Will you be putting that purchase on plastic – or metal? Once reserved for the wealthy, metal credit cards have become more widely available.
Metal credit cards work the same as their plastic counterparts but feature different materials that are heavier. The cards are both flashy and sturdy, but those are not the only reasons to keep them in your wallet.
A Short History of Metal Credit Cards
Metal credit cards trace their roots to the 1920s, when department store shoppers could run tabs using metal charge plates or coins. Banks began to issue the plastic cards most people know in the 1950s. The first modern metal card was 1999’s titanium Centurion Card from American Express, aka the Black Card.
The card is issued by invitation only and charges a $7,500 initiation fee, plus a $2,500 annual fee.
Other exclusive credit cards, such as the Dubai First Royale Mastercard and the J.P. Morgan Reserve Card, also have attention-grabbing metal designs. The Royale card is even trimmed in real gold and has a diamond in the center.
In recent years, interest in metal credit cards has grown, and more than 20 metal cards are available to the public. Cards can be made of brass, copper, brushed stainless steel, titanium, gold or palladium. Some are even designed with a mix of plastic and metal.
Why Metal Credit Cards Are Popular
While metal credit cards are still relatively few compared with the thousands of cards available from banks and credit unions nationwide, some of the most popular cards on the market are metal.
“Metal credit cards seem more attractive to consumers who demand cutting-edge innovations,” says Suresh Kumar, director of payment technology at Valid, a credit card manufacturer. “(They’re) also perceived to elevate a customer’s status. People tend to see metal cards as a sign of luxury.”
Metal credit cards also feel different from plastic ones and are heavier. A plastic credit card, for instance, weighs roughly 1 ounce, while the Platinum Card from American Express weighs seven times that. Other metal card weights vary based on whether the cards contain plastic.
Perhaps above all, the cards carry a certain cachet.
Richard Kerr, founder of the Award Travel 101 Facebook group, says, “Everybody wants to feel special. I personally don’t care what the card looks like, but it’s a legitimate reason why people are applying for these cards: so they can have it in their wallet, or hand it to the waitress or waiter, or show their friends. People are impressed by it.”
Because consumers perceive metal cards as higher quality, credit card issuers have swapped some plastic cards for metal ones.
Kumar says, “Banks are constantly seeking new solutions for their account holders as a point of differentiation. The evolution of traditional card constructions, such as new features and appearances, all come with the intent to make the card become the go-to at the top of a wallet.”
How to Get a Metal Credit Card
Most people won’t get to apply for the Centurion Card from American Express or any invitation-only credit cards, but plenty of other options are available. Among those are the:
- Amazon Business American Express Card
- Amazon Rewards Visa Signature
- American Express Business Gold Card
- American Express Gold Card
- Apple Card
- The Business Platinum Card from American Express
- Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card
- Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
- Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard
- Citi Prestige Credit Card
- IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card
- Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express
- Mastercard Black Card
- Mastercard Gold Card
- Mastercard Titanium Card
- The Platinum Card from American Express
- United Club Card
- U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite Card
- Wells Fargo Propel American Express Card………Read More>>