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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 October 21st, 2019
Name Product Purchase rate (p.a.) Balance transfer rate 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.
Get 120,000 bonus Qantas Points. Plus, a $450 Qantas Travel Credit and 2 complimentary Qantas Club lounge invitations per year.
American Express Westpac Altitude Platinum Bundle
20.24% p.a. (AMEX)

20.49% p.a. (Visa/MC)

$150 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($199 p.a. thereafter)
Collect up to 110,000 bonus Altitude Points when you meet T&Cs with Mastercard (issued by Westpac) & Amex (issued by Amex).
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 on balance transfers.
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 save with a $0 annual fee for life and a 0% p.a. for 12 months balance transfer offer.
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 Westpac Altitude Platinum Bundle - Qantas
20.24% p.a. (AMEX)

20.49% p.a. (Visa/MC)

$200 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($249 p.a. thereafter)
Up to 75,000 bonus Qantas Points when you meet the criteria with this dual Mastercard (issued by Westpac) & Amex (issued by Amex).
American Express Westpac Altitude Black Bundle
20.24% p.a. (AMEX)

20.49% p.a. (Visa/MC)

$349 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($449 p.a. thereafter)
Up to 140,000 bonus Altitude Points with Mastercard (issued by Westpac) & Amex (issued & serviced by Amex). T&Cs apply.
American Express Platinum Card
N/A
$1,450 p.a.
Get 80,000 bonus points, a $450 annual Platinum Travel Credit, dedicated personal service and luxury travel perks.
American Express Qantas Business Rewards Card
N/A
$450 p.a.
ABN holders w/ $75,000 p.a. revenue. Get 100,000 bonus Points, 3x points on eligible Qantas flights and 2 yearly lounge passes.
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.

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 October 21st, 2019
Name Product Purchase rate (p.a.) Balance transfer rate Annual fee Product Description
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
0% for 9 months, reverts to 14.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 9 months
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($99 p.a. thereafter)
Enjoy a $0 first year annual fee and a 0% introductory rate on purchases and balance transfers. Plus, complimentary purchase insurance cover.
Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer Card - Balance Transfer Offer
20.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 22 months with 1% balance transfer fee
$64 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($129 p.a. thereafter)
Save with a 0% p.a. interest rate on balance transfers for the first 22 months, with a 1% balance transfer fee. Plus, a reduced $64 first year annual fee.
NAB Qantas Rewards Signature Card
19.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 6 months with 2% balance transfer fee
$295 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($395 p.a. thereafter)
Collect up to 120,000 bonus Qantas Points. Get 90,000 when you spend $3,000 on eligible purchases in the first 60 days and 30,000 after 12 months.
Citi Rewards Platinum Credit Card - Exclusive Offer
0% for 13 months, reverts to 21.49% 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.
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.
St.George Vertigo Classic
13.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 18 months
$55 p.a.
Get 0% p.a. interest for up to 18 months on balance transfers with no balance transfer fee. Plus, a low annual fee and purchase rate.
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.
St.George Vertigo Platinum
0% for 15 months, reverts to 12.99% p.a.
$49 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($99 p.a. thereafter)
Features an introductory 0% p.a. purchase rate, $49 first year annual fee and complimentary travel insurance covers.
Citi Rewards Platinum Credit Card - Balance Transfer Offer
21.49% 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.

Compare up to 4 providers

Images: Shutterstock, VISA, and AMEX

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