Finder is committed to editorial independence. While we receive compensation when you click links to partners, they do not influence our opinions or reviews. Learn how we make money.

Discover vs. Visa: Which is best for me?

Each provider brings something different to the table.

Updated

Fact checked
Discover and Visa are very different companies. While Discover is a card issuer with a focused stable of cards, Visa is a card network that offers a variety of products. Both have strengths and weaknesses, giving you ample opportunity to pair cards from each side.

What features and services do Discover and Visa offer?

Consider these factors when deciding between Discover and Visa:

  • Annual fee.
    None of Discover’s cards have annual fees. While Visa also offers cards with no annual fees, Visa cards with more features can cost hundreds of dollars per year. The more perks you want, the higher the annual fee.
  • Rewards.
    Discover is a good choice for rewards on everyday spending, such as fuel and restaurants. It has a few cards with rotating 5% cashback categories. Visa is also a strong pick for everyday spending. It’s an excellent choice for 1.5% cashback and tiered-rewards cards. And it’s a potent source of attractive travel credit cards, such as the Chase Sapphire Reserve® and Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card.
  • Signup bonus.
    Discover’s signup bonuses are unique: The provider will match rewards earned in your first card year. Visa offers more traditional bonuses: Qualify by using an eligible card to spend a certain amount within a designated time period.
  • Intro APR.
    Discover offers intro APRs on purchases and balance transfers for up to 14 months. Plus, you’ll earn rewards. Visa offers cards with better intro APRs along with rewards. You’ll find intro APRs for as long as 18 months.

If you’re still unsure which provider is right for you, check out their secondary benefits.

Discover secondary perks

Discover has carved a niche of its own by offering secondary benefits that help you build credit.

Visa secondary perks

Visa, on the other hand, is better for secondary travel benefits.

Visa Signature cards are slightly more powerful than standard Visas.
Look for Visa Infinite cards if you want excellent purchase and travel benefits.

Pros and cons of Discover and Visa credit cards

No card is perfect. Here are a few more strengths and weaknesses of each provider to help you decide.

Discover credit card pros and cons

Pros

  • No annual, overlimit or foreign transaction fees on any card.
  • Benefits to help you build credit responsibly.
  • Unique signup-bonus structure.
  • 100% US-based customer support.

Cons

  • Only one travel card.
  • Not as widely accepted as Visa or Mastercard.
  • Lack of purchase protection and travel insurance.

Visa credit card pros and cons

Pros

  • Many more card options.
  • You’ll typically have a better idea of your signup-bonus value.
  • Better purchase protection and travel insurance.
  • Stronger travel credit cards.

Cons

  • Benefits may vary depending on the card issuer.
  • Cards may have annual fees and other fees.

Compare Visa and Discover credit cards

Name Product Welcome offer Rewards Annual fee Filter values
Chase Freedom Unlimited®
$200 after spending $500 in the first 3 months, plus 5% cash back at grocery stores on up to $12,000 in the first year
5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase, 5% on Lyft, 3% on dining and drugstores and 1.5% on all other purchases
$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
80,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months, a value of up to $1,000 through Chase Ultimate Rewards
5x points on Lyft, 2x points on travel and dining and 1x points on all other purchases
$95
Earn a huge signup bonus worth $$1,000 with this popular travel card. Combine with other Chase Ultimate Rewards cards for even greater value.
Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi
N/A
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
$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®
50,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months
10x points on Lyft rides, 3x points on dining and travel after earning your $300 travel credit and 1x points on all other purchases
$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
$150 after spending $500 in the first 90 days
3% on dining, 2% at grocery stores and 1% on all other eligible purchases
$0
3% on dining and 2% on groceries make this a valuable card for food purchases. Use it while traveling, too, with no foreign transaction fees. Available in: CT, DC, DE, FL, MA, MD, ME, NC, NH, NJ, NY, PA, RI, SC, VA, VT
loading

Compare up to 4 providers

Name Product Welcome offer Rewards Annual fee Filter values
Discover it® Cash Back
Discover will match cash back earned at the end of your first card year
5% back in rotating categories up to $1,500 combined each activated quarter, then 1% after that and on all other purchases
$0
Earn 5% back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories every quarter you activate, then 1% thereafter. Earn 1% back on all other purchases.
Discover it® Miles Travel Credit Card
Discover will match miles earned at the end of your first card year
1.5x miles on all purchases
$0
Earn unlimited 1.5x miles on all purchases - from airfare and hotels to groceries and online shopping.
Discover it® Chrome Gas & Restaurant Card
Discover will match cash back earned at the end of your first card year
2% back on gas and dining up to $1,000 combined quarterly, then 1% after that and on all other purchases
$0
Earn 2% cash back on gas and dining on your first $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter. After that earn 1% in these categories and on all other purchases.
Discover it® Secured
Discover will match cash back earned at the end of your first card year
2% back on gas and dining up to $1,000 combined each activated quarter, then 1% after that and on all other purchases
$0
2% cashback at restaurants or gas stations on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter. Plus 1% cash back on all other credit card purchases.
Discover it® Chrome for Students
Discover will match cash back at the end of your first card year
2% back on gas and dining up to $1,000 combined each activated quarter, then 1% after that and on all other purchases
$0
Earn 2% cash back on gas and dining on your first $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter. After that earn 1% in these categories and on all other purchases.
loading

Compare up to 4 providers

The verdict

Discover or Visa?

Discover offers benefits that can help you keep a card responsibly, such as no annual fees, Social Security number alerts and free FICO score updates. It also has unique signup bonuses. Visa, on the other hand, offers cards with purchase protection or travel insurance.

Benefits vary greatly depending on the issuer, so take a close look at each card before applying.

Best of both worlds

You could get a Discover product and Visa product that complement each other. For example, use the Discover it® Cash Back as your everyday card and the powerful Chase Sapphire Reserve® as your travel option.

Bottom line

Discover and Visa bring different benefits to the table, but you don’t have to decide on just one. Cards from each provider can complement one another.

If you’re unsure whether either provider suits your needs, compare other card companies to find one that’s right for you.

Frequently asked questions

Pictures: Getty Images

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on finder.com:

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder.com provides guides and information on a range of products and services. Because our content is not financial advice, we suggest talking with a professional before you make any decision.

By submitting your comment or question, you agree to our Privacy and Cookies Policy and finder.com Terms of Use.

Questions and responses on finder.com are not provided, paid for or otherwise endorsed by any bank or brand. These banks and brands are not responsible for ensuring that comments are answered or accurate.
Go to site