Visa and Mastercard – the biggest credit card networks in the world, with plenty of credit cards to choose from.

And each network has their own set of standard perks for users to take advantage of.

But which is better? How do their credit cards compare?

Here is our comparison of Visa and Mastercard.

What is Visa?

One of the major credit card networks, Visa credit cards are accepted around the world. If a merchant accepts credit cards, they most likely accept Visa cards as well. Almost 11 million merchants in the United States accept Visa credit cards.

One slight advantage Visa credit cards have is at Costco. They’re the only credit cards accepted in a Costco warehouse.

One thing to remember about Visa is that they don’t issue credit cards themselves – they’re merely a payment network. It’s the banks that issue a number of credit cards with Visa logos on them.

4 Visa credit card benefits

There are 3 levels of Visa credit cards. They are:

  • basic,
  • Signature, and
  • Infinite.

You may see many Visa credit cards marketed as being a higher level Visa, including words such as gold or platinum, but these are just basic Visa credit cards with fancy words attached to them.

Basic Visa cards don’t offer much in the way of benefits, but that’s not the case for Visa Signature or Infinite cards.

Here are some of the perks they offer.

1. Luxury Hotel Collection

The Visa Luxury Hotel Collection offers many benefits when you book a stay using the Visa booking portal at over 900 hotels worldwide.

These benefits include:

  • automatic room upgrade if available,
  • complimentary Wi-Fi if available,
  • complimentary breakfast for 2,
  • $25 food or beverage credit, and
  • late check out if available.

These benefits are sure to make any hotel stay more enjoyable.

2. Visa Offers

Visa partners with many travel providers and retailers to make special offers, which include things such as:

  • discounts,
  • free hotel nights, or
  • other perks you can use.

You can see what Visa Offers are currently available here.

3. Visa Concierge

Need help getting dinner reservations or getting some tickets to an event? Or are you stuck somewhere while travelling and need some assistance?

This is where Visa Concierge comes in. They can help you with things like this, so you can enjoy yourself rather than fretting about the details.

4. Fine wine and dining

Finally, we have the fine wine and dining series. You can enjoy exclusive world-class dining experiences that can’t be found anywhere else.

Want to learn more about the Visa Signature program? You can learn more about it here.

Your Ultimate Guide To The Visa Signature Program

What is a Mastercard?

Mastercard is another major network for credit cards. And, like Visa, Mastercard credit cards aren’t issued by Mastercard, they’re merely a payment system. Various banks issue credit cards bearing the Mastercard logo.

Also like Visa, Mastercard credit cards are accepted almost anywhere credit cards can be used to make a payment. In the United States, close to 11 million merchants accept Mastercards.

There are also 3 tiers of Mastercards:

  • basic,
  • World, and
  • World Elite.

4 Mastercard benefits

What do World and World Elite Mastercards have to offer?

1. Mastercard Luxury Hotels and Resorts

Mastercard has their own program for extra benefits when staying at select hotels.

When booking over 700 hotels through Mastercard, you can enjoy these benefits:

  • complimentary daily breakfast,
  • a room upgrade if available,
  • a special amenity of up to $100, and
  • early check in and late check out requests.

2. Priceless cities

Looking to do something unique while you’re out? Mastercard Priceless Cities offers a wide variety of experiences in cities all over the world.

You can see the current experiences here.

3. Free ShopRunner membership

With a World or World Elite Mastercard, you’ll get a free ShopRunner membership. This gives you free 2 day shipping and return shipping at over 100 online retailers, some of which include Saks Fifth Avenue, Kate Spade, and Newegg.

4. Mastercard Concierge

For World Elite Mastercards only, you’ll get access to a special concierge service. To get concert tickets, dinner reservations, or even a special last minute gift, Mastercard concierge is at your service.

What’s the difference between a World and World Elite Mastercard? Find out here.

What’s The Real Difference Between World And World Elite Mastercards?

Best Visa credit cards

What are some of the best Visa credit cards? Here’s an overview of the top 3, all of which happen to have no annual fee.

Credit Card Earn Rates Annual Fee Learn More
Wyndham Rewards Earner Card * 5 points per $1 spent at Wyndham properties
* 2 points per $1 spent on groceries, and restaurants
* 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
$0 Learn More
Wells Fargo Visa Signature * 1 point per $1 spent on all purchases $0 Learn More
Chase Freedom Unlimited * 5% cash back on travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards
* 3% cash back on restaurants and drugstores
* 1.5% cash back on all other purchases
$0 Learn More

Best Visa credit card with hotel rewards

Our current best Visa credit card features hotel rewards – the .

You’ll earn plenty of Wyndham Rewards at these rates:

  • 5 points per $1 spent at Wyndham properties,
  • 2 points per $1 spent on dining and groceries, and
  • 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.

We value a Wyndham Rewards point at 1.2 cents each, for a return of up to 2.4% on your everyday purchases, and 6% at Wyndham hotels.

