Best for large sign-up bonus

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Apply now
On Chase's secure site
Rewards rate
  • 5x 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 3x 3x on dining.
  • 2x 2x on all other travel purchases, plus more.
Intro offer
60,000 points 
Annual fee
$95
Regular APR
19.74% - 26.74% Variable
Recommended credit
Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

Best for luxury travel perks

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Apply now
On Chase's secure site
Rewards rate
  • 10x Earn 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • 5x Earn 5x total points on flights through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • 3x Earn 3x points on other travel and dining.
  • 1x Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
Intro offer
60,000 points 
Annual fee
$550
Regular APR
20.74% - 27.74% Variable
Recommended credit
Excellent (740 - 850)

Best for drugstore purchases

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Apply now
On Chase's secure site
Rewards rate
  • 5% Enjoy 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, our premier rewards program that lets you redeem rewards for cash back, travel, gift cards and more;
  • 3% 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service
  • 1.5% 1.5% on all other purchases
Intro offer
Earn an Additional 1.5% Cash Back 
Annual fee
$0
Regular APR
18.74% - 27.49% Variable
Recommended credit
Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

Best for low cost and low interest

Upgrade Cash Rewards Visa®

Apply now
On Upgrade's secure site
Rewards rate
  • 1.5% Earn 1.5% unlimited cash back on card purchases every time you make a payment
Intro offer
N/A
Annual fee
$0
Regular APR
14.99% - 29.99% APR
Recommended credit
Fair to Good (580 - 740)

Compare Bankrate’s top Visa credit cards of December 2022

Card name Best for Bankrate review score
Chase Sapphire Preferred Card Sign-up bonus 5.0 / 5
(Read full card review)
Chase Sapphire Reserve Luxury travel perks 5.0 / 5
(Read full card review)
Chase Freedom Unlimited Everyday spending 5.0 / 5
(Read full card review)
Upgrade Cash Rewards Visa® Low-cost and low-interest spending 3.0 / 5
(Read full card review)
Credit One Bank® Platinum X5 Visa® High rewards in select categories 3.8 / 5
(Read full card review)
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card Travel rewards 4.6 / 5
(Read full card review)
U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa Signature® Card Flexible cash back rewards 3.2 / 5
(Read full card review)
Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card Diverse travel category rewards 4.2 / 5
(Read full card review)

A closer look at the best Visa credit cards

Chase Sapphire Preferred: Best for sign-up bonus

  • What we love about the Chase Sapphire Preferred: Its rewards rates make it a great fit for travelers and foodies alike. Plus, your points are worth 25 percent more when redeemed for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal.
  • Who is this card good for: People new to the world of travel credit cards. Cardholders will earn flexible travel points that are easy to earn if you dine out and travel and are simple to redeem.
  • Alternatives: If you’re a traveler looking to earn rewards in more categories, the Citi Premier® Card is another mid-level travel card that is a decent choice for travelers. The Sapphire Preferred has a slightly lower APR and earns rewards at a higher rate than the Citi Premier. Still, Citi Premier cardholders will earn 3X points at gas stations and restaurants, as well as air travel purchases.

Read our full Chase Sapphire Preferred review.
Jump back to offer details.

Chase Sapphire Reserve: Best for luxury travel perks

  • What we love about the Chase Sapphire Reserve: Although this card has a high annual fee, it comes with perks like complimentary lounge access and annual travel credits that can easily offset its cost.
  • Who is this card good for: Travelers who want best-in-class luxury travel perks. Traveling can be a much more pleasurable experience with this card. With statement credits for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry applications and access to luxury lounges all over the world
  • Alternatives: The Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card is a good alternative if the Sapphire Reserve’s annual fee gives you pause. The Capital One Venture X Rewards card has an annual fee of just $395, whereas the Sapphire Reserve’s annual fee sits at $550. The cards carry many of the same luxury perks, but earning rewards with the Venture X Rewards card is a bit more difficult.

Read our full Chase Sapphire Reserve review.
Jump back to offer details.

