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 September 27th, 2017
Name Product Purchase rate (p.a.) Balance transfer rate (p.a.) Annual fee Product Description
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.
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 Essential®  Credit Card
14.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 12 months with 3% balance transfer fee
$0 p.a.
Receive a $50 credit when you apply online, are approved and spend $750 on your new card within the first 3 months of card membership.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
American Express Qantas Business Rewards Card
$450 p.a.
Earn up to 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 September 27th, 2017
Name Product Purchase rate (p.a.) Balance transfer rate (p.a.) Annual fee Product Description
HSBC Platinum Credit Card
19.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 22 months with 2% balance transfer fee
$99 p.a.
Earn 1 Reward Point per $1 of eligible spend and receive complimentary travel and purchase protection insurances.
NAB Premium Card - Exclusive Offer
19.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 24 months
$90 p.a.
Until 1 October 2017, exclusive to finder.com.au, enjoy a no BT fee, balance transfer offer with platinum privileges, including travel insurance.
St.George Vertigo Visa
13.24% p.a.
0% p.a. for 18 months with 2% balance transfer fee
$55 p.a.
Receive up to 55 days interest-free on purchases and the ability to make contactless payments with Visa payWave technology.
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.
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 6 months
$199 p.a.
Receive 60,000 bonus Qantas Points when you meet the spend requirement and earn up to 1 Qantas Point per $1 spent.
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, receive 0% p.a. interest on purchases for 3 months and 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 12 months with no balance transfer fee.
NAB Qantas Rewards Premium Card
19.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 6 months
$250 p.a.
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.
ANZ Frequent Flyer Platinum
19.99% p.a.
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($295 p.a. thereafter)
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.
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 apply online, are approved and spend $2,500 on eligible purchases within the first 3 months.
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 a 2 airport lounge visits per year.
NAB Velocity Rewards Premium Card
19.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 6 months
$150 p.a.
Offers up to 1 Velocity point per $1 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 1 Velocity Point per $1 spent and earn up to 80,000 bonus Velocity Points. Plus, complimentary travel insurance.
NAB flybuys Rewards Card
19.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 6 months
$95 p.a.
Earn 1 flybuys point per $1 spent on everyday purchases and receive 7 complimentary insurance covers.
Bank of Melbourne Vertigo Visa Credit Card
13.24% p.a.
0% p.a. for 18 months with 2% balance transfer fee
$55 p.a.
Receive up to 55 days interest-free on purchases and the protection of Verified by Visa online purchases.
Bank of Melbourne Vertigo Platinum
12.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 24 months with 2% balance transfer fee
$99 p.a.
Get a range of complimentary insurance covers, access to a 24/7 concierge and up to 55 days interest-free on purchases.
Bank of Melbourne Amplify Signature
19.49% p.a.
$279 p.a.
Earn 1.5 Amplify Rewards Points per $1 spent and receive an additional card at no extra cost.
St.George Vertigo Platinum
12.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 24 months with 2% balance transfer fee
$99 p.a.
Offers complimentary travel insurance, complimentary purchase insurance and access to a 24/7 personal concierge service.
Bank of Melbourne Amplify Platinum
19.49% p.a.
$99 p.a.
Earn 1 Amplify Rewards Point per $1 spent and receive complimentary travel insurance and purchase protection.
St.George Amplify Platinum
19.49% p.a.
$99 p.a.
Earn up to 1 Amplify Rewards Point per $1 spent and receive complimentary overseas travel insurance.
St.George Amplify Signature
19.49% p.a.
$279 p.a.
Earn up to 1.5 Amplify Rewards Points per $1 spent and receive two complimentary airport lounge passes per year.
BankSA Vertigo Platinum
12.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 24 months with 2% balance transfer fee
$99 p.a.
Take advantage of purchase protection, extended warranty and overseas travel insurance, plus a 24/7 concierge.
BankSA Vertigo Visa
13.24% p.a.
0% p.a. for 18 months with 2% balance transfer fee
$55 p.a.
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)
Enjoy platinum card benefits with a 24/7 personal concierge and 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 44 interest-free days on purchases and take advantage of a low minimum credit limit.
NAB Low Rate Credit Card
13.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 16 months with 2% balance transfer fee
$59 p.a.
Receive up to 55 days interest-free on purchases, special offers from Visa Entertainment and Tap and Pay capabilities.
Virgin Money Low Rate Credit Card
11.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 12 months
$99 p.a.
Receive up to 44 days interest-free on purchases and the optional insurance coverage of CreditShield Edge.
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 apply by 31 December 2017 and make an eligible purchase by 31 January 2018.
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. Plus, use of the Westpac mobile banking app.
NAB Rewards Business Signature Card
18.50% p.a.
$175 p.a.
Earn 75,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 on everyday purchases in the first 60 days of account opening.
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, take advantage of a long-term balance transfer offer and receive complimentary travel insurance.

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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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