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Best Visa credit card: Top picks

By Mitch Strohm · Bankrate.com
Thursday, December 15, 2016
Posted: 9 am ET
Best visa credit cards

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Some of the best Visa credit cards offer outstanding rewards and perks. But there are a lot of options available, and it can be difficult to narrow them down.

Forutunately, CreditCards.com recently compiled the best credit cards from its partners.

Here are the nine best Visa credit cards from that list:

1. Top Visa rewards card: Chase Freedom Unlimited

Generous cash rewards and an attractive introductory statement credit make the Chase Freedom Unlimited credit card a standout choice among Visa cards.

Highlights: 

  • The Chase Freedom Unlimited card pays 1.5 percent cash back on every purchase.
  • You can earn a $150 bonus statement credit for spending $500 purchases within the first three months of opening an account.
  • Rewards can be redeemed for cash in any amount at any time. Cash rewards don't expire as long as the account is open.

Who should get this card: 

The Chase Freedom Unlimited card is ideal for the individual who wants a simple rewards card for daily purchases with no annual fee. It has a wide range of redemption options. And Chase Ultimate Rewards® can be transferred to other Chase cards.

Since it offers a zero percent 15-month intro APR on purchases and balance transfers, this card can also be a good option for those who would like to make a big purchase and slowly pay it off. After the initial intro period, the card has a variable APR of 15.49 percent to 24.24 percent.

But while this card's cash-back rate is good, it isn't the highest flat-rate available — the Citi® Double Cash Card offers one 1 percent cash back on every dollar spent plus an additional 1 percent on every dollar that's paid off. You also won't find bonus categories with this card, a downside if you spend frequently in one area where you want to maximize rewards.

RATE SEARCH: Compare the best rewards credit cards.

2. Top Visa balance transfer card: The Chase Slate®

The Chase Slate® ranks high in the balance transfer card category for its long introductory period and lenient stance on late payments.

Highlights:

  • The Chase Slate® has a 15-month no-interest intro period on balance transfers.
  • There's no balance transfer fee for balances transferred within the first 60 days of account opening. After that, the fee for balance transfers is 5 percent of the amount transferred with a minimum of $5.

Who should get this card

If you want a basic balance transfer card with a moderate 0 percent APR introductory period, no fee for balance transfers and flexibility on late payments, the Chase Slate® is a good option. This card has no annual fee and no penalty APR for late payments. After the 15-month intro period, the rate for purchases and balance transfers on the Chase Slate® is a variable 15.49 percent to 24.24 percent.

The Chase Slate® doesn't have the longest intro period available. At 21 months, the Citi Simplicity® Card has the longest zero percent intro period currently on the market. And with the Chase Slate®, your balance transfer can't exceed $15,000 or your credit limit , whichever is lower.

RATE SEARCH: Compare the best balance transfer cards today.

3. Top Visa travel and airline card: Chase Sapphire Reserve

The rewards program alone is enough to put the Chase Sapphire Reserve on CreditCards.com's list, but it also has substantial bonus point opportunities and an annual travel credit.

Highlights:

  • The Chase Sapphire Reserve offers three Chase Ultimate Rewards® points per dollar spent on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide. It offers one point per dollar spent on other purchases.
  • You can receive up to $300 in statement credits annually as a reimbursement for travel purchases.

Who should get this card:

The Chase Sapphire Reserve can be a good option if you spend big on travel and dining. But it's a significantly good choice if you enjoy redemption options through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® program. That's because points can be redeemed for 1.5 cents per point through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. As a cardholder, you'll also get access to more than 900 airport lounges worldwide with complimentary Priority Pass Select membership.

The downside is that this card's hefty $450 annual fee can easily eat into rewards if you're not spending heavily on travel and dining related expenses. And it comes with a variable APR between 16.49 percent and 23.49 percent — not ideal if you typically carry a balance.

RATE SEARCH: Compare the best airline and travel credit cards.

4. Top Visa points rewards card: Chase Sapphire Preferred® card

Outstanding points rewards, a significant sign-up bonus and a low annual fee make the Chase Sapphire Preferred® a solid choice among Visa points rewards cards.

Highlights:

  • With this card, you can earn two points per dollar on travel and restaurants worldwide. It offers one point per dollar on all other purchases.
  • Cardholders can earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 within the first three months of opening the account. When redeemed through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® program, that's $625 toward travel.
  • This card offers $5,000 bonus points for adding an authorized user within the first three months of opening an account.

Who should get this card:

If you want a low-fee points rewards card with great perks, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® card is a solid pick. When points are redeemed through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® program, they are worth 25 percent more.

This card has no introductory fee for the first year. After that, the fee is $95 per year. It has a variable APR from 16.49 percent to 23.49 percent.

5. Top Visa no annual fee card: Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa®

Outstanding cash rewards, bonus opportunities and nice perks — all without an annual fee — put the Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® card on the list as the top no annual fee card.

Highlights:

  • The Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® offers 1.5 percent cash rewards on every purchase made with the card.
  • For purchases made with Android Pay™ or Apple Pay™ during the first 12 months of account opening, this card offers 1.8 percent cash rewards.
  • Cardholders can earn a $150 cash rewards bonus after spending $1,000 in net purchases during the first three months after account opening.

Who should get this card:

If you're in the market for a straightforward card with solid cash rewards and no annual fee, the Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® is a good choice. The cash rewards don't expire as long as you keep your account open, there are no category restrictions and no quarterly sign ups. It's an especially good option if you're already a Wells Fargo customer, since you can manage all of your accounts from one place.

But while the simplicity and cash-back rate of this card is attractive, it doesn't offer the highest flat-rate cash-back rewards around. The Citi® Double Cash Card offers 1 percent back on every purchase and an additional 1 percent when you pay your balance.

