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Amex, Visa or Mastercard credit cards: How to choose

American Express cards tend to earn more points but Visa and Mastercard are more widely accepted. Here's what to compare before you apply.

When deciding on a new credit card, you might be more interested in the name of the institution than the card issuer, but choosing between Amex and Visa or Mastercard can make a lot of difference.

In general, Amex tends to offer better rewards than many Visa or Mastercard credit cards. However, they aren't accepted in as many places worldwide.

Things to consider when comparing American Express, Mastercard and Visa credit cards

  • Points earning, capping and expiry. Compare rewards features to ensure your points don't run out before you use them or you're limited in how much you can earn.
  • Annual fee. Each card issuer has varying annual fees on different cards, from no annual fees to $500 per year. Some cards will also have introductory offers.
  • Interest rates. Amex, Visa and Mastercard will offer various low rate cards, but you should balance these against their annual fee.
  • Customer service. Visa and Mastercard offer concierge services to support some of their customers. Take a look at what else they offer.
  • Complimentary insurance. All 3 card issuers offer benefits like complimentary insurance and extended warranty. However, it’s important to understand the terms and conditions before you apply.

Which card is most widely accepted?

Many retailers will not accept Amex-issued credit cards, thanks to higher merchant fees. While all card issuers will charge fees as part of the cost of moving money between banks, Amex charges considerably more. Many retailers will add a higher surcharge to Amex users, but many others simply won't accept the credit cards.

Visa and Mastercard, on the other hand, are generally accepted worldwide anywhere you can use a credit card to pay for something.

How to compare Amex, Visa and Mastercard

FeatureAmex cardVisa / Mastercard
RewardsHigher earn rate and more bonus pointsLower earn rate
FeesHigher than averageAverage
Interest rateHigher than averageAverage
SurchargesMore common and higher than VisaLower than American Express
Eligibility criteriaStricter than the average VisaVaries widely by bank
AcceptanceLess widely acceptedAccepted pretty much worldwide
OtherOften a status symbolMany card options available

Can you get a virtual/digital card?

Loading your credit card onto your mobile wallet depends on the financial institution and type of card, rather than the card issuer. American Express cards are generally accepted on Apple Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay.

Most Visa and Mastercard credit cards are accepted on at least 1 of the 3 options, but you need to check with each credit card provider.

Some credit card providers will also provide virtual credit cards as soon as your credit card application has been approved, so that you can begin spending straight away without waiting for a physical card.

