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 December 14th, 2017
Name Product Purchase rate (p.a.) Balance transfer rate (p.a.) Annual fee Product Description
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, pay $0 annual fee for life and take advantage of a 0% p.a. for 12 months balance transfer offer.
Qantas American Express Discovery Card
20.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 12 months with 1% balance transfer fee
$0 p.a.
Earn uncapped Qantas Points on purchases, pay $0 annual fee for life and take advantage of a 0% p.a. for 12 months balance transfer offer.
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 yearly $400 Travel Credit, 50,000 bonus points and up to 2 entries per year to the American Express Lounge at Sydney International Airport.
American Express Essential Credit Card
14.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 12 months with 3% balance transfer fee
$0 p.a.
Get Smartphone Screen Insurance of up to $500 when you pay for your phone or contract with this card. Plus, a $0 annual fee for life.
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 55,000 bonus Qantas Points, a $450 Qantas Travel Credit each year and 2 yearly complimentary Qantas Club lounge invitations.
Qantas American Express Premium Card
20.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 12 months with 1% balance transfer fee
$249 p.a.
Enjoy 30,000 bonus Qantas Points, 2 complimentary Qantas Club lounge invitations per year and the protection of complimentary insurance covers.
American Express Velocity Platinum Card
20.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 12 months with 1% balance transfer fee
$375 p.a.
Receive 50,000 bonus Velocity Points, a complimentary Virgin Australia return Economy domestic flight each anniversary year, plus, 2 lounge passes.
American Express Business Explorer Credit Card
16.99% p.a.
$395 p.a.
Earn 100,000 bonus points when you meet the spend criteria. Plus, 2 yearly entries to the American Express Lounge at Sydney International Airport.
American Express Business Card
$109 p.a.
Earn up to 1.00 Membership Rewards point per $1 spent and extend your cashflow with up to 51 interest-free days on purchases.
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 yearly $200 Travel Credit and complimentary domestic and international travel insurance. Plus, a 12 month balance transfer offer.
American Express Platinum Card
$1,200 p.a.
Receive an annual $300 Platinum Travel Credit, 80,000 bonus Membership Rewards points and access to more than 1,100 VIP lounges.
David Jones American Express
20.74% p.a.
$99 p.a.
Receive 20,000 bonus points, David Jones benefits 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 40,000 bonus points, invitations to exclusive Season Launch Parades, complimentary priority delivery and personal shopping perks.
American Express Platinum Business Card
$1,500 p.a.
Enjoy 120,000 bonus points, a platinum business concierge, complimentary Virgin Lounge access, worldwide travel insurance and hotel benefits.
American Express Velocity Business Card
$249 p.a.
Take advantage of Velocity Points per $1 spent, no pre-set spending limit, data that feeds into MYOB and up to 51 days interest-free on purchases.
American Express Gold Business Card
$169 p.a.
Take advantage of 10,000 bonus points, no pre-set spending limit, data that feeds to MYOB and up to 51 days interest-free on purchases.
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 Qantas Corporate Green Card
$70 p.a.
Receive a discounted Qantas Club membership, entertainment invites, Sydney airport services and insurance coverage for personal trips.
American Express Low Rate Credit Card
11.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 12 months with 1% balance transfer fee
$0 p.a.
Get up to 55 days interest-free on purchases, a 0% p.a. for 12 months balance transfer offer, a $0 annual fee for life and global card support.
American Express Qantas Business Rewards Card
$450 p.a.
Earn up to 100,000 bonus points, 2 Qantas Points per $1 spent on eligible purchases and enjoy up to 51 days interest-free on purchases.

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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 December 14th, 2017
Name Product Purchase rate (p.a.) Balance transfer rate (p.a.) Annual fee Product Description
St.George Vertigo Platinum - Online Offer
12.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 24 months
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($99 p.a. thereafter)
Platinum card benefits plus 0% p.a. for 24 months on balance transfers (with no BT fee) and $0 annual fee in the first year. Ends 14 January 2018.
NAB Premium Card - Exclusive Offer
19.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 25 months
$90 p.a.
Exclusive to finder.com.au, enjoy a no BT fee, 0% balance transfer offer for 25 months and seven complimentary insurance covers.
