If you’ve got your heart set on a Visa credit card, this guide can help you find the right one.
Visa provides the technology and network required for processing credit card payments. When you buy an item with a Visa credit card, the transaction will be processed on Visa’s network.
Visa and Mastercard are the largest card processors in the world, and their cards are accepted at millions of shops and other providers all over the globe. Broadly speaking, if a merchant takes credit card payments, they take Visa.
Compare Visa credit cards by type
How can I compare Visa credit cards?
- Annual/monthly fees. A minority of credit cards charge an annual fee, which could be as low as £25 or upwards of £450 for an ultra-premium option. The credit card issuer determines the annual fee based on the features available, with more perks usually equalling a higher cost. For this reason, premium Visa cards can have higher fees because of the extra features they offer.
- Interest rates. Standard credit card interest rates can significantly increase the cost of the card you choose, so it’s important to look at both the purchase rate and the cash advance rate for each card you compare. Again, these rates are set by the issuer but tend to be higher for more premium products.
- Rewards. A wide range of Visa credit cards come with rewards programs or frequent flyer programs. These products offer you points per £1 spent on purchases and usually include other additional features as well as higher annual fees. When comparing rewards cards, consider the earn rate, the type of rewards available and your average card spending so that you can decide if the annual fee will be worth it.
- Complimentary extras. Credit card providers may offer a range of additional perks, including complimentary insurance, concierge services, airport lounge access and flight vouchers. These benefits vary significantly between products, and they can add value to the card you choose if you use them.
- Introductory offers. Credit card providers regularly offer new customers additional perks for a limited time, such as bonus points and 0% balance transfer rates or purchase rates. These features are available for an introductory period and can add short-term value to the card you choose.
- Security services. In addition to the security services offered by Visa, such as “Verified by Visa”, credit card providers may offer 24/7 fraud-monitoring services, daily transaction limits or even the ability to temporarily lock your card if you have misplaced it. All credit cards are chip-and-PIN products, which offer superior security for in-person payments.
The history of Visa
Visa’s history dates back to 1958 when the Bank of America launched the BankAmericard. This was the first mass-marketed credit card program, and it quickly grew in popularity.
By the 1970s, BankAmericard was an independent entity and went on to take the name Visa. Visa then launched VisaNet, which was the first electronic payment authorisation, clearing and settlement system in the world. It has continued to grow as a card payment processor since then and, like Mastercard, has been at the forefront of technologies including chip cards and contactless payments.
How does Visa make money?
Visa’s profits primarily come from the entities that use their services, such as banks and shops. Some of their sources of revenue include the following:
- Card issuer fees. Visa charges financial institutions service fees for the use of their payment systems.
- Bank settlement fees. Credit card issuers pay this fee at the time of settlement of payments.
- Overseas fees. Visa charges issuers a fee for processing payments made in a foreign currency. These charges are often passed onto credit card customers in the form of a foreign currency or international transaction fee.
Frequently asked questions