Visa is one of the most recognizable brand names in the credit card space. What many people don't realize is that Visa doesn't issue credit cards. Visa is a payment network that partners with credit card issuers to provide the payment services we use daily with our card spending. 

Since Visa works with almost every major card issuer in the U.S., you can find a Visa credit card for nearly every need. Card options include popular rewards cards that earn points, miles, and cash back. There are cards for students, businesses, and even new cardholders without established credit. Finding the right Visa credit card can depend on your needs, spending habits, and credit score.

What to Look for in a Visa Credit Card

Choosing a Visa credit card is no different than choosing any other credit card. You'll want to focus your attention on a handful of key factors when choosing your next Visa card.

Credit requirements: You'll need to meet credit score and other requirements to qualify for a particular credit card. Card issuers set minimum score requirements consumers must meet to get approved for a credit card. While these requirements typically aren't published online, our credit card reviews feature general credit score requirements to guide you in your search.

Fees: Some credit cards charge an annual fee to carry the card and access its benefits. Weigh the card benefits versus the cost to determine if it's a good value. Other fees sometimes charged by card issuers include late fees and foreign transaction fees, a charge for purchases made outside the U.S. Check the card's pricing and terms details to see what fees you could end up paying. 

APR: The annual percentage rate (APR) is the cost you pay annually, including fees, to borrow money. It determines the interest charge you end up paying each month if you don't pay your balance in full. Credit cards typically come with an APR range based on a consumer's creditworthiness.

Rewards and other perks: Perhaps the most important factor, you want a Visa card with rewards and perks that match your spending habits and needs. Look at how you earn rewards, whether a card offers a welcome sign-up bonus, and other perks attached to the card. Perks may include travel benefits, free credit score access and monitoring, purchase protections, and more. 

Visa Credit Cards at a Glance

 Best ForAnnual FeeCreditWelcome Bonus
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Credit CardTravel Rewards$95Good to Excellent60,000 Bonus Points
Credit One Bank® Platinum Rewards VisaCash Back Rewards$95Fair to Excellent N/A
OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit CardNo Credit or Bad Credit$35No Credit to FairN/A
Chase Sapphire Reserve®Premium Perks$550Excellent50,000 Bonus Points
U.S. Bank Altitude® Go Visa Signature® CardNo Annual Fee$0Good to Excellent 20,000 Bonus Points

Best Visa Credit Cards

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Credit Card: Best for Travel Rewards

Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card comes with access to one of the most versatile travel rewards programs around, Chase Ultimate Rewards. This popular Chase card carries a $95 annual fee but offers a welcome bonus worth $750 when redeemed for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. Chase Sapphire Preferred® also comes with a host of travel perks and partner benefits through DoorDash, Peloton, and Lyft. 

Intro Offer: 60,000 bonus points 

Annual Fee: $95

Regular APR: 15.99% to 22.99% variable

Intro APR: N/A

Highlights:

  • Introductory offer of 60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 within three months of opening your account. 

  • 5X points on travel purchases through Chase Ultimate Rewards. 

  • 3X on select streaming services. 

  • 3X points on select online grocery purchases. 

  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide.

  • 1X points on all other purchases.

  • Your Ultimate Rewards points carry 25% more value when redeemed for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. 

  • Earn 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022.


Love to travel? Don't miss the best travel rewards credit cards for 2022.

Credit One Bank® Platinum Rewards Visa: Best for Cash Back Rewards

The Credit One Bank® Platinum Rewards Visa is a great option for fans of cash back rewards. The card earns  5% cash back on the first $5,000 spent annually on eligible gas, grocery, mobile phone service, and internet, cable, and satellite TV service purchases. All purchases after that still earn unlimited 1% cash back. Yes, there's a $95 annual fee tied to the card, but it could be worth it depending on your spending habits. $5,000 spent on eligible purchases would net $250 in cash back rewards, far exceeding the annual fee. 

Not to be overlooked, Credit One offers more cash back rewards through its More Rewards program. Cardholders can earn 10% back from select retailers. Offers are found inside customer accounts online. As cardholders use their card at participating retailers, they receive cash back rewards in the form of statement credits. 

Intro Offer: N/A

Annual Fee: $95

Regular APR: 23.99% variable 

Intro APR: N/A

Highlights:

  • 5% cash back on the first $5,000 of eligible purchases annually.

  • Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.

  • Up to 10% cash back rewards from select retailers. 

  • Zero fraud liability for unauthorized charges.

  • Offers prequalification without impacting your credit score.

  • Free access to Experian credit score.


OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card: Best for No Credit or Bad Credit

The OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card is a no-frills secured credit card, meaning it's secured with a security deposit versus a credit check. The OpenSky Secured card reports to all three major credit bureaus, helping you build credit when used responsibly. 

A $35 annual fee is attached, but the OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card also offers one of the highest credit limits among secured credit cards. The credit limit starts at $200 and goes up to $3,000 based on the refundable security deposit.

Intro Offer: N/A

Annual Fee: $35

Regular APR: 17.39%

Intro APR: N/A

Highlights:

  • Credit line between $200 and $3,000 based on your security deposit.

  • No credit check performed when applying.

  • 3% foreign transaction fees.


Have bad credit? Check out the 5 best credit cards for bad credit in 2022.

Chase Sapphire Reserve®: Best for Premium Perks

Few credit cards match the sheer volume and quality of premium travel and other benefits offered by Chase Sapphire Reserve®. The luxury rewards card carries a higher annual fee than most cards, at $595, so it's not right for everyone. If you value luxury travel perks and are willing to pay for them, Chase Sapphire Reserve® may be the card for you. 

