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American Express vs. Visa credit cards

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Make a decision based on features you value, such as rewards points or acceptance rate.

Both American Express and Visa offer credit cards with unique rewards programs that could suit one person over another. For example, if you’re looking for more opportunities to earn rewards points, Amex might suit your needs better. But, if you’re looking for a card with a wider acceptance rate, you might want to try Visa. In the end, both providers offer great features. Choosing between them is just a matter of personal preference.

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 annual fee or have promotions that waive the annual fee for the first year. That said, depending on the card you get from either, the fee could be anywhere from $25 to upwards of $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.

Compare American Express and Visa credit cards

Data indicated here is updated regularly
Name Product Filter values Rewards Purchase APR Annual fee
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
6% on select US streaming services, 3% on transit and US gas stations, 6% at US supermarkets on up to $6,000 annually, then 1% after that and on all other purchases
0% intro for the first 12 months (then 13.99% to 23.99% variable)
$95
Perfect for families: Get up to 6% on everyday purchases and a welcome offer worth $250. This heavy-hitter rewards card has uncontested value. Rates & fees
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
20% at Amazon.com up to $200 back in the first 6 months, 2% at US gas stations and select US department stores, 3% at US supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year, then 1% after that and on all other purchases
0% intro for the first 15 months (then 13.99% to 23.99% variable)
$0
This everyday cashback card is ideal for Black Friday and holiday shopping with 20% back at Amazon.com up to $200 back in the first 6 months. Rates & fees
American Express® Gold Card
3x points on directly-booked flights; 4x at restaurants; 4x at US supermarkets on up to $25,000 annually (then 1x points)
See pay over time APR
$250
Earn up to 4x points on select purchases, a bevy of travel perks, and a welcome offer worth up to $600 with this upper-mid tier travel card. Rates & fees
The Platinum Card® from American Express
10x points at US gas stations and US supermarkets on up to $15,000 combined in the first 6 months, 5x points on directly-booked flights or on flights and hotels on Amex Travel. 1x points on all other purchases. Starting January 1, 2021, your 5x points on flights will be capped on up to $500,000 annually (then 1x points).
See pay over time APR
$550
One of the most valuable premium travel cards, featuring two welcome offers worth up to $4,500, multiple travel credits and unrivaled lounge access. Rates & fees
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card
6x points at Marriott Bonvoy hotels, 3x at US restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines and 2x for all other purchases
15.74% to 24.74% variable
$450
Earn 75,000 bonus points when you spend $3,000 or more within your first 3 months. Rates & fees
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Compare up to 4 providers

Data indicated here is updated regularly
Name Product Filter values Rewards Purchase APR Annual fee
Chase Freedom Unlimited®
5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase, 5% on Lyft, 3% on dining and drugstores and 1.5% on all other purchases
0% intro for the first 15 months (then 14.99% to 23.74% variable)
$0
This solid 1.5% cashback card gets even better with the addition of up to 5% back in categories like travel, drug stores and dining.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
5x points on Lyft, 2x points on travel and dining and 1x points on all other purchases
15.99% to 22.99% variable
$95
Earn a signup bonus worth $750 with this popular travel card. Combine with other Chase Ultimate Rewards cards for even greater value.
Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi
4% at gas stations on up to $7,000 annually (then 1%), 3% at restaurants and on travel, 2% at Costco and 1% on all other purchases
15.24% variable
$0
An impressive cashback card that offers up to 4% back on everyday purchases like gas, travel and dining all for the cost of a Costco membership.
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
10x points on Lyft rides, 3x points on dining and travel after earning your $300 travel credit and 1x points on all other purchases
16.99% to 23.99% variable
$550
Get a generous $300 in annual travel credits, 3x points on travel and dining, and a 50% bonus on point redemptions with Chase's premier card.
TD Cash Credit Card
3% on dining, 2% at grocery stores and 1% on all other eligible purchases
0% intro for the first 6 months (then 12.99%, 17.99% or 22.99% variable)
$0
3% on dining and 2% on groceries make this a valuable card for food purchases. Available in: CT, DC, DE, FL, MA, MD, ME, NC, NH, NJ, NY, PA, RI, SC, VA, VT
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Compare up to 4 providers

Pros and cons of American Express credit cards

Pros:

  • Potential to earn more points.
  • Indicates personal financial status.

Cons:

  • Less accepted than Visa.
  • Fees could eat up any rewards.
  • Strict eligibility criteria.
  • Higher interest rates.
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Pros and cons of Visa credit cards

Pros:

  • Accepted more than American Express.
  • Less fees.
  • Flexible eligibility criteria.
  • Generally a lower interest rate.

Cons:

  • Less potential to earn points.
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What features and services do American Express and Visa offer?

While Amex and Visa offer some similar benefits, looking at the features and services that set them apart can help make your decision. For example, Amex products uniformly offer features such as purchase protection and travel insurance. These features are mostly issuer-dependent among Visa cards, however. Choosing between the providers just depends on what you value.

American ExpressSelect Amex cards (e.g., The Platinum Card® from American Express)Visa TraditionalVisa SignatureVisa Infinite
Extended warrantyDepends on issuer
Purchase protectionDepends on issuer
Return protectionDepends on issuer
Price protectionDepends on issuerDepends on issuer
Car rental insurance
Global assist hotline/travel and emergency assistance
Roadside assistance
Travel accident insuranceDepends on issuer
Baggage insuranceDepends on issuer
Trip cancellation/ interruption insuranceDepends on issuer
Concierge

The verdict

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 use your American Express for 50% of your everyday shopping you’ll get the most value. However, If you want a card that’s more widely accepted and has a lower annual fee, Visa is your pick.

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.

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