Editorial disclosure: All reviews are prepared by Bankrate.com staff. Opinions expressed therein are solely those of the reviewer and have not been reviewed or approved by any advertiser. The information, including card rates and fees, presented in the review is accurate as of the date of the review. Check the data at the top of this page and the bank’s website for the most current information.
Author: Bankrate Staff | Last Updated: January 3, 2019
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Table of contents
How we chose our favorite Visa cards
Our experts use a scoring matrix devised by the experts here at Bankrate who have studied over 300 different credit cards and award our unique score. Each card has been evaluated against a final score out of 100. We have done the legwork to help you find the best Visa card for you.
Visa is a payment network this means that it provides the framework for your payments to be made and accepted every time you use your card. Visa is one of the most ubiquitous payment processors as it is accepted in over 200 countries and can be used at over 10 million merchants in the U.S.
The Bankrate card experts have evaluated these Visa cards on various attributes: annual fees, sign-up bonuses, APR, rewards value, additional features (like travel insurances). Each category is weighted accordingly to give a final score out of 100.
Recap of Bankrate’s top picks for Visa credit cards
Editor’s analysis of the best Visa credit cards
Chase Sapphire Preferred
This card’s generous rewards, stellar sign-up bonus and low annual fee are hard to beat. It’s a solid card for people scared off by the Chase Sapphire Reserve’s big annual fee.
- Earn two points per dollar on travel and restaurants worldwide and one point per dollar on all other purchases.
- Earn 50,000 points after spending $4,000 within the first three months of opening the account. That’s $625 toward travel when redeemed through the Chase Ultimate Rewards program.
- $95 annual fee, waived for the first year.
- If you don’t like using the Chase travel portal you will miss out on maximizing your rewards value.
Read the full Chase Sapphire Preferred card review.
Chase Freedom Unlimited
This card ranks among the best rewards cards available. It offers generous rewards and a decent sign-up bonus.
- Earn an unlimited 1.5 percent cash back on every purchase.
- Earn a $150 bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first three months from account opening.
- Cardholders can redeem rewards for cash in any amount at any time. Rewards don’t expire as long as your account remains open.
- No annual fee.
- Its cash back rate, while good, isn’t the highest flat-rate available.
- No bonus categories, a downside if you spend frequently in one area where you want to maximize rewards.
Read the full Chase Freedom Unlimited card review.
Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card
The Capital One VentureOne Rewards card gets you close to the benefits of the Venture card but for no annual fee. You earn 1.25X miles (compared to 2X), but you still enjoy the great 10x miles on thousands of hotels through hotels.com/venture. That makes this card a great option to have on standby if you’re frequently booking hotel stays.
- Earn a one-time sign-up bonus of 20,000 miles when you spend $1,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of opening the account (equal to $200 in travel).
- 1.25X miles on every purchase, every day and pay no annual fee. Plus earn 10X miles on thousands of hotels, when booked and paid for through hotels.com/venture.
- Flexible redemption.
- No foreign transaction fees.
- There are more lucrative sign-up bonuses available.
- Have to redeem miles within 90 days of making your travel purchase.
Read the full Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card review.
If you’re willing to put in a little bit of legwork you can really maximize your returns with the 5% rotating cash back categories (on up to $1,500 in combined purchases each quarter you enroll). If you fully utilize this offer it’s the equivalent to $300 per year in cash back rewards.
- Earn a sign-up bonus of $150 when you spend $500 on purchases in the first 3 months.
- Earn 5% cash back (on up to $1,500 in combined purchases after you activate) in rotating bonus categories each quarter, on everything else you earn 1% cash back.
- You can redeem your points as a cash back deposit to your bank account.
- You must enroll online to earn the 5% cash back in the rotating categories (although, Chase will send you an email notification about this).
- The card has a 3% foreign transaction fee so there are better cards to use when traveling outside the U.S.
- There are cards with a 2% flat-rate cash back if you prefer a more straightforward rewards program.
Read the full Chase Freedom review.
Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® Card
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.
- 0% intro APR for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers (fees apply), then a 16.24% – 28.24% variable APR; balance transfers made within 120 days qualify for the intro rate and fee.
- Earn unlimited 1.5% cash rewards on purchases.
- Android Pay or Apple Pay purchases earn 1.8% for the first 12 months.
