We've all seen the movies where our savvy hero pulls a Mastercard from his wallet, and with a quick push and wiggle, the door swings open. But how practical and realistic is this?
Is it just movie fiction, or can we too acquire these spy-like abilities and learn how to pick a lock with a credit card?
In terms of its practicality, using a credit card to unlock a door is not always the best method as there are many other means of bypassing doors and locks—such as lock picks or using improvised tools such as using bobby pins.
However, if you ever find yourself in a pinch, using a credit card to pick a lock is always a viable option if the door you are attempting to bypass is of the right type.
So before we learn how to pick a lock with a credit card, let us first take a quick look at the best cards to use and the types of locks that are susceptible to credit card attacks.
Additionally, if you are brand new to lock picking and want to learn other cool ways to bypass a lock, consider checking out my ultimate beginner's lock picking guide!
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Choosing Your Card
Unlocking a door with a credit card is not as clean as the movies make it seem. The card being used will endure a ton of wiggling and bending—this type of rough play is typically not the kind of stress you want to put on your credit cards. Leave that to the bills.
Additionally, credit cards tend to be too thick and stiff to be effectively used and may even break.
For these reasons, I recommend that you use something more lightweight, flexible, and less valuable than a credit card, such as:
- Gift cards
- Membership cards
- Old hotel keys
- Insurance cards
You can even cut a strip from a plastic soda bottle if you don't have any cards at your disposal!
Locks Pickable by Credit Cards
Unfortunately, you can not unlock a deadbolt with a credit card. Credit cards will only work with slanted-latch-style locks. Furthermore, the slant of the latch must be facing you so that you may press it in using your card.
But how can we tell if we can pick a particular lock with a credit card?
Easy! There are essentially three things you should look for:
- Ensure that there is no deadbolt: Deadbolts use a rod that can only be retracted by either using a key or by lock picking, which is typically just as easy.
- The slant of the latch must be facing towards you: You can easily determine this by looking at the door. If the hinges are on the opposite side of the door, then the slant is facing you. If the hinges are on your side, this credit card lock picking method will not work, and you are better off removing the hinges to get through the door.
- There are no metal plates nor excessive molding: Anything that restricts your card from sliding between the crack of the door and reaching the strike plate will hinder your ability to use this credit card method.
So, to pick a door lock with a credit card there can't be a deadbolt, the hinges must be on the opposite side of the door, and there can't be anything blocking the crack of the door!
How to Pick a Lock with a Credit Card
Step 1: At an angle, slide the edge of your card between the door and the strike plate:
Once the corner is in, straighten the card so that it is perpendicular to the door, and the entire edge of the card is between the door and the strike plate.
Step 2: Bend your card towards the doorknob:
By bending the card and giving it a little push, it should easily slide further into the door.
Step 3: Bend and wiggle the card:
Apply pressure to the door and continue to bend and wiggle the card between the door and yourself. Eventually, the card will slide far enough in to compress the latch—thus unlocking the door!
Entire Process ⇓
Credit Card Lock Picking Set
In addition to using an actual credit card to unlock doors, there are various lock picking sets that can fit inside your wallet.
These lock pick sets include all the basic picks required to bypass most pin tumbler locks, are extremely cheap, easy to use, and are made quite well.
My favorite credit card lock pick set is the Grim Key Lock Picking and Escape Card. You can check out my full review of this card, as well as some others in my best wallet lock pick card buyers guide.
Wrapping It Up!
There you have it—you now know how to pick a lock with a credit card! If you liked this little guide, please don’t forget to help us out and share it with your friends!
Also, if you would like to learn more about lock picking, consider checking out my lock picking Academy for more free guides and techniques.
Additionally, we would love to hear of any successes, failures, or questions. Be sure to throw us a comment below!