Chase Freedom Unlimited: Best for drugstore purchases

  • What we love about the Chase Freedom Unlimited: This card not only earns cash back at a solid rate on travel, restaurant and drugstore purchases, but also offers a boosted flat rate on all other purchases — a rare combination. That makes it especially valuable and flexible as a standalone rewards card.
  • Who this card is good for: Travelers who dine out often or shop frequently at drugstores and are looking for a flexible, low-cost rewards card that lets you redeem for both travel and cash back without sacrificing point value.
  • Alternatives: The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is a great option if you need a card that earns rewards on groceries. The card earns 6 percent cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year, then 1 percent after that) — easily the highest cash back rate available in that category. And while it charges a $95 annual fee ($0 intro annual fee for the first year), this cost should be easy to offset via everyday spending.

Read our full Chase Freedom Unlimited review.
Jump back to offer details.

Upgrade Cash Rewards Visa®: Best for low-cost and low-interest spending

  • What we love about the Upgrade Visa Card with Cash Rewards: This card is a helpful tool for people still learning to manage their credit effectively. Cardholders have a good chance at a lower APR, which makes carrying a balance less expensive.
  • This card is good for: Credit builders. People with average credit working toward good or excellent credit can benefit from this unique blend of a credit card and personal loan. Your balance becomes an installment plan with fixed, monthly payments at the end of each billing cycle. With its potentially low minimum APR (14.99 percent to 29.99 percent), there’s a chance you’ll pay minimal interest on your balance.
  • Alternatives: If you’re looking for a card with a potentially lower APR, consider the Petal® 2 “Cash Back, No Fees” Visa®. The lower end of the Petal 2’s APR (15.99 percent to 29.99 percent variable) is slightly higher than the Upgrade Visa’s (14.99 percent to 29.99 percent regular). However, you may secure a lower APR with the Petal 2 because of its more lenient credit score requirements.

Read our full Upgrade Visa Card with Cash Rewards review.
Jump back to offer details.

Credit One Bank Platinum X5 Visa: Best for high rewards in select categories

  • What we love about the Credit One Bank Platinum X5 Visa: This is one of the few cards for people with average credit that earns rewards at such a high rate.
  • This card is good for: People who use their card for everyday purchases. Cardholders will get 5 percent cash back on everyday purchases like gas, groceries and cable on up to $5,000 in purchases each year (then 1 percent thereafter).
  • Alternatives: If you want to earn rewards, but are hesitant to shell out $95 for an annual fee, the Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card is a solid alternative. The rewards aren’t quite as lucrative, but cardholders will still earn a respectable 1.5 percent cash back on all their purchases.

Read our full Credit One Bank Platinum X5 Visa review.
Jump back to offer details.

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card: Best for flat-rate travel rewards

  • What we love about the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card: It earns a flat-rate, unlimited 2X miles on everyday purchases in addition to its 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through the issuer’s travel portal.
  • This card is good for: Mid-level travelers who want higher rewards rates than basic travel cards but don’t want to shell out hundreds of dollars for an annual fee.
  • Alternatives: If you want to stick with a Capital One card and earn similarly lucrative rewards—without shelling out the $95 annual fee—consider the Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card.

Read our full Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card review.
Jump back to offer details.

U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa Signature® Card: Best for sign-up bonus

  • What we love about the U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa Signature Card: The customizable rewards structure gives cardholders the opportunity to maximize their cash back earnings. Cardholders can earn 5 percent cash back in two categories of their choice every quarter (on up to $2,000 combined per quarter, then 1 percent) and 2 percent cash back in the third everyday category of their choosing.
  • Who is this card good for: Serious budgeters who want to earn the maximum rewards for their spending. If you have the time to track your spending diligently, this card can be lucrative.
  • Alternatives: The Citi® Double Cash Card provides a solid alternative if you prefer to earn rewards the simple way. Citi Double Cash cardholders get 2 percent cash back on every purchase (1 percent when you buy and 1 percent when you pay). The Double Cash Card’s sign-up bonus spending requirement is higher than you’ll find on many no-annual-fee cash back cards. That said, you’ll get a longer intro APR period on balance transfers with the Double Cash (get 0 percent interest APR on balance transfers for 18 months. After that, APR will be 17.74 percent to 27.74 percent variable) .