Plus, you’ll get 7,500 bonus points every year after spending $15,000 in eligible purchases, and get Wyndham Rewards Gold status.

Best Visa for flexible rewards

For flexible rewards, you’ll want to look at the .

You’ll earn 1 point for every $1 spent. The best value for your points is when redeemed for flights through Wells Fargo Go Far rewards, where each point is worth 1.5 cents each. All other redemptions (including cash) are worth 1 cent each.

Best Visa credit card for cash back

For simple cash back rewards, take a look at the .

It has high cash back earn rates on a variety of categories:

  • 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards,
  • 3% cash back on dining and drugstores, and
  • 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.

And as a bonus, there’s no minimum amount you need to redeem to get your cash back.

Best Mastercards

On the other side, here are the top 3 Mastercard credit cards, all of which also have no annual fee.

Credit Card Earn Rates Annual Fee Learn More
JetBlue Card * 3 points per $1 spent on JetBlue
* 2 points per $1 spent on restaurants and groceries
* 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
$0 Learn More
HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard * 1.5% cash back on all purchases $0 Learn More
SavorOne Rewards from Capital One * 3% cash back on dining and entertainment
* 2% cash back on groceries
* 1% cash back on all other purchases
$0 Learn More

Best airline Mastercard

For an airline rewards Mastercard credit card, we like the .

You’ll earn TrueBlue points at these rates:

  • 3 points per $1 spent on JetBlue,
  • 2 points per $1 spent on restaurants and groceries, and
  • 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.

We value TrueBlue points at 1.5 cents each when redeemed for flights, giving you a return of up to 4.5% on purchases.

It also comes with a 50% savings on in-flight cocktails and food purchases, and no foreign exchange fees.

Best overall flat rate cash back Mastercard

For a cash back credit card with a high flat rate, the is a well rounded credit card.

You’ll earn 1.5% cash back on all purchases. It also has no foreign transaction fees.

A no fee cash back credit card with bonus categories

For more varied cash back rates, there’s the .

You’ll earn bonus rewards on a few categories:

  • 3% cash back on dining and entertainment,
  • 2% cash back on groceries, and
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases.

Plus, it has no foreign exchange fees and several different types of insurance coverage.

Visa vs. Mastercard

So how do both networks compare? In reality, they’re quite similar.

Both networks offer extensive standard benefits with their credit cards, and both have wide acceptance not just in the U.S., but around the world.

The one advantage Visa has, however, is at Costco, where they only accept Visa credit cards. However, Mastercards (and Discover cards), can be used online through Costco.

Comparison of the top Visa cards and the best Mastercards

So how do these 6 credit cards compare? Here’s the breakdown in a few areas.

Annual and foreign transaction fees

First the annual fees. In this case, all 6 cards have no annual fee.

But how about foreign transaction fees? Here’s what each credit card offers:

Comparing Foreign Transaction Fee of Credit Cards

4 out of these 6 cards don’t charge the typical 3% on purchases that aren’t made in U.S. dollars – but 2 out of 3 Visas do.

Earn rates

Now, on to the rewards. Here’s the average annual earn rate for each card, based on a typical $2,000 monthly spend.

Comparing Average Annual Earn Rate of 6 Credit Cards
The 2 credit cards with pure travel rewards lead the way here.

But overall, just based on these 6 credit cards, the Visa cards generally have better rewards over their Mastercard counterparts. The 3 Visas come in at an average 1.85% return, whereas the Mastercards are only 1.58%.

The verdict

There’s really no incorrect choice when it comes to Visa or Mastercard. The only time to get a Visa over a Mastercard credit card is for the Costco shopper.

Each network offers its own set of standard benefits, with a wide variety of credit cards to choose from.

Which do you prefer? What will you apply for?

Let us know in the comments below.


What benefits do Visa cards offer?

Visa Signature and Infinite cards offer these standard benefits:

  • Visa Luxury Hotel Collection,
  • Visa Offers,
  • Visa Concierge, and
  • fine wine and dining events.

What benefits do Mastercards offer?

Both World and World Elite Mastercards have several standard benefits, some of which include:

  • Mastercard Luxury Hotels and Resorts,
  • Priceless Cities,
  • free ShopRunner, and
  • Mastercard concierge.

What’s the best Visa credit card?

The best Visa credit card is the Wyndham Rewards Earner Card, which offers up to 5 points per $1 spent, and perks when staying at Wyndham hotels.

What’s the best Mastercard?

Our top rated Mastercard is the JetBlue Card, which earns up to 3 TrueBlue points per $1 spent, and provides a variety of extra benefits when flying with JetBlue.

Are Visas or Mastercard better?

There’s very little difference between Visa and Mastercards. They both offer a variety of credit cards and standard benefits. Visa credit cards have one slight advantage – they are the only credit cards accepted at Costco Warehouses.