Credit card aesthetics...

For just about anything you want to get off your chest about credit cards.
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jeffysdad
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Credit card aesthetics...

Postby jeffysdad » Wed Jun 10, 2009 10:58 pm

Forgive me if this has been discussed elsewhere. I'm wondering what everyone's favorite card is from a purely aesthetic standpoint. (Yes, I need to get a life.) I have the following:

Citi CashReturns MC: This is my favorite; color of money, cool embossed treatment of logo and no hologram on front. Pity it's only 1% CB; never use it.

Amex Gold: Got it just for the free first year and 10k in points; never use it. If it's not a platinum there's really not much to brag about. It doesn't look really gold to me either, greenish tint. I'm not glamorous enough to benefit from Amex so not willing to pay membership fees (for platinum, for instance).

Fidelity Investments Amex Retirement Rewards: Metallic lime green (Shocking!) with blue Amex logo in lower right corner. It's growing on me, really. Best CB so it's my new everything card.

HSBC MasterCard: silver with photo stripe across middle. They let you pick from a few nature scenes. I chose fall. I really like the look of this card, too, but only 1% CB.

Chase Freedom Visa: My former everything card. I don't like that it says "CHASE FREEDOM" in huge font across width of card. This card is Chase's answer to Citi CashReturns, but Citi has a much classier look.

CapitalOne Visa: Super fugly boomerang logo. I ordered one of the nature scene cards, but the card was so cheaply made it looked awful and I shredded it.

Discover Cashback: Orange edge is cool, but card is basically boring. Don't like the hologram on front. Seems thicker than the rest.

Amex Blue Cash: I still like the look of this card but the clear treatment seems kind of affected. It looks dated to me.

Texas Farm Bureau MasterCard: (through Barclays Bank) It is two-tone black and white with an image of a globe (since it's World MC). Farm Bureau logo in upper LH corner. This card is the fugliest I've ever seen. It even seems thinner than the others. Horrible cashback but great APR if I need to carry a balance.

Generally speaking I would prefer that cards be as plain as possible on the front, MC/Visa/Amex logo, bank name, account no., my name, dates and that's it in a pleasing color scheme. Not a fan of the hologram, and I would prefer that the card didn't boast "cashback" or "rewards" or whatever. It doesn't need to be on there. I'd prefer a more bespoke look.

What do you think?
American Express: Blue Cash Preferred (groceries, 6%; gas, department store, 3%); Gold Delta SkyMiles (Delta Air Lines, 2 miles/dollar, free checked bag).
US Bank: Cash+ (utilities, phone, internet, restaurant, 5%; drugstores, 2%).
FIA Card Services: Fidelity Amex (everything, 2%); Fidelity Visa (everything, 1.5%).
Chase: Freedom (rotating, 5%); Amazon (Amazon.com, 3%); PriorityClub (IHG hotels, 5 points/dollar); Sapphire (not in use).

*All cards are registered with PriorityClub IDine program for 8 points/dollar at participating restaurants.


butterbo
 
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Postby butterbo » Tue Apr 27, 2010 3:41 am

Good summary. Appearances of cards are important. I have a Discover which I love for cash back but wish it had a more professional business-like look to it. I would have to say Capital One has the worst designs overall.

cpaynter
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Postby cpaynter » Tue Apr 27, 2010 12:38 pm

I'd like to say I never consider what a card looks like, only what it can do for me $-wise. But the fact is, I do like a good-looking card. Not that the way a card looks will make me use that card more or less.

My favorite-looking card is my Capital One card. It's got a great picture of the Kilauea lighthouse in Kauai. I think I like that picture most because...I took it! On our Hawaii vacation in 2003. When CapOne offered me the chance to upload one of my own pictures and put it on my card, I jumped at the chance. I decided right away that I wanted a vacation picture, partly because I pretty much only used the Cap One on vacation, as it has no foreign transaction fees, and partly because we have such a wealth of excellent vacation pictures, and I like to be reminded of the great places we've been. That the picture I selected was actually not a foreign locale was of little conseqence; it was just a dang nice shot, and fit the form factor of a credit card nicely. Though I knew from the outset that it would get scant use, it gets pretty much zero use now, as I have a better card for international use (the Schwab Visa). Still, I love the look of my CapOne card.

The only other card that let me use my own photo was my BofA PetRewards card. Now that card got some serious use. With 4% on pet-related stuff and 2% on everything else, it definately got a workout. And because I used it on all pet-related stuff, it made sense to have a group shot of our eight cats on it. The process was a bit clunkier than CapOne's; I had to snailmail in an actual print that they scanned and put in a box on the card (instead of a full-bleed picture). Still it was fun to have all my cats staring up at me when I used the card. But alas, BofA decimated the rewards program, and my cats now just stare at the inside of my sock drawer.

While Discover doesn't let me upload my own pictures, it does let me customize my cards by selecting from a large selection of backgrounds. My wife and I each have Discover More accounts, and each of us has a card for each account, so four cards overall. One of my cards has a nice underwater shot featuring a clownfish, and the other a fern background. My wife's have an underwater reef scene, and a Monet painting. Very classy, all. But I miss the orange edge. That made it easy to pick out the Discover card from amongst the crowd of cards in my wallet.

My Citi Driver's Edge uses the same trick; its edge is bright green, so I can easily single it out. The card face is a solid black background, with a stylized speedometer. Could be cool, I suppose, but somehow fails to inspire.

