Best Visa Credit Cards
- Is a Visa Credit Card the Right Choice for You?
- Pros and Cons of a Visa
- Tips on Using a Visa Credit Card
- Visa Reward Credit Cards – What You Should Know?
Whether you get a credit card through your bank or credit union, or you apply for a co-branded credit card from a retail store, you might end up with a card bearing the Visa logo.
When some people mention their credit card, they only refer to it as “my Visa.” But although Visa is a well-known brand, Visa isn’t an actual bank. Rather, it’s a payment network that processes credit card transactions between merchants and consumers. For this matter, you can use a Visa to purchase just about anything.
Given the many options available, it’s important to research and understand exactly what you’re getting when you submit a credit card application for a new Visa card.
Is a Visa Credit Card the Right Choice for You?
Visa is just one of many different brands of credit cards available to you. Some people prefer other brands such as American Express or Discover. But the main problem with these cards is that they aren’t accepted everywhere. On the other hand, if you have a Visa in your wallet, there’s a good chance that you’re able to use this card wherever you shop (assuming the merchant accepts credit cards).
When determining whether a Visa is a right match for you, consider where you shop. You may notice that some of the places you visit only accept Visa or MasterCard, and they don’t accept other brands of credit cards. If so, a Visa is an excellent addition to your wallet because you don’t have to worry about a merchant turning away your method of payment.
A Visa might also be the right choice if you frequently travel out of the country. As a worldwide brand, it doesn’t matter what country you visit. Most merchants will accept credit cards as long as it bears a Visa logo.
Bear in mind, however, using a credit card overseas can be costly, especially if your particular card charges a foreign transaction fee. You can avoid this fee by comparison shopping and look for credit cards that don’t charge a foreign transaction fee. This simple trick could save you hundreds over the course of a trip abroad.
Pros and Cons of a Visa
- A trusted brand. One benefit of a Visa credit card is that you’re using a trusted brand. Not only is the card widely accepted by merchants and retailers, using this card comes with certain protections. Many Visa credit cards offer zero fraud liability in the event the card is lost or stolen. So, you’re not responsible when someone makes an unauthorized purchase of your account. As a cardholder incentive, many Visa brands also include perks like a free extended warranty when purchasing electronics with the card, purchase protection, and you may receive free car rental coverage when using the card to book a car rental reservation.
- Earn reward points. There are different types of Visa credit cards. If you don’t use credit often, you might benefit from a simple, no-frills credit card. But if you use credit frequently, many Visa brands offer rewards programs. Through these programs, you earn points, miles and even cash for every dollar you spend. Put all your purchases for the month on the credit card to accumulate as many points as possible, which can get you closer to a free or discounted airline ticket or hotel room, or redeem rewards for a statement credit and more. Just make sure you pay off your credit card in full every month to avoid debt.
- Available to people with bad credit. You don’t need perfect credit to qualify for a Visa credit card. Even if you’re looking to rebuild your credit history or establish credit, there are many brands designed with you in mind, hence the importance of comparing different credit cards and understanding minimum requirements before applying. This ensures applying for the right card for your situation.
- Submit an online application. Once you’re prepared to apply for a Visa, don’t think you have to submit a paper application. Many banks offer online applications where you can enter your name, Social Security number and other personal information online to determine eligibility. And sometimes, you can receive an instant approval. To protect your information online, scan websites and look for security logos before entering your personal information. These logos ensure the protection of your data.
- You may be tempted to rely on the card during an emergency. One disadvantage of using a credit card — especially a credit card with a higher limit — is that you might begin using this credit card as a backup savings account. It’s true that a credit card is useful during an emergency. But by no means should a credit card take the place of an emergency fund. As a personal goal, aim to save a minimum three month’s of income in a savings account for unexpected expenses.
You’ll pay interest and other fees. Using a credit card isn’t free, so expect to pay interest on charges you put on your Visa credit card. Your interest rate depends on your credit history. The good news is that some banks offer credit cards with a 0% introductory rate on balance transfers and purchases for the first six to 18 months. This offer might be ideal if you’re looking to consolidate all of your credit debt onto a single card. To benefit the most from 0% interest, come up with a plan to pay off your credit card debt within this introductory rate period. Before you apply, don’t forget to research the credit card’s regular or standard APR. Once the introductory rate ends, the credit card issuer will charge the standard rate.
