AMEX-and-VISA-creditcards

American Express vs VISA Credit Cards

There are both good and bad things to be said when you look at American Express and Visa cards, but in the end you will have to make a decision based on what features you need from a card.

If you own a credit card, you’ve probably noticed that there are cards featuring the American Express logo, along with cards that have the Visa logo. In a lot of cases, credit card providers offer these cards with a rewards program. There are Visa cards in the market that earn a decent amount of reward points, but American Express scheme cards tend to earn the most points.

Things to consider when comparing American Express and VISA Credit Cards

  • Points earning, capping and expiry 
    If you’re saving to earn big ticket items such as flights then it’s important to ensure that your points don’t expire before you accumulate enough. Similarly, points capping could be a problem if you spend a lot, so could limit your earning potential.
  • Annual fee
    Amex cards have an annual fee that run between $50 and $500 per year however, they do run promotions that will waive the annual fee during the first year. Many Visa cards come with no annual fee, but some of their credit cards charge a $500 annual fee.
  • Interest rates
    American Express usually offers about eight different cards and generally charges an interest rate between 14% to 20%. Visa cards can come with either a variable or a fixed interest rate and can range anywhere from 6% to 25%. American Express cards usually charge a higher interest rate than Visa cards.
  • Customer service
    Both Visa and American Express has a reputation for its customer service, providing 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 for the card. However, it’s important to understand the terms and conditions before you apply.

American Express Credit Cards

Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Much higher points earning
  • Indicates your financial status

Cons:

  • Less accepted than Visa
  • Surcharges could apply (according to the RBA, around two-thirds of merchants do not surcharge)
  • The surcharges to use American Express could hinder any rewards value you earn
  • Eligibility criteria is more strict that Visa
  • Generally a higher interest rate