Westpac Low Rate Card - Online Only Balance Transfer Offer
13.49% p.a.
0% p.a. for 24 months with 2% balance transfer fee
$59 p.a.
Take advantage of 0% p.a. for 24 months on balance transfers with a 2% balance transfer fee when you apply online by 31 January 2018.
HSBC Platinum Credit Card
19.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 22 months with 2% balance transfer fee
$129 p.a.
Receive a 0% p.a. for 22 months balance transfer offer and earn 1 Reward Point per $1 of eligible spend. Plus, complimentary travel insurance.
Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer Card - Bonus Points Offer
20.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 18 months
$64 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($129 p.a. thereafter)
Earn up to 60,000 bonus Velocity Points in the first 3 months on eligible spend and enjoy a discounted annual fee of $64 for the first year.
Virgin Money Low Rate Credit Card
11.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 14 months
$49 p.a.
Receive a discounted annual fee, $100 cashback when you meet the spend requirement and up to 14 months interest-free on balance transfers.
NAB Low Fee Card
19.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 16 months with 2% balance transfer fee
$30 p.a.
Enjoy a low annual fee plus a low introductory offer of 0% p.a. for 16 months on balance transfers.
HSBC Platinum Qantas Credit Card
19.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 12 months
$199 p.a.
Receive 60,000 bonus Qantas Points when you spend $3,000 within 3 months of card approval, plus enjoy a complimentary travel insurance.
ANZ Platinum Credit Card - Exclusive Offer
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)
Exclusive to finder, get 0% p.a. interest on purchases for 3 months and 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 12 months. Ends 17 December 2017.
NAB Qantas Rewards Premium Card
19.99% p.a.
4.99% p.a. for 6 months
$250 p.a.
Offers 25,000 bonus points when you meet the spend requirements and Qantas Points for your everyday spending. Plus a 24/7 personal concierge.
ANZ Frequent Flyer Platinum
19.99% p.a.
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($295 p.a. thereafter)
Get rewarded with 65,000 bonus Qantas Points when you spend $2,500 on eligible purchases for the first three months from card approval.
ANZ Frequent Flyer
19.99% p.a.
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($95 p.a. thereafter)
Get 25,000 bonus Qantas Points when you meet the offer criteria and save with a $0 first year annual fee. Plus, uncapped Qantas Points potential.
Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer Card - 0% Interest Offer
0% p.a. for 14 months (reverts to 20.74% p.a.)
0% p.a. for 6 months
$129 p.a.
Save with 0% p.a. on purchases for 14 months and 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 6 months. Plus, earn up to 0.66 Velocity Points per $1 spent.
Citi Clear Platinum
14.99% p.a.
$99 p.a.
Visa Concierge Service, complimentary purchase cover and a low interest rate on purchases.
Citi Qantas Signature Credit Card
20.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 6 months
$199 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($395 p.a. thereafter)
Earn from 0.5 Qantas Points per $1 spent on selected purchases and get 2 airport lounge visits per year. Plus, a discounted first year annual fee.
NAB Velocity Rewards Premium Card
19.99% p.a.
4.99% p.a. for 6 months
$150 p.a.
Offers up to 0.66 Velocity Points per $1 spent on purchases, combined with complimentary insurance covers and a concierge service.
Virgin Australia Velocity High Flyer Card - 80k Bonus Points offer
20.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 15 months
$289 p.a.
Take off sooner with up to 80,000 bonus Velocity Points and earn up to 1 Velocity Point per $1 spent. Plus, complimentary travel insurance.
Bank of Melbourne Vertigo Visa Credit Card
13.24% p.a.
0% p.a. for 18 months with 1% balance transfer fee
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($55 p.a. thereafter)
Save with a $0 first year annual fee and a 0% p.a. for 18 months balance transfer offer. Plus, up to 55 days interest-free on purchases.
Bank of Melbourne Vertigo Platinum
12.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 24 months with 1% balance transfer fee
$99 p.a.
Offers a long-term balance transfer, low ongoing purchase rate, complimentary travel insurance and access to a 24/7 personal concierge service.
Bank of Melbourne Amplify Signature
19.49% p.a.
$279 p.a.
Receive 90,000 bonus Amplify or Qantas Points when you spend $5,000 within 90 days and earn up to 1.50 Amplify points per $1 spent.
