[[quoteright:350:[[Film/{{memento}} http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/memento_keycard.jpg]]]]

->''"Any lock can be picked by a credit card or a paper clip in seconds."''
-->-- [[http://bertc.com/subfour/truth/movies.htm "What Movies Teach Us"]]

In TV land, some 90% of locked [[DoorTropes doors]] can be opened in seconds by following three simple steps:
# Insert a credit card between the door and the frame just above the lock.
# Jiggle card a bit.
# Turn handle.

Up to a point, this used to be TruthInTelevision. Early spring-bolt locks could be circumvented with flexible strips in a similar way (though actual credit-cards are usually too stiff for the purpose), especially if carelessly installed. However lock manufacturers introduced features to prevent this kind of attack a long time ago, and dead-bolt locks were always immune to it. As such, it's a DiscreditedTrope.

SubTrope of ImprovisedLockpick. Not to be confused with a SkeletonKey. Or ''Film/TheSkeletonKey''.


* Given that Barclays Bank used the advertising slogan "a Barclaycard gets you anywhere" and had several ads featuring a ''Film/JamesBond'' parody,[[note]]starring Rowan Atkinson, playing basically the same character as Film/JohnnyEnglish[[/note]] so it's an odds-on bet this trope came up at least once. This slogan is also responsible for the SAS nicknaming their door-breaching shotguns "the Barclaycard".
* A 118 118 advert has somebody trying this and failing, only to be handed a fake moustache which opens the door no problem.

* DoubleSubverted in ''Film/GetSmart''. Agent 99 points out that the credit card won't open the deadbolt lock that 86 is using his card to open... until Max reveals that the secret heat laser built in will certainly do the trick.
* Lenard uses this tactic in ''Film/{{Memento}}'' to break into a motel room.
* Parodied in ''Film/TheNakedGun'' where Frank tries this with BrandX card and it doesn't work. He tries it with an [[ProductPlacement American Express card]] and the door opens.
* ''Film/TheFrenchConnection''. Popeye Doyle's ''partner'' uses a credit card to get into Popeye's apartment.
* Parodied in the ''Film/JamesBond'' film ''Film/AViewToAKill'', where Bond pulls out a credit card to unlock a window. But after flipping it over we see that it's an electronic lockpick from [[ProductPlacement The Sharper Image]].
** A later movie has a credit card with a lockpick inside it. Sliding back the lower portion of the card causes the spring-loaded pick to pop out.
* ''Film/SupermanIVTheQuestForPeace'' : Lois uses a credit card to get into Clark's apartment to return the cape he lost in his battle with the Nuclear Man.
* ''Film/AceVentura'' did it with a door sign.
* Subverted in ''Film/{{Roxanne}}''. Charlie is called to Roxanne's house to unlock her door. He opens his tool chest to reveal nothing but a single credit card, however the door doesn't take Master Card. He then uses the [[BlatantLies Old Reliable]] method to gain access to her house (deftly scaling the 3 story home to crawl in through the unlocked attic window).
* ''Film/{{Fletch}}'' plays with this one when the titular character, trying to avoid his ex-wife's attorney, uses a credit card on a window to break into ''his own'' apartment.
* Subverted in ''Film/TheBurbs'' when Ray's store credit card snaps in half as he attempts this.
-->'''Ray''': [''to Art''] You have a credit card I can borrow?\\
[''Art checks his wallet to find that all of his cards are fused together after his HarmlessElectrocution moments prior'']\\
'''Ray''': Never mind. [''pulls out his own card and sticks in into the door frame'']\\
'''Art''': I didn't know you knew how to do that.\\
'''Ray''': I DON'T know how to do this. [''card breaks'']\\
'''Art''': That's a shit story, I know it.
* Subverted in ''Film/HighHeelsAndLowLifes'' with multiple credit cards of Frances', apparently since she figured it might work This Time.
* In ''Film/{{Insomnia}}'', when Dormer first enters Finch's apartment, he picks the lock using a credit card.
* Used by Visser in ''Film/BloodSimple'' to get into Ray's house.
* In ''Film/{{Frequency}}'', Frank Sullivan uses this technique to get into Sissy Clark's apartment. Unfortunately he's too late.

