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American Express vs. Visa credit cards – 2022 review

American Express or Visa? The best card will depend on your spending habits and how you'll make use of the rewards.

Both American Express and Visa offer credit cards with unique rewards programs that could suit one person better than another.

While there are Visa cards on the market that offer a decent amount of rewards points per dollar spent, American Express rewards cards tend to earn more per dollar spent. However, most American Express cards come with annual fees, so if you’re not going to take advantage of the rewards program, a no fee Visa card might be a better choice.

Things to consider when comparing American Express and Visa credit cards

  • Limits and expiration for rewards 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 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. Some Visa and most Amex cards come with annual fees. Depending on the card you choose from either, the fee could be anywhere from $0 to upwards of $800.
  • Card types. Visa credit cards are typically regular credit cards, where you can carry a balance from month to month. American Express offer both charge cards and regular credit cards. Charge cards must be paid off in full at the end of each billing cycle.
  • Interest rates. American Express generally charges an interest rate between 8% to 30%, depending on the type of credit card (charge card vs credit card). Visa cards tend to have rates sitting between 8% to 24.99%, however it can be higher.
  • Promotional offers. Many credit cards come with balance transfer offers or an annual fee waiver for the first year. Compare the length of the promotion and any other factors involved, such as interest rates.
  • Customer service. Both Visa and American Express have generally good reputations for customer service.
  • 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 of complimentary insurance coverage before you apply for a card.

Comparison of American Express and Visa credit cards

Name Product Welcome Offer Rewards Purchase Interest Rate Annual Fee Min. Credit Score Description
American Express Cobalt Card
50,000 points
Up to 5x points per $1 spent
20.99%
$155.88
Min. recommended credit score: 700
Earn up to 50,000 Membership Rewards points in your first year. Earn 2,500 Membership Rewards points for each monthly billing period in which you spend $500 in net purchases on your card (up to 30,000 points). Plus, earn a Welcome Bonus of 20,000 Membership Rewards points when you spend a total of $3,000 in purchases on your Card in your first 3 months of Cardmembership.
SimplyCash Card from American Express
4% cash back
Up to 1.25% cash back
19.99%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 700
Earn 4% cash back on purchases (up to $200 cash back) for the first 6 months of Cardmembership.
American Express Green Card
10,000 points
1 point per $1 spent
20.99%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 700
Earn a Welcome Bonus of 10,000 Membership Rewards points when you charge $1,000 in purchases to your card in the first 3 months as a new Cardmember.
American Express Aeroplan Card
40,000 points
Up to 2x points
30% annual interest rate applies to balances not paid in full each month
$120
Min. recommended credit score: 700
Earn up to a total of 40,000 welcome bonus Aeroplan points and a bonus Buddy Pass. New Cardmembers can earn up to $1,200 in value within the first year.
SimplyCash Preferred Card from American Express
10% cash back
2% cash back
19.99%
$99
Min. recommended credit score: 700
Earn 10% cash back on all eligible purchases (up to $400 in cash back) for the first four months of Cardmembership.
American Express Business Edge Card
57,000 points
Up to 3 points per $1 spent
19.99%
$99
Min. recommended credit score: 700
Earn up to 57,000 Membership Rewards points in your first year.
American Express AIR MILES Platinum Credit Card
2,000 Miles
Up to 1 Air Mile per $5 - $10 spent
20.99%
$120
Min. recommended credit score: 700
Earn a Welcome Bonus of 2,000 AIR MILES within the first three months. That’s enough to redeem for $200 towards your purchases with AIR MILES Cash.
American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card
90,000 points
Up to 3x points
19.99%
$599
Min. recommended credit score: 700
Earn up to a total of 90,000 welcome bonus Aeroplan points and a bonus Buddy Pass. New Cardmembers can earn up to $3,000 in value within your first year. Plus, receive up to $100 in statement credits every four years when a NEXUS application or renewal fee is charged to your card.
American Express Aeroplan Business Reserve Card
90,000 points
Up to 3x points
16.99%
$599
Min. recommended credit score: 700
Earn up to 90,000 Aeroplan points and a bonus Buddy Pass.
Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card
50,000 points
Up to 5x points per $1 spent
19.99%
$120
Min. recommended credit score: 700
Earn 50,000 Marriott Bonvoy points when you spend $1,500 in the first 3 months.
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Compare up to 4 providers

