What to Do With an Old or Expired Credit Card?

When something becomes unnecessary, we usually just throw it away. This is not the case with a bank card for several reasons. It is important to understand how to properly get rid of an old credit plastic card or recycle it. One of the options available is to recycle plastic credit cards or cut them with a pair of scissors. In addition, you can mail it back to banks and organizations that accept credit cards for further use. Sometimes, cards and other plastic are made into various products, such as keys and accessories, or even added as a piece of furniture. Below, you will find more relevant information on how to destroy your old one and expired credit card.

Why Should You Destroy an Expired Credit Card?

If you care about your security and privacy, then it is important to understand that a way to destroy your expired credit is an important step. After all, the card contains such important data as the cardholder’s name and account number. Therefore, you should not simply throw such a card in the trash because someone may always decide to misuse it. After the payment card is destroyed, its basic information becomes unusable. You could become a victim of credit card fraud if you do not treat card information responsibly. Because sometimes people can harm your financial security and your safety.

What to Do Before You Dispose of a Credit Card

Before you can get rid of your old credit card properly and fully protect your personal information, you need to understand how to do it correctly. The steps below will help you with this:

  • Pay off any outstanding balance. This will help you avoid additional costs, as high interest may be charged on top. In addition, timely payments and repayments contribute to a positive credit history. This is a must if you decide to stop using your credit card.
  • Use or transfer your rewards. You can also redeem your accumulated prizes. These can be cashback, reward points, airline miles, or other nice gifts. Some credit organizations allow you to exchange offers that appear in your account for gift cards, discounts, or other benefits. Don’t be afraid that such compensation may impact your credit history negatively, it’s not true.
  • Close the account. This step ensures that your shortcut will no longer be used. This can even be done over the phone. You can usually find the bank number on the back of your card. Also, you will need to provide credit card issuers with information to verify your identity.
  • Notify other users. Sometimes, credit cards are used by several people at the same time. Therefore, a warning about your plans will help to avoid possible misunderstandings. If one of the users intends to continue using the credit card, agree on further details.
  • Modify/cancel automatic payments. This helps to avoid problems and possible fines. This mode ensures timely and uninterrupted payments. This, in turn, will have a positive impact on your credit score.

What to Do with Expired Plastic Credit Cards and How to Destroy a Chip

As everyone knows, card expires at their specified time, after which they are deactivated. To find out how long the card will remain active, you need to look at its front side. It permanently indicates this data in the form of a month and a number. Here are some options for how to proceed:

  • Demagnetize the card. This can be done with a regular magnet. It is enough to run it several times along the strip. This card’s magnetic strip contains a lot of confidential information. After demagnetization, it will become unusable.
  • Destroy the chip. Such a chip is not exposed to magnetic fields, light scratches, and moisture. Therefore, more radical methods should be used here. For example, you can cut up your card with scissors or with a paper shredder. Or use a hammer or other impact tool to physically damage the back of the card. Ensure that it is unusable for further use.
  • Cut the card. For many people, the best way to dispose of old credit cards is to cut them up. Not only does it ensure that the card is destroyed, but it’s also the easiest way to do so. In addition, this method also prevents the card from being reconstructed or any information on it from being recovered.

What to Do with Expired Metal Credit Cards

This metal card is not just a piece of precious old metal. It is a pass to a comfortable and luxurious life for customers. Typically, every credit card of such type can be made of gold, silver, titanium, or palladium. Sometimes, to dispose of metal credit cards, you need to use more complex recycling methods:

  • You can try physical shredding. Instead of scissors, you should use metal shears. Make several cuts in different directions.
  • You can also try scratching the card. To do this, use a sharp object, such as a knife. The purpose of this method is to make the printed information, such as the line of credit number, illegible.
  • Additionally, you can try using chemicals. It can be bleach or solvent. This will help remove the printed information on the card and increase the efficiency of recycling.

How to Find Used Credit Card Accounts

If you’ve faced such a problem as losing access to credit accounts, don’t worry. There are several ways to restore it:

  • First, contact the bank that provided you with the prepay card. They will help you, but you will need to provide your identification data and answers to verification questions.
  • There are also special online banking platforms. Depending on the bank, you can log in to your account with a password. You can also view previous transactions there.
  • If you don’t have the above options, you can visit your local bank branch card or call the card issuer to ask for the restoration of your accounts. They will provide some help and guidance.
  • Some services can also help. For example, Equifax, American Express, or TransUnion. You can find various reviews and ratings about them on the Internet.

How to Safely Close an Account?

Safely closing a credit card or bank account is an important issue. Firstly, you should make sure that you have no debts. You should also cancel all auto-payments and check that the card balance is zero. To close the account completely, you should contact the banking institution that provided the card.

Request a Downgrade

If you no longer want to have an annual fee, you can switch the credit card you have to a different card. So, if you want to receive a replacement card, you mainly need to call the issuer. But here are a few more necessary steps and offers listed on this page for your first credit card of such type:

  • Make sure you have all the complete information about the card. This includes your account number and personal information.
  • Сall your banking institution and explain your desire. Be sure to emphasize that you would like to upgrade to the free version. This will help you avoid annual fees or other additional costs.
  • Next, check that you fully understand all the terms and conditions of the new credit card.

Upgrade to an Unsecured Card

An unsecured credit card differs from others in that it does not require a deposit or collateral. It has several other advantages, and that’s why you need to update it or get a new card:

  • It allows you to increase your credit limit. In turn, this adds flexibility to your life and makes it easier to manage your money.
  • You can often take advantage of bonuses such as cash back, reward programs, or insurance.
  • This can improve your credit score.

Keep the Card for Small Purchases

If you do not plan to upgrade or downgrade your card, we know what to advise you. In this case, your account will remain active. Here’s what you should pay attention to:

  • You can make small purchases. This will help keep the card active. The main message is to use the card rarely but periodically.
  • During such purchases, you will be able to effectively control your budget and prevent the accumulation of debt.
  • This way, you will avoid additional withdrawals for inactivity or a reduction in the credit limit.
  • Stable and small purchases allow you to continue building a good credit history. After all, keeping this plastic card would maintain the systematicity and activity of your account.

Can You Recycle Credit Cards?

If your card has expired, recycling it is an important step for the environment. Not only can it contribute to safe disposal and protect against identity theft, but it can also save the environment. There are several ways to do this:

  • Unfortunately, we can’t include all companies, but most credit organizations have special recycling programs. Usually, you just need to find an envelope to mail back and wait for a response.
  • You can also contact special companies and services that specialize in old card recycling. They can provide specific instructions and places where you can do it. Call the number and find out all the details.


Do I need to cut up my used old credit card?

One of the best ways is to cut up your expired card. This will help to dispose of the fragments of important components. In addition, you'll be sure that no intruder will be able to use it. 

Can I throw away previous credit card statements?

Yes, you can easily throw them away after you've made sure they don't contain any more important information. This is usually your name, card number, expiration date, and other sensitive details.

What can I do with expired bills and statements?

It is important to thoroughly destroy an old account and statements before throwing them away. You can choose the option of disposal or recycling at a bank or other institution. This will protect you from leaking confidential information.

What happens if I don't destroy my expired debit card?

You, as a cardholder, may be in danger. But this is only if another person gets hold of it. Take care of your safety and find a method of disposal that is convenient for you. 

Are credit cards recyclable?

It is better to call the bank that provided the card and ask how to do this correctly. Or you can find organizations that can help with thіs process.