Discover is neither a Visa nor a Mastercard. It’s more like an American Express card, but they’re not exactly the same, either. Discover is similar to Visa, Mastercard and American Express in the sense that all four are card networks. Each helps process payments for the cards on its network, determines where those cards can be used, and provides extra … read full answerbenefits such as rental car insurance. However, Discover is different from Visa and Mastercard in that most credit cards on the Discover network are issued by Discover. Visa and Mastercard aren’t issuers, so cards on their networks come from lots of different banks and credit unions. Amex, like Discover, is both a card issuer and a card network.
Here’s how Discover differs from Visa or Mastercard:
Discover is both a credit card issuer and a card network. Visa and Mastercard are networks only.
Visa and Mastercard are accepted in more than 200 countries and territories, compared to 185 for Discover.
Visa and Mastercard are accepted at 10.7 million U.S. merchant locations, versus 10.4 million for Discover.
Discover credit cards don’t have foreign transaction fees. Visa and Mastercard credit cards charge 0% to 3% of purchases processed internationally.
If you look at the front of your Discover card, you should see “Discover” with an orange dot for the “o.” Each network has a logo, so it’s easy to tell them apart. And while Discover cards are generally fine to use anywhere in the U.S., you might have trouble in certain countries abroad. So it’s probably best to have a backup Visa or Mastercard.
American Express isn’t a Visa or a Mastercard. It’s a separate company. American Express, Visa and Mastercard are three of the four major card networks, the other being Discover. 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. The rest come from the likes of Bank of America, USAA, Citibank and BBVA Compass. Visa and Mastercard, on the other hand, don’t issue any of the cards on their networks or any of the others.… read full answer
For a bit of background, 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:
American Express issues credit cards (as does Discover). 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 at more than 11 million U.S. merchant locations. American Express added 1.6 million U.S. merchant locations in 2018, for a total of more than 10 million.
Amex cards work in about 160 countries and territories. Visa and Mastercard are both accepted in over 200.
Some credit card issuers have American Express, Visa and Mastercard offers. Those issuers include Bank of America, U.S. Bank and Wells Fargo.
Chase, Barclays 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 is the only card network that offers charge cards – credit cards that require you to pay the balance in full every month.
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:
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