Questions and answers about the TIMBERCARD
Our world novelty is the first completely plastic-free wooden card body for payment cards. It consists of several layers of maple wood and paper from certified regional forests. Other wooden cards either do not meet the high international ISO or CQM requirements for the payment sector or have a plastic inner core, for example. That's why we are proud of our disruptive new TIMBERCARD as a contribution to sustainability in the payments business.
Yes, the TIMBERCARD is available as a debit card (girocard only or with a co-badge) as well as a Mastercard and Visa credit 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.
In the course of the product launch, we offer defined quantities for piloting in 2023. With an increase in production capacity in 2024, significantly higher quantities will then be available. If you are interested and would like to have a consultancy for piloting customized to your needs, please do not hesitate to contact us: COPECTO (sales@COPECTO.com) or DG Nexolution (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The minimum order quantity is 100 cards.
Raw Materials and Composition
The wood currently comes from FSC-certified forests in the EU and Switzerland. The wood-based paper for the antenna inlays is also FSC-certified.
The card body of our TIMBERCARD consists of 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 so called "wooden cards" on the market. Because in these plastic-wood hybrid-cards, the card body often contains a plastic core layer.
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.
The adhesive is biodegradable.
Yes, because the card bodies are made of wood and paper bonded with a bio-adhesive. The TIMBERCARDs are therefore completely biodegradable, except of the antenna, the chip and – if present – the printing ink and the magnetic stripe.
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. In the sense of an optmimal recycling, 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").
In Germany, all banking cards are officially classified as electronic equipment and should be treated as such.
We are currently having a full life cycle analysis (LCA) done that will evaluate the TIMBERCARDs in direct comparison to PVC cards, wood-plastic hybrid cards, and other card materials in terms of their environmental footprint.
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).
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.
Depending on location and growing conditions, about 100 to 120 years.
We have already started. In laboratory studies we were able to show that the cards can be disintegrated, the individual materials separated and fed into a secondary material use. We are currently working with COPECTO, Swiss Wood Solutions, DG Nexolution and the Raiffeisendruckerei to form a consortium from various areas of card production, banking and the waste disposal industry and to jointly develop technically suitable and economically viable systems for the circular use of our TIMBERCARD.
Correct. According to legal regulations, all payment cards must be disposed of at the end of their life as so-called electronic waste. That means that consumers must hand over the cards to a suitable disposal company and not simply throw them in the household waste.
We see it differently - at least for the next ten years or so, the majority of payment transactions will still take place in card form. And we are extremely confident that with our TIMBERCARD we are providing a plastic-free alternative for the card industry at a time when the issue of sustainability is playing a central and global role for many companies.
The global card market currently continues to grow. Apps are falling far short of expectations. On the user side, it has to be said that not all people own a smartphone, do not trust the technology enough to pay with it or prefer cards for other reasons. And with cards, the battery is never empty.
rPVC card bodies are usually made from industrial PVC manufacturing waste (e.g. window manufacturing, automotive industry), they are made of 100 % recycled PVC. Their carbon footprint is lower than a PVC card. To find out the exact difference, we are currently having a full life cycle analysis (LCA) carried out, which will evaluate the TIMBERCARD in direct comparison to PVC cards, wood-plastic hybrid cards and other card materials in terms of their ecological footprint.
Yes, all technical features such as antenna, chip, magnetic stripe, contact and contactless functionality are identical to conventional cards.
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.
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.
For regulatory reasons, payment cards must have a magnetic stripe by about 2026. We already do without a signature field. This is no longer mandatory.
Products and Design
In principle, it is possible to print colour on the TIMBERCARD. However, we recommend working with reduced motifs and having these applied by laser, just like all the other elements. This is the best way to bring out the natural character of the card.
The TIMBERCARD 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 ISO-testing and has also gone through the load scenarios according to the Mastercard CQM.
The card was finally approved by Mastercard on CSI-basis with restrictions on breaking strength and moisture resistance, since wood is a hygroscopic material (reacts to moisture changes) and is more rigid than plastic.
Our TIMBERCARD 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.
No, the TIMBERCARD 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.
Since the card is made of specially modified, but still natural wood without additional plastic, it absorbs moisture to a small extent. 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 initial condition. It is therefore acceptable for the card to be briefly wet if it is subsequently dried off.
Prolonged exposure to extremely warm and humid climates (>30 °C and > 85% relative humidity) may cause slight swelling and visual brightening of the card surface. However, this will not affect the function of the card.
In general, contact with water should be avoided and the card should be kept in a closed wallet.
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.
Yes of course. The TIMBERCARD 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.
The TIMBERCARD 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.
If the card survived and is still functional after being re-dried, you're in luck and can contiue enjoying your TIMBERCARD. If it no longer works, please contact your bank.
As with normal plastic cards, the TIMBERCARD 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.
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.
Yes, the first prototypes (e.g. business cards, sample cards) have been in use for more than 2 years. And since September 2022 also the first payment transaction cards.
No, the card has all the mechanical properties of a plastic card. The ATMs usually in use can handle the TIMBERCARD like any other card. An exchange is therefore not necessary.
With the strategic cooperation of DG Nexolution eG from Wiesbaden, an expert for services and products in the areas of payment and digitalisation, and the Swiss business and technology incubator Swiss Wood Solutions AG, the two companies are laying the foundations for bundled activities and the development of innovative solutions. After DG Nexolution's investment in the Swiss start-up at the end of 2022, the next step will follow with the founding of a wholly owned subsidiary, COPECTO GmbH. COPECTO GmbH is the exclusive worldwide licensee and coordinates both the global sales & marketing and the production of these innovative wooden cards, the TIMBERCARDs.
With the strategic cooperation of DG Nexolution and Swiss Wood Solutions AG and the foundation of COPECTO GmbH, we are pooling our expertise and creating the basis for a company that can concentrate fully on the development, production and marketing of the sustainable wood card.
Our target group is, first of all, all companies in the payment card value chain, such as card manufacturers, merchants, personalisers and, finally, banks, who want to offer their customers a more sustainable alternative in terms of payment cards.
According to the corporate philosophy of COPECTO - "Do Good Use Wood" - we have the vision that soon there will be at least one of our TIMBERCARDS in every wallet worldwide. In addition, we will enthusiastically develop further innovative and sustainable products and services. We are sure: The TIMBERCARD® is the future in the payment and non-payment sector.