It’s hard to say for sure why metal credit cards are so popular, but one theory is that they’re perceived as a status symbol and cardholders like their weighty feel versus lighter, plastic alternatives. The metal trend started more than two decades ago with a handful of premium cards aimed at big spenders, and has since trickled down to cards for more average consumers.

Why all the fuss about metal credit cards?

Cardholders are often looking for ways to add a touch of personalization and panache to their credit cards. Some plastic credit cards can be customized or include a unique design on the face of the card, but metal credit cards take things up a notch in terms of style.

Metal credit cards come in brass, copper, brushed stainless steel and even gold and palladium, according to U.S. News & World Report. Some cards are metal-plastic hybrids; others are pure metal plates. One card even has a diamond embedded in the center.

So, why all the fuss about metal credit cards? Some customers find the cachet of the metal cards appealing. If you’re going to carry your card around all the time, it might as well look and feel good, right?

Is there a difference between metal and plastic credit cards?

Ultimately there’s not much of a difference between metal credit cards and plastic ones — aside from the style points, the extra heft, and the satisfying, metallic clunk when you set it down on the table. With metal credit cards, you still swipe, tap or insert your chip in the same way.

However, there is one noteworthy difference: Metal credit cards cannot be shredded in the same fashion as plastic cards. If you put a metal card in the shredder, it may shred the shredder. And a regular pair of kitchen scissors won’t do the trick, either. Some recommend industrial-grade tin snips, but there’s no need for cardholders to take drastic measures to dispose of the card. You can simply call and request a pre-paid return envelope to send it back to your card issuer, where it’ll be disposed of securely.

Credit cards are a fixture in many people’s lives. Why shouldn’t they have a little flair like their users?

Published April 5, 2017.

Updated October 19, 2020.

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