Discover vs. Visa: Which is best for me?

Each provider brings something different to the table.

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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.

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

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