Compare Amex, Visa and Mastercard credit cards

Name Bonus points Points per $ spent Purchase rate p.a. Annual fee
Qantas American Express Ultimate Card
Qantas American Express Ultimate Card image
Qantas Frequent Flyer
Bonus points
90,000
Points per $ spent
1.25
Purchase rate p.a.
23.99%
Annual fee
$450
Go to siteMore Info
Get a yearly $450 Travel Credit and up to 90,000 bonus Qantas Points (70,000 when you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months and 20,000 points in year 2).
American Express Velocity Platinum Card
American Express Velocity Platinum Card image
Velocity Frequent Flyer
Bonus points
60,000
Points per $ spent
1.25
Purchase rate p.a.
23.99%
Annual fee
$375
Go to siteMore Info
Get 60,000 bonus Velocity Points when you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months. Plus a return domestic flight each year. Ends 26 June 2024.
American Express Platinum Edge Credit Card
American Express Platinum Edge Credit Card image
Membership Rewards
Bonus points
N/A
Points per $ spent
1
Purchase rate p.a.
23.99%
Annual fee
$0 first year ($195 after)
Go to siteMore Info
Save with a $0 annual fee in the first year. Plus, $200 Travel Credit every year.
American Express Explorer Credit Card
American Express Explorer Credit Card image
Membership Rewards
Bonus points
50,000
Points per $ spent
2
Purchase rate p.a.
23.99%
Annual fee
$395
Go to siteMore Info
Get 50,000 bonus Membership Rewards Points when you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months.
Qantas American Express Premium Card
Qantas American Express Premium Card image
Qantas Frequent Flyer
Bonus points
20,000
Points per $ spent
1
Purchase rate p.a.
23.99%
Annual fee
$249
Go to siteMore Info
Get 20,000 bonus Qantas Points and 2 complimentary Qantas Club lounge invitations per year, plus complimentary travel insurance.
Qantas American Express Discovery Card
Qantas American Express Discovery Card image
Qantas Frequent Flyer
Bonus points
N/A
Points per $ spent
0.75
Purchase rate p.a.
23.99%
Annual fee
$0
Go to siteMore Info
Earn uncapped Qantas Points for every $1 dollar spent, plus a $0 annual fee.
American Express Low Rate Credit Card
American Express Low Rate Credit Card image
Finder Award
Bonus points
N/A
Points per $ spent
N/A
Purchase rate p.a.
10.99%
Annual fee
$0
Go to siteMore Info
Offers a low ongoing interest rate of 10.99% p.a. and a $0 annual fee. Plus, complimentary purchase cover.
American Express Velocity Escape Card
American Express Velocity Escape Card image
Velocity Frequent Flyer
Bonus points
N/A
Points per $ spent
0.75
Purchase rate p.a.
23.99%
Annual fee
$0
Go to siteMore Info
Save with a $0 annual fee and earn 0.75 Velocity Points per $1 on everyday purchases.
American Express Gold Business Card
American Express Gold Business Card image
Membership Rewards Ascent
Bonus points
75,000
Points per $ spent
1.5
Purchase rate p.a.
0%
Annual fee
$169
Go to siteMore Info
ABN holders w/ $75,000 revenue. Get 75,000 bonus Membership Rewards Points when you spend $1,000 within the first 2 months. Plus, earn 1.5 points per $1 on eligible spending with Membership Rewards.
American Express Velocity Business Card
American Express Velocity Business Card image
Velocity Frequent Flyer
Bonus points
100,000
Points per $ spent
1
Purchase rate p.a.
0%
Annual fee
$249
Go to siteMore Info
ABN holders w/ $75,000 revenue. Get 100,000 bonus Velocity Points when you spend $3,000 in the first 2 months.
American Express Platinum Business Card
American Express Platinum Business Card image
Finder Award
Membership Rewards Ascent Premium
Bonus points
350,000
Points per $ spent
2.25
Purchase rate p.a.
0%
Annual fee
$1,750
Go to siteMore Info
ABN holders w/ $75,000 revenue. Get 350,000 bonus Membership Rewards Points when you spend $12,000 on eligible purchases in the first 3 months.
American Express Business Explorer Credit Card
American Express Business Explorer Credit Card image
Membership Rewards Gateway
Bonus points
N/A
Points per $ spent
2
Purchase rate p.a.
23.99%
Annual fee
$0 first year ($149 after)
Go to siteMore Info