* A few characters do a similar trick with a knife at various points in the ''Literature/{{Catteni}}'' books; the protagonist explicitly compares it to the credit card trick.
* In ''Literature/OddThomas'' by Dean Koontz, the title character jimmies the lock on a sliding glass door using an ID card. Although this was stated to have something to do with the general disrepair of the home... or, at least, a fairly valid explanation was provided.
* It's mentioned in some of the Literature/PhilipMarlowe stories by Creator/RaymondChandler that Marlowe carries a strip of celluloid in his wallet precisely for this purpose (this was in the days before credit cards).
** In TheSeventies, ''Franchise/NationalLampoon'' published a parody called "The Big Recall", starring [[CelebrityStar Ralph Nader]] as a detective. The sole reason he kept a gasoline credit card was to break into buildings; he figured that the interest rates the corp. charged justified his using its card that way.
* In the ''Literature/InspectorMorse book'' "The Dead of Jericho", Morse (who has no official standing in the case) makes a surreptitious investigation of the crime scene, and is caught by Detective Constable Walters. Once Morse has satisfied him about his motives for being there, Walters asks him how he got in. Unwilling to reveal the real answer (which involves bribery) Morse attempts to use this trope as an explanation:
-->"You see, the lock on the back door there's a Yale, and with a Yale the bevel's always facing you when you're on the outside. So if you take a credit card and slip it in, you'll find it's just strong enough and just flexible enough toŚ"
-->"I know, sir. I've seen it done on the telly."
-->"And the lock on the back door there ''isn't'' a Yale, is it? Goodnight, sir."
* ''Literature/NancyDrew'' used this trick once.
* In Creator/MichaelCrichton's ''[[Literature/TheLostWorld1995 The Lost World]]'' Arby used his credit card to escape the cabinet he stowed away in the RV.
* Jack does this in ''Literature/SixtyEightRooms'' with his library card, to hold open a door leading into the maintenance area behind the Thorne rooms.

* In the ''Series/SevenDays'' episode "Pinball Wizard", Parker uses his newly acquired "Platinum Card" first to rent a Porsche and then to break into a girl's apartment.
* Subverted in ''Series/{{Friends}}'', where Chandler tries this to open a locked cupboard, but loses his credit card through the gap.
* Subverted by ''Series/{{House}}'' who brandishes his credit card while betting his team he can unlock a door in under 20 seconds, only to grab [[KeyUnderTheDoormat the spare key under a flowerpot]] once they're foolish enough to take the bet.
* When master improvisator ''Series/MacGyver'' travelled (hallucinogenetically) into the past, he witnessed none other than Merlin himself pulling this stunt.
-->'''[=MacGyver=]:''' Gee, I always wondered who invented that...
* Subverted in ''Series/IDream'', where a pair of characters destroy every (fake) credit card they have trying to open a door this way.
* ''Series/HomeImprovement'' has an episode where Tim, attempting to show the efficacy of the anti-theft system he's installed, has a guest star thief try to break in. Moments after saying that he's engaged the system, the front door opens and the thief walks in. He explains that he used a credit card to slip the lock. Tim replies "Sure, if you don't mind destroying your credit card doing it" to which the thief says, "That's why I used yours" and hands Tim's wallet to him.
* Subverted on ''Series/PerfectStrangers'' when Larry tries to open a door with his credit card and it breaks. Worse, the part with his name on it is stuck inside.
* Series/{{Supernatural}}: Dean uses a credit card to get into Angela's house in "Children shouldn't play with dead things". Of course, when Angela's roommate freaked out at his being there he calmed her down by showing her he had a key, so... maybe he was just using the credit card as a joke?
* In ''Series/KyleXY'', Stephen Trager uses this to get into a locked door. This is followed with an amazed "Teach me" from his teenage son.
* In the ''Series/{{Monk}}'' episode "Mr. Monk and Sharona", Monk, Natalie and Sharona play this method straight in one scene to look for evidence.
* One episode of ''Series/MidsomerMurders'' has Barnaby and Jones trying to get inside a closed building in a hurry (his daughter's wedding is coming up). Jones tries to open the lock with Barnaby's credit card, leading to a still-locked door and a very annoyed Barnaby.
* The Nickelodeon series ''Series/HeyDude'' had an episode where one character manages to snap his father's credit card in half trying this trick. He tried desperately to find some way to hide or replace the broken card, only for the ending to reveal that it was expired anyway and the bank had already sent him a replacement with instructions to destroy the original.
* Harry on ''Series/NightCourt'' once helped the guys break into a strip club this way.
-->'''Harry:''' Let's just say I mastered the possibilities.
* Kirk tried to use this method to break into a sperm bank on ''Series/DearJohn'' (American version). Subverted when the card (John's) breaks off in the lock. ("Oh. I guess it doesn't take American Express.") Like the ''Perfect Strangers'' example, the part with the John's name is stuck in the door. Ralph, on the other hand, manages to do this successfully.
* ''Series/Daredevil2015'': In "Penny and Dime," Karen uses this method to break into Frank Castle's house.
* On the ''Series/BrooklynNineNine'' episode "Chasing Amy", Jake and Amy get locked out on a roof. Jake tries to open the door with a hotel key card he had forgotten to return.
* ''Series/TheProfessionals'' do this in their first episode, showing that [=CI5=] aren't hampered by [[CowboyCop petty matters like search warrants]].
-->'''Bodie:''' Right credit card opens so many doors.
-->'''Doyle:''' [[{{PSA}} You should get a deadlock, it's much safer.]]
* ''Series/{{Columbo}}'': In "Double Exposure", the murderer (played by Robert Culp) uses a credit card to jimmy the lock when he breaks into the home of his first victim to steal a weapon to murder his second (ItMakesSenseInContext).

