How To Throw Away Old Bank Statements Properly

Posted on: April 1, 2022


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Do you have years of old bank statements lying around? You may be ready to throw them out, but you’re not sure how. Is it safe to throw away old bank statements, or do you need to shred them first?

What to Do with Old Bank Statements

Do I need to shred bank statements or other personal documents? According to the Federal Trade Commission, you should shred documents containing sensitive information, including bank statements, to protect yourself from identity theft. Follow these guidelines to help you know what to shred and when.

Bank Documents to Shred Immediately

Wondering what bank documents need to be shredded can be a common question ranging from “Do I need to shred utility bills?” to “Should I shred credit card offers?”. Some documents don’t need to be saved for any length of time, but you should shred the following items as soon as possible:

  • Sales receipts (unless you need them for tax purposes; in that case, scan them first)
  • ATM receipts
  • Packing slips and online purchase orders
  • Canceled and voided checks (that aren’t tax-related)
  • Utility, internet, and cellphone bills (once paid)
  • Credit card, insurance, and bank account solicitations that come in the mail
  • Expired warranty coverage
  • Correspondences from the DMV or IRS (once settled)
  • Travel-related materials (besides your passport)

Do you have documents you need to shred immediately? Contact TrueShred to schedule shredding in the Alexandria, Manassas, or Maryland areas.

Documents to Shred After One Year

Hold on to some documents for up to a year before you shred them. While in your possession, store them in waterproof bags. Better yet, lock them in a safe. Once you no longer need them for tax or insurance purposes, shred the following documents before throwing them away:

  • Bank statements
  • Credit card statements (once paid)
  • Pay stubs (once checked against your W-2 for accuracy)
  • Medical bills (once paid and free of insurance disputes)

Bank Documents to Shred After Seven Years

What should you do with old bank statements? The general rule of thumb is to keep tax records for seven years. That’s how far back the IRS can look if you’re ever audited. After that, shredding your old documents is the best practice so they don’t accumulate to an unmanageable level. The paperwork you should hold on to for seven years — and then dispose of by shredding — include:

  • Tax returns
  • W-2s
  • Tax-related receipts and canceled checks
  • Records for any tax deductions you took
  • Other tax records

When you’re ready to get rid of your old documents, contact TrueShred to schedule shredding services in DC, VA, or MD.

Documents to Shred at the Correct Intervals

There are plenty of other paper statements containing sensitive information that you should keep for an allotted period. Then, when the time comes, dispose of them safely by shredding:

  • Auto titles (keep for as long as you own the car)
  • Home deeds (keep for as long as you own the property)
  • Disputed medical bills (keep until the issue is resolved)
  • Home improvement receipts (keep until you sell your house and pay any related capital gains taxes)
  • Mortgage Statements (typically at least three years, or until you sell your home)
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Bank Documents to Keep Forever

You should hold on to some personal documents forever. Keep them in a safe place, alongside the papers you store temporarily. The items to never throw away include:

    • Birth certificates
    • Adoption papers
    • Social Security cards
    • Marriage certificates
    • Divorce decrees
    • Citizenship papers
    • Passports
    • Death certificates

For those thinking, “Maybe I should keep everything, just in case,” remember: Identity thieves can’t get data from documents you have destroyed. By shredding outdated documents with sensitive personal information, you reduce the likelihood of becoming a victim.

If you have a stockpile of sensitive documents that need to be disposed of quickly and securely, consider residential and commercial shredding services from TrueShred. We provide one-time bulk shredding and ongoing shredding services to customers in Virginia, Maryland, or Washington, DC. Our mobile shredding trucks bring the service to you! This way, your sensitive documents have no chance to fall into the wrong hands before they are safely destroyed.

For confidential document destruction in VA, MD, and DC, contact TrueShred today.


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