It comes with a zero percent introductory APR on balance transfers and purchases for the first 12 months. And it's regular APR is a variable 13.49 percent to 25.49 percent.

6. Top Visa no foreign transaction fee card: BankAmericard Travel Rewards®

The BankAmericard Travel Rewards® credit card's generous points rewards, easy redemption options and online bonus opportunity put it in the top of its class among Visa cards.

Highlights:

  • Cardholders earn unlimited 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases
  • This card offers the opportunity to earn 20,000 online bonus points for making at least $1,000 in purchases during the first 90 days of account opening.
  • Points can be redeemed to pay for flights, hotels, rental cars, vacation packages and other travel-related purchases. You're not limited to specific websites or blackout dates.

Who should get this card:

The BankAmericard Travel Rewards® credit card is a standout option for those who want an easy-to-use, well-balanced travel card, particularly for overseas use. This card will be particularly appealing to existing Bank of America® customers with a checking or savings account, who can earn an extra 10 percent bonus. Those who qualify for the Preferred Rewards program can increase their bonus to 25 percent to 75 percent.

In addition to the rewards perks, cardholders who carry a balance, or who have a large purchase to make, will enjoy the zero percent introductory APR on purchases for 12 billing cycles. Its regular APR is a variable 15.49 percent to 23.49 percent on purchases and balance transfers. There's no annual fee.

RATE SEARCH: Compare the best travel credit cards now.

7. Top Visa gas card: BankAmericard Cash Rewards®

Generous cash back on gas purchases put this card on CreditCards.com's radar. But it's also a great all-around card for cash back.

Highlights:

  • The BankAmericard Cash Rewards® card offers 3 percent cash back on gas purchases, 2 percent on grocery stores and wholesale clubs and 1 percent on all other purchases up to $2,500 in combined grocery store, wholesale club and gas purchases each quarter.
  • Cardholders have the chance to earn a $100 online cash rewards bonus after spending at least $500 within the first 90 days of account opening.

Who should get this card:

If you spend big on gas, groceries and wholesale clubs, this card might be a good fit for you. Plus, every time you redeem your cash back into a Bank of America® checking or savings account, you can get a 10 percent customer bonus. That bonus increases 25 percent to 75 percent if you're a Preferred Rewards client.

While this serves as a great gas card, there are cash back cards available that pay a higher rate. The Blue Cash Preferred® card from American Express offers 6 percent cash back at U.S. supermarkets, 3 percent at gas stations and 1 percent on all other purchases.

The BankAmericard Cash Rewards® card has a 0 percent intro APR period for 12 billing cycles on purchases. It offers the same for balance transfers made within the first 60 days. There's no annual fee. The APR is 13.49 percent to 23.49 percent.

8. Top Visa business card: Chase Ink Business Preferred Credit Card

The Chase Ink Business Preferred credit card earns high marks for its standout bonus opportunities and points on business-related spending.

Highlights:

  • The Chase Ink Preferred card offers three points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent on select categories each account anniversary year. You can earn one point per $1 spent on all other purchases with no limit.
  • You can earn 80,000 bonus points after spending $5,000 on purchases within the first three months of opening an account.
  • Points are worth 25 percent more when redeemed through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® program.

Who should get this card:  

If you spend heavily on business-related expenses, the Chase Ink Preferred credit card is a solid option. It's particularly attractive if you plan on spending at least $5,000 within the first three months to earn the bonus, which is equal to a $1,000 toward travel when redeemed through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® program.

Keep in mind that this card comes with an annual fee of $95. You'll need to make sure you spend enough to cancel out the fee. The APR is 13.49 percent to 23.49 percent.

RATE SEARCH: Compare the best business credit cards.

9. Top Visa unsecured credit card: Credit One Bank® Unsecured Platinum Visa®

The Credit One Bank® Unsecured Platinum Visa® card's cash back rewards and flexible payment policy make it an attractive option among unsecured credit cards.

Highlights:

  • When using this card, regular reports are sent to the three major credit bureaus, helping to build your credit responsibly.
  • The Credit One Bank® Unsecured Visa® Credit Card provides free online access to your credit score and credit report summary, which can help you track your progress as you work to improve your overall credit.
  • Cardholders earn 1 percent cash back for gas or groceries purchases.

Who should get this card:

If you're looking to build credit while earning cash-back rewards for gas and grocery purchases, the Credit One Bank® Unsecured Visa® is a good choice.

But keep in mind that it's best used when you don't often miss payments or carry a balance. The high fees on this card could quickly cancel out any rewards earned. Its annual fee ranges between $0 and $75 for the first year and between $0 and $99 for each following year. It has a variable APR that ranges from 15.65 percent to 24.15 percent.

RATE SEARCH: Compare the best credit cards right now for bad credit.

Best Visa Credit Cards
Card Category APR
Chase Freedom Unlimited Overall Rewards 15.49 percent to 24.24 percent variable
Chase Sapphire Reserve Travel and Airline Rewards 16.49 percent and 23.49 percent variable
Chase Slate® Balance Transfer 15.49 percent to 24.24 percent variable
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Points Rewards 16.49 percent to 23.49 percent variable
Chase Ink Business Preferred Business Card 16.49 percent to 21.49 percent variable
Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® No annual fee 13.49 percent to 25.49 percent variable
BankAmericard Travel Rewards® No foreign transaction fee 15.49 percent to 23.49 percent variable
BankAmericard Cash Rewards™ Gas card 13.49 percent to 23.49 percent variable
Credit One Bank® Unsecured Platinum Visa® Unsecured Card for Bad Credit 15.65 percent to 24.15 percent variable

Follow me on Twitter: @MitchStrohm

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