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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

AMEX logo

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 19th, 2019
Name Product Purchase rate (p.a.) Balance transfer rate Annual fee Product Description
American Express Velocity Escape Card - Exclusive Offer
20.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 12 months with 1% balance transfer fee
$0 p.a.
Finder Exclusive:
Score 10,000 bonus Velocity Points when you spend $750 in the first 3 months from card approval.
American Express Velocity Platinum Card
20.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 12 months with 1% balance transfer fee
$375 p.a.
Get 50,000 bonus Velocity Points when you spend $3,000 for the first 3 months. Plus, 100 Status Credits and luxury travel perks.
American Express Explorer Credit Card
20.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 12 months with 1% balance transfer fee
$395 p.a.
Get 50,000 bonus points when you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months, a yearly $400 Travel Credit and 2 entries per year to the Amex Lounge.
American Express Westpac Altitude Platinum Bundle - Qantas
20.24% p.a. (AMEX)

20.49% p.a. (Visa/MC)

$249 p.a.
Up to 75,000 bonus Qantas Points when you meet the criteria with this dual Mastercard (issued by Westpac) & Amex (issued by Amex).
Qantas American Express Ultimate Card
20.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 12 months with 1% balance transfer fee
$450 p.a.
Get 55,000 bonus Qantas Points. Plus, a $450 Qantas Travel Credit and 2 complimentary Qantas Club lounge invitations per year.
American Express Business Explorer Credit Card
16.99% p.a.
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($395 p.a. thereafter)
Earn 100,000 bonus Membership Rewards points, a first year annual fee waiver and a 50,000 business loyalty bonus points every year.
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 Westpac Altitude Platinum Bundle
20.24% p.a. (AMEX)

20.49% p.a. (Visa/MC)

$199 p.a.
Collect up to 75,000 bonus Altitude Points when you meet T&Cs with Mastercard (issued by Westpac) & Amex (issued by Amex).
David Jones American Express Platinum Card
20.74% p.a.
$295 p.a.
For DJ's shoppers or Qantas travellers, get 30,000 bonus Membership Rewards points or 15,000 Qantas Points on eligible spend.
David Jones American Express Card
20.74% p.a.
$99 p.a.
Not just for David Jones shoppers, receive 15,000 bonus Membership Rewards points or 7,500 Qantas Points on eligible spend.

Compare up to 4 providers

VISA Credit Cards

visa logo

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 19th, 2019
Name Product Purchase rate (p.a.) Balance transfer rate Annual fee Product Description
Citi Rewards Platinum Credit Card - Exclusive Offer
0% for 13 months, reverts to 20.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 13 months
$49 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($149 p.a. thereafter)
Finder Exclusive:
Save with 0% interest on purchases and balance transfers for 13 months (with no BT fee). Plus, a discounted $49 annual fee for the first year.
ANZ Low Rate
12.49% p.a.
0% p.a. for 15 months
$58 p.a.
Save with a 0% p.a. introductory rate on balance transfers for 15 months with no BT fee. Plus a low 12.49% p.a. interest rate on purchases.
HSBC Platinum Credit Card - Balance Transfer Offer
19.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 22 months
$129 p.a.
Enjoy a balance transfer offer, yearly annual fee refund, airport lounge passes and complimentary insurance covers.
Citi Clear Platinum Credit Card
12.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 14 months
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($99 p.a. thereafter)
Offers a long-term balance transfer and $0 first year annual fee. Plus, insurance covers and Citibank Dining Program perks.
St.George Vertigo Classic - Exclusive Offer
0% for 14 months, reverts to 13.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 6 months
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($55 p.a. thereafter)
Finder Exclusive:
Low rate card offering 0% p.a. interest on purchases for the first 14 months and on balance transfers for 6 months. Plus, a $0 first year annual fee.
HSBC Platinum Qantas Credit Card
19.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 12 months
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($79 p.a. thereafter)
Save with a $0 first year annual fee and a long-term balance transfer offer. Plus, complimentary travel insurance.
Citi Rewards Platinum Credit Card - Balance Transfer Offer
20.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 26 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($199 p.a. thereafter)
Earn reward Points per $1 spent, take advantage of a 0% p.a. for 26 month balance transfer offer, plus $0 first year annual fee.
ANZ First Visa Credit Card
19.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 18 months with 2% balance transfer fee
$30 p.a.
Get up to 18 months interest-free on balance transfers and save with a low $30 annual fee. Plus, up to 44 days interest-free on purchases.
Virgin Money Low Rate Credit Card
11.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 14 months
$49 p.a.
Get a $49 annual fee, 10% cashback on purchases made in the first 3 months (capped at $100) and a 14-month balance transfer.

Compare up to 4 providers

Images: Shutterstock, VISA, and AMEX

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