ABN holders w/ $75,000 revenue. Save with a $0 first-year annual fee and earn up to 2 points on eligible business spending.
American Express Essential Rewards Credit Card
American Express Essential Rewards Credit Card image
Membership Rewards
Bonus points
80,000
Points per $ spent
1
Purchase rate p.a.
23.99%
Annual fee
$108
Go to siteMore Info
Offers up to 80,000 bonus Membership Rewards Points (20,000 points each month when you spend at least $1,000 on eligible purchases within the first 120 days).
American Express Platinum Card
American Express Platinum Card image
Membership Rewards Ascent Premium
Bonus points
150,000
Points per $ spent
2.25
Purchase rate p.a.
0%
Annual fee
$1,450
More Info
Earn 150,000 bonus Membership Rewards Points when you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months. Plus, a $450 Travel Credit each year. Ends 25 June 2024.
American Express Qantas Business Rewards Card
American Express Qantas Business Rewards Card image
Qantas Business Rewards
Bonus points
170,000
Points per $ spent
1.25
Purchase rate p.a.
0%
Annual fee
$450
More Info
(ABN holders w/ $75k revenue). Earn 170,000 bonus Qantas Points when you spend $6,000 in the first 3 months. Ends 25 June 2024.
American Express Qantas Corporate Card
American Express Qantas Corporate Card image
Membership Rewards Spirit
Bonus points
50,000
Points per $ spent
1.5
Purchase rate p.a.
0%
Annual fee
$70
More Info
Earn 50,000 bonus Membership Rewards Points when you spend $10,000 in the first 2 months. Plus, triple Qantas Points on eligible business flights.
American Express Qantas Corporate Platinum Card
American Express Qantas Corporate Platinum Card image
Membership Rewards Spirit
Bonus points
200,000
Points per $ spent
2
Purchase rate p.a.
0%
Annual fee
$1,200
More Info
Get 200,000 bonus Membership Rewards Points when you spend $25,000 in the first 2 months. Plus, 3x Qantas Points for eligible business flights and complimentary lounge passes.
American Express Corporate Gold Card
American Express Corporate Gold Card image
Membership Rewards Ascent
Bonus points
75,000
Points per $ spent
1.5
Purchase rate p.a.
0%
Annual fee
$105
More Info
Earn 75,000 bonus Membership Rewards Points when you spend $10,000 on your new card in the first 2 months from card approval.
American Express Qantas Corporate Gold Card
American Express Qantas Corporate Gold Card image
Membership Rewards
Bonus points
75,000
Points per $ spent
1.5
Purchase rate p.a.
0%
Annual fee
$105
More Info
Get 75,000 bonus Membership Rewards points when you spend $10,000 in the first 2 months. Plus, earn 1.5 Membership Rewards points per $1 on most corporate spend and triple Qantas Points on eligible business flights.
American Express Corporate Platinum Card
American Express Corporate Platinum Card image
Membership Rewards Ascent
Bonus points
200,000
Points per $ spent
2
Purchase rate p.a.
0%
Annual fee
$800
More Info
Receive 200,000 bonus Membership Rewards Points when you spend $25,000 in the first 2 months.
American Express Corporate Card
American Express Corporate Card image
Membership Rewards Ascent
Bonus points
50,000
Points per $ spent
1.5
Purchase rate p.a.
0%
Annual fee
$70
More Info
Earn 50,000 bonus Membership Rewards Points when you spend $10,000 in the first 2 months.
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Name Purchase rate p.a. Annual fee Balance transfer rate p.a. Amount Saved
St.George Vertigo Card - Cashback Offer
St.George Vertigo Card - Cashback Offer image
Purchase rate p.a.
13.99%
Annual fee
$55
Balance transfer rate p.a.
6.99% for 12 months, then 21.49%
$562.66 over 12 months
Go to siteMore Info
Get up to $400 cashback at eligible supermarkets and petrol stations in the first 180 days. Plus, a low interest rate for purchases.
Kogan Money Credit Card - 0% Purchase and Balance Transfer Offer
Kogan Money Credit Card - 0% Purchase and Balance Transfer Offer image
Kogan Rewards Program
Purchase rate p.a.
0% for 9 months, then 21.99%
Annual fee
$0
Balance transfer rate p.a.
0% for 9 months with 1% balance transfer fee, then 22.74%
$709.81 over 9 months
Go to siteMore Info
