Published 4 months ago • 10 minute read

Design Review of Metal Crypto Cards in 2022

The nature and use of payment cards have changed over time. In the 1950s, payment cards were simple paper cards with manually captured data. In the 1960s, they became the critical piece that made automated teller machines (ATMs) possible. In the late 1990s, they were modified to enable commerce on the internet (e-commerce).

Design Review of Metal Crypto Cards in 2022

The Club Swan HODL collection.

Today, payment cards are undergoing yet another change. The change is being occasioned by the rise of smartphones, digital currencies, and crypto. The focus is shifting from functional financial service tools to their symbolic and aesthetic value.

As symbolic money, payment cards still need to be highly functional. However, their material, sentimental and artistic value are more important.

All-metal payment cards are among the most valued types of symbolic money. There is a growing list of all-metal crypto cards.

Analyzing all-metal crypto cards

Garret Hamon and Ashley Lane led a team of experts to review the top all-metal crypto cards in 2022. Garrett has worked as a professional illustrator and artist since the early 2000s. He creates custom gold cards for high society clientele.

Ashley Lane has a masters in fine arts from Texas A&M University. She works in the fashion, fine art, and fintech industries as a graphic designer and professional artist. Like Garret, her clientele is from high society and highly discerning. She also produces gallery-worthy artifacts.

What are all-metal cards? 

Not all metal cards are made of actual metal.

Meanwhile, some metal cards are coated with a thin layer of plastic. These types of cards usually have a color that is not natural metal. However, the plastic coating offers some benefits. Besides creating the possibility of a wide range of patterns and hues on the card, it also protects the metal from chipping and corrosion.

On the flip side, the plastic coating, especially if it is of poor quality, can dampen the texture of the actual metal underneath. It can also give it a grainy feel.

Besides, when the card ceases being in use, the plastic is likely to contribute to the pollution of the environment.

The list of cards reviewed.

The following are the cards that the reviewing team scored, compared, and ranked:

  • Club Swan - Chairman
  • Aurae Lifestyle - Gold
  • Aurae Lifestyle - Gold Plated
  • Crypto.com - Ruby Steel
  • Crypto.com - Icy White
  • Revolut.com

Aspects of design reviewed

The scores a metal card attained in the review were derived from the design and material parameter categories.

The following are specific areas of a card that were scored under design:

  • Aesthetics
  • Craftsmanship
  • Tactility
  • Functions/Amenities

In each of these areas, a card scored between 1 and 7. Also, the final score in each of these areas is an average derived from what each expert gave it.

The following are the areas scored under the material parameter:

Metal

Cardmakers usually choose from a list of eleven metals. These metals differ in many ways. The team behind the review chose to assign each of these cards a score based on their market prices.

The following are the scores each was assigned:

  • Palladium (10)
  • Platinum (9)
  • Titanium (8)
  • Gold (7)
  • Rose Gold (5)
  • Plated Gold (4.5)
  • Silver (4)
  • Stainless steel (3)
  • Steel plastic blend (2.5)
  • Aluminum (2)
  • Aluminum plastic blend (1)

Weight

Weight impacts the feel a card gives and also its tactility. A high-quality metal card was considered to be pliable but not too pliable. It was also supposed to be heavy but not too heavy. An extremely heavy card will end up having permanent bends. Meanwhile, a too-light card was considered not symbolic enough and not distinguishable from ordinary plastic cards.

A card was scored according to its proximity to the ideal in terms of pliability and weight.

Technology

Different technologies are used on payment cards. That begins with the manufacturing. For instance, before being used on a card, a metal must be treated to prevent electrostatic discharge (ESD), which can damage card readers and ATMs.

The common technologies used with payment cards are RFID, chip, and magstripe. The reviewing team assigned 4 to RFID, 3 to chip, and 3 to mag strip in the scoring system.

Cost

The reviewing team factored in both the actual cost of the metal used in the card as well as the cost of craftsmanship.  

The summary of the review

The following chart shows how the cards rank when scored design and material aspects.  

Crypto Cards Review

Leading cards in the design

As far as the reviewing team was concerned, the Aurae Lifestyle gold and gold plated cards are at the top of the others when it comes to design. In particular, the team was drawn in by Aurae's attention to detail with their craftsmanship.

The Aurae Lifestyle cards are highly functional, especially with ATMs and chip readers. However, they are not installed with RFID and contactless technology.

Aurae's Executive Director of Customer Experience, Walker Posey, has explained that this was a conscious decision on their part. They prefer putting more emphasis on design at the expense of technology.

"Our high net worth clients would feel slightly uncomfortable waving 43 grams of gold through a subway turnstile," he stated.

