World's first plastic-free wooden payment card.
FAQ

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Availability

Is the wooden card offered as a debit card and Mastercard/Visa credit card?

Yes, the wooden card is available as a debit card (girocard only or with a co-badge) as well as a Mastercard and Visa credit card.

Where can I get a wooden card?

End customers: Through your bank - ask them if they already offer the cards. 
Banks: Through your card issuer. 
Card issuers: Through your card producers. 


If you need help identifying the right contact person, please contact:
DG Nexolution (mina.guerbuez@dg-nexolution.de) or
Swiss Wood Solutions AG (lehringer@swisswoodsolutions.ch)

What quantities are available?

The pilot volume for 2022 has already been allocated. Our goal is to significantly increase production capacity in 2023.

If you are interested, please contact:
DG Nexolution (mina.guerbuez@dg-nexolution.de) or
Swiss Wood Solutions AG (lehringer@swisswoodsolutions.ch)

Raw Materials / Composition

Where does the wood come from?

The wood is local and comes from sustainably managed forests in Europe (EU and Switzerland).

What type of wood is used?

The first wooden card is made of maple. Other domestic wood species are also possible and we are currently working on expanding the range.

Are the raw materials used in the wooden card certified?

The wood currently comes from FSC/PEFC-certified forests in the EU and Switzerland. The wood-based paper for the antenna inlays is also FSC-certified.

How many cards can be made from 1 m3 of wood?

Around 100,000 cards can be made from just 1 m3 of round wood. This volume grows back in the Swiss or German forest in 3-4 seconds and binds CO2 again. 
Sources: Switzerland, Germany

How big is the plastic content in the card body?

The card body of our wooden card consists of 100% bio-based and biodegradable materials (wood, paper and bio-adhesive) and is therefore plastic-free. This clearly distinguishes our card from conventional plastic cards or from other wooden hybrid-cards on the market. Because in these wooden hybrid-cards, the card body often contains a plastic core layer.

What exactly does "plastic-free wooden card" mean?

The card body consists of several layers of specially modified wood. For the modification we only use temperature, pressure and humidity - and no chemicals or plastics. The carrier material for the antennas is also plastic-free, as it is made of normal wood-based paper. Of course, a security chip module, an antenna and a magnetic stripe are also required for the full payment functions of the card. These regulatory and technologically necessary card components are the same as in all other payment transaction cards and consist of metals, semiconductors, plastics and adhesives in small quantities.

What kind of glue is used in the wooden cards? Is the glue petroleum based?

The adhesive is a water-based system, bio-based and biodegradable. Since we consistently follow the philosophy of avoiding petroleum-based raw materials with our wooden cards, the adhesive does not contain any petroleum derivatives.

Sustainability

Are the card bodies of the wooden cards biodegradable?

Yes, because the card bodies are made of wood and paper bonded with a bio-based and biodegradable adhesive. The wooden cards are therefore completely biodegradable, except of the antenna, the chip and – if present – the printing ink and the magnetic stripe.

What is the correct way to dispose of the card?

In fact, as the card body is fully biodegradable, you could use the card as fertilizer in your flower pots. However, since the card contains a magnetic stripe, a chip and a copper antenna, the card is officially classified as electronic equipment and should be treated as such. It is therefore best to return the card to your bank or to the card manufacturer, with whom we are currently evaluating concepts for 2nd life cycle concepts ("cradle-to-cradle").

What is the detailed ecological aspect and life cycle of the card?

We are working on a complete life cycle analysis (LCA) that will evaluate the ecological footprint of the wooden cards in direct comparison with PVC cards, wood-plastic hybrid cards and other card materials.

Are the inks used on cards also environmentally friendly?

No, not at the moment, so we avoid the use of printing inks as much as possible. However, this is not always possible for regulatory reasons (e.g. Maestro or Mastercard logo).

Wouldn't it be better to leave the trees in the forest instead of turning them into wooden cards?

No, because forests from which wood is regularly removed through sustainable timber harvesting achieve higher volume growth rates per year and finally store more CO2. In addition, the forests in our regions fulfill three main functions that are mutually dependent. Sustainable use of wood and regular care lead to 
- income for the forest owners 
- preservation of the protective and recreational function 
- stabilization of the forest ecosystem. 
Very important in everything: The wood must come from certified and sustainably managed forests.

