Visa is a payment system that is recognised all around the world. Card providers, including banks, can choose to issue their credit cards and debit cards using Visa’s payment system.
If you look at the bottom right-hand corner of a credit or debit card in the UK you will see the logo Visa, Mastercard or American Express.
Visa and Mastercard are two of the biggest payment systems and your credit or debit card is likely to be linked to one of them.
Visa has partnerships with a lot of big banks and financial service companies including Barclays and HSBC in the UK.
For the owner, a Visa credit card or debit card works in almost exactly the same way as a Mastercard or American Express card.
You can use it to buy items in store, online, or via the contactless payment scheme or take money out of an ATM.
If it is a Visa credit card, then you will receive a monthly statement from your bank or financial services provider detailing all the purchases you have made in that month.
The only small difference is that, if used abroad, Visa sets its own exchange rates. These are generally very similar to those set by Mastercard or American Express, but not identical.
But there is a difference between Visa, Mastercard and American Express cards for shops.
The difference is the fee charged to the shop for you using the card there - known as the interchange fee.
Different card providers can charge different amounts to shops, which is why not all cards are accepted everywhere.
Charging a high fee means cards can offer better rewards, but shops are less likely to accept them.
The best Visa credit card is the one that offers the benefits that are most suitable for your lifestyle.
For example, you might want a rewards credit card that gives you points, cashback or frequent flyer miles.
Or you might want to find a Visa credit card that offers the best deal on balance transfers, or the lowest interest rate.
You can use our comparison tool below to find the best Visa credit card for you.
You can use our comparison tool to find out which of the Visa credit cards on offer might be the best credit card for you. You can choose to list the cards by:
Popularity – how popular they are
Lowest APR – the cards with the lowest interest rates
Longest balance transfer period – how long you can have money owing on your credit card that you have moved from another card, before you have to start paying interest on it
Longest purchase period – how long you have once you've made a purchase before you have to pay interest on it.
Before you make a formal application you can use our credit card eligibility checker. This will reduce the chances of you being rejected for credit cards and potentially damaging your credit score.
Once you have used our eligibility checker, or if you're ready to apply for a Visa credit card, you will need to put in a few personal details and then wait to see if your application has been successful.
With most cards, you should get an initial response in a couple of minutes. If the Visa credit card issuer needs to talk to you in more detail, they might ring you.
If your application is successful, you should receive your new card in a few days, after the card issuer has made some background checks.
Visa has provided credit and debit cards to banks and card issuers since 1958, pioneering the idea of electronic payment by card.
The company was founded in California, but has expanded to provide card payment services for many banks, merchants and issuers around the world.
Visa credit cards are now accepted in more than 100 million merchant locations across the globe and there are more than 1 million Visa ATMs worldwide.
You use a Visa credit card just like any other credit card. You pay for goods and services and then will receive a monthly statement showing your transactions.
You will need to pay off some balance each month.
If you are buying online, you will need to put in your card details and the security number on the back of your card.
Visa has introduced an extra level of security for online payments, called Visa Secure, which helps to prevent fraud.
If you are paying in person you will need to put in your PIN number, use contactless (if the amount is under £100) or sign for your purchase.
Visa credit and debit cards are usually accepted at all electronic payment locations and ATMs, as are Mastercards, so you don’t need to worry about selecting a card based on how widely it will be accepted.
The ‘Visa Secure’ scheme helps to protect you from card fraud when using your Visa card to make online purchases. Visa, like Mastercard and other card providers, offers a guarantee to repay your money if you fall victim to card fraud.
Visa cards are protected by Chip and PIN and many recently issued cards have contactless payment for sums up to £100.
Mastercard and Visa are rival payment systems - it's up to banks and other card providers to choose which one to use with their cards.
However, both are accepted around the world at most retailers online and in store.
It's possible some shops will accept one and not the other, but it's incredibly rare. Amazon threatened to stop accepting Visa in early 2022, but quickly backtracked on the decision.
From a user perspective, the only real difference is the exchange rate charged on foreign purchases. Traditionally, these have been very close to each other, but Mastercard has offered a very slightly better rate a little more often than Visa has.
When we use the term ‘most popular or ‘popularity’ on Uswitch in reference to credit cards, these cards are ranked by the number of clicks they have received on the site in the past 30 days.
The most clicked on cards are at the top, with the least at the bottom. This reflects how popular they are with visitors to Uswitch.com. Consequently, this is a good table to look at if you’re interested in seeing which cards most people think are worth getting.
We compare over 100 credit cards from all of the major banks and credit card providers.
However, we do not compare all the credit cards that are available in the UK.
This is because some credit card providers have offers that are only available exclusively through their own website or branch, or through other comparison websites - in the same way some credit cards are exclusively available through Uswitch.
There are also many credit cards that are only available to people in member organisations and clubs.
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