Comparing Visa Credit Card Offers
Updated: May 1, 2019
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 10 best Visa credit cards right now. The Chase Freedom Unlimited and Capital One Quicksilver are at the top of our list and both are great for everyday purchases. Cash back cards like the Wells Fargo Cash Wise offer great bonuses. If you have 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 2019
|Best For:||Card||Our Rating||Annual Fee|
|Unlimited cash back||Chase Freedom Unlimited®||3.8 / 5||$0|
|Good credit||Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card||3.4 / 5||$0|
|Choice of rewards||U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card||2.0 / 5||$0|
|Cash back on rotating categories||Chase Freedom®||3.1 / 5||$0|
|Long intro 0% APR offer||Wells Fargo Platinum Visa card||4.4/ 5||$0|
|Building credit||Credit One Bank® Platinum Visa® with Cash Back Rewards||N/A||$0 - $99|
|Flexible rewards||Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card||3.9 / 5||$95|
|Long Balance Transfer Window||U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card||4.5 / 5||$0|
|Hotels||Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card||4.2 / 5||$95; waived in the first year|
|Fast Application||Credit One Bank® Unsecured Visa® with Cash Back Rewards||N/A||$0|
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 and 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.
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.
Laura is an editor and writer at CreditCards.com. She has written extensively on all things credit cards and works to bring you the most up-to-date analysis and advice. Laura's work has been cited in such publications as the New York Times and Associated Press. You can reach her by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @creditcards_lm.