Bank of Melbourne Amplify Platinum
19.49% p.a.
$99 p.a.
Receive 60,000 bonus Amplify or Qantas Points when you spend $3,000 within 90 days and earn up to 1.00 Amplify point per $1 spent.
St.George Amplify Platinum
19.49% p.a.
$99 p.a.
Receive 60,000 bonus Amplify or Qantas Points when you spend $3,000 within 90 days and earn up to 1.00 Amplify point per $1 spent.
St.George Amplify Signature
19.49% p.a.
$279 p.a.
Receive 90,000 bonus Amplify or Qantas Points when you spend $5,000 within 90 days and earn up to 1.50 Amplify points per $1 spent.
BankSA Vertigo Platinum
12.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 24 months with 1% balance transfer fee
$99 p.a.
Offers a long-term balance transfer, low ongoing purchase rate, complimentary travel insurance and access to a 24/7 personal concierge service.
BankSA Vertigo Visa
13.24% p.a.
0% p.a. for 18 months with 1% balance transfer fee
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($55 p.a. thereafter)
One of the cheapest credit cards that currently offers low introductory balance transfer rate.
Citi Rewards Platinum Credit Card
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)
Consolidate your debt with a low balance transfer offer and a host of platinum privileges.
Citi Simplicity Card
19.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 15 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee
$0 p.a.
Pay no annual fee for life ever and enjoy a low balance transfer rate of 0% p.a. for 15 months.
ANZ Platinum Credit Card
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)
Receive a 0% p.a. for 16 month balance transfer offer and a $0 first year annual fee. Plus, complimentary overseas travel and medical insurance.
ANZ First Visa Credit Card
19.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 16 months with 2% balance transfer fee
$30 p.a.
Get up to 16 months interest-free on balance transfers and save with a low $30 annual fee. Plus, up to 44 days interest-free on purchases.
NAB Low Rate Credit Card
0% p.a. for 6 months (reverts to 13.99% p.a.)
4.99% p.a. for 6 months
$59 p.a.
Receive an introductory 0% p.a. interest rate for 6 months on purchases, Visa Entertainment offers and a competitive $59 ongoing annual fee.
Woolworths Everyday Platinum Credit Card
19.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 14 months
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($49 p.a. thereafter)
Receive a $50 eGift Card when you meet the offer criteria, a 0% p.a. for 14 month balance transfer offer and a $0 first year annual fee.
Citi Platinum Credit Card - 100k Bonus Points
20.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 15 months with 1% balance transfer fee
$49 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($149 p.a. thereafter)
Earn 100,000 reward Points, enjoy a long-term balance transfer offer, a discounted first year annual fee and complimentary travel insurance.
NAB Rewards Business Signature Card
18.50% p.a.
$175 p.a.
Earn 100,000 bonus points when you spend $3,000 on everyday business purchases in the first 60 days of account opening.
Australian Military Bank Low Rate Visa Credit Card
10.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 12 months
$49 p.a.
Enjoy a 0% p.a. for 12 month balance transfer offer with no BT fee, up to 55 interest-free days on purchases, add an additional cardholder for $0.
HSBC Low Rate Credit Card
13.25% p.a.
0% p.a. for 20 months with 2% balance transfer fee
$79 p.a.
A low rate card which offers a long-term balance transfer of 0% p.a. for 20 months.
Bank of Melbourne Amplify Card
19.49% p.a.
0% p.a. for 18 months with 1% balance transfer fee
$79 p.a.
Take advantage of a 0% p.a. for 18 months balance transfer offer, earn 1 Amplify point per $1 spent and get up to 55 days interest-free on purchases.
St.George Amplify Card
19.49% p.a.
3% p.a. for 36 months
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($79 p.a. thereafter)
Take advantage of a 3% p.a. interest rate on balance transfers for 36 months. Plus, a $0 first year annual fee and 1.00 Amplify Point per $1 spent.
BankSA Amplify Card
19.49% p.a.
0% p.a. for 18 months with 1% balance transfer fee
$79 p.a.
Take advantage of a 0% p.a. for 18 months balance transfer, earn 1.00 Amplify point per $1 spent and get up to 55 days interest-free on purchases.

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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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