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 May 21st, 2018
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.
Receive 55,000 bonus Qantas Points, a $450 Qantas Travel Credit each year and 2 yearly complimentary Qantas Club lounge invitations.
American Express Explorer Credit Card
20.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 12 months with 1% balance transfer fee
$395 p.a.
Receive 50,000 bonus Membership Rewards points, a yearly $400 Travel Credit and 2 entries per year to the American Express Lounge.
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 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 0% p.a. for 12 months on balance transfers.
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 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.
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.
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 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 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 worldwide.
David Jones American Express
20.74% p.a.
$99 p.a.
Not just for David Jones shoppers, receive 20,000 bonus Membership Rewards points or 15,000 Qantas Points. Plus, uncapped points potential.
David Jones American Express Platinum Card
20.74% p.a.
$295 p.a.
For DJ's shoppers or Qantas travellers, receive 40,000 bonus Membership Rewards points or 30,000 Qantas Points with uncapped points potential.
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 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 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.
American Express Westpac Altitude Black Bundle - Qantas
20.24% p.a.
$499 p.a.
Up to 120,000 bonus Qantas Pts when you meet the criteria with a Mastercard (issued & serviced by Westpac) & Amex (issued & serviced by Amex).
American Express Westpac Altitude Black Bundle
20.24% p.a.
$449 p.a.
Up to 120,000 bonus Altitude Pts when you meet the criteria with a Mastercard (issued & serviced by Westpac) & Amex (issued & serviced by Amex).
American Express Westpac Altitude Platinum Bundle - Qantas
20.24% p.a.
$249 p.a.
Up to 75,000 bonus Qantas Points when you meet the criteria with this dual Visa (issued & serviced by Westpac) & Amex (issued & serviced by Amex).
American Express Westpac Altitude Platinum Bundle
20.24% p.a.
$199 p.a.
Up to 75,000 bonus Altitude Points when you meet the criteria with this dual Visa (issued & serviced by Westpac) & Amex (issued & serviced by Amex).
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 Accelerator Credit Card
$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
8.99% 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.

