It used to be that the only people who had access to a metal credit card were those elite consumers who had the elusive and mysterious American Express Black Card, often known as the Centurion Card now. This is a sleek metal credit card that is far more durable than plastic cards but also comes with additional concerns during account closure or other events, like expiration, that require the card to be destroyed. Now that more and more card issuers are coming out with their version of a metal card, this concern isn't limited to the wealthy anymore.
Destroying a metal credit card will most often require it to be returned to the credit card issuer, where it will be handled by internal destruction policies. When attempting to destroy one at home, special equipment or additional tools may be needed.
Metal credit cards are no longer limited to wealthy customers that have top-tier credit, and there are countless credit card issuers and banks that are issuing metal cards to account holders. This is putting metal cards in the hands of millions more Americans, which are made more durable than plastic cards and are likely to last for many years but come with the drawback of being much harder to destroy than grabbing the nearest pair of scissors. Here is how you can destroy one of the popular metal credit cards if you have one but will no longer need it.
How To Destroy A Metal Credit Card
Destroying a credit card is a rare occurrence, but there are times when it is necessary. In situations where an existing card expires, the old one needs to be destroyed once the new one is activated. This is the same reason that they must also be destroyed following account closure, whether the account is closed by the action of the customer or by the action of the issuing bank.
Drop It Off At A Local Branch
All credit cards are issued by banks or similar financial entities, and in many cases, these banks have physical, brick & mortar locations where you can conduct bank business. In cases like this, you can simply drop off your card with a bank associate, such as a teller or manager, and they will keep the card secured until it is destroyed with similar items the bank handles. Depending on who the issuer is and their local locations, however, this may not be possible for many consumers.
Mail It To The Issuer
Another option for having the card destroyed is to mail it back to the issuer, per the guidelines and terms of the account. This will put the metal card securely in the hands of people who will destroy it with other sensitive items in a confidential manner. One of the drawbacks to this method, though is that there is the possibility for the card to be lost or intercepted while in transit, allowing it to then be potentially used for unauthorized transactions.
Physically Destroy It At Home
Sometimes, if you want to make sure something is done right, you have to simply do it yourself. This leads many consumers to want to destroy their card at home, but that can be far more challenging with a metal credit card than with a conventional plastic card. Since most metal cards are made from aluminum or lightweight steel alloy, this can make destruction difficult and can require the use of tools.
Chime Metal Card
One of the most popular metal cards for the masses right now is the Chime Metal Card, which is offered by the app-based Chime Bank.
What Is The Chime Metal Card?
The Chime Metal Card is a sleek metal card that Chime offers to eligible account holders. It functions just like traditional plastic cards, but the card itself is constructed from a lightweight, strong metal, which gives it surprising durability.
Is The Chime Metal Card A Debit Or Credit Card?
Chime offers the Metal Card for both types of accounts that it offers. Chime users may be able to obtain a Metal Card for either their primary spending account or for their Credit Builder account. Some users may even be able to get both, though the requirements for doing so may make that difficult for many people to reach.
How Can I Get The Chime Metal Card?
The Chime Metal Card is not available to all members at all times. Chime will periodically run promotions where customers can earn a Metal Card by fulfilling certain criteria in a certain time frame. The most common form of this is to grant Metal Cards to customers who can complete a certain number of transactions in a month, after which they are mailed a metal card.
Keep reading: What Are the Hardest Credit Cards to Get? [ANSWERED]
How Do I Get Rid Of A Metal Credit Card At Home?
If you have decided to try to destroy your metal credit card at home, you will be able to personally ensure its destruction, but it will likely cost you a little time and effort. In most cases, at least one of the tools that can be used to damage the card will already be in the home. Metal credit cards can be cut, drilled, or torched.
One common way for consumers to destroy a metal card is to cut it up into small pieces with metal snips. Snips are like large scissors meant for sheet metal, and they will have sturdy blades and handles that can multiply your force and cut the card. Snips can be bought from a hardware store for a very modest cost in many cases and are easy for most people to use.
If you use snips to destroy your metal credit card, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, be sure that you destroy the physical card number and the three or four-digit code on the back as well. You will also need to make sure that you destroy the magnetic stripe and chip. Don't throw the pieces away all in the same place.
Another popular way to render a metal credit card unusable is to destroy it with a regular household drill. To destroy your metal credit card with a drill, you will need a drill and drill bit, as well as a secure place to clamp the card so that it can be effectively drilled without risk of injury.
When drilling the card, just as if you were to use snips, be sure you are destroying all of the pertinent data on the card. Drill holes in the magnetic stripe and the RFID chip, and be sure to drill holes in the numbers printed or embossed on the card as well so that the card information can no longer be used.
Related post: How to Avoid Paying Interest on a Credit Card
The final way to destroy a metal credit card at home is to use a torch, like a handheld propane or butane torch commonly used for brazing or sweating plumbing fittings in home improvement projects. You won't be able to melt the card completely, but you will be able to soften it so that it can be folded and deformed beyond usability. Be sure this is done in an open area with plenty of ventilation to avoid any complications with potential fumes.
How Not To Destroy A Metal Credit Card
Some folks may try to take the path of least resistance, but this can lead to issues. Make sure you don't try either of the following methods to destroy your metal credit card; it may come back to haunt you.
Don't Try To Shred It
One thing that you should not do is to try to dispose of or destroy your metal credit card in a conventional shredder. While many shredders can accommodate shredding of conventional plastic credit cards, they will not be able to handle a metal credit card. In the best-case scenario, the card will not be destroyed, and the shredder will jam or break. In a worst-case scenario, the inadequate strength of the shredder can result in broken pieces or even shrapnel being ejected from the shredder during the attempt.
Don't Trust A Third-Party Service
While there are secure destruction services that are used by some larger companies to securely destroy large amounts of confidential paperwork or sensitive information that cannot simply be thrown into the trash, they are not commonly used by individuals. Anyone offering to destroy your card for you is likely trying to scam you or commit fraud in some capacity, particularly if you receive the offer in a suspicious email or text message.
Permanently Destroying A Metal Credit Card At Home
If you have gotten one of the many metal credit cards that are available now and have subsequently tired of it or have chosen to close the account, the best move to ensure it doesn't get misused is to destroy it. The only way to do this at home is to use metal snips, a torch, or a drill that will permanently, physically destroy the card and render it completely unusable.
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Shawn Manaher is a former financial advisor, has founded 5 online businesses, and is a coach, speaker, podcast host, and author. He's been featured on Forbes, The Consults Corner on TAE Radio, The Writing Biz, What's Your Story, and more.