We’ve all been in a situation where we wished we had a sharp blade to cut something, and not everyone wants to carry a fixed or folding blade knife every day. These are often the people who look to what is called a credit card knife as a solution.
What is a Credit Card Knife?
A credit card knife is a small knife that is – you guessed it – about the size of a credit card. A credit card knife can easily fit in your pocket or even your wallet, making it easy to carry around wherever you go. They “can be” an excellent addition to your everyday carry kit because they are so compact and light.
Credit card knives come in different sizes, shapes, materials, and colors. You can get one that has a blade made from stainless steel or carbon steel. You might also find one with an aluminum handle or even one made of titanium! Some even have multiple blades.
In addition to having a sharp edge on each side, some credit card knives have additional features such as a bottle opener, compass, clip, and magnifying glass, making them more versatile than standard pocket knives!
While I would not rate them as self-defense or survival knives, they certainly have their uses.
Credit Card Size
Yes, we all know the size of a credit card. Most credit card knives come in similar dimensions. An overall advantage of the compact size is its mobility. It is hardly noticeable when you carry it around, just like a credit card.
The best credit card knives are mostly around 2mm thick, and they are usually around 1/10th of the thickness of standard knives.
You can buy a single credit card knife if you want a pocket knife that can fit in your wallet or purse, or you could get credit card knives that come with supporting tools in a customized case of their own, something similar to a wallet, which you can also use to store cash and credit cards.
Can You Carry Them On a Plane?
Technically, no. However, I was meeting with a Prepper Press author at Walker Stalker Con in Chicago years ago (a zombie convention). We were talking and somehow the fact that he had forgotten his credit card knife in his wallet came up. He went through the TSA checkpoints without problem, though he said on another occasion TSA took his knife (he had the same folding knife as the one pictured above with the credit card).
Check the knife regulations in your area to know what is or is not allowed.
Interestingly, TSA published a video on this very subject, featuring the very Tactical Credit Card Tool I cover here. See the video:
One manufacturer tries to sidestep this TSA challenge by making the blade removable (see Zootility knife below). With that knife, if your forget it on you and TSA stops you, you can remove the blade and get through with the rest of the multitool. Yes, you lose probably the most important piece of the multitool, but it’s better than losing everything.
Credit Card Knives Tested
I ordered two different credit card knives off Amazon to test for purposes of this article, the Tactical Credit Card Tool Companion and the folding knife pictured above. You can find both knives going by different brand names. For example, at the time I bought the folding knife it was sold under the “Miedeon” name, but it is no longer available on Amazon. It is sold elsewhere as “CardSharp” and it is available on Etsy with a custom engraving. For purposes here, I’ll just refer to it as the folding credit card knife.
My suspicion is that these knives are produced in mass quantity in China, sold on Alibaba, and then retailers buy them in bulk and sell them as their own. There is nothing inherently wrong with this, but it should speak to their quality. Of course, you can only expect so much from a knife that’s the size of a credit card, but the upside is that their prices are typically very low.
Tactical Credit Card Tool Companion
The Tactical Credit Card Tool Companion is a slim tool that fits into any wallet. With its many features, it’s more of a credit card multitool.
It is equipped with a knife, magnifying glass, compass, small screwdriver, can opener, tweezer clip, toothpick, ruler, hex key, and blade saw. That’s a lot in a small package!
This card knife is reasonably durable, allowing it to cut through packages, tape, and fruit quite easily. Of course, the blade is just one aspect of this knife. This credit card knife is a multitool for survival, so it’s more than just a blade. You may take it hiking, camping, fishing, or hunting, and keep an extra in your toolbox, tackle box, car glove box, or bag.
While this knife is not a high-end, ultra sharp blade, and the other components are satisfactory at best, it’s a reasonable product given its limitations (size and price). I can recommend this knife as a basic, all-purpose credit card knife. Just know that it has limitations. It will never replace a real knife.
Some of the use cases for the supporting tools added to the frame are:
- Compass: While I would prefer not traverse the backcountry with it, the compass also offers a nice survival feature. Just know that you will have to take the knife out of the tool card for the compass to function since the metal will interfere with the compass.
- V-edge: The hook at the back of the blade can serve as a “mini-crowbar” to remove hooked materials or small nails if the need arises. Just don’t expect miracles and don’t push the knife’s limits or it will break.
- Bottle opener with screwdriver: This serves multiple purposes just like the knife. Aside from its primary function as a bottle opener, used to open bottles of Miller Lite and cans of baked beans, it has ends that serve as screwdrivers for big and small slots.
- Magnifying lens: There is a magnifying glass fitted for seeing tiny or minute details that are difficult to see clearly with the naked eye. You might not always need this feature, and it’s so small it could be difficult to look through, but I think in the right circumstances it could be used to start a fire with the sun.
- Ruler: the body of the frame can also be used as a ruler. The straight edge was modeled and calibrated to rule short lines.
- A toothpick: This can serve you well after you are in survival mode trying to pick that tough squirrel meat from your teeth.
- Tweezer: It could be tough to pull a small splinter out with this thing, but it’s definitely better than nothing.
It is cool to have all these components fitted into a single credit card frame. The beauty of this gadget is how versatile it is. It can be used in many different scenarios.
