I love the fact that the personal finance world is evolving every day. In the past five years, metal credit cards have done a comeback thanks to American Express and Chase. Now, it’s also the case for metal debit cards.
Why would you ever want a metal debit card? Sure, many people choose them because of the premium feel, and durability. But considering that now more than ever, digital wallets such as as Apple Pay and Google Pay work almost everywhere a credit card works, then it ultimately comes to the card benefits rather than to the material is built.
After trying over 50+ debit cards and digital bank accounts, here’s my top choices right now for the best metal debit cards. There are a few about to come in late 2023 (Q4), so I will make sure to add them to the list once I get a change to review them.
What are the Best Metal Debit Cards in 2023?
The Revolut Metal card is a premium subscription plan offered by Revolut, a digital banking platform. It offers a number of benefits, including a 18g metal card, up to 1% cashback on card spending in 29 currencies, unlimited currency exchange, up to £800 in free ATM withdrawals per month worldwide, 40% off international transfer fees, travel insurance, and lounge access. The monthly subscription fee is €13.99 EUR. It is a good option for people who travel frequently and spend a lot of money abroad.
- A great, flexible card, nice looking, with great extra features that are worth the maintenance fee. Cancel at any time, and extra discounts at online stores. Great way to send money between friends and split bills. My #1 choice these days.
- A 18g metal card
- Up to 1% cashback on card spending in 29 currencies
- Unlimited currency exchange
- Up to £800 in free ATM withdrawals per month worldwide
- 40% off international transfer fees
- Travel insurance
- Lounge access
- The monthly subscription fee is $16.99 USD / £12.99 GBP / €13.99 EUR / $24.99 AUD
- The cashback is capped at the cost of the subscription fee
- The free ATM withdrawal limit is relatively low compared to other premium travel cards
- The travel insurance is not as comprehensive as some other travel insurance plans
Revolut Ultra is Revolut’s top-end plan in the UK and Europe. The world’s first platinum-plated debit card. With an annual fee of €580, Ultra members get a platinum-plated card and €5800 in annual benefits. The Ultra plan is one of the most complete plans on the market, especially if you travel frequently and like the sound of trip cancellation cover and lounge benefits or if you’re planning to use Revolut’s investment opportunities.
- No credit score is needed to apply. You WILL be approved.
- High-end benefits such as premium credit cards.
- A platinum-plated metal card
- Access to partner benefits, such as free subscriptions to the Financial Times, NordVPN, WeWork, and ClassPass
- Unlimited fee-free international money transfers
- 1.2% cashback on Revolut Pro
- 24/7 member support
- Unlimited lounge access at over 1,400 airport lounges worldwide
- Total travel coverage, including cancellation for any reason insurance (CFAR), medical emergency insurance, lost luggage insurance, and flight delay reimbursement.
- Stock trading advantages, such as exclusive trading fees and access to IPOs
- Supercharged savings, with up to 10% interest on your savings
3. Curve Metal
- No foreign transaction fees: This can save you a lot of money if you travel abroad.
- Travel insurance: This can give you peace of mind when you travel, knowing that you are covered in case of an emergency.
- Mobile phone insurance: This can protect your phone in case of loss, theft, or damage.
- Fee-free ATM withdrawals abroad: This can save you money on ATM fees when you travel.
- Up to 120 days of “Go Back in Time” functionality: This allows you to change the payment method for a transaction up to 120 days after it was made.
- Sleek metal design: The Curve Metal card is made of a durable metal that is both stylish and secure.
- Not compatible with American Express
Brief history of Metal Debit and Credit Cards
Early 20th Century
Metal charge coins and plates are introduced by department stores and oil companies. They serve as proof of credit but are not as versatile as modern credit cards.
The era of plastic begins. Diners Club, American Express, and later bank-issued cards like Visa and MasterCard become more common. Metal largely falls out of favor during this time, replaced by the convenience and lower production cost of plastic.
The American Express Centurion Card, often referred to as the “Black Card,” is unofficially rumored to exist. It’s believed to be an ultra-exclusive metal card.
American Express officially confirms the existence of the Centurion Card. Its metal composition and heavy weight, combined with its exclusivity, make it highly sought after by the elite. Other issuers start to take note of the prestige and appeal associated with metal cards.
Chase releases the Sapphire Preferred Card (a plastic card) in 2009, and following its success, they introduce the Chase Sapphire Reserve as a metal card in 2016. This launch further popularizes the concept of metal credit cards beyond the ultra-elite segment. More issuers begin offering metal variants of their premium cards, leading to a more widespread acceptance and desire for metal cards in the market. Benefits, rewards, and the perceived status associated with metal cards drive consumer interest, and even mid-tier cards start exploring metal options.
The trend continues with more issuers worldwide offering metal credit card options.
Alongside the luxury market, even more mainstream and budget-friendly options begin to incorporate metal into their card design for durability and a premium feel.
Debit cards join
As the trend continued, even debit cards, traditionally seen as less prestigious than credit cards, began to have metal versions.
Pros and Cons of Metal Cards
Pros of Metal Debit and Credit Cards
- Durability: Metal cards are much more durable than their plastic counterparts, making them less likely to bend, break, or wear out.
- Exclusivity and Status: Many metal cards are associated with premium benefits or high-status membership tiers. Carrying one can be seen as a status symbol.
- Weight and Feel: The weight and feel of a metal card can be more satisfying for some users and can provide a sense of security and premium quality.
- Enhanced Benefits: Often, metal cards come with enhanced rewards, perks, and benefits as compared to their plastic counterparts.
Cons of Metal Debit and Credit Cards
- Heavier: The added weight can be a nuisance for some users who prefer lightweight cards.
- Not Easily Disposable: Disposing of metal cards isn’t as straightforward as cutting up a plastic card. Some issuers provide instructions or even a return envelope for safe disposal.
- Potentially Higher Fees: To compensate for the added perks and the cost of producing metal cards, issuers may charge higher annual fees.
- Potential for Misplaced Prestige: Some users might opt for a metal card for the prestige without considering if the benefits and rewards align with their lifestyle and spending habits.
- Environmental Concerns: The environmental impact of producing metal cards might be higher than for plastic cards, although this depends on the specific materials and processes used.