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Comparing Visa Credit Card Offers
You likely think little about the labyrinthine system of payments and reimbursements that go into buying that Starbucks latte you grab every morning. See that little Visa logo on the front of your credit card? With it comes a contract that protects you every time you use the card.
Depending on the benefits tier you have on your Visa card, you can enjoy everything from an auto rental collision damage waiver to various travel insurance offers and extended warranties. Whichever card you end up picking, there are a number of things you need to know. Here, we look at:
Whether you are trying to figure out which card network offers the best benefits or you want to know what to look for when picking out a Visa card, we can help.
After researching and analyzing over 3,400 credit card offers, here are our recommendations for the 8 best Visa credit cards right now. The Credit One Bank® Platinum Rewards Visa tops our list for building credit. Cash back cards like the Wells Fargo Cash Wise offer great bonuses. If you have an average or limited credit history, the Credit One Bank Platinum Visa is a good option.
CreditCards.com’s expert picks: Best Visa credit cards of 2021
|Credit Card:||Best For||Annual Fee||Our Rating|
|Credit One Bank® Platinum Rewards Visa||Building credit||$95||3.2 / 5|
|Credit One Bank® Visa® for Rebuilding Credit||Fast application||$0-99||2.2 / 5|
|Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® card||Cash sign-up bonus||$0||3.5 / 5|
|Wells Fargo Platinum card||Balance transfers||$0||4.4 / 5|
|Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card||Flexible rewards||$95||3.9 / 5|
|Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card||Travel||$95||4.2 / 5|
|Marriott Bonvoy Bold™ Credit Card||Hotels||$0||3.1 / 5|
|Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card||Flat rewards rate||$0||4.2 / 5|
Editor’s take on the best Visa credit cards
Why this is the best Visa credit card for good credit
A new product in the Credit One Bank lineup, this card rewards you for good credit with some excellent features. Enjoy 2% cash back on purchases at grocery stores and gas stations, as well as cellphone, internet, and cable and satellite television services. Plus, through Credit One’s More Rewards program, the value of these rewards can be boosted by as much as 10%.
The Credit One Bank Platinum Rewards card makes credit scores traceable online with a free Experian credit report each month and won’t punish cardholders with a penalty APR for a late payment. Potential cardholders can also check for pre-qualification ahead of time to see if they’ll have access to things like zero fraud liability and a flexible payment schedule.
Although the $300 credit limit is meant to help new cardholders, this short limit could hurt your credit score through your utilization. Prioritizing good credit habits will give you the ability to increase your limit and help salvage your score in the long-term. Also, the card’s 23.99% (variable) APR is high, so it’s in cardholders’ best interest to avoid carrying a balance month to month.
Why this is the best Visa credit card for travel
Cardholders can earn 2 miles per $1 on every purchase, every day. Cardholders also have the opportunity to earn 100,000 miles when spending $20,000 on purchases in the first 12 months from account opening, or still earn 50,000 miles if you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
Miles can be redeemed flexibly; there are no blackout dates, no expiration dates and a slew of options to exchange for. Both hotel and airline purchases can be redeemed for a statement credit, and miles are transferable to over 15+ travel loyalty programs.
If you’re a homebody, this isn’t the card for you – the Venture Rewards card comes with a $95 annual fee, so you need to travel enough to overcome that hurdle. Plus, taking advantage of the full sign-up bonus might be too pricey for your liking.
Why this is the best Visa credit card for hotels
Fans of the world’s largest hotel network will want to check in with this card, offering 3X points on purchases at Marriott Bonvoy properties, 2X points on travel purchases and 1X points on all other purchases. Cardholders can redeem points for a variety of hotel rewards and will also access a fast track to Marriott silver elite status, all while avoiding an annual fee.
The Marriott Bonvoy Bold will welcome you with open arms: for a limited time they will give you 50,000 points after spending just $1,000 in your first 3 months. Plus, points can be combined with cash to pay for hotel stays, so earnings won’t sit idly and you won’t have to worry about meeting a minimum before redeeming. Additionally, the range of travel is wide with this card, as Marriott has destinations all over the world. Points are transferable to more than 40 airline partners.
