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TSA Travel Tips - Credit Card Knives

Thursday, March 20, 2014
Credit Card Knife

More and more credit card knives being discovered at airport checkpoints. A credit card knife fits in a wallet just as a credit card would, hence the name. They’re slightly thicker than a credit card and one unfolds into a knife, while other types have a blade that pulls out. (See images).

It’s the type of item that when tucked away in a wallet is out of site and out of mind, so many travelers simply forget they have it.

Credit Card Knife

Today’s tip is a reminder to put these types of items in your checked baggage or simply leave them at home. It’s always a good idea to double check your bags and other belongings for prohibited items prior to traveling. You can find our prohibited items list here.

Credit Card Knife

In addition to credit card knives, items on key chains such as pocket knives and Kubatons are also items that passengers forget about prior to screening. If detected, travelers will be given the option to voluntarily abandon the property, take it out of the checkpoint and mail it, check it, hand it off to a friend, or dispose of it in some other manner. As these items by nature are weapons, please be mindful that having one in your possession at the checkpoint could result in a civil penalty.

See you next week with more travel tips.

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Bob Burns
TSA Blog Team

If you have a travel related issue or question that needs an immediate answer, you can contact us by clicking here.


Submitted by Anonymous on

Why can I take 2 4" knives, if they are hinged together, but not one of these smaller knives?

Submitted by Anonymous on

I continue to wait for some justification for active duty military being included in pre-check, but not retired military or holders of current DoD or LE background investigations. military retirees have at least 20 years documents service to this Nation, pretty much proving their lack of risk. both DoD and LE background investigations should reveal any risk factors. active duty military do not, necessarily, have a background check or any significant length of service. neither citizenship nor a background investigation is required to enlist in the military, in fact there are likely illegal immigrants serving. if it is really about safety, then why are potentially unscreened non-citizens allowed through? sounds like it is just pandering to an admirable group to get PR, not adjusting the rules to ease screening on those who present a lower likelihood of threat.
Let me be clear: pre-911 screening should be the norm. it is all that is required, now that cockpit doors have been reinforced and locked, and flight crews and passengers know that the rules have changed and passivity=death. however, if we are going to continue this massive waste of tax dollars on security theatre, at least have _some_ of the rules make sense.

Submitted by Anonymous on

And how many people found to be carrying these deadly, scary credit card knives been charged with attempted terrorism? How many have been convicted?

Submitted by Anonymous on

I thought the TSA made a good decision when they were going to allow small knives on planes. No one is going to take over a plane these days with a knife. It was disappointing to see the TSA back down on a smart change in policy.

Submitted by RB on

"However, if it is determined that a traveler was intentionally trying to conceal a weapon, he or she could receive a civil penalty, or even be arrested for having a concealed knife in their possession."

Exactly who and by what means does TSA determine if a person is intentionally trying to conceal a weapon?

What TSA employee has the required skills to undertake such an investigation?

Submitted by Susan Richart on

This kinda says it all: "If detected...." :-)

screen shot/DHS OIG statement

Submitted by GSOLTSO on

Anon sez - "It was disappointing to see the TSA back down on a smart change in policy."

This decision was made due to a combined uproar on the part of Congress, stakeholders and some groups in the aviation industry. I too am disappointed that this change did not go through.

TSA Blog Team

Submitted by Anonymous on

Agreed, West, but if Administrator Pistole stood up to Congress, stakeholders, and the terrified aviation groups like he did to the flying public when instituting the "naked pic scanner or patdown assault" procedures, the blotter team could stop blottering about how many little knives they catch and how that justfies your dept's $8 billion budget.

And flyers could keep their harmless private property.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Trying to hide the comments about the needless confiscation of an $85 bottle of perfume by a TSA screener, blotter team?

We haven't forgotten this theft by a government employee. Who took it home?

Submitted by Anonymous on
"It’s the type of item that when tucked away in a wallet is out of site and out of mind, so many travelers simply forget they have it."

Hey, geniuses, it's "sight," not "site."
Submitted by Susan Richart on

As long as we are talking grammar here ("sight" vs. "site"), the first sentence is grammatically incorrect. Actually it's not even a sentence:

"More and more credit card knives being discovered at airport checkpoints."

Can't the TSA afford an editor?

screen shot/DHS OIG statement

Submitted by RB on

How large a threat does a credit card knife pose to the overall safety of a flight if one was taken aboard?

Aren't the cockpits still secure? Hasn't it been shown be more recent events that passengers would take action against a person with any kind of weapon?

TSA is wasting resources when screening for these types of things and doing so has resulted in the over staffing of TSA checkpoints. That's why we see so many TSA clerks standing around doing nothing useful.

TSA needs to better define what it should be doing. Confiscating common LGA's, harassing the public, and other such activities just isn't part of the TSA job.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Pre-9/11 screening for ALL! Not for special groups selected based on what is essentially guesswork!

