The arrival of the metal card in new countries – France included – has made headlines recently. But how does this “new card” differ from the established plastic card?
The plastic card appeared more than 50 years ago and is now part of our everyday life. With the development of contactless payment, most people couldn’t live without it. The metal card has, however, gone pretty much unnoticed until now for a simple reason, it was and remains mostly dedicated to the elite.
The origin of metal bank cards
The first luxury card, the "Centurion Card" was launched by invitation only in 1999 by American Express. The bank targeted a very specific clientele; the new millionaires / billionaires created by the dot-com era. For the first time, an alternative to the simple plastic card was proposed - a titanium card. Its success was immediate, as was the "Chase Sapphire Reserve" launched in 2016 by Chase Bank, which ran out of stock of metal for the production of their cards.
American Express then proposed a metal version of the Platinum card in 2017, they were soon joined by Citibank and more recently N26, a German direct bank, have followed the trend.
What difference? And why such a success?
In fact, aside from its weight, the metal credit card is similar to its older sibling, the plastic card. Same size, same chip, same technology, so why get one?
In a nutshell, the metal credit card is a way of showing off your wealth. While American Express targeted the dot-com fortunes in 1999, banks have now turned their attention to the millennials and their growing incomes. Just like their predecessors, these wealthy newcomers want to display their status and success by buying the latest smartphone, wearing an Apple Watch or acquiring a metal bank card.
Banks also know how to make full use of the latest marketing tools at their disposal, in particular by promoting products on Instagram… This method features perfect photographs posted by influencers, showcasing lattes, ipads, luxury car keys and now, metal credit cards, strategically placed on wooden tables. It might sound a bit obvious in terms of marketing strategy but it actually works wonder with wealthy millennials.
What will the future hold?
It seems that the future is bright for the metal credit card. However, if banks try to democratize it like N26 has done with the launch of the "first card in Europe with a metal heart able to make contactless payments”* for only € 16.90 per month, they face the risk of alienating their main target audience.
The acquisition of AmaTech last month, specialists in the development of RFID applications, allows Paragon ID to enter the contactless metal cards sector.
AmaTech offers technological solutions to activate the contactless function and thus enable contactless transactions. The control of RFID technologies enables AmaTech to activate this function from numerous media and materials, including metal bank cards.
AmaTech offers technological solutions and has the know-how to activate the contactless function in numerous products such as wearable and metal bank cards and thus enable contactless transactions.