Reader credit card question: How do I dispose of my metal credit card?

Feb 3, 2020

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Now that metal credit cards are standard for premium rewards cards, many TPG readers find themselves asking, How do I dispose of a metal credit card?

(Photo by The Points Guy)
(Photo by The Points Guy)

I wanted the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire card.  Initially, I got denied.  So, I got the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express card.  A few days later, I got an invitation to the Aspire card from Hilton/Amex, so I got the Hilton card and cancelled the Bonvoy Brilliant.

I love the hearty feel of the Bonvoy Brilliant card. But then I wanted to properly dispose of the Bonvoy card.  My shredder has a credit card shredding function.  Let’s just say that didn’t work out so well for my shredder.  My parents disposed of credit cards with scissors, but this card would have destroyed scissors, too.  Eventually, I disassembled the card. The exterior was something of a metal foil and then interior was a metal plate.  I demagnetized the strip and then shredded the foil.

My question is as more and more cards are doing this, do you have any best practices for disposal of these hefty cards?

Thomas P.

Before we get to your disposal question, we have to note that it’s typically best practice not to cancel a credit card right after getting it. Doing so can hurt your credit score because of its impact on your credit history and credit utilization ratio. However, with the hefty annual fees on both the Bonvoy Brilliant and Aspire card, it makes sense that you wouldn’t want to keep both cards open. But instead of cancelling the Brilliant, you might have considered downgrading to either the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card or the Marriott Bonvoy Bold™ Credit Card.

Related reading: What to do before you close a credit card

When it comes to the disposal of metal credit cards, the process is simple: Contact your issuer and have them send you a prepaid return envelope so that they can destroy your metal card properly

In general, your issuer will send you a prepaid return envelope when sending a replacement card for an expiring or nonworking credit card. However, if you have decided to cancel the card, you will have to request a prepaid return envelope. You can do this by contacting the 1-800 number on the back of your card.

You could also try taking your card to a local bank branch. However, not every card issuer has a physical branch to go to.

Related reading: The battle of the metal credit cards — Which is the strongest? 

Finally, if you just can’t say farewell to your precious metal credit card, you could add it to your memory box. Once a credit card has been cancelled or reissued, funds shouldn’t be accessible via the old card. If you’re feeling a bit more creative, you could also send your credit card off to get bedazzled or get crafty on your own.

Bottom line

Whatever you do, don’t try to destroy your metal card on your own; you’ll likely end up with a broken pair of scissors or a jammed shredder. The best option is to contact your issuer for proper disposal.

Featured photo by The Points Guy.


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