Comparison of American Express Credit Cards

Rates last updated July 21st, 2017
Name Product Purchase rate (p.a.) Balance transfer rate (p.a.) Annual fee Product Description
Qantas American Express Ultimate Card - Online Offer
20.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 12 months with 1% balance transfer fee
$450 p.a.
Apply by 31 July 2017 to earn 100,000 bonus Qantas Points and get 2 American Express Airport Lounge entries each calendar year.
American Express Essential®  Credit Card
14.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 12 months with 1% balance transfer fee
$0 p.a.
Get Smartphone Screen Insurance of up to $500 when you pay for your phone or contract with your Essential Credit Card.
American Express Explorer® Credit Card
20.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 12 months with 1% balance transfer fee
$395 p.a.
Receive a $400 Travel Credit every year and up to two entries per year to the American Express Lounge at Sydney International Airport.
American Express Platinum Edge Credit Card
20.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 12 months with 1% balance transfer fee
$195 p.a.
Receive a $200 Travel Credit every year and complimentary domestic and international travel insurance.
American Express Velocity Platinum Card
20.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 12 months with 1% balance transfer fee
$375 p.a.
Receive a complimentary Virgin Australia return Economy domestic flight each anniversary year and complimentary travel insurance.
American Express Velocity Escape Card
20.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 12 months with 1% balance transfer fee
$0 p.a.
Earn uncapped Velocity points on purchases and redeem for a range of rewards including flights, accommodation, car hire and gift cards.
Qantas American Express Premium Card
20.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 12 months with 1% balance transfer fee
$249 p.a.
Enjoy two complimentary Qantas Club lounge invitations per year, plus the protection of complimentary travel and purchase insurance.
Qantas American Express Discovery Card
20.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 12 months with 1% balance transfer fee
$0 p.a.
Earn Qantas points that can be redeemed for a one way, return or multi-destination Classic Flight Reward on over 50 partner airlines.
American Express Platinum Card
$1,200 p.a.
Receive an annual $300 Platinum Travel Credit, membership to an elite tier of partner programs and access to more than 1,000 VIP lounges.
David Jones American Express
20.74% p.a.
$99 p.a.
Receive benefits through David Jones including complimentary standard delivery, gift wrapping and invites to exclusive fashion events.
David Jones American Express Platinum Card
20.74% p.a.
$295 p.a.
Receive invitations to exclusive Season Launch Parades and fashion events, complimentary priority delivery and personal shopping perks.
American Express Business Card
$109 p.a.
Consolidate your business expenses and extend your cashflow with up to 51 interest-free days on purchases.
American Express Platinum Business Card
$1,500 p.a.
Enjoy a platinum business concierge, complimentary Virgin Lounge access, worldwide travel insurance and luxury hotel benefits.
American Express Velocity Business Card
$249 p.a.
Take advantage of no pre-set spending limit, data that feeds to MYOB accounting software and up to 51 days interest-free on purchases.
American Express Gold Business Card
$169 p.a.
Take advantage of no pre-set spending limit, data that feeds to MYOB accounting software and up to 51 days interest-free on purchases.
American Express Business Explorer® Credit Card
16.99% p.a.
$395 p.a.
Earn 100,000 bonus points when you meet the requirement and 2 Membership Rewards points per $1 spent.
Qantas American Express Business Card
$299 p.a.
Earn Qantas points and receive domestic and international travel insurance, plus data that feeds directly to MYOB accounting software.
American Express Business Accelerator Credit Card
20.74% p.a.
$160 p.a.
Receive up to 55 interest-free days on purchases, supplementary cards at no cost and data that feeds to MYOB accounting software.
American Express Platinum Rewards Credit Card
20.74% p.a.
$80 p.a.
Receive complimentary enrolment in Membership Rewards, purchase protection and up to 55 days interest-free on purchases.
American Express Qantas Corporate Green Card
$70 p.a.
Receive a discounted Qantas Club membership, entertainment invites, and insurance coverage for personal trips.
American Express Low Rate Credit Card
11.99% p.a.
$0 p.a.
Get up to 55 days interest-free on purchases, global card support and up to 4 supplementary cardholders.
Qantas American Express Ultimate Card
20.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 12 months with 1% balance transfer fee
$450 p.a.
Take advantage of a high Qantas Points earn rate and 2 American Express Airport Lounge entries each calendar year.

Compare up to 4 providers

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VISA Credit Cards

Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • More accepted than American Express
  • Barely any surcharges
  • Quite flexible eligibility criteria
  • Generally a lower interest rate

Cons:

