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How To Destroy Metal Credit Cards

Last updated 03/14/2024 by

Camilla Smoot

Edited by

Fact checked by

Metal credit cards are practically indestructible. Hey, that’s one of the reasons they are so popular. But when it’s expired or you’re getting a replacement card, metal cards can be a pain to destroy. Giving the old card to your branch or cutting it with the proper tools are some of the best ways to destroy a metal credit card.
Metal credit cards have become somewhat of a status symbol. This is because most metal credit cards have superior perks and high spending limits. They are also popular because they are made to last. Unlike plastic cards, normal wear and tear don’t easily affect metal cards. If you use your card often or are prone to throwing it in the washing machine, a metal credit card could be a great option for you.
But, when that card expires or gets canceled, it can be a royal pain to destroy. Unlike plastic cards, metal cards cannot be cut with normal household items or thrown in the shredder. But that doesn’t mean they’re actually indestructible. In this article, we’ll lay out the best destruction and proper disposal methods for your metal credit card.

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What is a metal credit card?

Metal credit cards work the same as plastic ones but are made of different materials. This makes them heavier, sturdier, and more eye-catching than their plastic companion.
The first official metal credit card came about in 1999 with the American Express Centurion Credit Card, also known as the Black Card. The Centurion Card was by invitation only and required a $5,000 annual fee.
Nowadays, metal credit cards are more available and don’t require such a hefty fee. Many credit card companies now offer metal credit cards, including American Express, Chase, Capital One, and even regular companies like Apple and Amazon. If you’re interested in a metal credit card, talk to your credit card issuer.

Pros and cons of metal credit cards

While they make look sleek, metal credit cards come with some downsides as well. Before receiving a metal card of your own, be sure to consider the following points.
Here is a list of the benefits and drawbacks to consider.
  • Durability. Metal credit cards are much more durable than their plastic counterparts and are made of very tough materials. This makes them appealing to many people. While plastic credit cards can bend, snap, and fade, a metal card can withstand the test of time. Accidental damage does not come easily to metal credit cards.
  • Status symbol. A metal credit card is certainly flashy and stands out in a crowd. Many associate metal cards with luxury and wealth, which can be seen as a pro by some.
  • Weight. The materials that make a metal card durable also make them heavy and may be annoying for some credit card users. While a plastic credit card is not as sturdy, it is lightweight.
  • Difficult to destroy. It’s hard to destroy metal cards, which can be another downfall to their durability. So if you have a new credit card account opening or an expired credit card, destroying the old metal card could be quite the task.

Pro Tip

One benefit of many credit cards, including metal ones, is that they offer rewards. You can receive hotel credit or rewards from travel purchases with some credit cards.

SuperMoney may receive compensation from some or all of the companies featured, and the order of results are influenced by advertising bids, with exception for mortgage and home lending related products. Learn more

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Best ways to destroy a metal credit card

As we said, metal credit cards are fantastic for durability. They’re great for traveling, they’ll survive a wash in the laundry, and the numbers won’t fade. But, when it comes time to get a new one, that durability is a downfall. So, what’s the best way to destroy a metal credit card?

1. Mail to the card issuer

Your card issuer may send a prepaid envelope with your new card. You can use this envelope to mail your metal credit card back to the issuer. If you did not receive a prepaid envelope, you can call the issuer and ask for one. They can either send you a prepaid envelope or reimburse you for the postage. Credit card issuers can also tell you what the appropriate mailing address is.

2. Bring it to a credit union or bank branch

If you don’t feel comfortable mailing your credit card, then you can bring it to a physical branch. This might be a more secure method, too. There are a few things tellers can do for you: They can destroy it, send it to someone who can, or let you know of other ways you can destroy the card.

3. Try tin snips

Tin snips are small hand tools that are built to cut through metal and other tough materials. It shouldn’t take much effort to cut through a metal card with tin snips. If you don’t have one on hand, a home improvement or gardening store will likely have one you can buy.

4. Heavy-duty scissors

Paper scissors will not cut through metal credit cards, but heavy-duty scissors could do the trick. They work in a similar way to tin snips and can be purchased online or at a hardware store.

Methods to avoid

While it is possible to destroy a metal credit using items around your home, your standard tools won’t cut it. Here are some methods to avoid when destroying a metal card.

1. Your home shredder

While some shredders can handle plastic credit cards, a metal credit card could easily ruin your paper shredder at home (believe me, I’ve tried). Paper shredders are designed to destroy paper, not metal, so you’ll want to avoid this method entirely.

2. Standard scissors

As mentioned above, standard paper scissors will not do the trick. In fact, a metal card could destroy paper scissors. Try tin snips or heavy-duty scissors instead.

3. Throwing it away

One of the main reasons you should destroy a credit card is to avoid your identity being stolen, even if the card is expired or canceled. Throwing away your credit card without destroying it puts you at high risk for identity theft. So don’t toss your intact card in the trash or recycle bin. Make sure all personal information is gone before doing so.

4. Using a third-party service

It is generally best to avoid giving your credit card to a third-party service, even if your card is expired or canceled. Third-party services can often lead to scams and other issues. When discussing destroying your metal credit card, talk directly to your card issuer or credit card company.

What to make sure is destroyed

All credit cards should be destroyed to avoid identity theft and scams. When you destroy a metal credit card, be sure the following information is unreadable:
  1. Your name
  2. The EMV chip
  3. The magnetic stripe
  4. Carvings or engravings in the metal
  5. Your signature and the surrounding area


What is the safest way to destroy a credit card?

Bringing your credit card to a physical branch is one of the safest ways to destroy it. Other safe methods include mailing it to your card issuer or cutting it with tin snips or heavy-duty scissors.

How do you destroy a credit card?

There are a few different methods you can use to destroy a credit card. Metal ones can be cut with tin snips or sent to their issuer. Plastic cards can be cut with regular scissors, and some might be able to go through the shredder.

Can I shred a credit card with a chip?

If your plastic card has a chip, only put it in the shredder if the shredder is built to shred CDs. Otherwise, you could damage your shredder. With this in mind, it’s easy to understand why you should never put a metal credit card in a shredder.

Can you burn a metal credit card?

Burning your metal credit card is one way to destroy it, but it’s also a safety hazard and could lead to you breathing in dangerous fumes. There are better ways to destroy a metal credit than with a torch or fire pit.

Key Takeaways

  • Metal credit cards are durable and do not get damaged easily. This can be a great benefit while you’re using the card, but this feature can become a drawback when you need to destroy it.
  • A metal card will need to be destroyed if it gets canceled or you get a new card, just like a plastic credit card.
  • Tin snips and heavy-duty scissors can easily cut up a metal credit card.
  • You can also mail your old card to your issuer, or bring it to a physical branch.

SuperMoney may receive compensation from some or all of the companies featured, and the order of results are influenced by advertising bids, with exception for mortgage and home lending related products. Learn more

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Camilla Smoot

Camilla has a background in journalism and business communications. She specializes in writing complex information in understandable ways. She has written on a variety of topics including money, science, personal finance, politics, and more. Her work has been published in the HuffPost,, Deseret News, and more.

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