The reviewing team also approved of the Club Swan HODL card's feel as well as its use of metallic foils to achieve a unique luster.

Other crypto metallic cards that impressed the review team with their design include Club Swan Chairman, Crypto.com, and Revolut. While most of these cards sacrifice design, they are more efficient with contactless payments through RFID technology.

Materials & Cost Features

While the clean black design of the Revolut metal card did not impress the majority of the review team, it is the most cost-effective and functional metal crypto card in the market, especially because of its cost and contactless features. It is a great choice for those who prefer function over flair.

The team saw the Club Swan HODL card as realistic with cost-effectiveness, function, and design. At $249, it combines aesthetics, design, and functionality better than all the other crypto Metal cards. 

Feedback and verdict by crypto metal card

Club Swan HODL

Brand

Overall Score

Design

Materials

Club Swan - HODL

77.89

18

59.89

Expert feedback:

The sharp but not rounded edges, thickness, foil stamping finishes, and metallic highlights give the card a premium cool touch feel, and look. In general, this card expresses one of the highest production qualities.

Verdict:

This card is designed to meet the needs of the HODL crowd in the crypto sphere. Most cards in the market feature a company logo. This does not and only displays artistic expression. That is a unique concept in the tradition of designing cards.

The art on the card seems like what one would expect to see on Iron Man's pop-up UI. It is an abstract composition of stop-watch, digital-vault, and Bitcoin symbols on a honeycomb circuit board background.

This card gets a premium feel from multiple finishes. This also sells it to the HODL community with little pandering. 

Aurae Lifestyle - Gold

Crypto Cards Review

Brand

Overall Score

Design

Materials

Aurae Lifestyle - Gold

77.25

21

56.25

Expert feedback:

A customized Aurae Lifestyle card and membership cost USD 50,000. However, despite the negative impact of the cost, the majority of the review team regarded this card highly.

Verdict:

This card weighs 43 grams, more than double what other payment cards weigh. For example, the JP Morgan Reserve card weighs 27 grams, while a starter plastic card weighs 4 to 6 grams. This weight, however, adds to an exclusive impression the card creates.

Revolut.com

Crypto Cards Review

 

Brand

Overall Score

Design

Materials

Revolut.com

77.08

8

69.08

Expert feedback:

Revolut creates high expectations with its product packaging, stylish website design, and user-friendly mobile app. The card seems to fall short with the clean black design with limited accouterments. Meanwhile, its cost and the RFID integration for contactless payments rank Revolut third.

Verdict:

Black cards have been "timeless classics" since the early 2000s. However, there is doubt whether that still applies to a card that is reprinted every few years.

Meanwhile, Revolut's design is based on the minimalism school, which, with inspiration from Apple in technology and skinny jeans in fashion, has dominated design for over a decade. At this point, the crowd that believes minimalism is on the way out is growing.

With that stated, Revolut comes with no-frills, respect, and timelessness, which work well for business and pleasure. It, however, does not offer varieties of high artistic touch.

Club Swan - Chairman

Crypto Cards Review

Brand

Overall Score

Design

Materials

Club Swan - Chairman

52.93

10

42.93

Expert feedback:

Despite being simple, clean, and functional, some in the review team did not think the card meets its design potential. That could be because, like Revolut, the card's marketing team created high expectations.

Verdict:

Both Revolut and the Club Swan Chairman metal cards are clean black. However, the majority in the review team thought the Club Swan Chairman card was a better option because of the stainless steel used. It is also heavier and has a better feel when held. 

Crypto.com

Crypto Cards Review

Brand

Overall Score

Design

Materials

Crypto.com - Ruby Steel

66.81

11

55.81

Crypto.com - Icy White

36.31

11

25.31

Expert feedback:

This card has no plastic coating, and the edges are beveled, giving it a cool touch and look. However, most of the review team didn't think its price matched the design.

They also thought the card had more emphasis on functionality than design. Also, the logo gives it an industrial feel.

Verdict:

The plastic coating undermines the emphasis and the feel of the metal material. The card also lacks clarity in the product series. The designers picked random titling of Gaudi and colors that have little to do with metal. They also hardly have any relationships.

While some tiers are precious metals based (e.g., ruby and rose gold), others are crystals or minerals (jade green and obsidian). Then some are differentiated through just colors (midnight blue, icy white, royal indigo).

A metal theme would make the most sense, especially the crypto.com logo. For example, they have a product lineup that includes Pewter, Oil Rubbed Bronze, Copper, Silver, Gold Rose, Gold, and Platinum.

The all-metal crypto debit cards list is likely to grow over time, giving crypto enthusiasts more options.

***

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