When my Chase Professional MasterCard changed recently to a Chase Ink card, the rewards and other card terms didn't change, but the card did. It went from a rather non-descript green background with the Chase logo, to a really classy looking metallic background, somewhere between a brushed-nickel and a gunmetal look, with the word "ink" across it in a sexy glossy embossed-black script. Easily the classiest card in my wallet to get regular use.

The Chase Freedom card design, on the other hand, remains fairly mundane. The original card featured a large Chase block logo over a background of smaller Chase logos at different angles, in shades of light blue. I just recently got a replacement card; it features a silver-grey metallic background with a single large Chase logo. Certainly an improvement over the original, but still not overly inspiring.

My CostCo American Express TrueEarnings card has a background featuring a stylized muted American Express logo. So stylized and muted, in fact, that at the outset, some places didn't want to take it at first because they didn't recognize it as an American Express card. Seems that retailers have gotten used to it, however. And it does look pretty cool.

My newest card is my Schwab Visa. Its background is in various shades of green-blue, with the "talk-to-Chuck" quotation logo in various sizes and shapes. Distinctive in its own way, but doesn't really grab me.

The rest of my cards aren't anything terribly exciting, and just sit in the sockdrawer anyway.

One of the few downsides to my multi-rewards-card approach is that because I have to juggle seven (currently) rewards cards in my wallet, I need stickers on the cards to clue me in to which cards to use where (and sometimes by amount as well). The stickers can somewhat mar the appearance of even the coolest card design. But function has to always triumph over form, at least in my wallet.

Chris.

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Mogul of Pineapples
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Postby Mogul of Pineapples » Sun May 02, 2010 10:09 pm

Great summaries, I agree with everything you guys are saying. Ultimate it does come down to the rewards, but let's say you have to decide between using two cards on a normal purchase and they each give 1% cash back. In that situation, you will probably pull out the card that you like the design of the most.

And yes, the Chase Freedom is pretty boring. I have the old Cash Plus, which they no longer issue, and it it has the same design as the freedom. I would like to see Chase jazz up the design a bit. The plain blue background makes it looks like a plain credit card, which it definitely is not.

I love the design of the AmEx Simply Cash, it looks very professional for business lunches and what not. The problem with it is that it gets scratched up and tarnished rather quickly, so from my experience it only looks good for the first couple months, after that its rather dull.

For the Discover More card I have the underwater scene with the shark and coral reef. The blue water is translucent, which is a nice added touch.

Does anyone know if AmEx has a patent on metal credit cards, ala their Centurion? Metal or something else that's durable would be a great replacement for plastic on some cards in my opinion.
Disclosure: I am a moderator/paid staff of this site, which does have advertising relationships with some credit cards that are discussed and linked to. Regardless, anything I say is my honest opinion.

Current Cards:
American Express: Blue Cash, Simply Cash Bank of America: WorldPoints Platinum Plus Chase: Amazon, British Airways, Cash Plus Rewards, Freedom, Ink Cash Citi: Thank You Premier, Dividend Platinum Select Discover: More
Primary Everyday Card: American Express Blue Cash
Primary Travel Card: Chase Sapphire Preferred

LTomBerry
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Postby LTomBerry » Mon May 24, 2010 12:40 am

My USAA card has a big American flag on it; I might rethink that one this fall when I upgrade to world MC because I travel overseas frequently and who wants to look like the stereotypical American.

My Discover More is the black one; I suppose it's my wannabe "black card" because I'll never have the Centurion or any other black card, nor would I want to pay the fees for one.

I always like the look of the AMEX blue cards.

ashleyAMX
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Postby ashleyAMX » Mon Jan 31, 2011 8:13 am

Although my wallet is nowhere near as thick as most of you...I agree, Capital One cards are very cheaply made. I've changed my image twice just hoping the quality would improve but it hasnt. American Express Zync card was nicely made, very simple. Although the blue sparkles gives it an opal instead of white tint. But overall compared to my Capital One card, its aesthically pleasing.

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Mogul of Pineapples
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Postby Mogul of Pineapples » Sun Feb 06, 2011 6:39 pm

I have not see the Zync in person yet, making it hard for me to judge its quality since the website uses an image and not a real photo.

The Discover More also has an American flag design and I felt the same way, that it's not the best choice for overseas travel unless you want to stick out like a sore thumb.
Disclosure: I am a moderator/paid staff of this site, which does have advertising relationships with some credit cards that are discussed and linked to. Regardless, anything I say is my honest opinion.

Current Cards:
American Express: Blue Cash, Simply Cash Bank of America: WorldPoints Platinum Plus Chase: Amazon, British Airways, Cash Plus Rewards, Freedom, Ink Cash Citi: Thank You Premier, Dividend Platinum Select Discover: More
Primary Everyday Card: American Express Blue Cash
Primary Travel Card: Chase Sapphire Preferred

ashleyAMX
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Postby ashleyAMX » Mon Feb 07, 2011 8:18 am

The website image does it no justice whatsoever. And a follow up on my other post I got the image remade a few weeks ago to just a black texture. Its awful how cheap it is.

FlinFlan
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Postby FlinFlan » Mon Feb 07, 2011 8:18 pm

This has probably been asked on this credit card forum before but is the black American Express the only metal card you can get?

Lyn
 
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Postby Lyn » Tue Feb 08, 2011 9:23 pm

I prefer the Red Amex Card, not just because of its color, but because of the cause it supports.



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