The rewards offered by the card aren’t as valuable as some other travel options. Also, if you frequent other hotels outside of Marriott, a generic travel card could be a more useful addition to your wallet. Finally, despite an array of redemption options for your points, hotel stays are the only worthwhile choice from a value standpoint.
Why this is the best Visa credit card for flat rewards rate
A solid travel option, this card offers an unlimited 1.25 miles per $1 on all purchases. There aren’t many complications when it comes to redeeming these miles – cardholders won’t have to worry about blackout dates, expiration dates or hitting a minimum requirement to exchange. Plus, miles are transferable and purchases through airlines or hotels can be redeemed for a statement credit.
As a sign-up bonus, this card will reward you with 20,000 miles after spending $500 in your first 3 months. The VentureOne Rewards card comes with no annual fee and no foreign transaction fee. The miles bonus isn’t the only welcome offer available here: Cardholders will also enjoy a 0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months, making this a great choice for an upcoming large buy (then it’s 15.49%-25.49% variable).
Consistent travelers and those looking for serious earnings can likely find more lucrative rewards options elsewhere. Although miles are transferable, they often lose value in the process, and the list of transfer partners might be too limited for your liking. Cardholders will want to be sure their balance is paid off before the 12-month 0% intro APR offer on purchases runs out – the card’s APR of 15.49%-25.49% (variable) could be a rude awakening once the offer ends.
What is Visa?
Launched in 1958, Visa is rivaled only by Mastercard as the leading card payment network. Unlike networks Discover and American Express, which also issue cards, Visa and Mastercard serve primarily as networks that connect cardholders and issuers with merchants. Issuers such as Chase and Barclaycard partner with Visa and Mastercard, with the network connecting to merchants and the issuer granting the card.
Where are Visa cards accepted? Are there limitations?
Visa cards are accepted in more than 200 territories and countries worldwide at more than 44 million merchants. An issuer generally can’t block all transactions from a specific location or merchant type. However, there are countrywide prohibitions in countries such as Iran, Sudan and Syria due to U.S. sanctions and other laws. Otherwise, Visa cards are accepted at most places and can be used on almost any purchase, including when checking out at Costco – a luxury exclusive to Visa.
How big is Visa? How many Visa cards are there?
Visa dominates most of the world market as a payment network. Let’s look at Visa’s financial and physical reach:
- 3.3 billion cards worldwide
- 200+ countries and territories
- 15,900 financial institutions
- $11 trillion total volume
- 160+ currencies
- 46+ million merchant locations
Visa vs. Mastercard benefits
|Benefit||Visa Traditional||Mastercard Basic||Visa Signature||Mastercard World||Visa Infinite||Mastercard World Elite|
|Lost or stolen card reporting||X||X||X||X||X||X|
|Emergency card replacement||X||X||X||X||X||X|
|Emergency cash disbursement||X||X||X||X||X||X|
|Auto rental collision damage waiver||X||X||X|
|ID theft protection||X||X||X|
|Travel, emergency assistance||X||X|
|Travel accident ins.||X||X|
|Access to high-end rentals||X||X||X||X|
|Hotel stay/rate guarantee||X||X|
What to think about when picking out a Visa credit card
- Look at the benefits level. Visa cards basically come in 3 tiers: Basic, Signature or Infinite. Each has benefits that accumulate – so the Signature and Infinite cards have the Basic features and then some.
- Look at the card issuer’s benefits. For example, while you can’t get Lost Luggage Reimbursement a Visa Signature, you might be able to get them through the card’s issuer.
- Review the rewards. When looking at Visa cards, take a look at the rewards offered by the card issuer, such as sign-up bonuses and ongoing purchase rewards.
- Study the annual fee. The card issuer may impose an annual fee, but it might be worth your while, depending on which Visa tier it has and what rewards the issuer offers.