Whether you have just one credit card or enough to play Texas Hold ‘Em, it’s wise to not tote around all your plastic all the time. Not only can carrying around your credit cards increase the odds of an impulse purchase, but it also leaves them at risk of falling into the hands of a pickpocket or identity thief.
But simply stashing your credit cards in a desk or kitchen drawer—instead of your wallet— isn’t wise either. Credit cards are a hot commodity among cat burglars and home invaders. They’re also a frequent target of identity thieves you unknowingly invite in your home (utility repair workers, friends of teens, etc.). So your credit cards need to be tucked safely away inside your sanctuary. And don’t even think of giving them the deep freeze. Storing credit cards in the freezer won’t fool cat burglars should they break into your home.
If a fire-proof safe (that’s fastened to a floor or wall and not portable, the trick to keeping credit cards safe is getting a little creative. Here’s a look at some of the best spots in the house to stash your plastic in when it’s not in your wallet.
Stop by your local post office or a retailer that offers overnight shipping via FedEx and/or UPS and grab an overnight envelope. Stuff your credit cards in the envelope and seal it. Then write “Dad’s baby pictures,” “pet immunization records,” or “first-grade report cards” to deter would-be thieves.
Rethink Your Drawers
If the silverware drawer or a drawer in your desk is on your radar as a hiding spot, you’re on the right track, but need to look outside the box or drawer.
Wrap your cards in a few sheets of paper to conceal the raised numbers and tuck them in an envelope and seal it that you tape underneath a desk, sock, or bathroom vanity drawer. Although thieves usually look in a drawer, they rarely under it, so that’s a potential safe spot for credit cards and other valuables.
Further reduce the odds the envelope will be stolen if it is uncovered by writing “pet immunization records,” “hair from (your child’s) first haircut,” or “photos of grandma” to defer attention.
The next time you’re at the grocery store, pick up a box of powdered laundry detergent. Bury a sealed envelope containing your credit cards in the soap and store it on a shelf in your laundry room or basement. There are also faux cans that resemble popular cleaning products or soft drinks designed to store credit cards or valuables.
Slip your cards behind a picture of your kids, grandmother, family pet, or any other image that’s near and dear to your heart. Whether you place the picture on a coffee table, piano, or hang it on the wall, thieves usually won’t take the time to tear apart dozens of frames looking for credit cards. College degrees and diplomas also make great hiding spots for credit cards and valuable paperwork.
Frequent contributor of health and caregiving, personal finance, mortgage, and insurance articles, as well as celebrity interviews and Q&As to MSN, Realtor.com, Credit Sesame, Fortune, USA Today, Women’s Health, Family Circle, Essence, Lifescript, Health Monitor Network, and more. Gina’s work has been featured on the covers of numerous titles including Glamour, Live Happy, Neurology Now, and many other national and international publications.