The trend of metal cards

What do the studies say?

According to the ICMA Card Marketing Report study, the 2018 market increased the demand and sale of cards.

A reading of the report points out to the fact that PVC is the raw material of choice for most card uses, regardless of their geographical location.

It is generally known that PVC cards are widely implemented in our everyday lives. This card has an acceptable cost and all production and customisation processes are adapted to this material. For these reasons it is difficult to switch to other raw materials that will, of course, entail higher costs and adapting customisation equipment.

Nevertheless, the materials used in cards have evolved in order to achieve the differentiation sought by customers. In fact, from a marketing point of view, the process of changing from PVC cards to metal cards, for example, can be justified for specific products, markets or segments.

Are all metal cards the same?

No, in fact there are different ways of incorporating metal into the cards, and four types are generally identified:

Full Metal Card

They are made solely of metal and are available in various precious metals such as platinum and gold, as well as other metals such as stainless steel, nickel, and silver.

Hybrid Metal

The front plate of the card is in metal but the back plate is in PVC, and the core of the card is also in PVC

Metal Plate

These consist of two metal plates (one on the front and one on the back) in which the core of the card is in PVC, which is why the card is lighter.

Encapsulated Metal

These cards are pre-laminated with PVC sheets, but are much heavier due to their metal core.

Do metal cards work the same way as PVC cards?


  • They can work in a similar manner to the already known plastic card;
  • They are more durable than plastic cards, which does not mean they are indestructible;
  • Premium feel associated with metal.


  • Some cards are incompatible with contactless operations, but some manufacturers are developing combinations of metal alloys that allow the contactless system to operate in a normal way;
  • Although the robustness of the cards makes them ideal for travel, they can be detected by metal detectors, such as those found at airports. Although, at airports, you are asked to remove everything from your pockets, if this card is forgotten when passing through the metal detector it may activate it;
  • Its rigidity may pose a problem with regard to ATM equipment, automatic machines, etc.

Furthermore, during the development process, the particularities associated with this material must be taken into account:

  • Its laser-based customisation process generates a groove-type engraving, giving the card a tactile sensation of depth.
  •  Creative and design teams must pay particular attention, since Pantone colours are not the same on metal as compared to their use on PVC.

But then, if they do have some limitations and require care, why produce metal cards?

A market survey carried out by CompoSecure with over 6,000 consumers from the markets of Brazil, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, the United States and the UK, revealed that 59% (the majority) of the study respondents prefer metal or hybrid cards over plastic cards. This number was always above 50% in all surveyed markets, reaching 82% in Brazil.

The study highlights the fact that the metal card can be an important factor for the final customer in deciding between one or another financial institution, combined with high loyalty and reward programmes.


For our customers, the metal card can generate higher client volumes and may mean greater visibility for their brand. In fact, the status resulting from a metal card is highly valued by users, so they should not be discarded from the bank cards design portfolio. However, there are options for metal cards that give some margin for greater efficiency in the installed processes, and which should be options to consider to avoid greater concerns or functionality limitations.

At Contisystems, as always, we are committed to finding the best card for every situation. Count on us to provide you with the available options, advantages, and limitations, and to work jointly on the layout of your card.