The card comes with a laundry list of perks, including complimentary airport lounge access, several travel protections, a valuable $300 annual travel credit, and a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck fee credit up to $100 every four years. The card also offers plenty of ways to earn rewards through card spending, especially for travel purchases. 

Intro Offer: 50,000 bonus points

Annual Fee: $595

Regular APR: 16.99% to 23.99% variable 

Intro APR: N/A

Highlights:

  • Introductory offer of 50,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 within three months of opening your account.

  • 5X points on flights purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards (after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually).

  • 10X points on hotels and car rentals purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards (after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually).

  • 3X on other travel purchases (after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually).

  • 10X points on Chase dining purchases with Ultimate Rewards.

  • 3X points on other dining purchases.

  • 1X points on all other purchases. 

  • $300 annual travel credit. 

  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck fee credit up to $100 every four years. 

  • Complimentary airport lounge access through Priority Pass. 

  • No foreign transaction fees. 

  • Trip cancellation/interruption insurance.

  • Primary auto rental collision damage waiver.

  • Lost luggage and trip delay reimbursement. 

  • Partner benefits with DoorDash, Peloton, and Lyft. 


Hate annual fees? These are the best credit cards with no annual fee for 2022.

U.S. Bank Altitude® Go Visa Signature® Card: Best for No Annual Fee

The U.S. Bank Altitude® Go Visa Signature® Card is packed with value, especially since it carries no annual fee. The welcome bonus is nice, and the card rewards popular spending categories like grocery stores, gas stations, and streaming services. Don't forget the annual $15 credit for select streaming service purchases.

Points earned with the U.S. Bank Altitude® Go Visa Signature® Card never expire and can be redeemed for cash back, travel, gift cards, merchandise, and more. 

Intro Offer: 20,000 bonus points 

Annual Fee: $0

Regular APR: 14.99%  to 23.99% variable

Intro APR: Introductory 0% APR on new purchases and balance transfers for the first 12 billing cycles

Highlights:

  • Introductory offer of 20,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 within 90 days of opening your account.

  • 4X points on dining purchases, including food delivery and takeout.

  • 2X points at grocery stores and gas stations and on grocery delivery and select streaming services.

  • 1X points on all other purchases. 

  • $15 credit on select annual streaming service purchases like Netflix, Apple TV, and more.

  • Points never expire. 

  • No foreign transaction fees.


Love sign-up bonuses? These are the best sign-up credit cards for 2022.

Is Visa a Card Issuer?

Visa is a credit card payment network, not a credit card issuer. Visa provides payment services for credit card companies. Think of Visa and other payment networks as the middleman between a vendor's bank and your card issuer. When you insert, swipe, or tap your credit card, the card reader sends your account information to the vendor's bank. Then, the vendor's bank uses Visa to get payment authorization from your credit card issuer. When your card issuer authorizes payment, it sends money to the vendor's bank through Visa. 

If you look at your credit card, it should have two logos present — one for the payment network and one for the credit card issuer. 

Visa vs Mastercard

The electronic payment processing industry is an enormous market, and Visa and Mastercard are the largest networks in the world. Along with American Express and Discover, these companies are responsible for the majority of credit card payments everywhere. 

By the numbers, Visa is considered the largest payment network. In 2020, Visa showed $21.8 billion in total net revenue while Mastercard was at $15.3 billion. Also, Visa's payment volume was $8.8 trillion in 2020 versus $6.3 trillion for Mastercard. 

Both networks partner with banks, credit unions, and other financial institutions on various payment products, including credit cards, debit cards, and prepaid cards. 

Visa and Mastercard are widely accepted by merchants worldwide. They are accepted in more places than any other payment processing network. 

Does Visa or Mastercard Matter?

For consumers, there's not much difference between Visa and Mastercard. You won't notice the difference when using your card to make purchases. When choosing a credit card, you may not even consider the card's payment processor, and if you do, it's far down the list of attributes to consider. 
 
Select Visa and Mastercard credit cards come with extra perks, but in most cases, they should be considered secondary to benefits and perks offered by the card issuer. You shouldn't necessarily base your card choice on whether it's a Visa or Mastercard.

Common Visa Card Benefits

There are currently three levels of benefits with Visa Cards — Traditional, Signature, and Infinite. The card issuer often determines the available benefits. Contact the card issuer or refer to the card's benefits guide to determine which benefits are included with a particular Visa card. 

  • Common benefits available with all Visa cards include:
  • Fraud protection

  • Emergency card replacement

  • Emergency cash disbursement

  • Identity theft protection and alerts

  • Roadside dispatch 


Select Visa Signature and Infinite cards may come with extra benefits like auto rental coverage, travel benefits and protections, and airport lounge access. 

Summary 

While a credit card doesn't necessarily have to say Visa on it for it to be a good one, there are several Visa credit cards you should consider if you're in the market for a new card. Use the information above to research the best credit cards and find the best fit for your needs. 

Want nothing but the best? These are the best credit cards for 2022.

References:

https://creditcards.chase.com/rewards-credit-cards/sapphire/preferred
https://www.openskycc.com/media/1250/tc-sky1-048.pdf
https://www.usbank.com/credit-cards/altitude-go-visa-signature-credit-ca...
https://usa.visa.com/pay-with-visa/cards/visa-credit-cards/visa-signatur...

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