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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 May 21st, 2018
Name Product Purchase rate (p.a.) Balance transfer rate (p.a.) Annual fee Product Description
Westpac Low Rate - Online Offer
13.49% p.a.
0% p.a. for 26 months with 2% balance transfer fee
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($59 p.a. thereafter)
Take advantage of 0% p.a. for 26 months on balance transfers with a one-time 2% balance transfer fee and a $0 first year annual fee.
HSBC Platinum Credit Card
19.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 22 months with 2% balance transfer fee
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($129 p.a. thereafter)
Offers a 0% p.a. for 22 months balance transfer, $0 annual fee for the first year and an annual fee refund each year when you spend $6,000.
St.George Vertigo Platinum - Online Offer
12.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 24 months with 1% balance transfer fee
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($99 p.a. thereafter)
Platinum card benefits including complimentary insurance, plus first year annual fee waiver and 0% p.a. for 24 months on balance transfers.
Virgin Money Low Rate Credit Card
11.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 14 months
$49 p.a.
Offers a discounted annual fee, $100 cashback when you meet the spend requirement and up to 14 months on balance transfers.
NAB Low Fee Platinum Card
19.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 24 months with 2% balance transfer fee
$90 p.a.
Offers 7 complimentary insurance covers, a 0% p.a. for 24 month balance transfer and access to a 24/7 concierge service for a $90 p.a. annual fee.
St.George Amplify Signature - Qantas
19.49% p.a.
$279 p.a.
Receive 90,000 bonus Qantas Points when you spend $4,000 within 90 days and receive two complimentary Qantas Club lounge invitations per year.
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 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 and enjoy a discounted annual fee of $64 for the first year.
St.George Vertigo Visa
13.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 18 months with 1% balance transfer fee
$55 p.a.
Enjoy a 0% p.a. for 18 months balance transfer offer. Plus, up to 55 days interest-free on purchases.
Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer Card - Balance Transfer Offer
20.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 18 months
$64 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($129 p.a. thereafter)
Take advantage of 0% p.a. on balance transfers for up to 18 months. $64 in the first year ($129 p.a. thereafter), plus, bonus Velocity Points.
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, a 15 month balance transfer offer.
NAB Low Fee Card
19.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 18 months with 2% balance transfer fee
$30 p.a.
Receive complimentary purchase protection insurance, a 18 month balance transfer offer and special offers from Visa Entertainment.
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 3% p.a. interest on balance transfers for 36 months. Plus, a $0 first year annual fee and Amplify or Qantas Points per $1 spent.
NAB Qantas Rewards Premium Card
19.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 6 months with 2% balance transfer fee
$250 p.a.
Offers 60,000 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)
Receive 65,000 bonus Qantas Points when you spend $2,500 on eligible purchases within the first 3 months. Plus, a $0 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 meet the offer criteria and save with a $0 first year annual fee. Plus, uncapped Qantas Points potential.
Citi Clear Platinum
14.99% p.a.
$99 p.a.
Offers a low 14.99% p.a. rate and up to 55 interest-free days on purchases. Plus, insurance covers and access to the Citibank Dining Program.
Citi Signature Qantas 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)
Receive 50,000 bonus Qantas Points, 2 yearly airport lounge visits and complimentary travel insurance. Plus, a discounted first year annual fee.
Bank of Melbourne Vertigo Visa Credit Card
13.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 18 months with 1% balance transfer fee
$55 p.a.
Enjoy a 0% p.a. for 18 months balance transfer offer. Plus, up to 55 days interest-free on purchases.
Bank of Melbourne Amplify Signature
19.49% p.a.
$279 p.a.
Get 90,000 bonus Amplify or Qantas Points when you spend $4,000 within 90 days and earn up to 1.5 Amplify or 0.75 Qantas Points per $1 spent.
Bank of Melbourne Amplify Platinum
19.49% p.a.
$99 p.a.
Earn 50,000 bonus Amplify or Qantas Points when you spend $2,000 within 90 days and earn 0.5 Qantas Points or 1 Amplify Point per $1 spent.
St.George Amplify Platinum
19.49% p.a.
$99 p.a.
Receive 50,000 bonus Amplify or Qantas Points when you spend $2,000 within 90 days and earn 0.5 Qantas Points or 1 Amplify Point per $1 spent.
BankSA Vertigo Visa
13.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 18 months with 1% balance transfer fee
$55 p.a.
Enjoy a 0% p.a. for 18 months balance transfer offer. Plus, up to 55 days interest-free on purchases.
Citi Rewards Platinum Credit Card
20.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 26 months with 2.5% balance transfer fee
$49 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($149 p.a. thereafter)
Earn reward Points per $1 spent, take advantage of a 0% p.a. for 26 month balance transfer offer, plus complimentary international travel insurance.
ANZ Platinum Credit Card
19.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 18 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 18 month balance transfer offer and a $0 first year annual fee. Plus, complimentary overseas travel and medical insurance.
Citi Simplicity Card
19.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 15 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee
$0 p.a.
Save with 5% cashback on eligible purchases (capped at $50 per month) for the first 90 days from approval. Plus, a 15 month balance transfer offer.
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.
NAB Low Rate Credit Card
0% p.a. for 6 months (reverts to 13.99% p.a.)
0% p.a. for 6 months with 2% balance transfer fee
$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.
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 $4,000 on everyday business purchases in the first 60 days of account opening.
HSBC Low Rate Credit Card
13.25% p.a.
0% p.a. for 20 months with 2% balance transfer fee
$79 p.a.
Receive up to 20 months interest-free on balance transfers with a 2% BT fee. Also enjoy exclusive offers with the home&Away Privilege Program.
Bank of Melbourne 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. for 36 months balance transfer offer, Amplify or Qantas points per $1 spent and enjoy a $0 annual fee for the first year.
BankSA 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)
Receive a 3% p.a. for 36 months balance transfer and earn Qantas or Amplify Points per $1 spent. Plus, enjoy a $0 annual fee for the first year.
St.George Rainbow Vertigo Visa
13.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 18 months with 1% balance transfer fee
$55 p.a.
Available for a limited time, all the great low cost features of the Vertigo Visa with a rainbow design in support of the LGBT community.
Bank of Melbourne Vertigo Platinum Card - Online Offer
12.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 24 months with 1% balance transfer fee
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($99 p.a. thereafter)
Online only: Enjoy 0% p.a. interest for 24 months on balance transfers (with a one-time 1% BT fee). Plus, a $0 first year annual fee.
BankSA Vertigo Platinum - Online Offer
12.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 24 months with 1% balance transfer fee
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($99 p.a. thereafter)
Online only: A low rate platinum card with 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 24 months. Plus, $0 annual fee for the first year.

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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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Related Posts

Credit Card Offers

Important Information*
Westpac Low Rate - Online Offer
Westpac Low Rate - Online Offer

Interest rate

13.49

Annual fee

59
HSBC Platinum Credit Card
HSBC Platinum Credit Card

Interest rate

19.99

Annual fee

129
NAB Low Fee Platinum Card
NAB Low Fee Platinum Card

Interest rate

19.74

Annual fee

90
Citi Platinum Credit Card - 100k Bonus Points
Citi Platinum Credit Card - 100k Bonus Points

Interest rate

20.99

Annual fee

149

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