Top 10 payment cards made out of unusual materials

Those who care for sustainability or just wish to be original can already get unusual payment cards

payment cards

Top 10 payment cards made out of unusual materials. Source: shutterstock.com

Ecologists all over the world can rejoice. The efforts to limit the use of plastic have arrived at the payment space too. Is this important? Well, per the Nilson Report, there were 20.48 billion debit, credit, and prepaid cards in circulation worldwide at the end of 2017. The agency previously projected that figure will grow to 22.90 billion by the end of 2020. Although substituting plastic with other materials is not mainstream yet, those of you who care for sustainability or just wish to be original can already get an unusual payment card.

Here is our list of the best financial products allowing you to say no to plastic when it comes to payment cards.

Wooden card from Flowe

payment cards

Flowe offers wooden payment cards. Source: flowe.com

The sustainable challenger bank Flowe is based in Italy and it offers a payment account with a virtual card for those who aim for a zero-waste lifestyle. The bank’s other customers can utilize the physical card made of recycled wood. Moreover, Flowe cooperates with Swedish sustainable banking service Doconomy so that every cardholder can estimate the CO2 produced by each purchase made with their Flowe Card Mastercard. It helps people make more sustainable buying choices.

N26 Metal

N26 issues stainless steel payment cards. Source: facebook.com

Though its initial version was not too good, the upgraded N26 Metal Card is more durable and comes with great functionality. When the card was first released, it was made of a sheet of tungsten, however, the metallic part was still surrounded by plastic. Customers complained about scratches, issues going through airport security metal detectors, and the overall feel of the card. Therefore, the neobank revised the design. Now the card is crafted in 18-grams of stainless steel that is available in three distinct metallic shades. This Mastercard debit product offers a premium banking experience and exclusive rewards for EUR 16.90 per month.

Raris card from Britain’s Royal Mint

Golden payment cards by Britain’s Royal Mint. Source: royalmint.com

This niche product is not the cheapest variant, for sure. After all, it’s made of real 18-karat gold. Its price is about £18,750 ($23,460). The government-owned Royal Mint said it partnered with Mastercard and payments technology firm Accomplish Financial to create this luxury offering. VIP cardholders will get access to a premium account that offers zero foreign exchange and transaction fees and additional Mastercard benefits including dedicated concierge services.

Apple Card

Titanium payment cards from Apple. Source: apple.com

The famous brand’s exclusive credit card made of titanium is crafted with laser etching and clean styling. The product comes with a solid set of benefits: zero fees, advanced security technologies like Face ID, Touch ID, and Apple Pay, daily cashback system, Additionally, with Apple Card Monthly Installments, you can buy a new Mac, iPhone, iPad, and other brand items by making interest-free monthly payments.

SEE ALSO: Apple Card: how to get it and what for

Second Wave

Payment cards made from ocean plastic. Source: cpicardgroup.com

This innovative solution may still be at the patent-pending stage, but it has already excited all the nature lovers. Many of us are horrified by the pictures of animals dying from plastic waste on the ocean shore. CPI card group has projected payment cards with a core made from the upcycled recovered plastic waste diverted from entering the world’s oceans, waterways and shorelines. The card will be compliant with EMV standards and dual interface capable. CPI estimates that for every one million Second WaveTM payment cards produced, over one ton of plastic will be diverted from polluting the world’s water sources.

Triodos biodegradable card

payment cards

Triodos makes biodegradable payment cards. Source: twitter.com

The debit Mastercard from the British bank Triodos offers the same functions as ordinary plastic cards: contactless payment, as well as chip and PIN. It’s also as durable as other cards on the market. The only difference is that it’s made from a plastic substitute called polylactic acid (PLA), created from renewable sources such as plant leaves and corn, rather than petroleum. PLA is biodegradable, recyclable, and non-toxic if incinerated.

Capital One Savor

payment cards

Capital One Savor payment cards. Source: capitalone.ca

The Capital One Financial Corporation began issuing metal versions of its Savor card only in January 2019. Therefore, current cardholders will receive metal versions when their cards expire, or when they request replacements. Savor Rewards and SavorOne Rewards belong to the category of dining & entertainment credit cards. It practically means that cardholders earn maximum cashback with dining and entertainment companies while also getting some rewards in other purchase categories. The Savor now has a stainless steel veneer front, made of 75% recycled materials. The back half of the card has a layer of plastic, though.

Visa & Pay from Caixa

Visa & Pay from Caixa. Source: caixabank.com

Major Spanish banking institution, CaixaBank has recently launched the first card made from 100% recycled material to be marketed in Spain. Technically, it is plastic, but the PVC material comes from sources such as waste from the construction industry, recycled plastic bags, or waste from expired payment cards. The new Visa & Pay card offers the same features as an already existing Visa & Pay credit card. However, it incorporates the possibility of rounding up each purchase for savings which, if desired, can be donated to an environmental NGO.

Curve Metal

payment cards

All Curve payment cards. Source: curve.app

The all-in-one financial solution from the innovative London-based startup lets you connect all of your other existing Visa and Mastercard debit and credit cards to it. Curve Metal holders should pay £14,99 per month for 1% instant cashback at selected retailers, Go Back in Time function, worldwide travel insurance and phone insurance, airport LoungeKey access, rental car collision waiver insurance, and other services. The 18g brushed metal card is made of stainless steel. It is fully contactless and comes in three colors: Blue Steel, Rose Gold, and Premium Red.

Royale Card from Dubai First

payment cards

This one may be hard to get, but we can’t help mentioning a luxurious payment card that’s embedded with a real diamond. The “most exclusive credit card in the world” is available to members of the royal family and individuals in the ultra-high-net-worth category who get special invitations from the bank representatives. Its left-hand side and top edge are trimmed with gold, and in the middle, set on a stark black background, is a white 235-carat solitary diamond. Its ultra-exclusive variant – Royal Legend – is festooned with an incredible number of 333 diamonds. Exhibited at the 2007 Cartes & Identification Show in Paris, France, the most expensive payment card ever was announced to be supplied only to the regal Middle Eastern families via a contract with Dubai First Bank.

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