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Packed into that little piece of plastic is a whole world of functionality, offering cardholders not just a way to pay, but handy extras such as offers and entertainment perks, concierge services and insurance cover.
Accepted at 37 million merchants in more than 200 countries, Visa offers cardholders an easy way to pay, wherever they happen to be. But, what else does Visa have to offer? Packed into that little piece of plastic is a whole world of functionality, offering cardholders not just a way to pay, but handy extras such as offers and entertainment perks, concierge services and insurance cover.
If you’re thinking about applying for a Visa card, you probably want to know more about what’s on offer, so you can compare all your options. Fortunately, at CreditCard.com.au, we do all that hard work for you. Read on to find out more about the benefits Visa has to offer, what to look for in a Visa card, and whether Visa or Mastercard is better. Then it’s time to compare. Easy as that!
Before we go any further, it’s important for us to understand exactly what Visa, as a company, actually does. Like Mastercard, Visa does not issue or distribute credit cards. Credit cards are issued by banks and other financial providers, who decide what each card will offer in features and extras, while also setting the annual fees and interest rates charged to cardholders.
While it may have its logo on the card, Visa is in fact, the payment network used by the card provider. That means Visa processes payments between card providers and merchants when purchases are made using the card. However, Visa does offer cardholders a range of benefits separate from those on offer from the card provider. Let’s have a look at those now.
Introduced back in 2011, Visa payWave offers cardholders the opportunity to save time at the checkout, allowing them to tap-and-go on purchases less than $100. For purchases of more than $100, the cardholder simple inserts or swipes their card and uses their PIN to authenticate the purchase.
Another time-saver, Visa Checkout helps makes online shopping easier when buying from partnered merchants, allowing cardholders to securely save their payment and shipping information for easy access during each purchase.
Visa cardholders can access Visa’s round-the-clock Global Customer Assistance Service to report lost or stolen cards anywhere in the world. Call 1800 450 346 (within Australia) or +1 303 967 1090 (from overseas).
Platinum Visa cards may offer a global concierge service, available 24/7 to assist cardholders with tasks such as booking flights, buying tickets, making restaurant reservations or sending flowers to loved ones.
Some Visa cards offer a selection of insurance covers to cardholders. These complimentary insurances can offer cover for purchases, with purchase cover insurance and extended warranty insurance, as well as travel cover, with interstate flight inconvenience insurance, international travel insurance and transit accident insurance.
Cardholders who have Visa Premium, Signature or Infinite cards are provided a range of exclusive perks and benefits, such as concierge services, complimentary insurance cover, and privileges at a range of stores, hotels and restaurants.
Designed to offers cardholders extra perks when using their card, Visa Offers provides exclusive offers and discounts with partnered merchants, from hotels and restaurants, to spas and retailers. Check out the full list of offers on the Visa website.
Providing cardholders with a range of entertainment offers, Visa Entertainment provides access to exclusive competitions and pre-sale tickets for festivals and concerts, with the opportunity to sign up for email alerts.
Offering more than just credit cards, Visa also offers debit cards (issued through financial providers such as banks and credit unions), and prepaid cards (again, issued by other providers, such as Australia Post). These cards allow cardholders to use their own money rather than accessing credit.
Verified by Visa works to protect cardholders when using their Visa card online. As an optional service the cardholder must register for, Verified by Visa prompts the cardholder to enter a password or unique SMS code when making purchases at participating online stores.
When comparing credit cards, most people don’t pay too much attention to whether the card they choose has a Visa or Mastercard logo on it. So, does it really make that much difference?
While Visa’s operation is much bigger than Mastercard’s, the service each company offers is pretty comparable, because, unlike American Express, Visa and Mastercard operate in a very similar way.
Where Visa and Mastercard function exclusively as payment-processing systems, American Express offers more of a one-stop-shop, not only processing payments, but also issuing its own cards.
This is one reason why credit card surcharges for Visa and Mastercard are usually lower than that of AmEx. It also explains why some retailers choose not to accept American Express, but will usually accept Visa and Mastercard. However, it is rare to find a retailer that accepts Visa but not Mastercard, and vice versa.
As for financial providers, in Australia, some have chosen an alliance with one payment processor over another. Within the Big 4, NAB’s agreement with Visa means it will only be issuing Visa cards, while Commonwealth Bank only issues Mastercard, and ANZ and Westpac both issue both products.
Visa and Mastercard make their money by charging the retailer for using their payment method, so the service and fees set out by Visa and Mastercard to each financial provider doesn’t differ much. That means it’s up to the financial provider to decide what to offer on each card.
As a cardholder, unless you have a specific preference for Visa or Mastercard, the logo on your card shouldn’t make too much difference. Both Visa and Mastercard offer comparable benefits, so it really depends on what the card issuer is willing to provide, not what Visa or Mastercard is offering.
When comparing Visa cards, there are some important factors to consider.
Interest Rates: When you don’t pay off your balance in full at the end of each statement period, the remaining balance will accrue interest at the card’s standard variable purchase rate. If you tend to carry a balance, that purchase rate will be very important, as the higher the rate, the more you will pay in interest.
Annual Fees: Big feature cards such as platinum cards and rewards cards tend to charge higher annual fees, however, no annual fee cards are available. Think about the value of the features the card has to offer – and whether you will actually benefit from those features – and weigh that against the annual fee.
Other Fees: Credit cards can charge a wide range of fees, such as foreign currency conversion fees, foreign currency cash advance fees, ATM cash advance fees, late payment fees, over the limit fees, dishonour fees and replacement card fees. Try to avoid unnecessary fees, or choose a card that does not charge fees that may affect you.
Complimentary Extras: Similar to the extras provided by Visa, card providers may also offer extras such as airport lounge access, retail and travel benefits, insurance cover or a concierge service. Cards offering these ‘complimentary’ extras usually have a higher annual fee, so make sure they are extras you will make use of.
Rewards: If you want a credit card with a rewards program, be sure to find out how many points you can earn on eligible purchases, what those points equate to in terms of reward value, and what rewards are on offer. Be sure to choose a rewards card that rewards the spending you do most, while giving you rewards you actually value.
Additional Cardholders: Having the ability to add an additional cardholder to a credit card account can be beneficial, especially within families. This can allow the main cardholder to track spending, while dealing with just one credit card account – and one credit card payment at the end of the month. With a rewards card, this can help cardholders earn points faster.
Interest Free Days: Many cards offer interest free days on purchases, as long as the cardholder clears their balance at the end of each statement period. Check out the terms and conditions to find out how many interest free days are on offer, and how the system works.
Introductory Offers: Designed to entice new cardholders to sign up for a card, introductory offers can provide special offers on balance transfers, purchase rates, rewards points and annual fees. If you plan to keep the card after the introductory period ends, make sure you understand how the offer works and what happens at the end of the offer.
Security Services: Just as Visa offers its own security, card issuers also provide additional security features for their cardholders, such as 24/7 fraud-monitoring services, daily transaction limits, or the ability to temporarily lock the card if it has been misplaced.
Credit Limit: Your credit limit will usually depend on your credit history and your current income, but it may also be affected by the card you are applying for. Low feature, low rate and low fee cards may come with a lower credit limit, while prestige cards may have a higher credit limit – and a higher minimum credit limit, as well.
Eligibility Requirements: As each card has different eligibility requirements, you should check your eligibility before applying. These requirements typically pertain to minimum annual income, credit history, age and residential status.
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