Metal Payment Card Shipments to Exceed 90 Million Units in 2025, as Market Continues on its Significant Growth Trajectory

29 Apr 2021

According to global tech market advisory firm ABI Research, metal payment card issuance will grow from 34.2 million in 2020 to more than 90 million in 2025. Issuers are continuing to look toward metal to further differentiate their respective payment card portfolios to maximize customer retention, maintain top-of-wallet status, drive additional transaction volumes, and spend, all the while offering a premium physical product to enhance VIP experiences.

“Today the metal payment cards market is dominated by PVC/metal edge/PVC and PVC metal card variants, accounting for near 80% of all metal card shipments. These metal payment card construction types, consisting of metal and plastic, are expected to maintain their dominant market position, driven primarily by leading issuers in the United States, including American Express, Chase, and Citi, alongside a host of Fintechs in Europe, including Revolut, N26, and Curve, which have been the primary source in bringing metal cards to the mass-affluent European market,” explains Phil Sealy, Digital Security Research Director at ABI Research. In addition, contactless enablement, and the ability to offer like-for-like physical payment experiences on a metal card format, has directly pushed metal card issuers towards mid-range metal card form factors which combine both PVC and metal.

“It goes without saying that metal card product portfolios need to be contactless-enabled as contactless transactions grow in the post-COVID world, driven by a need for end-to-end touchless payment experiences,” says Sealy. Without a shadow of a doubt, innovative metal card constructions must have contactless enablement at their heart, but more importantly high levels of contactless reliability, able to offer issuers metal card solutions which do not compromise or result in contactless limitations, related to read ranges, while also offering the ability to read a contactless card on both front and rear faces of the metal card. Vendors that already have or can successfully develop metal card solutions that do not compromise on contactless reliability will be at a real market advantage.  

It has been very evident that over the past 18 months that significant efforts have been placed on moving metal card issuance toward the mass affluent segment, which historically has been dominated by issuance to high-net-worth clientele. “The move to the mass affluent segment has opened a new untapped opportunity, which has resulted in significant market growth, and although this trend is expected to continue, the story will not end there,” Sealy underscores.

Those active in the market today, including CompoSecure, Thales, IDEMIA, G+D, ICK, Kona, Toppan, Biosmart, Paragon ID, and CPI Card Group have focused on the development of extremely broad product portfolios, covering low, mid, and high end metal card solutions. “Although PVC/metal edge/PVC and PVC/metal, full metal cards, are already considered a mainstay within the metal cards market, used to target the high-net-worth and mass affluent populations, new lower-end segments are expected to open up as issuers expand their respective metal card portfolios and related services, targeting the next segment down. This will result in a new wave of metal card growth in different metal card compositions, most notably the PVC/metalcore/PVC metal card variant,” concludes Sealy.

These findings are from ABI Research’s Metal Payment Cards market data report. This report is part of the company’s Digital Security research service, which includes research, data, and ABI Insights. Market Data spreadsheets are composed of deep data, market share analysis, and highly segmented, service-specific forecasts to provide detailed insight where opportunities lie.

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