Credit Card Personalization – Your Credit Card, Your Way

There was a time when everyone’s credit cards looked the same, with the exception of the name and actual credit card number. Every person who held the same type of credit card had to deal with the same colors, the same patterns (and rather boring patterns at that) as everyone else. Those days are long gone now and if your credit card does not feature the logo of your favorite sports team, an image of your favorite travel spot or a picture of your kids or cat (or both) you are in an increasing minority.

Why Bother With Personalized and Customized Credit Cards?

When they first began appearing in the US credit cards were little more than flimsy pieces of paper typewritten with a person’s name and account number. As they advanced and beamed more like the plastic cards we know today they were still not very aesthetically pleasing. The American Express logo caused a bit of a stir for a while as people debated whether it was a viking or gladiator (the American Express patent says gladiator) but other than that there were no credit cards designs worth getting excited about (even the first gold card, The Gold American Express card, was just the same old credit card sprayed gold.)

That all began to change in the latter part of the nineteen eighties though. Marketing departments at the various finickiness institutions that granted credit cards began to see the potential that these blank and boring credit cards presented, both in terms of advertising revenue and customer loyalty.

The first customized credit cards featured the helmets of the NFL teams and were a big hit, instantly. MLB teams followed suit and the banks realized they were really onto something. People felt more connected to a credit card that they liked and were more likely to use it more often.

Here are just some of the personalization options available to credit card users these days:

Sports Themed Credit Cards

The NFL, the MLB and NASCAR all have agreements with various credit card companies to issue credit cards that bear their licensed logos and image’s and also offer special discounts and perks to their fans.

Major League Baseball credit cards are issued through the Bank of America, together with team themed checking accounts and debit cards. The MLB credit card is officially called the Extra Bases MasterCard and whatever team you support it comes with some great benefits for baseball fans. As it is a rewards card, cardholders earn 1 “Extra Base Point” for every dollar spent on the card. Points can be exchanged for game tickets, MLB merchandise and even MLB “experience packages” like tours of the major ball clubs in the country and special meet and greets with players.

Extra Bases MasterCard holders also earn special discounts on all the MLB merchandise they buy and the fact that the card comes with a low APR of 11.5-19.5% is a bonus as well.

VISA and Barclaycard offer a similar credit card product for NFL fans,the “NFL Extra Points” card with similar merchandise related rewards. As an additional perk though those buying season tickets for their favorite NFL team on their Extra Points card are charged no interest on that particular purchase for six months. Both the NHL and Nascar also have similar credit card offerings as well, offered by MasterCard and The Bank of America.

Personalized Credit Cards for Car Enthusiasts

There are an awful lot of drivers out there who do believe that a BMW is the ultimate driving machine and the BMW Platinum Visa Card not only features the legendary logo of their beloved brand but offers discounts and perks on BMW services (and as anyone who owns one knows maintaining a BMW in the US is not cheap) Alternately car fans can choose the Ferrari Club of America VISA card. That card also offers discounted maintenance services but for those who just dream of one day owning a Ferrari of their own there are discounts on Ferrari related merchandise as well. This credit card is fully personalized as card holders can upload a picture of their own Ferrari to appear on the card or choose from a number of different classic images.

Truly Personalized Credit Cards

Withe their Capital One Credit Card Lab Capital One brought real personalized cards to the public in the early part of the 21st century and many other banks have now followed suit. These cards let you upload any of your own images to be printed on your new credit card (as long as it is not a copyrighted image) Now people have anything and everything printed on the credit cards in their wallet from the best photo from their wedding day to their child’s first photo or a picture of their last vacation. A recent Discover survey found though that more people choose to upload a picture of their cat (or cats) than any other kind of image though (sorry dogs, but you did come in a close second).

It is worth remembering though, when choosing an image for a card that offers this level of personalization that the average credit card does not expire for 4-5 years. So choosing a picture of a hot new girlfriend may not seem like such a good idea 12 months down the line when she is ancient history and you dare not bring out your credit card in public because you are not quite sure how your new flame will react!