Our wallets are full of credit cards, but they are not all the same. Some have mundane designs that are indistinguishable from each other, while others make an impression upon everyone who sees them.
There are two aspects of credit card design that can allow a card to stand out from the rest, its appearance and composition. To create a distinctive appearance card manufacturers work together with card issuers, and possibly even designers. According to Megan Anthony Bogard, the senior designer with CPI Card Group, “One of the biggest trends is a metal look and feel as it gives the cardholder a perceived price point.”
Another trend she points to is flat embossing, which is to say that the cardholder’s name and the credit card number itself are no longer raised. Ironically, raised text used to be a sign of value, but now that metal cards with flat embossing are prized, standard plastic cards are going that direction too in order to mimic their more expensive counterparts.
Other features that can enhance a card’s appearance include holograms, clear plastics and colored cores that give the card a different appearance around its edges. Finally, cards that have very little text draw people’s attention to the the name or logo in the center.
The other aspect of a card’s appearance that customers notice is its composition. Again, metal cards are seen by many as being the most desirable due to their weight and stiffness. While high-end metal cards can cost manufacturers more than $100 each, Barry Mosteller, the director of research and development for CPI Card Group says that his company produces cards with a metal core made out of tungsten which gives the cards the same weight and stiffness as full metal cards, but at a fraction of the price.
Here are seven cards that stand out from the rest — credit cards that look cool.
This newly revamped card is made from a clear plastic, and features a large hologram in the center. It also doesn’t hurt that it’s marketed with ads that feature actress and comedian Tina Fey. There is no annual fee for the standard card and a $95 fee for the EveryDay Preferred version.
2. Chase Palladium
Chase offers its Palladium card exclusively to its private banking customers. The card is made of pure metal with a trace of the rare, and expensive, element Palladium, which currently trades at more than $750 an ounce. As a pure metal card, it is as heavy and as stiff as anything else out there. There is a $595 annual fee for this card.
3. American Express Centurion
This super-secret card is said to be made from titanium, an incredibly strong material that is also lightweight. Although American Express does not publicly disclose much about this invitation-only card, it has been reported that cardholders must pay a $7,500 initiation fee and a $2,500 annual fee each subsequent year.
4. Chase Slate
Slate is known for being the only card with no balance transfer fees for its 0% APR introductory promotional financing offer. Yet unlike other competing cards in this market, Slate has its own distinctive style. The face of this card is laid out vertically, with the cardholder’s name on the front, and his or her card number is on the back, both with flat embossing. There is no annual fee for this card.
5. Visa Black
This card is manufactured from stainless steel with a carbon back that gives it a distinctive appearance no matter which side you look at. The Visa Black card offers customers complimentary luxury gifts and has a $495 annual fee.
This card has a plastic exterior that sandwiches a metal core, which gives it the weight and feel of an all-metal card, but at a fraction of the price. It also features an attractive, navy blue geometric pattern on the front of the card. There is a $95 annual fee for this card that is typically waived the first year.
7. Discover it
Although this card is made of standard plastic, it has a simple, metallic textured appearance that is actually quite attractive. Furthermore, its edges are orange, which is part of the card’s branding. There is no annual fee for this card.
Keep in mind that even though a credit card looks cool doesn’t mean that its terms are a good fit for you. It’s always important to read the terms thoroughly and apply for the cards you’re most likely to qualify for, based on your credit score. If you want to see where your credit score currently stands, the free Credit Report Card will update two of your scores every month.
Note: At publishing time, the Amex Everyday, Chase Slate, Chase Sapphire Preferred, Visa Black and Discover It credit cards are offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com is compensated if our users apply for and ultimately sign up for any of these cards. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment.
It’s important to remember that interest rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees and terms with credit card issuers, banks or other financial institutions directly.
More on Credit Cards:
- The Credit.com Credit Card Learning Center
- 6 Smart Credit Card Strategies
- Tips for Paying Off Credit Card Debt