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Metal payment cards give financial institutions a competitive edge

A new report based on an independent global survey from Edgar, Dunn & Company found a strong affinity towards physical and metal payment cards, especially with digital-native millennials.

The majority of respondents (56%) preferred a physical payment card for in-person purchases versus a digital wallet or cash, underscoring consumer desire for physical cards while highlighting the branding opportunities for financial organisations.

Millennial consumers were influenced by a payment card’s form factor, as 61% stated they have a greater inclination to leave their bank for one that offers a metal card.

Consumers in many affluent and technology-forward countries preferred physical cards by an overwhelming majority versus digital wallets: US (only 10% preferred digital wallets), France (only 7% preferred digital wallets), Canada (only 18% preferred digital wallets), Poland (only 10% preferred digital wallets), Italy (only 10% preferred digital wallets), and UK (only 11% preferred digital wallets).

Metal Cards Strengthen Brands

The survey found that metal payment cards are one of the best tools for financial institutions to bolster brand loyalty, attract new customers and establish positive brand interactions.

Most consumers (70%) would select an offer that includes a metal payment card if all rewards and benefits were equal, which is up 4% from a prior Edgar, Dunn survey completed in 2019.

This includes two-thirds (64%) of US consumers, an 8% increase from 2019, and was significantly higher in India (91%), Mexico (88%), Brazil (88%), Turkey (82%), China (82%), and Indonesia (82%).

The survey also points to metal cards as an important decision-making trigger for the consumer’s choice of financial institution in conjunction with a strong loyalty and rewards program. Key survey findings included:

Customer Retention

Financial institutions offering metal payment cards are better able to keep their customers. Half of consumers surveyed (51%) took their desire for metal cards further by indicating they would leave their bank for another that offered a metal payment card, assuming the payment card benefits and rewards were equal.

Millennials (61%) and wealthy (63%) consumers have a greater inclination to leave their bank for one that offers a metal card. This willingness to switch was most substantial in emerging markets such as Brazil (73%), India (72%), Indonesia (72%), Mexico (70%), and Turkey (65%). More than one-third (39%) of US respondents would switch to a bank offering a metal card.

Brand Loyalty

Metal cards are proven to build a positive brand image of the bank with customers. Most customers (58%) would feel more positive about their bank because they offered a metal card. This is particularly true for Latin American countries, with 73% of those surveyed in both Mexico and Brazil wanting their banks to offer a metal card. India and Indonesia had the highest lift in feeling positive about their bank offering a metal card, at nearly 9 in 10 respondents (89%).

Customer Awareness

Awareness of metal cards also grew 7% from the prior survey. Globally, the majority (59%) of people were unaware of metal cards. The Asia Pacific (APAC) region was the most familiar with metal cards (India 24%, China 35%, Indonesia 41%, Singapore 51% and Japan 54%); however, many untapped regions have tremendous growth potential due to the lack of awareness of metal cards: Poland (74%), Canada (74%), Australia (70%), Germany (69%), Mexico (68%), Turkey (67%), U.K. (66%), Italy (65%), and Brazil (65%).

Affluent Consumers

Financial institutions can better target wealthy customers by offering a premium metal payment card solution. Metal cards would be the card of choice (80%) for affluent consumers worldwide, if the benefits and rewards were equal to plastic options. The majority of wealthy customers (62%) also would be more willing to switch banks for one offering a metal card.

Future Customers

Banks may be able to lower the age demographic of their customers by offering metal cards. The preference for metal cards spiked to 77% among millennials (ages 25-34) across all the regions, and particularly in Latin America and APAC with those surveyed in Brazil (89%), China (89%), India (88%), Mexico (88%), Indonesia (85%), and Hong Kong (81%) preferring a metal card.

Recycled Metal

The report also indicated a global climate mindset, with an overwhelming majority (72%) of respondents saying they would choose a payment card made of eco-friendly materials if all rewards and benefits were the same. CompoSecure’s premium metal card products should be of particular interest since they contain 54% post-consumer recycled material, made from an average of 65% post-consumer recycled stainless steel.

Metal Attraction

According to survey respondents, the top two reasons consumers are attracted to metal payment cards are their durability and innovative design. However, metal cards also are associated with exclusivity and luxury in many countries. This is especially true in India (49%), Indonesia (42%), and China (41%).

To download the free metal card report, CLICK HERE 

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