PreCheck is guesswork, not something based on any sort of study that has been independently reviewed.

Submitted by Anonymous on

"If detected, travelers will be given the option to voluntarily abandon the property, take it out of the checkpoint and mail it, check it, hand it off to a friend, or dispose of it in some other manner."

So that means I can keep probing security with no worries right? No penalty for getting caught? Cool.

Same as liquids. Keep probing until I get what I want through.

Good thing no terrorist has thought of this....

Security theater at its best.

Submitted by Anonymous on

"Can't the TSA afford an editor?"
If your going to cast stones, one must be sure to be accurate themselves.
To start a question "can't" is improper. Can't is a contraction of "can not" and you would not form a question with "can not."

Submitted by Anonymous on

anonymous asked
"And how many people found to be carrying these deadly, scary credit card knives been charged with attempted terrorism? How many have been convicted?"

Tsa's role is not to capture terrorists. Their function is to insure safe travel to the American public. To insure safe travel, TSA is threr to prevent and deture potential threats from being placed on board an aircraft. Think about the past, had the 9/11 highjackers been encountered by TSA, what would have happened? Would the news headlines reported " largest terrorist plot stopped at airport?" No, of course not. TSA would have taken the threat items away and allowed the "terrorists" to board their flights as scheduled. That is exactly what happens now on a daily basis. It would have been a foiled terrorist plot and nobody would have known about it. So to even incinuate that because nobody has been brought before a judge on terrorist charges,thus TSA is not doing their job is rediculous. In short, to ask how many terrorists have been caught, there is just no answer to that. If you ask how many terrorist plots have been foiled, I would say all of them. Not one terrorist plot has been completed on an American based flight since the inception of TSA.

Submitted by Wintermute on

Anonymous said...

" Think about the past, had the 9/11 highjackers been encountered by TSA, what would have happened?"

What would have happened is exactly what DID happen. The failure on 9/11 was that the cockpit doors were not hardened, and everyone was taught to comply with hijackers. Now, no one is going to get into a cockpit with a box cutter, and trying to use one to take over a plane is not going to get very far.

Also, TSA has about a 70% failure rate, so, had knives been banned on 9/11 and TSA had been in place, but with unhardened cockpit doors and everyone still thinking compliance was the best policy, then, unfortunately, the end results would have very likely had been the same.

Submitted by Susan Richart on

Anonymous wrote: "If your going to cast stones, one must be sure to be accurate themselves.
To start a question "can't" is improper. Can't is a contraction of "can not" and you would not form a question with "can not."

"If your going......." should be "if you're going" - a contraction of you and are.

It's perfectly acceptable to begin a question and a sentence with the word "can't."

3) Can't Nico help in the garden?

5) Can't he understand Spanish?

Might I suggest you explore the following:

screen shot/DHS OIG statement

Submitted by Susan Richart on

Further response to Anonymous person:

" must be sure to be accurate themselves."

'One' is a singular pronoun and 'themselves' is a plural pronoun. You used the words together incorrectly.

screen shot;DHS OIG statement

Submitted by Anonymous on

Following on what 'Wintermute' said.

Pre-9/11, I used to carry a Spiderco Pocket knife with a 3" blade on the plane in my coat pocket all the time (back then, it was legal for anything under a 3.5" blade). The boxcutters the 9/11 terrorists used only had a 1" blade. The fact is, a knife of any size wouldn't do a terrorist any good these days. The significant change after 9/11 wasn't the TSA confiscating knives, it was a fundamental change in attitude from one where passengers were encouraged to comply with high-jackers, to the realization that their best chance of survival is to overpower the highjackers. It is a fair bet that nobody could ever highjack a plane again with a knife of any kind. The passengers would overwhelm them and likely beat them within an inch of their lives.

I can promise you that a person could pose more of a threat whipping you with their belt buckle than trying to slash you with something like my little Swiss-Tech Utili-Key 6-in-1 Tool. Yet, because of the failed attempt to remove the restriction on these items, they still get confiscated. Talk about out of sight, out of mind.

Submitted by Neil Harris on

I have held a top-secret clearance, I have been vetted through background checks by Aerospace corporations and have worked in the nuclear power field for a total of 44 years. During a significant amount of this time and currently; the FBI has performed background checks every 3 or 5 years, fingerprinted at the same time,and under a 'continuous behavior observation program' as all nuclear workers have to do. This a significant undertaking to get initially and maintain. Further, I am a concealed handgun license holder which in itself, requires state/federal driven fingerprinting and background checks. WHY does not the TSA recognize other federal regulatory agency background information - (easy to validate) or state regulated background information. It would be great if these types of current background data vetted and allow these people to be part of the TSA pre-check program. Neil Harris, CPNPP Security Manager

Submitted by Joel Cotton on


I recently forgot to take one of these credit card knives out of my wallet and went through security. I showed my security agent where it was, offered to surrender the knife and continuously apologized. I actually helped the female agent take photographs of the knife itself. To my surprise 60 seconds later I was arrested for a concealed weapon booked into jail. I was then berated by the lieutenant for more than 10 minutes about how I was an idiot and there is no excuse for having this on you at anytime. I honestly used the knife as a utility knife to open boxes at work and help open control panels if needed. Everything I have read online from people blogs to news articles in NM every persons TSA agent asked for them to turn it over with no charges filed; I could be listed as a possible felon. It was an honest mistake with no bad intentions in any way. I simply forgot to take it out of my wallet. As unexcusable as this being listed as a felon for such an action is crazy. My question is that in two weeks I am traveling over seas am I allowed to fly?

