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Metal credit cards have arrived in the UK

The Motley Fool logo The Motley Fool 6/12/2019 Kate Anderson
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In April, I wrote that the UK had not yet taken metal credit cards to heart. Some prepaid card brands such as N26 and Revolut had dabbled with the idea of metal credit card, but there was a significant absence in the mainstream credit card market.

This is the case no longer, as American Express has made the decision to make their high-end Platinum credit card a metal credit card.

So what is the driving force behind a change like this? And does this mean that the rest of the market will now follow?

Why go metal?

As I covered in my previous article, metal credit cards in the US carry a certain level of prestige. Typically associated with the premium brands, a metal credit card signifies status and luxury. So it makes sense that a brand such as American Express, which is famous for the notorious ‘black’ card, is one of the first providers in the UK to make the change to metal.

It is also telling that, currently, only the American Express Platinum Credit Card will switch from plastic to metal.

The card, which, as of this writing, carries an annual fee of £575, is one of the provider’s most exclusive cards. With benefits such as airport lounge access, hotel upgrades and a concierge service, the card is tailored towards the more affluent members of society who can afford the high annual fee and minimum spend requirements in order to garner the most benefits. A metal credit card fits right in with what American Express is trying to achieve with its Platinum brand.

There is also a case to be made for American Express aligning its offerings across both sides of the Atlantic. As a company that originated and is centralised in the US, it will always have more of a finger on the pulse of what is trending in the US. A metal version of its Platinum card has been in existence since 2017 in the US, so it makes sense that it is looking to roll it out over here.

Will others follow?

In terms of premium credit cards, I think American Express has the market cornered in the UK. There aren’t really any other lenders that provide the same sort of packages targeted at the same sort of borrowers. So if the question is whether competitors will rush to create metal credit cards now that simply because American Express has, it seems unlikely to me.

However, if it’s clear that the demand is there from borrowers, then it could be something that other brands adopt. I expect that other card providers will be watching the new metal Platinum card to see how popular it is and whether it makes a change in terms of customer acquisition or satisfaction.

And there are also new entrants to the market that may want to make a statement. If it looks like metal credit cards are gaining traction in the UK, up-and-comers may choose to adopt a metal credit card in order to have that (somewhat) unique selling point.

What does it mean for me?

If you are an American Express Platinum cardholder, then you will receive your new metal credit card when your current card expires, or you can specifically request to have it sent to you. New cardmembers will receive a metal version of the card.

If you are just intrigued by metal credit cards, then the main takeaway is that they have crossed the Atlantic and landed here. Whether or not this will lead to metal cards taking off in popularity, as is the case in the US, we will just have to wait and see. But if you are keen to get your hands on one, then the American Express Platinum credit card may be your best bet at the moment.

Interested in premium cards that will earn you rewards? Take a look at our pick for the best reward cards on the market

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