How to safely dispose of a metal credit card

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Banks issue some pretty incredible travel credit cards with benefits that can easily save you hundreds and hundreds of dollars each year. But they know it’s not just the perks that count. You can quickly deduce the best cards from the worst just by the card’s feel and weight. That’s because the most valuable are often made of metal. 

I own two metal credit cards — the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card. I often get comments about the card’s sturdiness when I hand one of these over to the cashier. And when they expire, I’ll need to replace them. But how am I supposed to get rid of the expired cards? I can’t just toss them in the paper shredder — it warns you against it right on the back of the card! 

If you find yourself in a similar situation, do you know how to dispose of metal credit cards?

Mail it back to the issuer 

When your card expires or when you need to order a new card due to fraudulent activity, your bank will send you a prepaid envelope for you to send your card back to them. All it takes is putting your card in the envelope, sealing it and then remembering to drop it in a mailbox.

Some card issuers, like American Express and Chase, promote the fact that they properly recycle your card when you send it to them. If you don’t receive a prepaid envelope for some reason, you should have no problem getting one by calling the number on the back of your card.

It’s worth noting that you don’t have to send your credit card back when prompted by your bank. They’re indifferent if you want to dispose of it yourself, but they’re trying to make your life easier.

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Return it to a bank branch

If your card issuer has a physical branch nearby, you can often take it into the branch for disposal.

Chase is the most convenient, as there are branches just about everywhere. They’ve also confirmed that they will absolutely take your card in-branch. But even if your particular issuer’s local branch won’t do it, they can offer guidance for you to dispose of your product correctly.

Some issuers, like American Express, don’t operate actual branches, so this strategy will do you little good with them.

Use the right tool

Metal credit cards can be really heavy-duty (some are as heavy as 27 grams!). You’re going to want to keep it away from your home paper shredder, even if that too is rated heavy-duty. Regular paper shredders usually have no problem with regular plastic cards, and might even have a spot just for that purpose as mine does. Scissors won’t be able to finish the job on the metal credit card either.

The easiest way to dispose of metal credit cards is probably with tin snips. They should have little problem eating through a metal credit card. And just to be safe, perhaps throw out each piece of your card in different trash bags.

Stash it in your sock drawer

Ironically, probably the most common method for “disposing” of your metal credit card is just to keep it. My husband and I have a plastic baggie containing expired or canceled credit cards. We keep it in the junk drawer, and we know never to take cards from that bag. It’s like a bag of memories of all the cards we’ve had (and free trips we've taken!) in the past.

Someday, though, I will take some tin snips to those cards. 

Bottom line

There are a handful of reasons why you might want to know how to destroy a metal credit card. Perhaps your card info has been stolen, and you need to order another card. Or you’ve decided that the card benefits are no longer worth paying the annual fee. Or your card has expired, and you need a new one.

Whatever the scenario, there are plenty of proper ways to dispose of your card. Just keep that thing away from your home paper shredder!

Currently, the best metal credit cards include:

Let us know your favorite metal credit card! And subscribe to our newsletter for more credit card tips like this delivered to your inbox once per day.

Featured image by Wyatt Smith.


Sarah Hostetler is a contributor to Million Mile Secrets. She covers topics on points and miles, credit cards, airlines, hotels, and general travel.

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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