Open a Door with a Credit Card

July 26, 2011 4:57 pm 0 comments

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You see it done in the movies all the time. A slick protagonist needs to explore the bad guy’s abode, so he whips out a card, wiggles it in the crack of the door, and strolls right on in. However, in real life, it’s not a universal lock pick technique (nor is it legal if you don’t have permission to enter). But, it is a pretty cool thing to know how to do, especially if you find yourself locked out of your own home!

1) Choose your largest, most easily flexible credit card.

  • You may want to use something other than a credit card if it’s more flexible and disposable (such as gift cards, membership cards, or any other plastic laminated cards – fake credit cards that you get in the mail are perfect).
  • You can also use a strip of plastic cut out from a plastic soda bottle for extra length and flexibility.

2) Slide the card into the vertical crack between the door and the frame (where the lock is)

Insert the card as far as it will go at a perpendicular angle with the door.

3) Tilt the card so the side that’s closest to you is almost or is touching the doorknob

Push it until you feel it slide in more.

4) Bend the card the opposite way, forcing the lock to go back

Quickly open the door. It is a good idea to lean against the door while doing this, which will help it to pop open


  • An alternative method is to push the card between the door and the frame, as said above, then pull and push at the doorknob while applying pressure on the card. This will pry the lock open eventually, but takes a bit of time, and causes more damage to the card.
  • Some doors require very little effort, and may be opened by simply pushing a card into the door frame at the same height as the handle (without the above tilting or bending).
  • If you are on the side of the door that the lock is not slanted towards, the best way to do this is to tilt the card downwards and come from the top. You will have to push the card almost all the way in to reach the curved side of the lock. Also, you have to push hard.
  • Most doors have a special tab that sticks alongside the latch to prevent picking with a credit card. If you can get this tab to drop into the hole that the rest of the latch goes into, then the door is improperly installed and this method will work.
  • If the door is an exterior door with an additional deadbolt lock – deadbolts cannot be picked with a credit card and require drilling the lock, picking the lock or kicking down the door.
  • If the door has trim around it that will prevent you from opening it with a card, either remove the trim or find an alternative method of opening the door.
  • If the credit card doesn’t bend enough, a business card may work as it is more malleable.


  • There is a chance that you may damage your credit card.
  • Be very careful not to let your card slide through the door jamb and get stuck on the other side.
  • Be prepared to show proof that you have the right to open the lock, or you might find yourself behind the sort of locked door that a credit card won’t open!
  • This technique is the best reason you should have deadbolt locks on your outside doors!



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