The positives and negatives depend on how you’ll use your American Express or Visa card, make a decision based on what features you need.
Both providers offer credit cards with unique reward programs that could suit one person better than the other. There are Visa cards in the market that earn a decent amount of reward points, but American Express reward cards tend to earn more.
Things to consider when comparing American Express and Visa credit cards
- Limits and expiration for reward points. If you’re saving for something big like a flight then it’s important to know that your points won’t expire before you rack them all up. Similarly, if you spend a lot and there is a limit on what you can earn, you’re missing out on major points.
- Annual fee. Many Visa and Amex cards will come with no fee or have promotions that waive the annual fee for the first year. That being said, depending on the card you get from either, the fee could be anywhere from $25 to upwards or $500.
- Interest rates. American Express generally charges an interest rate between 11% to 27%. Visa cards can come with either a variable or a fixed interest rate and can range anywhere from 8.25% to 29.99%.
- Customer service. Both Visa and American Express have a reputation for its customer service and providing a concierge that can help you in any situation, whether its an emergency or not.
- Complimentary insurance. Both Visa and American Express have credit cards that offer complimentary insurance when you pay for your travel in full with the card. However, it’s important to understand the terms and conditions before you apply.
American Express credit cards
- Potential to earn more points.
- Can indicate personal financial status.
- Less accepted than Visa.
- Surcharges to use American Express could hinder any rewards value you earn.
- Eligibility criteria is more strict that Visa.
- Generally a higher interest rate.
Comparison of American Express credit cards
Visa credit cards
- More acceptance than American Express.
- Barely any surcharges.
- Flexible eligibility criteria.
- Generally a lower interest rate.
- Less potential to earn points.
Comparison of Visa credit cards
Your personal shopping habits and how you’ll be using the card should point you in the direction of what will better suit your needs. If you can consistently do your everyday shopping (say about over 50%) without any surcharges, then American Express could provide the most value for you. However, if this is not the case, then you may want to consider a Visa card.
Best of both worlds?
If you can’t decide whether you want to choose between American Express or Visa, you can always get both and use one as a backup. Having both Visa and American Express means that you can use either of them as much as possible while earning more points. Whenever a surcharge applies for American Express, you can use the Visa.
When you are considering American Express versus Visa, don’t forget to take a look at their Black cards. These cards are not open to the general public and are issued by invite only. If you get an American Express Black card you will need to spend $250,000 on it yearly. They both come equipped with a concierge service that you can use to make arrangements for just about anything you need. If you get a Visa Black card, you will be given a credit limit based on your credit history and income level.