Add whimsy to your wallet with a customized credit card

Discover, Wells Fargo among issuers that let cardholders personalize their plastic

Kelly Dilworth
Personal finance writer
Specializing in new trends in credit

Add whimsy to your wallet with a custom credit card

If you dress with flair or express yourself with accessories, you can add another custom piece to your ensemble – a personalized credit card.

A growing number of credit and debit card companies are allowing their most style-conscious customers to choose from an array of fashionable designs – or customize their credit cards themselves by uploading their own photos. 

Turn your Discover card into a cassette tape or a beach scene 

Discover offers more than 100 different card designs that customers can choose from, depending on which card they own, says company spokesman Jeremy Borling. For example, Discover it® cardholders can choose from 33 different design options, including a throwback image of an old school cassette tape, a photo of the New York City skyline or a picture of a pristine beach with palm trees and ice blue water. 

Meanwhile, Discover it® Miles cardholders can personalize their cards by picking their own color, such as hot pink or emerald green (I own a Barbie-pink Discover it Miles card and frequently get comments on it). 

Discover has also let its youngest customers help pick some of the bank’s next designs. Last year, it asked students to vote on new designs for the Discover it® Student card. Choices included a drawing of a hand making the peace sign, a trendy handlebar mustache and an image of a vinyl record. 

Discover French Bulldog design

Discover iridescent design

Last year, students voted on new designs for Discover's Student it card. The winning designs included a French bulldog in sunglasses and an iridescent background.

The winning card designs – including a fierce French bulldog with aviator sunglasses and an iridescent background reminiscent of a rainbow – are set to launch this summer. 

“The ability to select from various card designs is definitely something Discover cardmembers enjoy,” Borling said in an email. 

Wells Fargo, Capital One let you upload your own photos

Wells Fargo is also letting customers personalize their credit cards. But instead of limiting cardholders to pre-picked designs, Wells Fargo allows them to tailor the look of their cards by uploading photos from home or submitting designs they personally created. Before 2017, only business credit cards, debit cards and prepaid cards were eligible for the free service.

Depending on how creative you’re feeling, you could submit a photo of your dog, upload a custom pen and ink drawing or add your company logo. You could even submit a photo of yourself as an identity protection tool, making it harder for a thief to use your card in person. 

Wells Fargo spokeswoman Sarah DuBois said the ability to personalize cards with custom images has been popular with customers. Since 2009, “more than 8 million cardholders have customized the look of their cards using the Card Design Studio service,” she wrote in an email.  

If you’re not sure what to upload, Wells Fargo also offers a library of images you can choose from to personalize your card.  

Capital One offers a similar service. Since 2008, it’s allowed credit cardholders to upload images or choose from a selection of designs. 

See related: If you really want a metal credit card, you can get one for a fee

Smaller banks’ custom cards celebrate ‘works of art,’ LGBT pride

Some smaller banks, such as BB&T Bank and M&T, also allow cardholders to design their own card. In addition, BB&T lets debit card customers choose from a library of images, based on what style they’re going for, such as “cute and hip,” “Southern style,” “Americana” or “works of art.”

Meanwhile, U.S. Bank only allows debit card holders to customize their cards. But, like Discover, it has used card design contests to engage new customers and get cardholders excited about flashing a statement-making card. In 2017, for example, U.S. Bank asked artists from around the country to submit a debit card design that celebrates the LGBT community and honors equality, progress and unity.

U.S. Bank debuted the winning card design – an image of a sparkler flashing the colors of the rainbow – in May 2018, just before LGBT Pride month. 

Try a DIY approach, or order a custom card cover 

You don’t necessarily need to stick to the designs issuers have chosen, either. If you don’t like the options you see – or if your credit or debit card issuer doesn’t let you customize your own cards – you can try a DIY approach and paint your card yourself. 

Or, you can purchase custom stickers or skins that are specially made for bank cards. The Kickstarter-backed company Cucu, for example, offers a wide array of creatively designed stick-on card covers that you can use to add more color and whimsy to your wallet. 

No matter what kind of image you choose, a colorful design or personal photo that makes you smile can help you express yourself and can even be a conversation-starter at the cash register.

It’s also just plain fun to glance at a favorite image, color or photo you enjoy as you pull your card from your wallet.

If you already own a Capital One, Discover, Wells Fargo or other customizable credit or debit card and would like to redesign your card, you should still be able to do so, at no extra charge. Contact your issuer and ask how you can replace your current card with a new, more stylish version.


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Updated: 12-14-2018