Storing your credit cards properly is crucial in the long-term preservation of these items in pristine condition. Most collectors and ordinary credit card owners use soft polyvinyl-type storage holders.
There’s nothing surprising about that, since these storage materials are readily available. They come in different sizes and can be used to protect various items, like photos and documents.
Beware of plastic deterioration
Some people who have used the same soft polyvinyl-type storage for several years protecting documents like insurance policies have probably noticed significant deterioration in the plastic.
The document that it is supposed to protect may have also deteriorated as gooey residue of the deteriorated plastic has accumulated over the years.
The importance of storage
I can’t emphasize the importance of proper storage enough. I believe that the best storage products on the market today are offered by the E&T Kointainer Company. The particular problem we are referring to is mentioned in their sales literature:
“The most commonly used storage method in numismatics today is the “vinyl flip” – and is now recognized as one of the most dangerous storage methods. Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) is the raw material used to make these flips, a plastic so unsuitable for archival use that museums refuse to consider it.
“We have received many reports of dealers telling customers that their brand of 2X2 flips are “non PVC” when in fact they are selling or using PVC flips. It seems that there is ignorance of what the term PVC means. If the flip is made of vinyl, then the flip is PVC which stands for the full name of the plastic Polyvinyl Chloride.
“There are several kinds of PVC flips of varying degrees of softness. The harder vinyl flips, called “unplasticized”, are still PVC and have the long term problem of hydrogen chloride release as the vinyl degrades over time.
“You may hear tales like “I’ve used these flips for X years and had no problems” but you can find just as many disaster tales from collectors with ruined coins that dealers won’t buy.”
Where to buy proper storage protection
The Kointainer Company sells a mylar 2X2 flip which is considered the ultimate in long term storage protection. I store my charge coins in mylar flips. I also use mylar flips, which I cut to size, for storing paper credit cards. Kointainer also sells the solvent trichlorotrifluoroethane. This solvent is used to remove contaminants from metal surfaces. I protect all my charge coins with this solvent.
You can contact E & T Kointainer Company, for literature on their complete product line. The company has changed ownership in 2020. Bernard A. Nagengast, who owned the company for four decades, has retired. Randy A. Moore, associated with Nagengast and E&T Kointainer for the past 11 years, has bought the business. The company continues its specialized products.
Finding a suitable mylar holder
I’ve looked for a suitable mylar holder for plastic credit cards. There’s always something wrong with the holders I examine. They’re generally the wrong size or too awkward to work with. That’s why, for the time being, I store my credit cards in the 2-5/16″ X 3-5/8″ glassine envelopes. These are typically available at stamp hobby shops.
Copyright 1986 by Greg Tunks