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What’s So Special About Metal Credit Cards?

Metal credit cards have a luxe aesthetic, but do they work differently from a typical plastic card? Read more about use and disposal of metal credit cards.

May 2, 2022

They’re heavy, shiny and chic—it’s easy to see why metal credit cards are having a moment right now. We have to admit, the shine factor is pretty nice. But what exactly is a metal credit card and how on earth do you dispose of metal credit cards safely when the time comes? 

Let’s take a closer look at how these heavyweight credit cards work and how to dispose of metal credit cards.

What are metal credit cards?

While it may seem like metal credit cards are the new hot financial tool, they’ve actually existed since the 1920s. Back then, department stores provided shoppers with metal charge plates that allowed them to run tabs at their store. It wasn’t until the 1950s that plastic credit cards started being issued. 

Today, metal credit cards are a thing again, but unlike the department store cards from the 1920s, you can use these cards exactly like you would a normal credit card. The only difference is these cards are made of metal instead of plastic. There are more than 20 different metal credit cards available to consumers and they can be made of a variety of materials like titanium, palladium, copper, brass, gold or brushed stainless steel. 

Metal credit cards tend to be significantly heavier than plastic ones, which gives them a luxe and high quality feel. 

Do metal credit cards work differently than plastic ones?

Metal credit cards don’t function differently than plastic ones do, they just look nice. A credit card being made of metal should be considered a bonus feature of a credit card, as it just brings some elevated aesthetic appeal to the table. Before you apply for a metal credit card, you’ll want to compare the cardholder benefits and perks, alongside the annual percentage rate  and any potential fees charged by the card issuer. If the best credit card for you happens to be a metal credit card, then consider the look and feel of it to be an extra perk. 

As cool as metal credit cards are, they do come with their own set of complications. For example, because they’re made of metal, you’ll likely set off metal detectors if you forget to take your wallet out of your pocket. These credit cards can also be scratched easily, which ruins the sleek look that may have attracted you to the metal credit card in the first place. 

How to dispose of metal credit cards

If you decide to get a metal credit card, you’ll find that you’ll use it in the same way as a plastic one. The biggest difference you’ll notice will actually come when it’s time to get rid of your metal credit card. 

If you decide to stop using your metal credit card or it expires, you’ll need to take different steps than you normally would to destroy the credit card. It’s much harder to destroy a metal credit card than a plastic one, but it’s important you destroy it properly as credit cards contain information that's important to protect from theft.

Here are a few tips for destroying a metal credit card safely and properly. 

  • Send it to your credit card issuer. Because credit card issuers know how hard it is to destroy a metal credit card properly, many allow you to send them your credit card to be destroyed. When you cancel your credit card or it expires, you can request a prepaid envelope from your credit card issuer (some will send this automatically), so you can mail them the card. If you need to pay for the postage yourself, you may be able to request reimbursement, but you’ll want to double check if your credit card issuer will reimburse you first. 

  • Bring the metal credit card to a physical branch. If your credit card issuer has an in-person banking location nearby, you can usually drop off the metal credit card at their local branch. This is a more secure method than sending your card to them via mail. The bank may have the resources onsite to destroy the card or they may mail it on your behalf. You can give the bank a call before you drive over to make sure they’ll be able to help you. 

  • Destroy the credit card on your own. Be careful if you decide to go this route. Putting the metal credit card through your paper shredder or trying to use regular scissors to cut it into pieces won’t work and is potentially dangerous (not to mention, you’ll probably break your shredder). You can use metal snips or a type of heavy-duty cutter to cut the card into multiple smaller pieces. The key thing is to destroy the card's magnetic strip and EMV chip, both of which house sensitive information that thieves can access even if the card is already expired or canceled. If your metal credit card has a metal core, but comes with a plastic coating on both sides, you may be able to strip off those plastic layers, destroy them and then dispose of the plastic pieces. 

  • Store the card safely. If you can’t destroy the metal credit card and don’t want to work with the credit card issuer to destroy it, you can choose to keep it and store it in a secure location like your home safe. Before storing it away, try to scratch the card’s magnetic strip so it no longer works. 

Metal credit cards with no annual fee

Want to try out a metal credit card without paying an annual fee? While most sturdy metal credit cards come with an equally heavy annual fee, there are a few metal credit cards with no annual fee.

  • U.S. Bank Altitude Go Visa Signature Card

  • Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card 

  • Amazon Business Prime American Express Card

  • Apple Card

  • Verizon Visa Card

Love the perks of your credit card, but hate the debt? Let Tally† help you pay down your debt faster so you can save money on interest and get back to enjoying your cardholder perks!