American Express vs Visa credit cards

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

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Both American Express and Visa offer credit cards with unique rewards programmes 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.
  • Customer service. Both Visa and American Express have a reputation for customer service. They will provide you with 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.

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.
  • Fewer 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.

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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