Limited time offer. Get 0% p.a. interest for 9 months on purchases and balance transfers (with a one-time 1% BT fee). Plus points per $1 on eligible spending.
ANZ Low Rate - Credit Back Offer
ANZ Low Rate - Credit Back Offer image
Purchase rate p.a.
13.74%
Annual fee
$58
Balance transfer rate p.a.
21.99%
Go to siteMore Info
Get $250 back on your card when you spend $1,500 on eligible purchases in the first 3 months.
ANZ Platinum Credit Card
ANZ Platinum Credit Card image
Purchase rate p.a.
20.99%
Annual fee
$0 first year ($87 after)
Balance transfer rate p.a.
21.99%
Go to siteMore Info
Get $300 back on your card when you spend $1,500 on eligible purchases in the first 3 months and a $0 first-year annual fee. Plus, complimentary overseas travel insurance.
NAB Low Rate Credit Card
NAB Low Rate Credit Card image
Purchase rate p.a.
13.49%
Annual fee
$0 first year ($59 after)
Balance transfer rate p.a.
0% for 28 months with 2% balance transfer fee, then 21.74%
$1,768.59 over 28 months
Go to siteMore Info
Get a 0% p.a. interest rate on balance transfers for the first 28 months (with a 2% BT fee). Plus, save with a $0 first-year annual fee.
St.George Vertigo Card
St.George Vertigo Card image
Purchase rate p.a.
13.99%
Annual fee
$55
Balance transfer rate p.a.
0% for 28 months with 1% balance transfer fee, then 21.49%
$1,780.59 over 28 months
Go to siteMore Info
Get a 0% p.a. interest rate on balance transfers for 28 months (with a 1% balance transfer fee).
Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer Card - Balance Transfer Offer
Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer Card - Balance Transfer Offer image
Finder Award
Velocity Frequent Flyer
Purchase rate p.a.
20.74%
Annual fee
$0 first year ($149 after)
Balance transfer rate p.a.
0% for 24 months, then 20.99%
$1,413.89 over 24 months
Go to siteMore Info
Get 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 24 months (with no BT fee) and a $0 annual fee in the first year.
ANZ Rewards Platinum - Velocity Points
ANZ Rewards Platinum - Velocity Points image
Velocity Frequent Flyer
Purchase rate p.a.
20.99%
Annual fee
$149
Balance transfer rate p.a.
21.99%
Go to siteMore Info
Get up to 100,000 bonus Velocity Points: 70k points when you spend $2,000 in the first 3 months and 30k points after 15 months.
Virgin Money Anytime Rewards Credit Card
Virgin Money Anytime Rewards Credit Card image
Virgin Money Rewards
Purchase rate p.a.
19.99%
Annual fee
$149
Balance transfer rate p.a.
0% for 12 months, then 20.99%
$778.32 over 12 months
Go to siteMore Info
Offers 80,000 bonus Virgin Money Points when you spend $3,000 or more on eligible purchases in the first 3 months. Ends 26 June 2024.
ANZ Rewards Black Credit Card
ANZ Rewards Black Credit Card image
Finder Award
ANZ Rewards Program
Purchase rate p.a.
20.99%
Annual fee
$375
Balance transfer rate p.a.
21.99%
Go to siteMore Info
Get 180,000 bonus ANZ Reward Points (worth $800+ in digital gift cards) and $150 back when you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months.
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Showing 10 of 18 results
1 - 10 of 74
Name Purchase rate p.a. Bonus points Points per $ spent Interest-free period Balance transfer rate p.a. Annual fee
Westpac Low Rate Card
Westpac Low Rate Card image
Purchase rate p.a.
13.74%
Bonus points
N/A
Points per $ spent
N/A
Interest-free period
Up to 55 days on purchases
Balance transfer rate p.a.
0% for 28 months with 2% balance transfer fee, then 21.99%
Annual fee
$59
Go to siteMore Info
Save with a 0% p.a. interest rate on balance transfers for 28 months (with a 2% BT fee). Plus, a low 13.74% p.a. purchase interest rate.
Qantas Premier Platinum
Qantas Premier Platinum image
Qantas Frequent Flyer
Purchase rate p.a.
19.99%
Bonus points
100,000
Points per $ spent
1
Interest-free period
Up to 55 days on purchases
Balance transfer rate p.a.
0% for 12 months with 2% balance transfer fee, then 21.99%
Annual fee
$349 first year ($399 after)
Go to siteMore Info
Earn up to 100,000 bonus Qantas Points. Plus, save with a reduced first-year annual fee and 0% p.a. for 12 months on balance transfers, with a 2% BT fee.
