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.

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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

Data indicated here is updated regularly
Name Product Purchase rate Balance transfer rate Annual fee
Qantas American Express Ultimate Card
20.74% p.a.
$450
Receive 100,000 bonus Qantas Points and $200 back on your card when you spend $3,000 within the first 3 months. Plus, a yearly $450 Travel Credit.
American Express Business Explorer Credit Card - Exclusive Offer
3.99% p.a. for 6 months, reverts to 19.99% p.a.
$149
Finder Exclusive. Ends 01 February 2021.
ABN holders w/ $75,000 revenue. Get 120,000 bonus points when you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months. Plus, 2 airport lounge passes.
Qantas American Express Premium Card
20.74% p.a.
$249
Enjoy 80,000 bonus Qantas Points, $200 back and 2 complimentary Qantas Club lounge invitations per year.
Qantas American Express Discovery Card
20.74% p.a.
$0
Earn 0.75 Qantas Points for your everyday purchases, uncapped, and pay $0 annual fee for the life of the card on this no-frills frequent flyer card.
American Express Explorer Credit Card
20.74% p.a.
$395
Get 120,000 bonus points when you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months. Plus, 30,000 points in the second year. Ends 27 Jan 2021.
American Express Platinum Edge Credit Card
20.74% p.a.
$195
Receive 50,000 bonus points when you spend at least $1,500 within the first 3 months. Plus, receive $200 travel credit each year. Ends 27 Jan 2021.
American Express Platinum Card
N/A
$1,450
Earn 150,000 bonus points when you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months. Additional 50,000 points in the second year. Ends 27 Jan 2021.
American Express Business Card
N/A
$109
ABN holders w/ $75,000 revenue. Up to 1.5 points/ $1 spent and extended cashflow with up to 51 days interest-free on business purchases.
American Express Velocity Platinum Card
20.74% p.a.
$375
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 Gold Business Card
N/A
$169
ABN holders w/ $75,000 revenue. Get 100,000 bonus Membership Rewards Points and up to 51 days to pay for purchases.
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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

Data indicated here is updated regularly
Name Product Purchase rate Balance transfer rate Annual fee
ANZ Low Rate
12.49% p.a.
0% p.a. for 25 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee
$0 annual fee for the first year ($58 p.a. thereafter)
Save with 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 25 months (with a 1.5% BT fee) and $0 first-year annual fee. Plus a 12.49% p.a. purchase interest rate.
NAB Qantas Rewards Signature Card
19.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 6 months with 2% balance transfer fee
$295 annual fee for the first year ($395 p.a. thereafter)
Up to 130,000 bonus Qantas Points (100k when you spend $3,000 in the first 60 days and 30k after 12 months). Plus, a reduced first year annual fee.
HSBC Platinum Credit Card - Balance Transfer Offer
19.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 26 months with 1% balance transfer fee
$0 annual fee for the first year ($129 p.a. thereafter)
Enjoy a 26-month balance transfer offer, a first-year annual fee waiver and complimentary travel insurance.
Latitude Gem Visa
24.99% p.a.
$99
Enjoy 0% p.a. interest on purchases over $250 for 6 months, optional shopper's protection insurance and the convenience of Samsung Pay.
ANZ Frequent Flyer Black
20.24% p.a.
20.24% p.a.
$425
Collect 120,000 bonus Qantas Points and $200 back when you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months. Plus, complimentary lounge passes.
St.George Vertigo Classic
13.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 24 months
$0 annual fee for the first year ($55 p.a. thereafter)
Get 0% p.a. promotional balance transfer rate, with no balance transfer fee. Plus, save with a first-year annual fee waiver.
Defence Bank Foundation Credit Card
3.99% p.a. for 6 months, reverts to 8.99% p.a.
3.99% p.a. for 6 months
$45
Offers 3.99% interest for 6 months on purchases, balance transfers and cash advances.
NAB Low Rate Credit Card
12.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 20 months with 2% balance transfer fee
$59
Get a 0% p.a. interest rate for 20 months on balance transfers, Visa Offers + Perks and a competitive $59 ongoing annual fee.
St.George Vertigo Platinum
0% p.a. for 15 months, reverts to 12.99% p.a.
6.99% p.a. for 12 months
$49 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.
NAB Low Fee Card
19.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 6 months with 2% balance transfer fee
$30
Receive complimentary purchase protection insurance and 0% p.a. for 6 months on balance transfers.
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Images: Shutterstock, VISA, and AMEX

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