Metal Cards: The Latest Trend in Payments

In the first post of our series on the rise of Metal Cards, learn why metal payment cards are gaining prominence with high-value and style-conscious customers.

Some of us will remember the earliest metal payment cards, with cards such as the American Express Centurian and its distinctive black design quickly becoming synonymous with affluence and exclusivity. Now, metal payment cards are once again gaining prominence, with high-value and style-conscious customers keen to get their hands on these new status symbols. Boasting sleek good looks and a satisfyingly tactile feel, metal cards give a touch of luxury to card payments.

An Object of Desire

It should come as no surprise that metal payment cards are proving so popular with customers. Whilst cash is falling out of favor, and digital payment methods are increasing, studies show that the traditional card is still far and away the preferred option, with 73% of all card transactions being carried out contactless. [1] Introducing a contactless payment card which fits into the familiar and trusted payment routine, whilst conferring extra status on the bearer, can therefore only be seen as desirable. However, the contactless metal payment card has more to offer.

By moving away from plastic, the new titanium cards are not only beautiful and durable, but also sustainable, making them an accessory that can truly appeal to everyone. Indeed, even digital wallet pioneer Apple has recognized the potential of the metal payment card, opting to launch a stunning minimalist titanium credit card in 2019. And more big names in the financial services sector have followed suit, with fintech company Revolut and online services giant Amazon Prime recently launching metal cards.

Security Must Not be Forgotten

However, carrying such a distinctive object could mean that users of these metal cards find themselves at a higher risk of card fraud. Unfortunately, the figures show that payment card fraud is a serious issue, with the cost of such criminal activity reaching £261.7M in the UK for the first half of 2021 alone, according to UK Finance statistics [2].

With significantly higher credit limits, the metal payment card is likely to represent an attractive prospect to fraudsters, unless the most rigorous security measures are built in.

Such a security measure comes in the form of the fingerprint sensor, which can simply and effectively prevent all but the authorized user from using the card. Easy to integrate into the card itself, fingerprint sensors are a cost-effective solution for card providers, who can then reassure their customers that their high-status metal card is also highly secure.

The Fingerprint Sensor Adds to the Appeal

In fact, integrating each metal contactless card with a fingerprint sensor can improve the customer experience in a number of ways, not just the security aspect. Whilst being able to deliver valuable peace of mind to high value customers, including a fingerprint sensor can prove a key selling point also in other areas. As well as eliminating the need for a PIN or transaction limits, such cards can be transformed into versatile “tap and go” accessories which include services such as transport passes, ID provision, and loyalty schemes.

Such cards are likely to become popular with a younger demographic, who will appreciate the speed and convenience that they can offer. This, in turn, can help to build long term, loyal relationships with the financial institutions that issue the cards, making it a positive experience for all.

In the next post of our series on metal cards, we will further discuss why adding biometric authentication to metal cards is making contactless payment cards much more secure and bringing other benefits to enhance their desirability.