As far as I understand, usually with some official documents (such as Passport), the government/passport office is the one who owns it.

Is the same thing is with debit/credit cards?

Just theorising:

If I'm the owner of (plastic) debit/credit card, then technically bank should ask me for the permission before destroying the card (when closing the account) or before cash machine eats it. Then as an owner, I can give it to anybody I want and do with it what I want (duplicate it or destroy it).

If bank is the owner, then technically I should ask their permission: if I'd like to give it (borrow) to somebody else, for keeping it when my bank account was closed, duplicating the card (for personal uses) or sharing the picture of confidential details on it (on the internet)?

Who should ask who?

How does it work?

  • The bank owns it; your use of it is detailed in the contract you signed to get the card and covers things you ask about, so go read it. Also, you're not allowed to lend the card out to others, its for use by authorized users listed on the account (who get their own cards) ONLY.
    – Andy
    Feb 9, 2015 at 18:56

1 Answer 1


In the UK the bank owns it for all the reasons you give.

But if the bank ever asks for it back you should cut it in two before giving it back, as you can never be 100% that it IS the bank that is asking for it.

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