While credit cards started off as an easy way to make purchases, some of them have evolved into status symbols. If you’re looking to turn heads, you can choose from plenty of credit cards with attention-grabbing details, such as premium metal or a cool design.
But make sure to get a credit card that blends form and function. These cards look cool and come with rewards and benefits, adding prestige to your wallet and providing perks.
What Are Some of the Best-Looking Credit Cards?
Some of the best-looking credit cards are made with metal. Featuring stainless steel, titanium, copper, gold, platinum or a mix of materials, these cards are more durable than their plastic counterparts. A metal card also adds a satisfying “plunk factor,” a term to describe its heft.
Other trends in card design have emerged in recent years too. For instance, some credit cards are made from recovered ocean-bound plastic, while others are designed with metallic ink, matte-colored plastic or vibrant colors, says Josh Hatcher, senior graphic designer at Vericast Card Solutions.
“An attractive card design is eye-catching and builds a favorable impression,” Hatcher says. “Consumers like to use cards that look unique and show prestige.”
At the same time, he adds, no single design appeals to everyone.
If you’re in the market for a credit card with a pleasing aesthetic, here are a few to get you started.
(Courtesy of American Express)
Best design features: Weighing about 18 grams, The Platinum Card from American Express features a metal design and is instantly recognizable as “the classic status symbol for luxury credit card holders,” says Andy Medearis, attorney and founder of Deals Points.
Cardholders can choose from three different card motifs: Classic Platinum, Platinum x Kehinde Wiley and Platinum x Julie Mehretu. Wiley brings his iconic botanical backdrops and Mehretu her abstract art to reimagine The Platinum Card from American Express.
Best nondesign features: The Platinum Card from American Express is geared toward frequent travelers. Earn five points per dollar for flights booked with airlines or through the American Express Travel portal on up to $500,000 per calendar year. The card includes up to $20 back monthly on eligible digital entertainment purchases, a credit that covers the cost of a monthly Walmart+ membership, and annual hotel, airline fee and Uber credits. Cardholders can use more than 1,400 airport lounges, including American Express Centurion Lounges, across 140 countries.
(Courtesy of American Express)
Best design features: The American Express Gold Card is another metal card, though with a lighter heft of about 15 grams. You can get the card in either classic gold or rose gold.
Best nondesign features: Foodies may have an appetite for this card. It earns four points per dollar at restaurants, including U.S. takeout and delivery purchases, and at U.S. supermarkets on up to $25,000 yearly. The card also comes with $10 in Uber Cash per month and up to $10 in monthly dining credits.
What to know: The card charges a $250 annual fee.
(Courtesy of Curve)
Best design feature: You’ll notice a small notch cut out of this card. More than a cute design quirk, it can help you pluck the right card from your wallet. This feature also helps users with visual impairments quickly recognize which way to tap the card and withdraw cash.
Best nondesign features: You can link all participating credit and debit cards to the Curve Card. When you pay with this virtual card, you get 1% back – or turn your rewards into select cryptocurrencies. The Curve Card gives you an extra 1% cash back for the first six months as a beta user.
What to know: The Curve Card serves as a credit card and a digital wallet that allows you to link other cards through its app. It works with eligible Mastercard, Visa, Discover, and Diners debit and credit cards, and its beta version is available in the U.S.
(Courtesy of American Express)
Best design feature: Go eco-friendly when you choose between two card materials: metal or 70% reclaimed plastic, both in a striking purple shade. For a limited time in 2022, the card was made with 25% metal from a retired Delta Boeing 747 aircraft.
Best nondesign features: You’ll receive Delta Sky Club access, a free checked bag and priority boarding on Delta flights, and several other travel-related benefits. Cardholders also earn 3 miles per dollar on Delta purchases and 1 mile per dollar on all other eligible purchases.
What to know: This card charges an annual fee of $550.
Best design feature: Chase Sapphire Reserve features a sapphire-blue minimalist design that has become synonymous with luxury travel benefits.
Best nondesign features: This card comes with top-of-the-line travel insurance, including trip cancellation/interruption insurance, primary rental car coverage, lost luggage reimbursement and emergency evacuation coverage. That’s on top of the card’s premium travel perks, such as airport lounge access; fee credits for TSA PreCheck, Nexus or Global Entry; and an annual statement credit.
What to know: This card comes with a $550 annual fee.
Can I Customize My Credit Card?
Certain credit card features are customizable, depending on the card issuer. Here’s what you may or may not be able to adjust:
Card design and material. You may be able to choose what your credit card is made of, such as recycled materials, or what it looks like. Discover cardholders can select from 170 card designs, and Wells Fargo lets you customize certain credit cards using your own uploaded image or one from the issuer’s library.
However, “Most of the design-customizable cards aren’t particularly good cards from a rewards perspective,” says Nick Reyes, a senior author at Frequent Miler. “Most good rewards cards have a set design that goes with their brand.”
Rewards categories. Credit card rewards rates are usually fixed, but some cards come with customizable bonus categories. For instance, some cards rotate the bonus category quarterly, provide cash back in the category of your choice or earn more in the category where you spend the most each month.
Benefits, perks and fees. You’re typically out of luck if you’re looking to adjust fees, change the basic rewards structure or add card benefits such as trip insurance, rental car coverage or purchase protection. Beyond design and security features, “cardholders can’t customize their benefits,” Medearis says.
What Is the Latest Card Technology?
Looks don’t matter if a credit card has weak security features. The latest card technology focuses on security as data breaches and instances of credit card fraud have become increasingly common. Make sure your cool card comes with:
Customizable security features. Depending on the card issuer, you may be able to set up usage alerts, identity monitoring and two-factor authentication. A chip-enabled card will encrypt information during each transaction, which makes fraud more difficult. The signature panel and security code also help retailers confirm who’s supposed to use the card.
Virtual credit card numbers. Also known as single-use card numbers, these randomly generated account numbers make online purchases safer. They’re connected to your physical card but can be used only for a single transaction. Capital One offers virtual credit cards via Eno, a browser extension, and Citi generates virtual numbers for some cards.
Digital wallets. A digital wallet, such as Apple Pay or Google Pay, is a digital version of your credit card that is stored on an app. You can use digital wallets to make purchases anywhere retailers accept them. The wallet creates a one-time security code for each transaction, which safeguards your payment information. Anyone who deciphered the code would essentially find an outdated password.
How to Select From the Coolest Credit Cards
Your credit card should have substance – benefits and rewards that fit your spending habits – and style. Here are important factors to consider.
Interest rate. If you tend to carry a balance, find a credit card with the lowest interest rate, says Jason Krueger, a certified financial planner with Ameriprise Financial. “It’s terribly hard to get the balances paid off when interest is working against you,” Krueger says. The average credit card interest rate is 16.27%, according to the Federal Reserve, and the rate you get is typically based on your credit profile.
Rewards program. If you regularly pay off your balance each month, then choosing a card with the lowest interest rate isn’t as important. In that case, “Choosing a good credit card boils down to return on spend,” Reyes says. In other words, pick a card with the best rewards for the types of purchases you make, he says. If you travel often, for instance, you may find a card that offers bonus rewards when you use it pay for flights and other travel purchases.
Benefits. Many credit cards come with perks such as cellphone insurance, purchase protection, extended warranty coverage and $0 fraud liability on unauthorized transactions. Some come with trip insurance, which Reyes calls the “unsung hero of credit cards,” especially if you have kids.