a metal credit card is by sending it back to your credit card issuer.
Your card issuer should have industrial strength shredding equipment onsite.
They may also have relationships with trusted third parties to safely dispose of your card.
Contact your bank or credit card company using the phone number on the back of the card itself, and request they send you a prepaid envelope.
Simply put your card in the envelope and place it in the mail, and your credit card company will take care of destroying your metal card for you.
The exact steps I took to destroy my metal credit card
As mentioned above, I was not able to send my card back to Discover as they no longer have metal cards in their product line.
This means they no longer have processes in place to process and dispose of metal cards, so I was forced to experiment.
Below are the exact steps I took to destroy my metal credit card.
Step 1 – Bending
I started off by bending the card back and forth in an attempt to snap the card into smaller pieces.
Unfortunately, I was not able to get the bends to hit the same spot each time, so there was no hope in getting the metal to snap.
Step 2: Cutting
Next I attempted to cut the metal card with household scissors, but they were no match.
I do not have metal snips, so I used a pair of diagonal pliers (aka “dikes”).
These left marks but did not make clean cuts.
However, using both of these tools caused a small area of the plastic coating to separate from the metal card.
Step 3: Peeling
I used the scissors to get underneath the raised plastic coating, and then used my fingernails to carefully peal the plastic coating off the metal card core.
The same steps were performed on the back of the card.
Step 4: Damaging
One thing I noticed is the EMV chip was not attached to the plastic coating.
I used the diagonal pliers to push and pop the EMV chip out so it could also be destroyed in the next step.
Step 5: Shredding
Finally, I threw the two plastic coated layers and the EMV chip into my shredder and let the shredder do the rest.
The metal card was discarded in the trash as it does not contain any sensitive information.
The final result is below, and I now have peace of mind knowing my credit card information has been completely destroyed.
Recap: How to destroy it yourself (DIY)
It may be tempting to place your metal credit card in the card slot of your paper shredder.
While most paper shredders can handle plastic credit cards and small staples, nearly all will be destroyed by metal cards especially if they are made of a harder material like tungsten.
Instead of ruining your paper shredder, try the options below in order to see which is best to destroy your metal credit card.
Make sure you also read how I destroyed my metal card (with pictures) in the previous section.
- Bend: If you are able to bend the card, try bending it back and forth to see if you can get it to snap. If successful, keep doing this until the card is in multiple pieces.
- Peal: Some metal cards have plastic layers on each side. Try to bend the card enough to get the plastic to separate from the metal, and use tweezers or your fingers to pull the plastic layer off. If successful, throw the plastic pieces in your shredder or cut it up with scissors.
- Cut: If you can bend the card but it refuses to break into pieces, try cutting the card with metal snips or a heavy duty pair of scissors (if you are willing to risk dulling the blade).
- Damage: When all else fails, you may have to use more extreme measures. The main objective is to disable the magstripe and chip and remove the ability to view the card number and security codes. Try drilling holes into the card’s chip and magstripe and/or use a sharp object to scrape and scratch the card data. Even a cigar torch from a local market can sometimes damage a metal card enough to make it unusable.
Other options to destroy metal credit cards
There are a few additional options if you do not want to hassle with destroying your card or sending it back to the credit card issuer.
Keep it in a safe place
This is the “set it and forget” it method.
Place your metal card in a house safe or a good hiding space that is out of sight and not easily accessible.
This option is easy, but there is a level of risk it will be stolen.
Even if you throw your old metal card in a drawer, try to scratch the magstripe and chip (if you can).
You can also write “VOID” on the signature area to deter theft and fraud.
Get creative and repurpose it
Most metal cards are beautiful and made of expensive materials.
It would be a shame to destroy it and throw it away.
Assuming the card number and security codes are not on the front of the card, cover the back and cast your metal card in clear epoxy resin.
Use it as a paper weight or hang it on your wall as an actual piece of metal card art.
Drop it off at a local bank
If your credit card issuer has a brick and mortar location in your area, drop by and speak with a banker.
Even if the bank is not the same company that issued the card, it does not hurt to ask as some banks offer to destroy metal cards as a courtesy or for a small fee.
If the bank is not able to destroy your metal card directly, inquire with the banker if any other options are available.
You can even save time and gas by calling in advance to verify what services the bank offers.
Metal credit cards look great and are extremely durable.
They are so durable that they are nearly impossible to destroy.
Luckily, there are multiple options available such as sending it back, repurposing it, or having DIY-style fun destroying the metal card yourself.
Now that you know how to destroy a metal credit card, pick you favorite method and have fun.
Please consider sharing this article.