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what are credit cards made of

From Raw Materials to Cards:
What are Credit Cards Made Of

What are credit cards made of? Credit cards are evidence of our desire for security and convenience. These slender pieces of plastic encapsulate a symphony of science and design. But have you ever given any thought to the precise materials utilized to create these cards?

Simple, but a bit deeper and you’ll find an intricate blend of materials and technologies. Depending on the type and use of the card, credit cards come in a variety of materials. Credit card production is meticulous and starts with the raw materials. Materials and technological processes combined led to the creation of credit cards.

After discussing What are Credit Cards Made Of, it’s essential to step back and look at the bigger picture. Now we need to know What is a credit card, and how it works? 

Let’s shift our attention to the principles and workings of this crucial financial instrument. 

Table of Contents

What is a Credit Card and How it Works

Diving into the question, “What are credit cards made of?” reveals a captivating blend of science and industry within the wholesale realm. It may appear to be thin plastic slivers but amazes advanced technology.

We’ll explore the components from the basic plastic base to advanced silicon chips. Converge to create this iconic component of our daily transactions. 

Credit Cards are a type of financial instrument offered by financial institutions. Cardholders borrow funds for purchases or cash advances up to a determined limit. In this kind of short-term loan, the cardholder consents to repay the amount borrowed.

When we ponder “How Do Credit Cards Operate?“. We explore areas where technology and practicality collide in the wholesale sector. These simple plastic pieces contain operational mechanisms to bring wonders of material science. 

what are credit cards made of

The following is a breakdown of how they work:

  • Issuance

Financial institutions issue credit cards based on an individual’s creditworthiness.

  • Credit Limit

Each card has a predetermined credit limit or the maximum sum a cardholder may borrow. These limits are based on the cardholder’s credit rating and financial stability.

  • Making Transactions

The merchant’s payment terminal communicates with the card issuer to ensure its validity.

  • Gratitude Period

The interval between a billing cycle’s conclusion and the due date is known as this. They can avoid interest charges if you pay the full balance in advance.

  • Rewards and Benefits

Many credit cards offer rewards, such as cashback, points, or miles, for every dollar spent.  You can redeem rewards for various perks.

  • Security Features

EMV chips offer an extra layer of defense against fraud.

After identifying the importance of metal cards. We can now discuss what exactly goes into these sleek, weighty rectangles. We must know various raw materials that give these cards their distinctive character. Let’s explore and appreciate their craftsmanship!

Different Raw Materials

In making credit and debit cards, we use a variety of metals or metal alloys. To achieve specific properties such as durability, weight, and aesthetics. Here are the primary raw materials used in the production of metal cards:

  • PVC

Creates a water-resistant finish that prevents liquids from seeping into the card’s surface.

  • Stainless Steel

It provides a weighty, premium feel and can brushed or polished for varying finishes.

  • Brass

Brass cards have a unique golden hue, providing a luxurious and distinct appearance. They’re often chosen for their aesthetic appeal.

  • Aluminum

Lightweight and resistant to corrosion. It’s lighter weight than steel or brass, but its versatility in color and design can be appealing.

  • Copper

Copper cards carry a distinct reddish-brown appearance. giving the card a vintage or aged look.

  • Titanium

The cost of titanium is often reserved for high-end or luxury card offerings.

What credit cards are made of titanium?

Several credit cards are made of titanium due to the metal’s premium feel and durability. Some examples of well-known credit cards that have titanium form are:

  • The American Express Centurion Card
  • Apple Card
  • Chase Sapphire Reserve
  • Luxury Card Mastercard Gold Card
titanium cards

What credit card is made of metal?

Many credit card issuers offer metal cards as part of their premium lineup. Here are some of the notable metal credit cards: 

  • U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite® Card
  • Wells Fargo Propel American Express Card
  • The Ritz-Carlton Rewards Card
  • Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card

After seeing different kinds of metal credit cards, you may now have an idea of what you want your metal credit card will look like. Let’s dive into the process below.

Design and Manufacturing Process

Depending on the item, different design and manufacturing techniques may be used. Let’s consider the design and manufacturing process of a generic metal credit card:

Design Phase – The design phase is where the production begins. With an understanding of brand identity and the message you want to convey to cardholders, you can choose the colors, finishing texture, and marking techniques to be used to resonate with the brand image. The design should include the name, expiry date, magnetic stripe, and card number. 

Material Selection – Depending on the desired finish, weight, and cost, an appropriate metal.

Manufacturing Phase – to have more understanding of the manufacturing phase of credit cards, we link a video below:

Programming & Personalization – The card’s chip is programmed with the necessary software to interact with card readers and ATMs. Personal details of the cardholder, like the account number and name added.

Packaging & Distribution – Placed in protective sleeves or packaging, ready to ship out. They are then distributed to the banks or directly to consumers, ready for activation and use.

The entire workflow emphasizes both aesthetics and functionality (security features, durability).

Types of Credit Cards

Credit cards emerge as multifaceted instruments, tailored to suit diverse needs and lifestyles. But not all credit cards are created equal. Cards have every purpose, each unique design with specific features and benefits. 

Each was created to satisfy various consumer needs and preferences. The most used credit card categories are below:

what are credit cards made of

1. Standard Credit Cards

  • Unsecured Credit Cards
  • These don’t need any collateral. Eligibility is based on the applicant’s credit history.
  • Secured Credit Cards
  • For those with bad or no credit, these cards need a security deposit which often sets the credit limit.

2. Points Cards

  • Earns points for purchases, which can be redeemed for rewards.
  • Miles/Travel Cards
  • Collects miles or points for travel-related purchases, redeemable for flights, hotels, etc.

