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How To Dispose of Old Checkbook Stubs? (And How Long to Keep Them)

How To Dispose of Old Checkbook Stubs? (And How Long to Keep Them)

Checkbooks are very vital financial documents. They are paper instruments you can use to make payments. Checkbooks can sometimes be a gateway to your finances.

Unfortunately, nothing lasts forever. And this is the reality with your checkbooks. So, what then happens when you don’t need them anymore, and they only seem to occupy space?

There are quite some options to take. However, it can be quite tricky when choosing. Well, not anymore.

This article will run you through some ways to get rid of old checkbook stubs.

How Can You Dispose of Old Checkbooks Stubs?

Yes. You can dispose of your checkbook and you’ll usually dispose of checkbook stubs when they are no longer useful. However, you can’t just dispose of them like any other paper waste.

Given their value, you must dispose of properly and securely. Here’s a guide on how best you can dispose of old checkbook stubs.

First, you must ensure that the checkbook is no longer in use or needed for future reference. Mainly, your tax adviser must certify that the checkbook is not useful for tax purposes.  

The most recommended method of disposing of checkbooks is shredding. Shredding involves cutting the document into very tiny pieces through a shredder.

However, you might want to use a cross-cut shredder for the best effects. Cross-cut shredding ensures that the checkbook cannot be put back together, nor can its contents be understood. This way, you don’t put yourself at risk of a breach.

Many banks have shredding functions you can use for your bank documents. So, you can always get into your bank and dispose of your checkbooks securely.

However, if your bank doesn’t have one, you can purchase a shredder for your personal use. You may also make use of other organizations that offer shredding services.

If you are shredding your checkbook, endeavor to destroy all portions. Leaving any piece behind may be dangerous.

Before you shred, however, you must delete all backup information related to your checkbook. Backup information may be written or stored on your computers. Leaving them may compromise the security of your information.

What is the Purpose of Shredding Old Checkbooks?

It’s great to know how to dispose of checkbooks, but even more remarkable to know why. Generally, proper disposal of paper waste is critical.

When it comes to documents that could reveal information about you, it becomes more critical to dispose of it appropriately. Given this, here are some of the reasons why you should shred your old checkbooks.

1. It Prevents Identity Theft

Identity theft happens when someone else hides beneath your personality to perform several actions. Identity thieves search for confidential documents in bins or trash cans. When they find it, they pose as the owner to perform transactions. Identity theft is a crime and is punished under the law.

Identity thieves may obtain information on your old checkbook and use them to make purchases or transfer money. Worse still, they may use your information to perform acts that may damage your reputation. Shredding your old checkbook will automatically destroy the document. That way, no one can access the information.

2. It Prevents Fraud and Scams

A third party getting access to your checkbook can lead to fraud. Criminals who gain access to old checkbooks may use your confidential information to trick you into believing that they are people you know. Some may pose as your bank, family, workplace, or friends.

These criminals may supply information about you contained in the checkbook to make you believe them. Once you do, they may scam you of large amounts of money. In other cases, they may deceive people close to you to get money.

Blank checks can also be used to commit check fraud. Shredding your checkbook will help prevent any access to confidential information that may be used against you.

3. It Prevents the Use of Your Photo for Criminal Acts

Where your checkbook contains a photo, it may pose more danger for you. Criminal elements may get your photo and deposit it at crime scenes or places that may damage your reputation. This way, they will trick people into believing you committed the act. You may then be liable for an act of which you are innocent.

When you shred your checkbook, you also destroy all photos that are included. You can thus save yourself of your picture being used for the wrong reasons.

4. You Save Space

Old checkbooks are usually not useful anymore. By keeping them, you may just be using up space. Shredding them helps clear up additional space where you can keep new, useful things. Shredding also presents a way of disposing of paper waste without causing litter.

How To Dispose of Old Checkbooks Without a Shredder?

Shredding your old checkbook is one of the safest ways to dispose of paper waste. However, if you don’t have a shredder, you have other choices. Here are a few other means to dispose of old checkbooks without using a shredder.

1. Use a Scissors

You can cut your checkbook into very tiny pieces by using scissors. However, you should make sure the paper is skillfully cut into small pieces so that garbage combers are unable to join the pieces together.

2. Burning

You can throw your checkbook into an incinerator or use them for kindling your fireplace. Ensure the checkbook is entirely burnt into ashes. Burning will have the same effect as other methods – no one can put the paper back together again.

3. Bleaching

If you don’t have a shredder, you can throw your checkbook into a container of bleach. Bleach will wash away the prints or writings on the checkbook. You can also scrub the paper in fabric bags to form a mash before you dispose of it.

