A credit card never has two networks, so you’ll never see an American Express Visa card or an American Express Mastercard. Furthermore, lots of the credit cards on the Amex network are actually issued by American Express itself. Visa and Mastercard, on the other hand, don’t issue any credit cards.
What a credit card network is:
For a bit of background, credit card networks control where cards can be used and help process transactions. They also determine the fees merchants must pay when a consumer uses a card with their logo on it. And they provide cardholders with additional benefits like travel insurance and purchase protection. American Express is quite different from Visa and Mastercard, though.
American Express vs Visa and Mastercard:
In addition to being a card network, American Express issues credit cards as well. Visa and Mastercard do not. So, Amex actually has a lot more control over the cards on its network, at least in terms of interest rates, fees and rewards.
Visa and Mastercard are accepted at7 million U.S. merchant locations. American Express reaches a total of 10.6 million merchants.
Some credit card issuers have American Express, and Visa or Mastercard offers. Those issuers include U.S. Bank and USAA.
Citi, Chase, Bank of America, Barclays, Wells Fargo and Capital One issue Visa and Mastercard credit cards but not Amex cards.
PNC and TD Bank only offer Visa cards, and you may find banks that are exclusive to Mastercard, too.
American Express’s fraud liability policy is excellent, while Mastercard and Visa provide good coverage, according to WalletHub’s research.
So, American Express doesn’t have the acceptance and reach of Mastercard or Visa. But it’s the go-to network for charge cards. And there are credit card offers on each network that could serve you well.
Best American Express, Visa & Mastercard Credit Cards:
American Express is neither Visa, nor Mastercard. Basically, there are 4 big networks in the U.S.: American Express, Visa, Mastercard and Discover. The same way you can't find a "Visa Mastercard", you won't find an Amex "anything." It is a standalone network.
The difference between Visa and American Express is that American Express is both a card issuer and a payment network, while Visa is only a payment network. Visa is also more widely accepted than Amex, as Visa cards work in over 200 countries and territories, compared to 160+ for American Express cards.… read full answer
Differences Between American Express and Visa
Point of Comparison
Credit Card Issuer?
Accepted in 160+ countries and territories
Accepted in 200+ countries and territories
Accepted at 10.6 million U.S. locations
Accepted at 10.7 million U.S. locations
Cards in Circulation
$0 Fraud Liability Guarantee
Merchant Processing Fees
$0 Liability Guarantee?
For merchants, the biggest difference between American Express and Visa is how much they charge a merchant for processing payments. Amex processing fees are on the higher end, while Visa’s fees are on the lower end.
Although there are a handful of big differences between American Express and Visa, most people will not be affected unless they travel abroad, as Amex has less acceptance outside of the U.S. than Visa. Otherwise, for the average cardholder, there are far more similarities between the two payment networks than differences.
As a card network, Amex decides where their cards can be used, and facilitates transactions between merchants and credit card issuers. Amex cards are widely accepted in the U.S., but lag behind Visa and Mastercard by a few million merchants. Abroad, Amex cards are … read full answeraccepted in around 160+ countries and territories, while you can use your Visa or Mastercard in 200+.
American Express is definitely most well known for their credit cards and charge cards (a type of credit card you have to pay in full every month). And they have quite a few good options covering various needs, from financing to spending-based rewards.
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