13 New Uses for an Old Credit Card


Before you cut up an expired credit card—or toss that silly fake one you got as junk mail—consider all the great things you can do with it!

1. Bookmark. It’ll keep your place and act as a handy straightedge for underlining or highlighting.

Credit card

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2. Glass scraper. A credit card is just the right size to scrape ice from your car’s windows and algae from the walls of an aquarium.

3. Neat caulk. Run the rounded corner of a credit card across the caulk bead for that professional look.

4. Unlock doors. Certain types of locked doors can be easily unlocked by slipping the card between the jam and short bolt, and coaxing the door open.

5. Cheese grater. The raised numbers on a credit card really work in a pinch to grate hard cheese like Parmesan or Romano. Don’t laugh. It works.

6. Paint mask. It’s what the pros use to make a neat trim line when painting in an especially tight spot.

7. Shim. Use a credit card or two under the leg of an uneven table, or to fill a small gap when nailing up molding.

8. Battery cover. An old credit card is the perfect material for fashioning a substitute battery cover on the back of your remote control. How clever. Now the batteries won’t fall out every time you pick the thing up. Here’s a fun tutorial.

9. Garden markers. Have you ever noticed that the seed packet doesn’t really work that well to mark the contents of your garden? It fades and gets all icky wet. Use an expired credit card instead. Paint it first with white acrylic paint. Then write on it with a Sharpie. There you go: labels for each starter pot or row.

10. Credit card bracelet. This works equally well with credit cards, debit cards and gift cards, too! HERE is a fun tutorial and HERE is another. Being debt-free never looked so chic.

11. Earbud holders. OK this is just way too cute. Take a look HERE for photos and instructions as well.

12. Guitar picks. The material in a credit card is perfect for guitar playing. You can buy a pick punch or just cut it out with scissors.

13. ID label. Your credit and debit cards have your name on them. Cut out that portion to label your belongings. You’ll need strong glue or double-stick tape.

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  1. Cathy says:

    How about destroying the magnetic tape that holds the info before you reuse the card? I would definitely only reuse a card for an account that had been completely closed, not the ones with old expiry dates. I have heard that you can enter any expiration date and a charge account number will work, at least some of the time. If part of the card would be useful, cut the magnetic stripe and card number off before you reuse it. Then again, there are plenty of plastic cards floating around our lives, whether expired gift cards or card facsimiles that have no account attached to them, to make use of these clever ideas. And when I cut up old cards, I dispose of the pieces in different trash bags, different weeks, so no one can put them together and get the info from them. But, maybe from now on I’ll really make an effort to destroy the magnetic tape, too.

  2. Betty Thomas says:

    I agree with dholcomb1 and Bonny. It’s fine to use the junk ones you get in the mail because they don’t have your info on them. But, and it’s a big BUT, expired cards have all your info on them, only the expiration date changes and a identity thief would surely figure that little glitch out. I sure wouldn’t put them in the garden or anywhere else they might end up lost or in the wrong hands!

  3. Susan says:

    I use freebie cards that come with an invitation to join an organization as food scrapers. They are great for getting at that sticky food on the edges of a casserole dish. I keep some pretty ones with birds on them next to the sink.

  4. Bonny says:

    Why would you use your credit card, when the information on it stays the same ? That’s just putting your information out there to be stolen, NOT a good idea, should be destroyed.

  5. mary says:

    #1 best use IMO is for scraping frost off a windshield. In fact, just did this last night which is why this article is making me smile.

  6. dholcomb1 says:

    In this day and age of Identity theft, I’m surprised you recommend reusing something that should be shredded. The plastic may be “reusable”, but the personally identifying information and the possibility for someone to wreak havoc on your financial well-being should come first. Destroy the card!

      • dholcomb1 says:

        it still has a name and account number on it–I worked for a credit card bank and am aware of the fraud potential from not destroying a bank card (debit or credit) or even gift cards. They carry more information on them than people realize. Even an expired account can be hacked or give someone a way to access personal information.

  7. NY Gray-Jay says:

    I keep an expired credit card handy whenever a salesperson won’t take NO for an answer, like at the mall when they offer free tote bags or a cheap flash light, travel mug,ect. This generally works quite well.

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