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What Is a Metal Credit Card?

Last Updated: September 4, 2023
3 min read

Key points about: metal credit cards

  1. Metal credit cards used to be geared towards big spenders and usually come with an annual fee.

  2. There’s little difference between metal credit cards and plastic credit cards; you still swipe, tap, or insert your chip in the same way.

  3. Some metal cards are pure metal plates and others are metal-plastic hybrids.

Cardmembers are often looking for ways to personalize their credit cards with a bit of style. Some plastic credit cards can be customized to include a unique design on the face of the card. Other credit cards take things up a notch: they're made of metal.

History of metal credit cards

The metal credit card trend started more than two decades ago as a premium credit card offered to big spenders. Soon after credit card issuers began to offer similar specialty credit cards with various perks to cardmembers. 

It’s unclear why metal credit cards are so popular. One theory about metal credit cards is that they’re perceived as a status symbol. A metal card is often considered a luxury card since it tends to be associated with introductory bonuses at account opening and may offer special perks or rewards, according to Experian. But, it may also be associated with a high annual fee.

Aside from any special membership rewards, a metal card usually works the same way as a plastic card. So, you can use your credit card to make purchases. Then you’ll receive a monthly statement and be able to make payments towards your total balance.

What's the difference between metal credit cards and plastic credit cards?

There aren't many differences between metal credit cards and plastic credit cards—aside from the extra weight in your wallet. 

With metal credit cards, you still swipe, tap or insert your chip in the same way you would a plastic credit card or plastic debit card. 

Some metal credit cards are pure metal plates, and other metal credit cards are metal-plastic hybrids.

While various credit cards have an annual fee, whether plastic or metal, a metal card often has an annual fee.

Interestingly, one main difference between a metal card and a plastic card is how each type of card is destroyed.

How to destroy a metal credit card

Metal credit cards can’t be cut up or shredded the same way as plastic credit cards. If you put a metal card in a shredder, it could damage the shredder. And a regular pair of kitchen scissors won’t work, either. 

There are a few ways to destroy a metal credit card:

  • Mail the card back. One easy way to destroy your metal card is to call the credit card company and request a pre-paid return envelope. You can use the envelope to return the metal card to the card issuer. They’ll destroy the card and dispose of it securely.
  • Bring the card in. If you don't want to mail the card, you could bring the metal card to one of the card issuers’ branch locations. They may be able to destroy the metal credit card on-site, or securely mail it to the right location for you.
  • Use snips to cut the card. Another way to destroy a metal card is with metal snips. Snips are large scissors used to cut metal. Be cautious while cutting the card and dispose of the pieces carefully. 

Do metal credit cards offer rewards?

Like a plastic credit card, a metal credit card may offer rewards to cardmembers. You can contact the card issuer to find out what kind of rewards are available for each type of credit card.

Did you know?

A rewards credit card or travel credit card, metal or plastic, offers rewards, like cash back, for eligible purchases. The rewards you earn may be redeemable through a statement credit or as a deposit into your bank account.

When selecting a rewards card, either metal or plastic, it's important to find out from the card issuer which purchases are considered eligible purchases. Then you can choose a card that rewards you for the kinds of purchases you regularly make. 

Choose the best credit card for you

Credit cards are a fixture in many people’s lives. Metal credit cards were introduced for the highest of spenders, and they often come with an annual fee to prove it. When it comes to functionality, there’s no difference in how to use a metal credit card versus how to use a plastic credit card.

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