  • Less points earning

Comparison of VISA Credit Cards

Rates last updated July 21st, 2017
Purchase rate (p.a.) Balance transfer rate (p.a.) Annual fee
HSBC Platinum Credit Card
Earn 1 Reward Point per $1 of eligible spend and receive complimentary travel and purchase protection insurances.
19.99% p.a. 0% p.a. for 22 months with 2% balance transfer fee $99 p.a. Go to site More info
Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer Card - Exclusive Offer
Apply by 31 July 2017 to earn bonus Velocity Points for the first three months and a $129 Virgin Australia Gift Voucher each year.
20.74% p.a. 0% p.a. for 18 months $64 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($129 p.a. thereafter) Go to site More info
NAB Low Fee Card
Enjoy a low annual fee plus a low introductory offer of 0% p.a. for 16 months on balance transfers.
19.74% p.a. 0% p.a. for 16 months with 2% balance transfer fee $30 p.a. Go to site More info
HSBC Platinum Qantas Credit Card
Receive 60,000 bonus Qantas Points when you meet the spend requirement and earn up to 1 Qantas Point per $1 spent.
19.99% p.a. $199 p.a. Go to site More info
NAB Premium Card - Exclusive Offer
Exclusive to finder.com.au, enjoy a no fee, long-term balance transfer offer with platinum privileges.
19.74% p.a. 0% p.a. for 24 months $90 p.a. Go to site More info
ANZ Platinum Credit Card - Exclusive Offer
Receive a low introductory offer of 0% p.a. on purchases for 3 months and 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 12 months.
0% p.a. for 3 months (reverts to 19.74% p.a.) 0% p.a. for 12 months $0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($87 p.a. thereafter) Go to site More info
NAB Qantas Rewards Premium Card
A dual Amex and Visa card that earns up to 1 Qantas Point per $1 spent on eligible purchases, plus a 24/7 personal concierge.
19.99% p.a. 0% p.a. for 6 months $250 p.a. Go to site More info
ANZ Frequent Flyer Platinum
Get rewarded with 50,000 bonus Qantas Points when you spend $2,500 on eligible purchases for the first three months from card approval and maximise your points on everyday purchases. Also enjoy a waived annual fee for the first year.
19.99% p.a. $0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($295 p.a. thereafter) Go to site More info
ANZ Frequent Flyer
Get 25,000 bonus Qantas Points when you apply online, are approved and spend $2,500 on eligible purchases within the first 3 months.
19.99% p.a. $0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($95 p.a. thereafter) Go to site More info
Citi Clear Platinum
Visa Concierge Service, complimentary purchase cover and a low interest rate on purchases.
14.99% p.a. $99 p.a. Go to site More info
Citi Qantas Signature Credit Card
Earn from 0.5 Qantas Points per $1 spent on selected purchases and get a 2 airport lounge visits per year.
20.99% p.a. 0% p.a. for 6 months $199 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($395 p.a. thereafter) Go to site More info
NAB Velocity Rewards Premium Card
Offers up to 1 Velocity point per $1 on purchases, combined with complimentary insurance covers and a concierge service.
19.99% p.a. 0% p.a. for 6 months $150 p.a. Go to site More info
Virgin Australia Velocity High Flyer Card - 30k Bonus Points offer
Take off sooner with up to 1 Velocity Point per $1 spent and earn up to 30,000 bonus Velocity Points. Plus, complimentary travel insurance.
20.74% p.a. 1.9% p.a. for 15 months $144 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($289 p.a. thereafter) Go to site More info
NAB flybuys Rewards Card
Earn 1 flybuys point per $1 spent on everyday purchases and receive 7 complimentary insurance covers.
19.99% p.a. 0% p.a. for 6 months $95 p.a. Go to site More info
Bank of Melbourne Vertigo Visa Credit Card
Receive up to 55 days interest-free on purchases and the protection of Verified by Visa online purchases.
13.24% p.a. 0% p.a. for 14 months $0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($55 p.a. thereafter) Go to site More info
Bank of Melbourne Vertigo Platinum
Get a range of complimentary insurance covers, access to a 24/7 concierge and up to 55 days interest-free on purchases.
12.74% p.a. 0% p.a. for 20 months $99 p.a. Go to site More info
Bank of Melbourne Amplify Signature
Earn up to 3 Amplify Rewards Points per $1 spent and receive an additional card at no extra cost.
19.49% p.a. $279 p.a. Go to site More info
St.George Vertigo Platinum
Offers complimentary travel insurance, complimentary purchase insurance and access to a 24/7 personal concierge service.
12.74% p.a. 0% p.a. for 20 months $99 p.a. Go to site More info
St.George Vertigo Visa
Receive up to 55 days interest-free on purchases and the ability to make contactless payments with Visa payWave technology.
13.24% p.a. 0% p.a. for 14 months $0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($55 p.a. thereafter) Go to site More info
Bank of Melbourne Amplify Platinum
Earn up to 2 Amplify Rewards Points per $1 spent and receive complimentary travel insurance.
19.49% p.a. $99 p.a. Go to site More info
St.George Amplify Platinum
Earn up to 2 Amplify Rewards Points per $1 spent and receive complimentary overseas travel insurance.
19.49% p.a. $99 p.a. Go to site More info
St.George Amplify Signature
Earn up to 3 Amplify Rewards Points per $1 spent and receive two complimentary airport lounge passes per year.
19.49% p.a. $279 p.a. Go to site More info
BankSA Vertigo Platinum
Take advantage of purchase protection, extended warranty and overseas travel insurance, plus a 24/7 concierge.
12.74% p.a. 0% p.a. for 14 months $0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($99 p.a. thereafter) Go to site More info
BankSA Vertigo Visa
One of the cheapest credit cards that currently offers low introductory balance transfer rate.
13.24% p.a. 0% p.a. for 14 months $0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($55 p.a. thereafter) Go to site More info
Citi Rewards Platinum Credit Card
Consolidate your debt with a low balance transfer offer and a host of platinum privileges.
20.99% p.a. 0% p.a. for 24 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee $49 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($149 p.a. thereafter) Go to site More info
Citi Simplicity Card
Pay no annual fee for life ever and enjoy a low balance transfer rate of 0% p.a. for 6 months.
19.99% p.a. 0% p.a. for 6 months $0 p.a. Go to site More info
ANZ Platinum Credit Card
Enjoy platinum card benefits with a 24/7 personal concierge and complimentary overseas travel and medical insurance.
19.74% p.a. 0% p.a. for 16 months with 2% balance transfer fee $0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($87 p.a. thereafter) Go to site More info
ANZ First Visa Credit Card
Get up to 44 interest-free days on purchases and take advantage of a low minimum credit limit.
19.74% p.a. 0% p.a. for 16 months with 2% balance transfer fee $30 p.a. Go to site More info
NAB Low Rate Credit Card
Receive up to 55 days interest-free on purchases, special offers from Visa Entertainment and Tap and Pay capabilities.
13.99% p.a. 0% p.a. for 16 months with 2% balance transfer fee $59 p.a. Go to site More info
Virgin Money Low Rate Credit Card
Receive up to 44 days interest-free on purchases and the optional insurance coverage of CreditShield Edge.
11.99% p.a. 0% p.a. for 12 months $99 p.a. Go to site More info
Woolworths Everyday Platinum Credit Card
Receive a $100 eGift Card when you apply by 30 September 2017 and make an eligible purchase by 31 October 2017.
19.99% p.a. 0% p.a. for 14 months $0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($49 p.a. thereafter) Go to site More info
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American Express Westpac Altitude Platinum vs VISA Westpac Altitude Platinum