Where does the term sustainability actually come from?

The term sustainability originally comes from forestry: if you only cut down as many trees as can grow back, you ensure that the forest is available for future use and that it retains its value in the long term.

Technical Characteristics

Can my wooden card do everything that a plastic card can?

Yes, all technical features such as antenna, chip, magnetic stripe, contact and contactless functionality are identical to conventional cards.

Is the surface of the wooden card treated?

No, the surface is untreated and uncoated. It is a pure wooden surface that is absolutely smooth and closed-pored thanks to our patented modification process - without any chemicals or plastics.

Where do the color variations between the different wood cards come from?

We currently use maple wood, which has a natural range from light to caramel brown tones after the card has been made. This variance is perfectly normal and is proof of the natural origin of the wood.

Will the card be produced with a magnetic stripe and signature field?

For regulatory reasons, payment cards must have a magnetic stripe by 2026. We already do without a signature field. This is no longer mandatory.

Usage Properties

How durable is the wooden card with regard to the 4-year term?

The wooden card is designed for use with a term of four years. Like all other cards made from different materials, the card has been subjected to extensive tests and has also gone through the load scenarios according to the Mastercard CQM. The card was approved by Mastercard with restrictions on breaking strength and moisture resistance, since wood is a hygroscopic material (reacts to moisture changes) and is more rigid than plastic.

How shatterproof is the card?

Our wooden card is more rigid than a conventional plastic card and requires significantly more effort to bend. In contrast to plastic, the card cannot be deformed over very tight bending radii, but then breaks. However, such a load does not occur in normal use and can only be generated willfully with great effort.

Is the wooden card prone to damage in daily use?

No, the wooden card is made for everyday use. This means that the mechanical and environmental stresses associated with regular use of a card do not affect the wooden card. But one thing is clear: wood is neither plastic nor metal.

What happens to the wooden card if it gets wet or is exposed to high humidity?

Since the card is made of specially modified but still natural wood without any additional plastics or chemical, it absorbs a small amount of moisture. However, this effect is significantly reduced compared to normal wood. Short-term exposure to moisture is therefore not a problem and immediate re-drying leads to complete restoration of the original condition. In general, contact with water should be avoided if possible and the card should be kept in the wallet. The card is not harmed when getting wet for a short time if it is direclty  re-dried.

Why does the card warp under high humidity?

Due to the one-sided contact with moisture, the wood expands slightly and - like a bimetallic strip - the card then curves slightly. However, due to our special modification, this effect is greatly dampened compared to an ordinary wooden card. And - once the humidity on both sides of the card has equalized again - the curvature is also completely reversible.

Can I use it in a humid climate, e.g. on a skiing holiday/in the mountains or in the tropics/beach?

Yes of course. The wooden card is made for everyday use. This means that the mechanical and environmental stresses associated with regular use of a bank card do not affect the wooden card. But one thing is clear: wood is neither plastic nor metal.

What happens to the wooden card when it gets warm, for example under the windscreen in a car?

The wooden card is made for everyday use. This means that the mechanical and environmental stresses associated with regular use of a card do not affect the wooden card.

What happens to the wooden card if I accidentally wash it?

If the card survived and is still functional after being re-dried, you're in luck. If it no longer works, please contact your bank.

Can the wooden card bend if I carry it in my wallet?

As with normal plastic cards, the wooden card can show a slight permanent deformation under permanent bending stress. This deformation can be corrected by gently bending it by hand in the opposite direction.

How do I stow the wooden card correctly?

No special precautions need to be taken with regard to safety against breakage. In order to avoid bending the card, it should not be stowed away loosely in a damp environment, eg individually in a trouser pocket. It is recommended to keep the card in a purse, cardholder or wallet at all times. If the card nevertheless bends sharply due to incorrect storage, it must not be used in an ATM in this condition. However, contactless or contact-based use with other card readers is not critical. The warping will reduce itself if you keep the card in a dry environment and in your wallet for a long time.

Are there any reports on the use of the wooden card?

Yes, the first prototypes (e.g. business cards, sample cards) have been in use for more than 2 years. Recently also the first payment transaction cards.

Ansprechpartner für Swiss Wood Cards

Ansprechpartner für Swiss Wood Cards

Dr. Christian Lehringer
Chief Product Officer
T +41 44 244 38 10

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