3. Retail Credit Cards

  • Store Only Cards
  • Can used at specific retailers
  • Co-branded Cards
  • Issued in partnership with a major network and a retailer, usable anywhere.

4. Balance Transfer Cards

  • These cards come with low or 0% interest for a promotional period on transferred balances.

5. Student Credit Cards

  • Lower credit limits and offer rewards for good grades or other student-centric benefits.

6. Business Credit Cards

  • Higher credit limits and rewards are beneficial for businesses.

7. Cash Cards

  • Users are required to settle their balance in full each month.  

Even though we’ve explored a wide range of credit card types. A rising trend in the industry prompts an intriguing question. The very material of the card itself has become a focal point of interest. This query: Are metal cards and plastic cards the same, or is there more than meets the eye? Let’s delve into this comparison to uncover the nuances between the two.

Are Metal Cards and Plastic Cards The Same

Metal and plastic cards have very different compositions, feels, and perceived values. Plastic cards, as the name suggests, are made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC). They are light and adaptable and have long been common in the industry. Metal cards are crafted from metals such as stainless steel, brass, or even titanium. They have a heavier feel in hand, giving them a premium and upscale perception. 

Metal cards are often associated with elite or luxury card offerings. Often coming with enhanced benefits or features compared to their plastic counterparts. Making transactions or accessing account information, remains the same for both types. Both metal and plastic cards serve similar operational purposes. They differ in material composition, benefits, and status they confer to the cardholder. 

After determining the difference between plastic and metal cards, let’s now discuss the pros and cons. 

what are credit cards made of

Pros and Cons of Metal Credit Cards vs. Plastic Credit Cards

Metal Credit Cards:

Pros:

  • Durability – Metal cards are more durable and resistant to wear and tear compared to plastic cards.
  • Premium Feel – The weight and solid feel of metal cards convey a sense of luxury and prestige.
  • Unique Aesthetics – They stand out in design and can be a conversation starter due to their distinct appearance.
  • Potential Perks – Many come with more perks or rewards that might not be available with standard plastic cards.

Cons:

  • Weight – They are heavier and inconvenient for some users, especially when carrying many cards.
  • Less Flexibility – Metal cards are rigid, so they can’t bend like plastic cards.
  • Replacement Difficulty – If a metal card needs to be discarded, it’s harder to cut or shred compared to plastic.
  • Potential Costs – Higher due to the associated perks and the cost of producing the card.

Plastic Credit Cards:

Pros:

  • Lightweight – Plastic cards are easy to carry and won’t add significant weight to a wallet or purse.
  • Flexibility – They can bend without breaking. Excessive bending can damage the magnetic stripe or chip.
  • Wider Availability – Wider range of options for providers, rewards, and credit limits.
  • Easier Replacement -If damaged, plastic cards are easy to replace, and discarding them is straightforward.

Cons:

  • Less Durable – They can get scratched, warped, or cracked with use over time.
  • Common Appearance – Plastic cards lack the unique aesthetics and premium feel of metal cards.
  • Environmental Concerns – Plastic cards are not biodegradable and can contribute to environmental waste when discarded.

The choice depends on individual preferences, priorities, and financial circumstances. Metal cards offer a touch of luxury and durability. Plastic cards remain a widely accepted, lightweight, and versatile option. Now that we have discussed the pros and cons of metal cards vs. plastic cards, let’s dive into the different dimensions of credit cards.

What is The Dimension of Credit Cards

Credit card dimensions are standardized on a global scale. To ensure compatibility with card readers and ATMs. 

A standard credit card has the following dimensions:

Width: 85.60 mm (or 3.370 inches)

Height: 53.98 mm (or 2.125 inches)

Thickness: Approximately 0.76 mm (or 0.03 inches)

The credit card dimension is an important feature to consider when designing. Yet, weight and thickness are also important to show how the card will be perceived by the cardholder. 

what are credit cards made of

What is The Weight and Thickness of a Credit Card

Plastic cards: 

A credit card made of plastic has the following weight and thickness: 

Thickness:

  • Approximately 0.76 mm (or 0.03 inches). This standard dimension is according to the ISO 7810 ID-1 format. 

Weight:

  • A standard plastic credit card weighs around 5 to 6 grams. The weight depends on the materials and any extra elements. Slight variations on the card issuer and specific technologies or materials they use. Still, these are the general standards for typical plastic credit cards. 

Metal cards:

Due to their uniqueness and durability, metal credit cards have attracted attention. 

Thickness:

  • Their thickness, too, tends to be slightly greater.  Generally around 0.8mm to 1mm, as compared to the 0.76mm thickness of plastic cards.

Weight:

  • The weight ranges from 13 to 28 grams, in contrast to the usual 5 grams of a standard plastic card.

The large feel of a metal card also underscores a sense of exclusivity and robustness. Brass, stainless steel, gold, and combine form and function in a slim, dense package, and are a symbol of luxury.

How to Select The Right Credit Card for You

Selecting the right credit card for your wholesale business is a decision that should not be taken. Things to consider for an effective credit card are the card size, color, and finishing texture. If you are new to this field, it is advisable to seek professional help to avoid the risks of wasting your time and money.

what are credit cards made of

Where to Get Credit Cards in Bulk

You have now reached the final section of the blog, and we believe that you already have an idea of what material to use for your credit card. 

If you choose to go metal, you are in the right place. Foison Metal is an experienced manufacturer of wholesale custom credit cards made exactly to your preference. No design yet? No problem. We’ll guide you through the complete process of designing and mass-producing to achieve your desired metal credit cards

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