American Express Westpac Altitude Platinum

  • Monthly spend of $5000
  • Equivalent to $1000 in flights rewards per annum

Visa Westpac Altitude Platinum

  • Monthly spend of $5000
  • Equivalent to $319 in flights rewards per annum

If you spent $5000 per month on each of these cards, the American Express returns over $1,000 in flights rewards per year , whereas the Visa only returns $129 per annum. This shows that even though American Express has more disadvantages than Visa, it has a much higher points return.

The verdict

Your shopping habits should indicate what card would be suitable for you. If you can consistently do your everyday shopping (say about over 50%) without any surcharges, then American Express could provide the most value for you. However, if this is not the case, then you may want to consider a Visa card.

Best of both worlds?

If you can’t decide whether you want to choose between American Express and Visa, you may be able to get a companion card. Having both Visa or Mastercard and American Express means that you can use either of them as much as possible, earning more points. Whenever a surcharge applies for American Express, you can use the Visa or Mastercard.

Black Cards

When you are considering American Express vs Visa, don’t forget to take a look at their Black cards. It is a sign of distinction to be able to use a Black card in public, and a dream come true for many when they receive the invite in the mail. These cards are not open to the general public and are issued by invite only. If you get an American Express Black card you will need to spend $250,000 on it yearly. They both come equipped with a concierge service that you can use to make arrangements for just about anything you need. If you get a Visa Black card, you will be given a credit limit based on your credit history and income level.

The differences are quite vast when you compare American Express vs Visa, and you will have to consider what kind of extra features are on each card in order to make your final choice. They are both solid cards and if you really can’t decide between the two you may want to consider getting one of each.

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