Metal credit cards feel cool and sleek in the hand — and often garner attention when used to make a purchase — but is there anything worthwhile behind the design?
For some consumers, yes. Metal credit cards tend to offer premium benefits in addition to their modern look. The catch? Steep annual income requirements may prevent many from qualifying.
What is a metal credit card?
Metal credit cards in Canada are typically made of stainless steel or titanium, and often boast prestigious perks and rewards programs.
Functionally, metal cards are no different from regular credit cards, but their weight and appearance help them stand out from the traditional card fare.
In the past, like their cousin, the black credit card, metal credit cards were exclusive in Canada and only available to select clients with premium banking packages. But these days, several premium credit cards are made of metal. There was even a prepaid card that you could upgrade to a metal version for a fee as part of a limited offer.
American Express Centurion Card
The American Express Centurion Card, or American Express Black Card, is a well-known, highly exclusive metal credit card available by invitation only to the ultra-wealthy. The card was launched in 1999 and continues to stand apart from standard credit cards with opulent perks, a hefty annual fee and a sleek black titanium exterior.
Qualification requirements for this card remain tightly under wraps. You can’t apply for it — the card is available by invitation only. But not everything about the Centurion card is a mystery. Here’s what American Express publicly discloses about this metal credit card:
- No spending limit.
- $10,000 initiation fee.
- $5,000 annual membership fee.
- Access to the American Express Global Lounge Collection.
- Complimentary hotel room upgrades and credits.
- Robust insurance coverage.
- 24/7 concierge.
How to get a metal credit card in Canada
You’ll need to fill out an application to get a metal credit card. Before you apply, you’ll want to compare your options across card providers.
The best metal credit cards in Canada include, but are not limited to:
- American Express Platinum Card.
- American Express Gold Rewards Card.
- American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card.
- BMO eclipse Visa Infinite Privilege Card.
- CIBC Aventura Visa Infinite Privilege Card.
- TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege Card.
» COMPARE: Best credit cards in Canada
Can you request a metal credit card?
Metal credit cards are available to those who apply and meet qualification requirements. Some highly exclusive cards (like the Centurion) are available by invitation only. If your current credit card is made of plastic, don’t expect your financial institution to give you a metal version of your card by request. Metal credit cards are standalone cards with unique features, benefits, fees and conditions.
Some third-party providers will convert a plastic card into metal for a fee if you want a metal version of an existing plastic card.
Metal credit card eligibility requirements
Eligibility criteria for metal credit cards vary, but be prepared to meet the following requirements:
- Canadian resident with sufficient credit history.
- Age of majority in your province or territory.
- $150,000 individual or $200,000 household annual income.
You typically need a credit score of at least 660 to qualify for a Canadian credit card, which is considered “fair” to “good” by the major credit bureaus — depending on which one you consult.
You may need a higher credit score to qualify for a metal credit card since these cards come with hefty annual fees and steep minimum income requirements, in addition to premium perks.
Can I get a custom metal credit card?
If you’re eligible for a metal credit card, the card you receive will have your name and card number on it. But if you simply want a metal version of a plastic card, there are numerous third-party services that will convert your existing debit or credit card into a metal card for a fee.
To convert a plastic card to metal, you typically purchase a design from a provider’s website, then mail in your plastic card. Expect to receive the custom metal credit card by mail once the order has been processed.
Best Metal Credit Cards in Canada
Compare all different metal credit cards side-by-side and find out the best card that will meet your need with special perks and benefits
Drawbacks to custom metal credit cards
Ordering a custom metal credit card might seem like an easy, no-fuss upgrade, but there are drawbacks to consider before you commit:
- It’s risky to put an active credit card in the mail. Custom card providers typically need your plastic card to complete the conversion process. Sending a debit or credit card by mail is inherently risky and could open you up to identify theft or credit card fraud.
- No tap technology. If you’re a fan of tap and pay, think twice before you order a custom card. Some aren’t equipped to offer this payment method, as it’s difficult for the frequency emitted by EMV chips to transmit through metal.
- Limited card use. Custom metal credit cards may be too thick for card readers that require full card insertion, which means you may not be able to use your metal card at ATMs or to complete certain transactions.
How to compare metal credit cards
To find the optimal credit card for your financial situation, compare the following features and factors:
- Welcome bonus. You may stand to gain a sizable welcome bonus of rewards points or cash back when you sign up, so compare welcome offers before you apply.
- Rewards program. Metal credit cards often come with some form of rewards program, whether it’s points earned from everyday spending or travel miles with popular air carriers.
- Annual fee. Fees for metal credit cards range from $250 to $699, while the average non-metal Canadian credit card carries an annual fee closer to $120. A higher annual fee may mean bigger, better perks, but you’ll need to decide if the added cost is worthwhile.
- Eligibility criteria. Metal cards often have higher annual income and credit score requirements than traditional cards.
- Interest rate. All credit cards charge interest, but not all cards carry the same rate. Your metal card’s interest rate will impact how much you owe on outstanding balances, so review your options carefully.
» MORE: How to choose the best credit card for you
Are metal credit cards worth it?
It depends on your lifestyle and spending habits. Metal credit cards tend to have higher annual fees, but they may also offer premium perks, including:
- Accelerated rewards points.
- Robust travel insurance.
- Premium air travel benefits, like priority boarding, airport security lane and lounge access.
- Exclusive access to Visa Infinite Privilege, a premium program that includes food and travel perks.
- 24/7 access to the Visa Infinite Privilege Concierge.
- Rental vehicle discounts.
While having a metal card may feel like a flex, you shouldn’t pick a card based on the materials it’s made of. Always take a look at the welcome bonus, earn rate, benefits and annual fee before deciding which credit card is right for you.
How to destroy a metal credit card
There are three ways to dispose of a metal credit card:
- Mail the card back to your provider.
- Return the card in person to a bank branch.
- Destroy the card at home with a pair of metal snips or shears.
Frequently asked questions about metal credit cards
American Express, BMO, CIBC and TD Bank offer metal credit cards.
Generally, card issuers and banks do not convert existing plastic cards to metal. But some third-party providers convert plastic cards to metal for a fee.
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