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What to Do with an Old Debit Card

/ Categories: Financial Education

What to Do with an Old Debit Card

What should you do with your old debit card after you receive a new one? You can use this guide to learn how to safely dispose of debit or credit cards.

Once you've received and activated a replacement card, you can get rid of your old card. You should avoid throwing your card into the trash, as someone could find it. While they won't be able to use the card to make transactions, someone could use the personal information listed on the card or the data stored in the card's magnetic strip to commit identity fraud.

Instead of throwing your card away, you should destroy it first so that no one can use the information from your card. If you don't want to dispose of it, you could potentially keep it in a secure place (such as a safe in your home) to keep it protected.

How to destroy your expired card

Here are the steps you can take to safely dispose of your expired card:

  • Demagnetize and cut the strip. The magnetic strip on your card contains personal data including your account number, card limit and name. You can demagnetize this so it can't be used by running a magnet slowly along the strip for a few minutes. You can then cut through the magnetic strip.
  • Cut your card horizontally. Use a strong pair of scissors to cut through your card horizontally, making sure you're cutting straight through the embossed account number listed on your card.
  • Cut your card vertically. Cut the top half of your card vertically at every two to four digits, then do the same with the bottom half.
  • Security code. Your CVV number (or security code) is the 3-digits listed on the back of your card. Find this part of your card and cut it into small pieces so that it can't be read or put back together.
  • Signature. As you're cutting up the card, make sure that you're also cutting up the strip on the back that contains your signature so that it can't be read and copied.
  • CHIP. This is the silver or gold chip that's usually found on the left-hand side of your card. You can either cut this up with scissors or smash it with a hammer.


Once you've cut up your card and you're sure that the pieces can't be put back together or used, you can dispose of the card. You should throw the fragments away separately so that the pieces can't be recovered and put back together.

If you're also throwing out any documents (such as old bank statements), you should consider putting those through a paper shredder, cutting them up, and recycling them in a trash receptacle separate from the one you used to dispose of your card.