We have all heard the stories of the "limitless black card" that only the rich and powerful are able to obtain. Pulling it out is as much about spending money as it is showing off your status as someone with money to burn. Now, it seems there is a new popular way for individuals to make that statement.
According to a recent article from Marketwatch, more credit-card companies are offering fancy versions made out of titanium, aluminum and steel. These cards carry much higher annual fees to cover the cost to manufacture ($300 compared to 15 to 50 cents for a plastic card) and the perks that are offered. The American Express Centurion titanium card, for example, has a one-time fee of $5,000 and an annual $2,500 annual fee.
These kinds of cards have been around for nearly a decade. In 2005 only 15,000 were issued. Now that number has grown to 10 million.
Ellen Cannon, a personal finance editor at credit-card comparison website CardRatings.com, told the news source that this is nothing more that a gimmick to make card holders pay a higher annual fee by having something others don't. They like the "plunk factor," named for the sound the card makes when it hits the table and everyone hears it.
Jason Steele, credit-card expert for financial-advice website Credit.com, argues that there is a market for these cards.
"Like jewelry, people use metal credit cards to impress," he says. "But they're not jewelry; they're financial instruments. I wouldn't spend $600 on an annual fee just because it looked nice, especially when I'm shopping online."
Metal cards will not change the way credit processing software works, but is is a trend that merchants should be aware off so they are not surprised of the "plunk."