Folding Credit Card Knife
When I bought this Miedeon card knife it was sold in a pack of four. That could be, frankly, because they are so prone to breaking. I would consider these knives to be single-use knives. I can’t link to it on Amazon here because it’s no longer listed on the site, but as mentioned, you can find it sold under different names from other retailers, but I wouldn’t bother. I don’t recommend this knife.
You can see this same (or very similar) knife sold as CardSharp in the video below where, unfortunately, they only talk about how amazing it is. It is not amazing.
The plus here is that this card knife can be kept in your wallet and you will not even feel it. I was even able to stuff it in my cellphone “wallet” case without problem. Adding a knife to my phone case was pretty cool.
The blade can neither accidentally cut you nor get blunt when correctly closed because it’s protected by the folding case. Unfortunately, the flimsy folding plastic makes for a weak handle. While the blade would have no problem cutting open a cardboard box, don’t expect to go cutting up feather sticks to build a fire.
3 Better Credit Card Knives (?)
There are many credit card knives available today, but they fall into two main categories: folding and fixed blades. Folding knives are usually made of stainless steel, making them more potent than other types of material used in knives, such as aluminum or titanium (which tend to bend). Fixed knives are usually made of steel or carbon fiber because they aren’t able to fold up as folding knives do, so they must be carried in a sheath instead (this also means that fixed blades tend to be heavier than other types as well).
The knives described below all cost more than the two knives I reviewed, but they also seem to be of much higher quality with robust user reviews.
Victorinox Swiss Army SwissCard
If I had to do it over again I would have bought the Victorinox Swiss Army SwissCard Pocket Knife. With over 1,000 reviews and averaging a full five stars, it has to be good.
- A CUT ABOVE THE REST: World's First Flat Multi Tool that fits in your wallet with credit cards. Compact, agile and ready to face any adventure head-on. Our range of accessories continue to be an icon of utility and smart design.
- DURABLE CONSTRUCTION: Limitless possibilities are made simple and streamlined with this colorful take-anywhere companion. Renown Swiss made stainless steel tool construction with a strong and elegant case.
Many people know the Victorinox name as brand behind the famed Swiss army knife. This one appears to be among the finest credit card multitools on the market. The stylish translucent plastic case holding the nine stainless steel tools on the card slides out.
The set includes a large blade, a letter opener, scissors, a bottle opener, a nail file, a screwdriver, tweezers, a plastic toothpick, a needle, and a ruler. The Victorinox Swiss Army SwissCard is a little multitool that fits in your pocket and is renowned for its ingenuity, durability, and distinctive, practical design. The credit card knife features a steel blade with a robust precision-honed sharpened edge that provides clean, precise cuts. It is corrosion-resistant. You can use the Victorinox Swiss Army SwissCard for a variety of things, i.e., home use, emergencies, and everyday use.
Boker Credit Card Knife
The Boker Plus 01BO010 Credit Card Knife also has strong reviews. It is a card knife that fits neatly in your wallet’s credit card pocket. This knife seems to be a valuable addition to your wallet because it functions as a cardholder and a blade. You can access it immediately by slipping it into your credit card slot. With its included ball chain, which fastens to the neck of a shirt or tie, this knife is always within reach when it’s most needed.
- Titanium liner
- 2-1/4 in. straight edge constructed of 440C stainless steel
A titanium lining, a high-performance 440C stainless steel blade, and a dependable and durable frame lock mechanism are all included in this incredibly lightweight knife to guarantee that quality is not sacrificed for convenience.
This tool provides various carrying alternatives thanks to its tiny proportions, slender profile, and retractable pocket clip. It has a remarkably ergonomic and pleasant grip, thanks to the G-10 finger wraps and handles. This is the one tool that will ensure you have everything you need to finish all of your responsibilities while you’re out camping, hiking, or using it every day.
Zootility Tools Wildcard – Credit Card Pocket Knife
The Zootility Tools Wildcard – Credit Card Pocket Knife is an extremely useful credit card tool. It is a well-designed pocket gadget with four different uses: pry bars, a bottle opener, a screwdriver, and a serrated fold-out knife blade are included. You can carry it around without adding extra weight to your pockets because it is only a little bit bigger than a typical credit card and fits in your wallet.
- EASY TO CARRY - WildCard, the hyper thin pocket knife, fits in your wallet, so you can have it with you every day without bulking up your pockets.
- TRAVEL-FRIENDLY TOOL - This Zootility knife is TSA compliant, meaning if you ever forget you're carrying the knife through airport security, you can just surrender the blade and keep the handle.
This knife is composed of heat-treated stainless steel, weighing only 1.1 ounces and measuring only 2.0 mm thick, making it only slightly wider than a credit card.
One thing you should know about the Zootility credit card knife is that it is removable from the set to make it TSA-compliant, so if you ever forget to leave it at home when traveling by air and you are stopped by airport security, you can remove the knife component and leave the remaining set of tools.
Should You Buy One?
Credit card knives are a great tool to have in your wallet, but quality varies dramatically. I think they have their place in a prepper’s daily carry, but like anything, you get what you pay for. Don’t skimp and you won’t be disappointed.