Westpac Low Rate Card - Cashback Offer
Westpac Low Rate Card - Cashback Offer image
Purchase rate p.a.
13.74%
Bonus points
N/A
Points per $ spent
N/A
Interest-free period
Up to 55 days on purchases
Balance transfer rate p.a.
N/A
Annual fee
$59
Go to siteMore Info
A no-frills card offering up to $350 cashback: $50 each month you make at least $1,000 of eligible purchases for the first 7 months.
Westpac Altitude Platinum Card
Westpac Altitude Platinum Card image
Westpac Altitude Rewards
Purchase rate p.a.
20.99%
Bonus points
120,000
Points per $ spent
1
Interest-free period
Up to 45 days on purchases
Balance transfer rate p.a.
N/A
Annual fee
$49 first year ($175 after)
Go to siteMore Info
Up to 120,000 bonus Altitude Points (90,000 points when you spend $3,000 in the first 90 days & 30,000 points after the first spend in year 2).
Qantas Premier Everyday
Qantas Premier Everyday image
Qantas Frequent Flyer
Purchase rate p.a.
19.99%
Bonus points
8,000
Points per $ spent
0.75
Interest-free period
Up to 55 days on purchases
Balance transfer rate p.a.
0% for 12 months with 2% balance transfer fee, then 21.99%
Annual fee
$99
Go to siteMore Info
Get 2 bonus Qantas Points per $1 spent on eligible purchases in the first 4 months (up to 8,000 points), plus complimentary insurance.
Coles No Annual Fee Mastercard - Bonus Points Offer
Coles No Annual Fee Mastercard - Bonus Points Offer image
Flybuys
Purchase rate p.a.
0% for 6 months, then 19.99%
Bonus points
20,000
Points per $ spent
0.5
Interest-free period
Up to 55 days on purchases
Balance transfer rate p.a.
N/A
Annual fee
$0
Go to siteMore Info
Special Offer: Get 20,000 bonus Flybuys points (worth $100 Flybuys Dollars) and 0% interest on purchases for the first 6 months. Ends 30 June 2024.
Westpac Altitude Qantas Black
Westpac Altitude Qantas Black image
Qantas Frequent Flyer
Purchase rate p.a.
20.99%
Bonus points
120,000
Points per $ spent
0.75
Interest-free period
Up to 45 days on purchases
Balance transfer rate p.a.
N/A
Annual fee
$370
Go to siteMore Info
Up to 120,000 bonus Qantas Points (90,000 points when you spend $6,000 in the first 120 days & 30,000 points after the first spend in year 2).
Westpac Altitude Black
Westpac Altitude Black image
Westpac Altitude Rewards
Purchase rate p.a.
20.99%
Bonus points
150,000
Points per $ spent
1.25
Interest-free period
Up to 45 days on purchases
Balance transfer rate p.a.
N/A
Annual fee
$150 first year ($295 after)
Go to siteMore Info
Earn up to 150,000 bonus Altitude Rewards Points (100k when you spend $6,000 in the first 120 days and 50k in year 2).
Westpac Lite Card
Westpac Lite Card image
Purchase rate p.a.
9.9%
Bonus points
N/A
Points per $ spent
N/A
Interest-free period
Up to 45 days on purchases
Balance transfer rate p.a.
N/A
Annual fee
$108
Go to siteMore Info
Save with 0% foreign transaction fees, a low interest rate for purchases and cashback offers through Westpac Extras.
Bankwest Breeze Platinum Mastercard
Bankwest Breeze Platinum Mastercard image
Purchase rate p.a.
0% for 12 months, then 12.99%
Bonus points
N/A
Points per $ spent
N/A
Interest-free period
Up to 55 days on purchases
Balance transfer rate p.a.
0% for 12 months with 2% balance transfer fee, then 12.99%
Annual fee
$69
Go to siteMore Info
Get 0% p.a. interest on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months (with a 2% BT fee). Plus 0% foreign fees and complimentary overseas travel insurance.
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Written by

Rebecca Pike

Rebecca Pike is Finder's senior writer for money. She joined Finder after almost four years writing for business publications in the mortgage and finance industry, including three years as editor of Mortgage Professional Australia. She regularly appears as a money expert on programs like Sunrise and Today, as well as across radio and newspapers. She also holds ASIC-recognised certifications in Tier 1 Generic Knowledge and Tier 2 General Advice Deposit Products. See full profile

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