- Earn a $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $1,000 during the first three months after account opening.
- 3% foreign transaction fee.
- Rewards are only redeemable in $20 increments.
Read the full Wells Fargo Cash Wise card review.
U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card
The U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card offers something unusual for a cash back rewards card — the ability for you to choose your own rewards categories. You get to pick two categories: one to earn 5% cash back, one category for 2% back and on everything else you get 1% cash back. If your spending is usually concentrated in certain spend categories you may want to consider this card. Here are just some of the categories: fast food, department stores, ground transportation, movie theaters, and gyms/fitness centers.
- Unlike most cards that offer bonus categories (which pre-select the bonus categories) this card lets you choose your own two bonus categories every quarter.
- The card is in the Visa Signature network, which means that it includes some travel and auto protections and insurances.
- No annual fee
- There’s a $2,000 cap per quarter on your bonus categories, which may be an issue if you spend more than $8,000 annually on your categories.
Read the full U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card review.
Wells Fargo Platinum Visa® Card
If you’re struggling to make a dent in your credit card debt the Wells Fargo Platinum Visa® Card offers you 18 months at 0% interest on purchases and balance transfers to help you pay down debt and save money on interest payments.
- 18 months 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers (fees apply and a variable 17.74%-27.24% APR applies after the 18-month intro offer; balance transfers made within 120 days qualify for the intro rate and fee).
- Up to $600 cell phone protection (with a $25 deductible) when you pay your monthly bill with your Wells Fargo Platinum Visa card.
- No annual fee.
- 3% introductory balance transfer fee jumps to 5% after the first 120 days. There are balance transfer cards available with lower balance transfer fees.
- High variable APR rate. If you’re working on improving your credit score or have struggled with missed payments in the past then think carefully about this cards high fees.
Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card
This card’s generous points rewards, easy redemption options, and online bonus opportunity put it in the top of its class among Visa cards.
- Earn unlimited 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases.
- Earn 25,000 online bonus points if you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening. That can be a $250 statement credit toward travel purchases.
- Bank of America checking or savings customers can get an additional 10% customer points bonus on every purchase and Preferred Rewards clients can increase that bonus 25%-75%.
- Points can be redeemed to pay for flights, hotels, rental cars, vacation packages, and other travel-related purchases. You aren’t limited to certain websites or blackout dates.
- You have to make your travel purchases first then use your miles as credit on your statement.
- If you won’t use the travel benefits, there are other cash back rewards cards that earn higher flat-rate cash back.
Read the full Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card review.
What is Visa?
Visa is a payment network that’s utilized by many credit card issuers and banks. Payment networks are needed to facilitate an electronic transaction of funds between buyers and sellers, and they generally charge a small fee for each transaction.
While Visa technically acts as the facilitator for all payments made with a Visa credit card, it is not a credit card issuer or bank. It simply provides the payment network technology that credit card issuers and banks use for all cards.
Visa (alongside Mastercard) dominates the payment processing industry. If you have a debit, credit, or prepaid card in your wallet, there’s a good chance that the card is partnered with Visa or Mastercard.
Why choose a Visa card?
Visa is one of the most widely accepted payment networks in the world. If you have a Visa credit card in your wallet, you can rest easy knowing that your card should be accepted in 200 countries and by most retailers. Discover and American Express are not as widely accepted around the world, putting some Visa cards at a higher advantage depending on where you live and travel. Mastercard is Visa’s major competitor.In fact, Visa and Mastercard dominate the payment processing industry in the U.S. with three-quarters of all purchase volume in 2017 on Visa or Mastercard cards. The average consumer probably can’t tell much of a difference between the two networks, though both networks offer unique rewards benefits.
All Visa cards fall under one of three benefit tiers: Basic, Signature and Infinite.
Visa Traditional covers:
- Emergency card replacement.
- Emergency cash dispersal.
- Lost or stolen card reporting.
- Zero liability protection.
- Auto rental collision damage waiver.
- Roadside dispatch.
Visa Signature includes everything covered in Traditional plus:
- Warranty Manager Service.
Visa Infinite covers everything covered by Visa Signature plus:
- Trip cancellation coverage.
- Travel emergency and accident coverage.
- Lost luggage insurance.
It’s worth checking the fine print of your Visa card to see what you’re covered for.