Name Product Welcome Offer Rewards Purchase Interest Rate Annual Fee Min. Credit Score Description
Scotiabank Value Visa Card
0.99% rate on balance transfers for 6 months
N/A
12.99%
$29
Min. recommended credit score: 660
Get a 0.99% introductory interest rate on balance transfers with a 0% transfer fee for the first 6 months. Apply by February 28, 2022.
Simplii Financial Cash Back Visa Card
10% cash back
Up to 4% cash back
9.99% intro APR for the first 6 months, 19.99% thereafter
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 650
Get 10% bonus cash back at eligible restaurants and bars for the first 4 months (up to $500 spend). Plus, get a 9.99% introductory annual interest rate on purchases for the first 6 months.
Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite Card
10% cash back
Up to 4% cash back
2.99% intro APR for the first 6 months, 20.99% thereafter
$0 annual fee for the first year ($120 thereafter)
Min. recommended credit score: 750
Earn 10% cash back on all purchases for the first 3 months. Plus, pay no annual fee in the first year and get a 2.99% introductory interest rate on purchases and balance transfers for the first 6 months. Apply by February 28, 2022.
Refresh Financial Secured Card
N/A
N/A
17.99%
$12.95
Min. recommended credit score: Any score
The Refresh Secured Card has no credit check, a low annual fee and guaranteed approval once you secure your card with anywhere from $200 - $10,000.
Home Trust Secured Visa (No Annual Fee)
N/A
N/A
19.99%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: Any score
The no annual fee Home Trust Secured card comes with a standard 19.99% purchase and cash advance rate. Apply with any credit score and start rebuilding your credit.
BMO eclipse Visa Infinite
60,000 points
Up to 5 points per $1 spent
20.99%
$0 annual fee for the first year ($120 thereafter)
Min. recommended credit score: 760
Get up to 60,000 points, a $50 lifestyle credit and the $120 annual fee waived in the first year.
BMO eclipse Visa Infinite Privilege
90,000 points
5 points per $1 spent
20.99%
$499
Min. recommended credit score: 760
Get up to 90,000 welcome points in your first year.
Scotia Momentum No-Fee Visa Card
Up to 5% cash back
1% cash back
2.99% intro APR for the first 6 months, 19.99% thereafter
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 660
Earn 5% cash back on all purchases for the first 3 months (up to $2,000 in total purchases). Plus, get a 2.99% introductory interest rate on balance transfers for the first 6 months with no balance transfer fee. Apply by February 28, 2022.
Scotiabank SCENE Visa Card
5,000 points
Up to 5 points per $1 spent
19.99%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 660
Earn 5,000 bonus Scene+ points when you spend a minimum of $750 on eligible purchases in the first three months as a new SCENE Visa cardholder. Apply by February 28, 2022.
Scotiabank GM Visa Card
N/A
Up to 5% cash back
19.99%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 660
Earn 5% in GM Earnings on all eligible purchases on the first $5,000 annual spend, and 2% thereafter.
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Pros and cons of American Express credit cards

Pros:

  • Potential to earn more points per dollar spent.
  • Can indicate personal financial status.
  • Possible access to more perks.

Cons:

  • Less accepted both in Canada and worldwide than Visa.

Pros and cons of Visa credit cards

Pros:

  • More acceptance worldwide than American Express.

Cons:

  • Less potential to earn points per dollar spent.
  • May come with access to less perks.

The verdict

Your personal spending habits and how you’ll be using the card should point you in the direction of which brand of credit card will better suit your needs. If American Express is accepted at locations that you consistently do your everyday shopping at, then you could be rewarded with more value. However, if this is not the case, then you may want to consider a Visa card.

No matter the credit card you choose, you’ll want to make sure you use the rewards it offers. Many American Express and Visa cards come with annual fees, so in order to offset the fees, you’ll want to make use of the perks.

Best of both worlds

If you can’t decide whether to choose an American Express or a Visa credit card, 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 rewards points. While you can’t combine your Amex and Visa rewards points, you could benefit from two different rewards programs.

Frequently asked questions

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