What is the Safest Way to Dispose of Old Bank Account Statements?

What is the safest way to dispose of old bank account statements?

What is the safest way to dispose of old bank account statements

We’ve all heard of the dangers of throwing away old bank statements. They’re covered in sensitive information, and no one wants to expose themselves to the risk of a scam.

Unfortunately, this tends to lead to another problem: piles and piles of outdated bank statements. While it is worth keeping hold of them for a little while, at some point old bank statements are nothing more than a nuisance. So is there a way to safely dispose of them?

It is possible to safely get rid of old bank statements, you just have to be sure you’re doing it thoroughly. That means the bank statements can’t just be ripped in two and thrown into the trash. They need to be made completely illegible.

If you’re interested in safely disposing of your bank statements, there are three easy methods to potentially use:

1. Use a shredder.

This is the standard, and most popular, option for destroying old bank statements. A good shredder can completely obliterate any information, so you can safely put the documents into a trash can.

Once everything has been shredded, you want to dispose of it over a few separate occasions. This just makes it less likely for anyone to try and piece it back together again. Or, put the pieces into the compost.

Do it in small amounts at a time, to ensure they break down properly.

If you don’t have a shredder, but you do have a large pile of old bank statements, then you can hire an industrial shredder. Otherwise, look for business in an area that may have a shredder for use.

FedEx and USPS stores often have shredders that you may be able to use for free, or to hire. Another place to check out is a recycling center. Or, ask at your local bank. They likely have the capacity for shredding, and can be surprisingly accommodating.

Finally, get in contact with your local library – they just might have a shredder available for public use.

You can get multi-cut scissors that have a similar effect to shredding, but they aren’t as effective. Use these scissors for just the small, but important, areas of information on the bank statement.

2. Burn them.

Be sure to check the laws in your state allow for fires, but burning is the most thorough way to get rid of any old bank statements. Set a bonfire in a metal trash can using the statements, and feed any remaining pieces in.

Be sure to tear everything up before burning, or larger pieces can get caught in the breeze and fly away. Once you’ve finished burning, rake through the ashes just to make sure there’s nothing hanging around.

Burning is definitely an effective way of disposing of any bank statements, but it isn’t very good for the environment. Only use this if you really can’t think of a better option.

3. Soak them in water.

If you aren’t in a hurry to get rid of your documents, this is one of the best methods to use. Begin by getting yourself a metal bucket – you’ll need a bigger bucket the more statements you have. Fill the bucket with water.

Tear your documents slightly, and drop them into the water. Tearing simply makes it easier for the water to penetrate through the paper. Once the paper is in the water, mix it about to separate the leaves.

A good method for this is to use a drill with a paint mixing attachment. Now, you just have to wait.

This isn’t quick, but after 24 to 48 hours the paper should have been left illegible. To speed things up, use a small amount of bleach. This can help to quickly break down the ink, leaving your documents ruined for any prying eyes. Always be careful when using bleach. 

Once the water has done its job, carefully drain it away outside. You don’t want to flush it down the toilet, because that might end up clogging your pipes. You should now be left with paper pulp, which can be tossed into the trash. 

Getting rid of your documents can be a long and frustrating process, but there are a few ways to make it easier.

First, sort through everything you have. Often bank statements contain one or two pages of generic information, and this doesn’t need to be shredded. Take out the important parts, and throw the rest in the recycling.

Once you’ve sorted out the important sections, see how much of the page needs to be destroyed. Sometimes, all the writing is at the top, and the rest is just blank. Rip away the bits that need to be shredded, and the rest can just be recycled.

Finally, keep an eye on your statements and work through them regularly. It’s recommended to keep a bank statement for roughly 3 years. Some documents, such as tax returns, are worth hanging on to for 7 years.

If you find yourself regularly wondering what to do with old bank statements, then it’s worth investing in a shredder. They can be picked up for relatively cheap, and save a lot of time in the long run.

Otherwise, look for a local business that offers shredding services. Once you’ve found a place to go, it won’t be anywhere near as difficult the next time.

The safest way to get rid of bank statements is to ensure you never receive them in the first place. Some banks will now allow you to go completely paperless. All statements will be sent either via email, or accessed through their website or an app.

This is better for the environment as it reduces paper waste, and it means you never have to worry about shredding. Speak to your bank, and see if you can go paperless.

Getting rid of old bank statements may not be easy, but it is necessary. Either invest in a shredder, or use the water soaking method. Although it isn’t very fun, it’s much better than identity theft. 

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