Read our full U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa Signature Card review.
Jump back to offer details.

Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card: Best for diverse travel reward categories

  • What we love about the Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card: The broad definition of travel purchases means that cardholders can earn travel rewards at amusement parks, zoos and campgrounds—among other places.
  • This card is best for: Travelers who want to earn rewards for their adventures closer to home. This card is great for Bank of America customers who want to earn travel rewards with road trips and attractions, not just getaway trips overseas.
  • Alternatives: The Discover it® Miles card is a solid alternative to the Bank of America Travel Rewards Credit Card. Especially for travelers who may carry a balance month to month as the APR is slightly lower (15.74 percent to 26.74 percent variable) than the Bank of America Travel Rewards Credit Card’s APR (17.74 percent – 27.74 percent variable APR)

Read our full Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card review.
Jump back to offer details.


Lightbulb
Bankrate insight
U.S Costco warehouse locations and U.S Costco gas stations exclusively accept Visa cards.

What is Visa?

Visa is a payment network 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 is at the top of the payment processing industry as the largest of the four major U.S. credit card networks. If you have a debit, credit or prepaid card in your wallet, there’s a good chance that the card is partnered with Visa.

With over 1 billion credit cards in circulation worldwide (an estimated 798 million outside the U.S.), Visa’s international presence is undeniable. Their cards are accepted in over 200 countries and can be used with over 10 million merchants in the United States. In 2020, Visa’s worldwide credit payments totaled nearly $2 trillion, according to Creditcards.com Market Share Statistics.

Pros and cons of Visa credit cards

Pros

  • Worldwide acceptance. Visa cards are accepted in over 200 countries and territories, making it one of the most widely accepted payment networks in the world.
  • Travel benefits. The Visa benefit tiers feature an array of travel-related perks ranging from roadside dispatch at the lowest tier to lost luggage reimbursement at the highest tier.
  • Straightforward benefit tiers. There are three Visa benefit tiers: Traditional, Signature, and Infinite. Having only three tiers can make understanding benefits a bit easier, though you’ll have to carefully review the specific benefits that come with your card.

Cons

  • High annual fees on certain cards. Visa cards can come with annual fees ranging from $35 to over $500. There are also plenty of Visa cards that do not charge an annual fee, though the reward offers on these cards may not be as luxurious.
  • More focus on travel protection, less on discounts/experience. Competitors like Mastercard feature travel experience benefits like airport concierge service, a feature that isn’t offered at Visa Signature or Infinite tiers.
Lightbulb
Bankrate insight
Visa is the largest of the four major U.S. credit card networks, processing 206 billion payments and transactions within the last year.

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 could be accepted by retailers all over the globe. Other payment networks can operate a bit differently. For example, Discover and American Express both process transactions and issue their own cards.

Mastercard is Visa’s major competitor. In fact, Visa and Mastercard dominate the payment processing industry in the U.S. According to the Nilson Report, both companies have had continued high-volume success, with Visa accounting for $1.94 trillion in credit card purchases in 2020 and Mastercard reaching $837 billion.

How to choose the best Visa credit card for you

Choosing a Visa credit card is the same as choosing the best card for you from any credit card network. You should find the one that suits your overall financial situation best. Visa has partnered with several issuers to offer a vast selection of credit cards, so you’re sure to find one that meets your needs no matter what your spending habits are.

Who should get a Visa card?

The key to picking a credit card is finding one that aligns with your financial needs and spending habits. Visa is a large network and partners with credit card issuers on many different types of cards, including rewards cards, credit-building cards, balance transfer cards and more.

Choosing the best Visa credit card means deciding what you want from a card in general. Of the many cards in the Visa network, one should fit your needs.

Still unsure if a Visa credit card is right for you? Check out our Credit Card Spender Type Tool where you can get personalized credit card recommendations based on your credit score, spending habits and daily needs.

What are Visa’s benefit tiers?

All Visa cards fall under one of three benefit tiers: Traditional, Signature and Infinite. Each card tier differs in the level of protections and benefits offered, but the exact benefits that come with your card will be determined by your card issuer.

