A credit card isn’t just a piece of plastic that you use for charging and paying for things. That’s why you need to protect the ones you have in your wallet.

All credit cards contains important, as well as sensitive information that could be used to make fraudulent purchases. Said credit cards can even open you up to identity theft if it got into the wrong hands.

According to TransUnion, in 2014, about 31.8 million consumers in the U.S. had their credit cards compromised, making the need to keep your personal credit information safe even more important than ever. The credit bureau offers these tips for good credit card protection:

Credit card information should be confidential

Anyone with access to your credit card information not only could buy stuff in your name, but they can also take that info to open fraudulent credit accounts. If this happens, you will be responsible for working it out with your credit card company. The more people who have access to your credit card number, the better chances it could be stolen. To avoid theft:

  • Never let anyone see your credit card number, unless it is someone you trust completely.
  • Never leave your cards, statements or receipts out in clear view.
  • Shred your credit card statements before tossing them in the garbage.
  • Only give your credit card number to reputable companies.
  • Don’t give your credit card number to anyone over the phone unless you called them. If you haven’t dealt with a company before, go online and search for reviews or complaints before trusting them with your credit card.

Watch your surroundings

When you remove your credit card to make a purchase, keep in mind that someone may want to get your card number if they have a chance. always Watch your credit card and be sure it is given back to you before you depart. Also, never sign a blank receipt. If there is a blank space above the total where a tip can be added, draw a line across it if you don’t want to leave a tip.

Look at the credit card reader before using it; thieves can attach skimmers to credit card readers to steal your number when you buy items. If you’re about to use an ATM, store card reader, or pay at the gas pump and it looks tampered with, use another form of payment.

Use tokenized payments 

If your credit card has a microchip, use it to pay whenever and wherever possible. Credit card chips use a tokenized payment method, which doesn’t show your card number to the card reader. Instead, the chip submits a one-time-use token and it can never be used again. Services such as Apple Pay, Android Pay and Samsung Pay on your mobile phone also use tokenized payments, keeping your credit card number private.

Keep all records

Take a photo of all credit card receipts for purchases and keep them in an organized location. When you get your monthly statement, compare the purchases to your receipts. Between statements, log into your account regularly and compare purchases and pending transactions. If you find a discrepancy, contact the credit card company immediately. Also consider keeping a record of credit card numbers, expiration dates and the telephone numbers on the cards. If your wallet is lost or stolen, you will be able to contact the credit card companies fast without having to look for this information.