Submitted by Fred Facker on

I completely forgot I was carrying one of these last weekend at STL, and instead of offering to let me mail it or throw it away, TSA immediately called the terminal police. I got led off to the police station while my new wife (we had actually just gotten married the night before) was left with my bags crying in the terminal. Now I'm stuck having to fly back to St. Louis for a court date. Thank you TSA for saving everyone on the plane from the knife I didn't even realize I was carrying and making my life hell.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Like several other commentators above I was recently detained for 45 minutes and told repeatedly (in what can only be called a gleeful manner) by TSA agents that I was going to be arrested for having a concealed weapon. In fact what I had on me was not a credit card knife at all and the cooler heads of the responding law enforcement agency prevailed. The TSA needs to be forced to better rationalize its decisions, post up-to-date restrictions in a clear and concise manner (as this 3 month old blog post is clearly inaccurate based on current practice), and provide far better training for its agents.

Submitted by Al Plucker on

Nothing you just said was true. I get hassled more in uniform than in my civilian clothes at the checkpoints. With the exception if having to remove my boots unless they have metal in the soles (than I have to take mine off as well and combat boots take much longer to take off and put on than your tennis shoes). Also it is impossible to join the military without a full background check. Now if you are of another country you earn citizenship by serving. So there are no illegals in the military, only naturalized citizens. Retirees are treated the same as everyone else unless wheelchair or cane bound.

Submitted by Anonymous on

I don't know where your flying through but ohare is very under-staffed.

Submitted by Household Organizer on

However, there area unit those that do not very need low charge per unit credit cards.

Submitted by John Alex on

Most of them intentionally bring knives. International airport control especially airports in asia are not that much capable to track this stuff. People who disguise knife in credit card should receive civil penalty

Submitted by Jennifer Martin on

The folding knife should atleast be allowed to the plane.

Submitted by Anonymous on

"Tsa's role is not to capture terrorists. Their function is to insure safe travel to the American public." That is their perceived/stated function. I cannot avoid believing their true function is to condition us to 'do as we are told' ie 'control'.
Earlier this month I flew halfway across the US with a 'forgotten' credit card knife in my wallet and with a cheap pocket knife (I left my good one at home) in my carry-on. I was not questioned about either.
I have always carried a pocket knife since the age of 10 and feel naked without the tool at my ready disposal.

Submitted by Unknown on

9-11 they sure did.

Submitted by Jeanmc on

TSA is, in my opinion, is the biggest example of government throwing huge amounts of money to falsely tell the public that they are "doing something". 95% of the security tests run by their own agency fail. They have made air travel so obnoxious and indecent that many people will not travel by air. Sure, let's pat down the 80 year old nun and five year old child just to make sure we aren't profiling people. What a bunch of crap. The entire agency should be eliminated along with most of Homeland Security.

Submitted by John Dixon on

The TSA and their non-sense rules they promulgate and enforce is prima facia evidence of how government doe not work well in the real world. A small pocket knife could be used by a skilled US citizen against a terrorist in flight and is yet no threat to other passengers, unless one of them is a terrorit! Come on guys! I am tired of replacing harmless key chain pen knives with flashlights and nail file, credit card knives, etc. Your agency is why I go out of my way to fly charter, private, or drive. Since the insane activities of the TSA began under President Bush, I have largely ceased flying commercial.

Submitted by JDM on

I have carried the same little fingernail kit in my carry on bag for 30 yrs and have never had a problem going through security . I am. 64 yo man and have been cleared by TSA and an FBI background checks . Today , the TSA super sleuth confiscated the same blunt nosed 2 1/2” blade knife that has passed through security hundreds of times . Thank you SUPER SLEUTH TSA OFFICER , the world is now a much safer place because of your superb policing skills .

Submitted by Rammy on

Good to see Credit Card Knives and related travel tips.

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DMA Inc.

Submitted by ANONYMOUS on

What's more suspicious? knife strapped to back of leg or knife in backpack? "Investigation" concluded.

Submitted by Anonymous on

You do realise checkpoints check for more than knives right? People that don't have a clue should refrain from such topics

Submitted by Anonymous on

My friend forgot he had one in his wallet and got away his location with it and since this shutdown not getting payed as tsa they can be lazy and let some people pass with drugs guns so get them payed