[[folder: Tabletop Games]]
* In the third edition ''TabletopGame/{{GURPS}} Lite'' rules, the example given for using defaults for skills is a player who doesn't have the Lockpicking skill rolling against IQ-5, and their character running a credit card against the latch because they saw that in a movie once.

* Lampshaded in ''VideoGame/TheCurseOfMonkeyIsland''.
* ''VideoGame/NetHack'' lets you use your anachronistic credit card to open any lock - even, for some reason, padlocked [[InexplicableTreasureChests treasure chests]].
* Maya Fey does this to escape her captor in the fourth case in the second ''VisualNovel/PhoenixWrightAceAttorney'' game. She manages to open the door, but is still caught.
* Played straight in ''VideoGame/BeneathASteelSky'', using Reich's ID card.
--> '''Robert Foster''': [[LampshadeHanging It's an old trick, but it still works!]]

[[folder:Web comics]]
* Taken to extremes in ''Webcomic/TheBMovieComic'', where Snuka [[http://www.bmoviecomic.com/?cid=814 opens a vault door]] with his mastercard.

* Deedee does it in the very first episode of ''WesternAnimation/DextersLaboratory''.
* In the ''WesternAnimation/LooneyTunes'' short "Box Office Bunny", Daffy Duck, outraged at the prices of movie tickets, pulls out his library card - and uses it to open the back door of the theater.
* When Goofy tries this in a ''WesternAnimation/MickeyMouseWorks'' short, he only gets a sales receipt for the door.
* Viper invokes this trope in ''WesternAnimation/JackieChanAdventures'' when the entire gang is locked up in Section 13. However, Jade pulls out a macguffin "card" that renders this trope meaningless.
* The Ice King uses a credit card to unhook the latch on Bubblegum Princess' shutters in the ''WesternAnimation/AdventureTime'' episode "Mortal Folly".
* ''WesternAnimation/GreenLanternTheAnimatedSeries'': Hal tries to open the door to Scar's quarters with a credit card [[HardLight light construct]] in the "Scarred" episode. [[TheBigGuy Kilowog]] just breaks the door down.
* Played straight in ''WesternAnimation/FantasticMrFox''. Fox is more surprised that Kylie is eligible for a Titanium card.
-->'''Fox''': A Titanium card?! How the cuss are you eligible for this?!
-->'''Kylie''': I pay my bills on time! I've always had good credit.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Fillmore}}'': In "Test of the Tested", Ingrid uses her library card to spring the lock on the equipment storeroom in the basement of the gym.
* In ''TheSimpsons'' episode "Marge Gets a Job", Marge's new office at the nuclear plant doesn't have a key to the door because it was lost. Instead of replacing the lock, Smithers just tells Marge she can get in with a credit card.