Tips on Using a Visa Credit Card
- Don’t confuse a credit card with a prepaid card. Some companies that offer prepaid Visa debit cards refer to these cards as credit cards, which can cause confusion among people who don’t fully understand how credit works. When applying for a Visa credit card, make sure you’re getting an actual credit card and not a debit card. Prepaid debit cards are not tied to a line of credit, and getting a debit card doesn’t involve a credit check. Debit cards are useful for staying within a budget. But since you can only spend what you deposit onto the card, these particular cards don’t benefit your credit score.
- Choose a Visa credit card that’s right for you. It’s also important to choose a Visa credit card that’s right for you. Unsecured credit cards are a popular option because they do not involve a cash deposit. But depending on your credit history, you might benefit from other types of cards. One option is a secured Visa credit card, which requires a cash deposit and is designed for people who have no credit or bad credit. Secured credit cards provide a fresh start for those with past credit problems. Other types of Visa credit cards include student credit cards for those in college, retail Visa credit cards offered by merchants and retailers, as well as business Visa credit cards for those who own a business.
- Check your credit before applying. To know which credit card is right for you, check your credit before applying. In addition, you should also order your credit score. As you compare different credit card offers, make sure you understand a credit card issuer’s minimum credit requirement for an approval. One bank may have a minimum credit requirement of 680 for a credit card, whereas another bank requires a minimum credit score of 660 for a comparable card.
- Pay your bill on time. Your payment history makes up 35% of your credit score, so it’s important to pay your Visa bill on time every month. To avoid overlooking a due date, put your Visa bill on autopilot to ensure timely arrivals. Also, don’t overspend during the month. This can result in a higher balance and it might be difficult to keep up with your minimum payment. Aim to pay more than your minimum due, or better yet, commit to paying off balances in full every month.
- Know the credit card’s terms and conditions. For a positive experience and to avoid credit damage, make sure you understand the terms and conditions of your Visa. In other words, what is your credit limit? When is your due date? How much are late fees? Does the credit card issuer allow a grace period? Does the card charge other fees, such as annual fees, foreign transaction fees or balance transfer fees? Understanding the terms of your credit card is how you avoid surprises. Knowing your credit card terms also puts you in a better position to shop around and find a card charging the least amount of fees and the lowest interest rate.
Sign up for online account management. Managing your Visa credit card online is optional, but highly recommended. This is a free service offered by your credit card issuer. Once you create an account, you can log in any time of the day or night to check your balance, confirm your due date and review the terms of your credit card. Using this feature is also beneficial because you’re able to detect fraudulent activity sooner rather than later. Seek out Visa credit cards that offer these and other technology features, such as the ability to download the bank’s app to your phone, receive payment reminders and access budgeting tools.
Visa Reward Credit Cards – What You Should Know?
Incentives are not available for every type of Visa credit card. If you plan to use the credit card heavily, it only makes sense to get something in return. As mentioned, many credit cards offer perks such as an extended warranty or free car rental coverage. In addition, there are reward programs associated with some credit cards. Do a self-evaluation to determine which reward program best suits your needs.
Maybe you’re a frequent traveler and need a credit card with travel rewards for car rentals, cruises, hotels and airfare. Then again, maybe you use your credit card for everyday purchases and you prefer cash back. Or maybe you prefer creating memories and you’re looking for a credit card offering experiential rewards that let you live life to the fullest. Whatever your preference, there’s a credit card designed with you in mind.
As you search for a rewards credit card, also pay attention to whether the credit card offers a sign-up bonus. These bonuses are unique and encourage spending during the first few months of opening an account. In most cases, a Visa rewards credit card will give you extra points or miles if you spend a certain amount of money within the first 90 days. For example, if you spend $3,000 with the card in the first three months, you could potentially receive 30,000 (or more) bonus points, which may be enough to redeem one round-trip airline ticket.
Typically, reward credit cards give cardholders one point or mile on every purchase, or 1% cash back on every purchase. Others, however, give two points or miles on certain purchases, and a higher cash back percentage in certain categories. With any rewards program, make sure you understand how the program works. For example: Does the program have blackout dates on travel? Do your reward points expire? Can you transfer reward points?
Keep in mind that if you get a rewards credit card, you could end up paying an annual fee. This isn’t always the case, and you should definitely shop around and look for a no annual fee rewards card. If you must pay an annual fee, read up on the card’s benefits to see if these justify the fee.
With a Visa credit card in your wallet, there’s confidence in knowing that many hotels, merchants and other retailers will accept your credit card. Just like any other credit card, however, managing this credit line requires a high level of responsibility and self-control. Compare different Visa cards before applying for one, don’t max out your card, pay your bills on time and monitor your balance to identify fraud early.