Every once in awhile, I come across something that causes me to scratch my head in utter bewilderment and ask, “Was that really necessary?”
It usually happens when some company makes a change in the name of improved customer service, a better product, or lower costs when, in fact, it actually does no such thing. Instead, the change ends up being nothing but progress for the sake of progress.
This weekend was one of those times.
Until last week, whenever I received an updated credit card in the mail, I tossed my old card in the trash after cutting it up into two or three pieces; most people do the same thing because it’s quick and effective. And why not? If the credit card pieces are buried among the rest of your weekly trash, the odds of a petty thief finding them and then stealing the number are extremely low — especially considering most people get an updated card only once every few years.
So imagine my surprise when I encountered the latest credit card company gimmick: including a postage-paid business-reply envelope so they can dispose of the old cards. Yep! Here’s a picture:
I was surprised by the sturdiness of the envelope; it was made of very thick card stock. The envelope was also designed with separate pockets for holding two perfect credit cards (one for mine and the other for the Honeybee’s). As an added bonus, it came with a heavy-duty adhesive label to ensure that the flap doesn’t come undone in transit — so no licking was required. Here’s another picture:
Here’s the thing: I’m not sure how this “improvement” is any better than a pair of scissors and a trash can.
You can bet that the prepaid-postage business-reply mail — and the relatively high-quality envelopes — are expenses that will ultimately be passed on to us customers.
As for offering increased security … I don’t think so. Those expired cards are arguably more vulnerable sitting in my mailbox than hiding in a random trash-can garbage bag filled with all kinds of disgusting waste.
Hey, you don’t think all of those envelopes end up going to a single credit card company employee who spends her day cutting up old cards with a pair of scissors and tossing them in the trash, do you?
Don’t get me wrong; I think change is good when it makes sense and is applied for the right reasons. Unfortunately, this isn’t one of those times.
Photo Credit: dno 1967b
Zee @ Work To Not Work says
If you’re worried about the safety of a cut up credit card in your garbage just BURN IT WITH FIRE!
Mrs. Frugalwoods says
I agree with you, that is beyond dumb–now a credit card is just circulating through the mail/sitting in your mailbox! We shred our old cards in our nifty little paper shredder (a Christmas gift from Mr. FW a few years ago), but your scissors method works just dandy too.
Actually the one time I got something like that was for a Chase Sapphire card, which made a bit more sense to me as it actually had metal in it so would probably jam a typical shredder and maybe people don’t usually keep tin snips around. Of course they were saying how they’d ‘properly dispose’ and recycle it, and I still question the overall green-ness of that mailer strategy.
Edit by way of post: Also I wonder if these are more common now that they’re starting to introduce the new chips on more cards. Might be worth it to them if they can somehow reuse the chip on it given it’s added cost.
Ben Luthi says
I guess cc companies aren’t too worried about being low-cost leaders
Len Penzo says
LOL! Well said, Ben. Well said.
steve manos says
As a retired postal worker I still keep up on the USPS on Postal News . com. The number of stories that are being posted about thefts by postal employees is both disturbing and also sad. There is no way I would ever mail back an old credit card unless it was already cut in several pieces. A dishonest clerk or carrier that handles this mail could have a field day with them if they are still usable ( I admit that I don’t know if they are, but why take the chance).
Paper Shredding Service says
That’s an amazing way to keep secret any information like document, personal credit-debit card etc. Today’s world has many technology and measure to secure data. Shredding company protects from identity theft and safely destroys personal information of customers or employees for which you are responsible.