What’s the credit card difference among American Express, Visa and MasterCard ? at least 8 differences

credit card

Payment Networks and Card Issuers

A card issuer is a third party, usually a bank, that provides credit to a consumer. When you use your card, the card issuer pays for the transaction. It will be reimbursed once you pay off the fee charged.

The payment network processes the transaction. It transfers funds from the card issuer to the merchant.

American Express (ticker: AXP) is both a card issuer and a payment network. American Express does double duty. It also processes transactions for its own Amex cards and those of other issuers that use the Amex network.

Visa is just a payment network. Since Visa is not a credit card issuer, each Visa (ticker: V) card also has an issuer. For example, a Chase (ticker: JPM) credit card with Visa will have both the Chase and Visa logos on it. That means Chase is the credit card issuer and Visa is the payment network.

Visa or Mastercard itself does not issue cards

The key difference between Amex Visa or Mastercard (ticker: MA) is that Amex is both a card issuer and a payment network. Visa or MasterCard is just a credit card payment network and is not responsible for card issuance itself. Other banks such as Chase Bank (ticker: JPM) and Bank of America (ticker: BAC ) will join the credit card payment network of Visa or MasterCard and be responsible for issuing cards.

Regarding Visa and Wanshida, interested readers can refer to my previous two blog posts: “The differences between Visa and Mastercard?” and “Has the moat of ubiquitous credit card networks loosened?

Merchant Acceptance

More merchants are willing to accept Visa and Mastercard than Amex. In fact, Visa is one of the most accepted payment networks in the world. Amex is accepted at 99% of merchants that accept credit cards, but it’s still not as widely accepted as Visa and MasterCard.

Amex has long charged higher credit card fees than other payment networks. To avoid these more expensive fees, some merchants choose not to accept Amex. It is accepted in over 170 countries; however, Visa is accepted in over 200 countries.

U.S. Domestic acceptance

Simply put, the more merchants that accept your card, the better the card network. Visa and MasterCard, traditionally major competitors, have 10.7 million U.S. retailers accepting their cards.

But in a February 2020 Nielsen report, it was reported that 99% of U.S. credit card-accepting merchants now accept Amex, which means 10.6 million retailers now accept Amex. That’s a huge change from the 3.7 million that Amex accepted five years ago.

International acceptance

Unfortunately, Amex’s international acceptance is much lower than its competitors. For example, American Express is accepted in more than 160 countries around the world, which is behind Visa and MasterCard, which are both accepted in more than 200 countries.

While it’s easier to find places that accept Amex in countries like Canada or Australia, it’s more difficult in Europe and Asia. To be on the safe side, your best bet when traveling abroad is to keep a Visa or MasterCard in your wallet.

Card fee

A big reason for the growth of the credit card business is the fees between the credit card networks. In February 2020, Nielsen reported that the weighted average of Visa and Mastercard swipe fees was 2.26%, while Amex’s average fee was 2.3%, a difference of just 0.04%.

Customer service

American Express was ranked #1 in JD Power’s 2020 U.S. Credit Card Satisfaction Study. It also consistently performs well in these annual studies. If you get a card issued by American Express, you can enjoy great service.

With Visa, you do not interact with Visa for customer service issues. You will contact the credit card company that issued the card. Since Visa works with a wide range of card issuers, this means that customer service is more variable. This will depend on the card issuer, Visa itself has no control over the quality of service.

Card benefits

Card networks offer benefits based on the level of service you are applying for, but not every card is guaranteed to include all benefits by tier, and issuers may offer any combination of available benefits across tiers. In addition to these online benefits, your card will likely offer other benefits.

But as far as Visa or Mastercard is concerned, basically the benefits of the card are divided into two parts:

  • Benefits provided by Visa Card or MasterCard Network.
  • Benefits offered by the card issuing bank you are applying for.

American Express, on the other hand, can determine the credit card issued by itself.

Card application eligibility

There are a variety of credit cards on the market, including cash back cards, rewards cards, business card cards, and more. Each credit card you apply for has its own set of eligibility requirements, including credit score, credit history and income level.

In general, the more benefits a card offers, the harder it is to qualify. But in terms of comparing Visa, MasterCard, and Amex’s eligibility requirements, Amex may be the hardest card issuer to qualify, as most cards require applicants to have a “good” credit score of at least 670 to qualify. Qualify.

In contrast, Visa and MasterCard offer many cards that only require a “fair” credit rating of 630. This is because Visa and MasterCard are not card issuers, so they have no control over minimum requirements. Banks and other card issuers can set these levels independently and have less stringent requirements.

This means that if you are an applicant with a delinquent loan or a limited credit history, you are more likely to be approved for a card in the Visa and MasterCard network.

Variety of card types

Compared to the number of cards with the Visa and MasterCard logos, Amex issues fewer cards. This is because, as the card issuer, it provides the cards itself and only offers a limited number of cards from other issuers on the Amex payment network. the

If you want more cards to choose from, you’re better off picking a card from the Visa or MasterCard network.

Quick Facts Comparing Visa, MasterCard & American Express

VisaMastercardAmerican Express
Domestic Acceptance10.7 million10.7 million10.6 million
International Acceptance200+ countries and territories210+ countries and territories160+ countries and territories
Cards in Circulation in the U.S. in 2019333.1 million243 million54.7 million
Purchase Volume (Debit/Credit) in 20198.945 trillion (4.890 credit, 4.055 debit)4.767 trillion (3.015 credit, 1.752 debit)1.225 trillion (credit only)
Card Transactions in 2019185.5 trillion108.4 trillion8.8 trillion
Fraud LiabilityZero liability for:Credit card transactionsSignature debit card transactionsPIN debit card transactions (if processed by Visa)Zero liability for:Credit card transactionsSignature debit card transactionsPIN debit card transactions (if processed by Mastercard)Zero liability for:Credit card transactions
Card TermsVisa doesn’t set APRs, fees, or rewards.Mastercard doesn’t set APRs, fees, or rewardsRefer to American Express’s terms and conditions
credit: upgradedpoints.com

credit card
credit: thestrawgroup.com

Related articles


  • The content of this site is the author’s personal opinions and is for reference only. I am not responsible for the correctness, opinions, and immediacy of the content and information of the article. Readers must make their own judgments.
  • I shall not be liable for any damages or other legal liabilities for the direct or indirect losses caused by the readers’ direct or indirect reliance on and reference to the information on this site, or all the responsibilities arising therefrom, as a result of any investment behavior.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

error: Content is protected !!