No matter the disposal method you use, it is crucial to make sure all details on the checkbooks are illegible.

How Long To Keep Checkbook Stubs?

Disposing checkbook stubs have a way of clearing space and relieving stress. In other instances, disposing of checkbooks may cause fear. This fear usually arises from the thought that you may one day need those documents.

Given this, what is the recommended period within which to keep a checkbook stub? Checkbook stubs help you keep track of transactions and provide extra information on your bank statement transactions.

It is generally advised to keep your checkbook stub for at least six years before disposing of it. The reasons are stated below.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) may need to audit your tax return. This process often takes three years. The checkbook may be needed to prepare your tax returns. Also, if there is an error in your tax returns, you may need to file an amendment. Throughout this process, you may need your check records.

However, if you do not need to file amendments on your tax returns, you may dispose of it after three years. You must note that this time frame applies even if the bank account is no longer in use.

How To Destroy Unused Checks?

Unused checks share a striking similarity to old checks. They are both unneeded items.

However, unused checks also present a similar level of risk to old checks. Unused checks can always be used to carry out check frauds. Criminals may fill in the information and make transactions through an unused, blank check.

How then should you dispose of unused checks? You are advised to destroy unused checks the same way as old checks. Here are a few methods you can employ in destroying your unused checks.

1. Shredding

As emphasized already, shredding is the most secure means of disposing of waste checks. Crosscut shredders should be used to cut unused checks into very thin fragments. Doing this will prevent anyone from using or joining the pieces together.

2. Cutting Using Other Items

Asides from a shredder, you can use other items to cut your unused checks into pieces. For instance, you can use scissors, as we discussed above.

3. Burning

Unused checks can also be used to make a fire or burnt as a refuse disposal technique. However, you must ensure the checks are burnt entirely to ashes.

4. Bleaching

Soaking and mashing unused checks in bleach water makes the document unusable, and it is recommended.

Is It Safe to Throw Away Old Bank Statements?

A bank statement contains all your transactions over a specific period. How secure is it to throw away this vital document? It is generally safe to throw away old bank statements if they are not used. However, it would be best if you were sure that the bank statement is not useful anymore. You should also make sure to dispose of safely.

Bank statements can contain highly confidential information and may serve as evidence of some transactions. For this reason, you must be sure that the bank statement is no longer needed.

Usually, you should wait for 3-7 years before disposing of your bank statements. This period will allow you to provide evidence of your tax payments.

If you decide to dispose of your bank statement, you must do so in the most secure manner. In other words, you must destroy the old bank statement. Failure to do this may expose you to fraud or identity theft.

You can dispose of your old bank statement by shredding, burning, or bleaching.

Can You Throw Away Credit Card Statements?

What are credit card statements again? They are documents you receive monthly explaining how your credit card was used. Your credit card statement contains information about you, your credit cards, and your transactions in the past month.

Did you say it contains very important information? Exactly, it does. So, can you safely throw away your credit card statements? Yes. You can dispose of your credit card statements.

However, it would help if you considered the following before attempting to throw away your credit card statement.

Keep Your Credit Card Statement for at Least 60 Days

When you get your credit card statement, you may like to confirm the transactions on it. Where there are errors, you may want to notify your financial institution. You are allowed a time frame of 60 days as the maximum period to dispute a billing error on your credit card.

Therefore, it is advised to hold your credit card for as long as 60 days. Keeping it will allow you to make any billing error disputes until the legally required time lapses. You may then dispose of the statements after 60 days.

Do You Have Items Covered By an Extended Warranty and Purchase Protection?

Many credit cards allow users to enjoy benefits like extended warranty and purchase protections. So, if you have made a purchase and you’ll like your credit card warranty to cover your purchase, you may consider keeping the statement.

Extended warranty and purchase protection usually lasts between 3 months to one year.

After the expiry of the warranty period, you may dispose of your credit card statement.

Keep Your Statement if it Contains Tax-Related Purchases

You may need to keep your credit card statements for up to 3-7 years if you have made tax purchases. Tax purchases require that you keep evidence till the limitation period of the tax return has elapsed. It is also essential to keep these records for tax auditing purposes.

Nevertheless, if your credit card does not fall under the last two options, it is advisable to shred after six months. By doing this, you save yourself the risk of loss or possible fraud if someone accesses your details.

Final Thoughts

If you intend to dispose of your checkbooks while keeping your information secure, the process is simple. We advise you to shred them.

However, you need to take some precautions. You could also attempt the many alternative measures outlined. That way, you will protect yourself and get rid of needless documents.