Visa Traditional

Visa Traditional is the base level benefits tier. If your Visa card simply says Visa then you likely have Visa Traditional benefits and are covered for:

  • Emergency card replacement
  • Emergency cash dispersal
  • Lost or stolen card reporting
  • Zero liability protection
  • Auto rental collision damage waiver
  • Roadside dispatch

Visa Signature

Visa Signature is the mid-level benefit tier. It includes cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card and offers fewer benefits than the Visa Infinite tier, but more than the Traditional tier. Visa Signature includes everything covered in Traditional plus:

  • Warranty Manager Service
  • Year-end budget summary
  • Travel and emergency assistance services

Visa Infinite

Visa Infinite cards, like the Chase Sapphire Reserve, provide cardholders with the highest level of protections and perks. Visa Infinite covers everything covered by Visa Signature plus:

  • Trip cancellation coverage
  • Return Protection
  • Travel emergency and accident coverage
  • Lost luggage reimbursement

It’s worth checking the terms and conditions of your Visa card to see what you’re covered for. While Visa designates benefit tiers and includes a list of perks available in each tier, not every card issuer offers those benefits. For instance, you may carry a Visa Signature card, but whether that card comes with all Visa Signature benefits will be at the discretion of your card issuer —not Visa.

Visa vs. Mastercard: what’s the difference?

Visa and Mastercard are two of the four major credit card processing transaction networks. Unlike the other two processing networks, Discover and American Express, Visa and Mastercard don’t issue credit cards. Instead they both partner with financial institutions like banks that do issue credit cards and debit cards.

However, there aren’t many overt differences between Visa and Mastercard. Most of the differences between any given Visa and Mastercard credit card will be based on which financial institution issues the card.

In the news: Visa rolls out a hike in merchant fees

According to a report released by the Wallstreet Journal , Visa plans to increase its merchant fees. The fee increase—initially set to take place in 2020 but stalled by the pandemic—comes soon after the Federal Reserve’s recent rate hike. The increases are expected to impact most online and in-person purchases made with Visa cards. The most significant increases will be seen in purchases made with premium travel cards and at grocery stores.

These fee hikes are technically directed at merchants—and they will likely push back on the fees. The Merchant Payment Coalition is currently lobbying Congress to put a stop to the fee increase. If merchants don’t see a reduction in fees, consumers are likely to see more surcharging while they shop.

How we chose our top-rated Visa cards

Bankrate's personal finance experts have evaluated the top Visa credit cards according to our 5-star rating system. The list of criteria for rating credit cards includes:

Rewards

Whether the card offers cash back, travel points/miles or multi-purpose rewards for eligible purchases and the potential returns based on rewards rate (1 percent cash back per $1 spent, 1 mile per $1 spent, and so on).

Perks and benefits

Whether the card offers extras such as retail discounts, extended warranties on purchases, travel insurance and financial management tools.

Annual fee

Whether the card charges an annual fee and if so, how much the card's overall value and benefits might offset the fee.

Introductory offers

Whether the card has a sign-up bonus, welcome offer or similar sign-up incentive and how much it adds to the card's overall value.

Variable APR

How the card's annual percentage rate (APR) compares with current averages as an indicator of cost and value.

Foreign transaction fee

Whether the card charges a foreign transaction fee for international purchases and how the fee affects the card's overall value.


Have more questions for our credit cards editors? Feel free to send us an email, find us on Facebook, or Tweet us @Bankrate.

Frequently asked questions

about the author
Joey Robinson is a credit cards contributor for Bankrate and upon graduating with a Bachelor’s degree concentrated in Finance, Joey worked at “Big Four” (Ernst and Young) accounting firm before exploring the world of credit cards. Over the past two years, he’s shared his expertise and has brought understanding to complex topics as a writer and editor...
about the editor
Former Senior Editor Barry Bridges has been writing about credit cards, personal loans, mortgages and other personal finance products since 2017. Before joining Bankrate, he was an award-winning newspaper journalist in his native North Carolina.

* See the online application for details about terms and conditions for these offers. Every reasonable effort has been made to maintain accurate information. However all credit card information is presented without warranty. After you click on the offer you desire you will be directed to the credit card issuer's web site where you can review the terms and conditions for your selected offer.