The Best Visa Credit Cards (Unsecured and Secured)

Visa credit cards some of the most popular cards in the world, with this global brand responsible for cards that process over 100 billion transactions a year. It is one of the most recognizable and trusted brands, and one that offers a slew of top reward cards, travel cards, secured cards, and more.

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The Best Unsecured Visa Credit Cards

An unsecured credit card is one that’s not “secured” to an asset, such as a house, car or cash. Unsecured debts are often seen as being low-risk and therefore better than secured debts. However, while it does mean you won’t easily lose your asset, it also means the credit card issuer is taking a bigger risk, and to offset that risk and the potential losses it accrues, they charge higher fees and interest rates.

This is why the rate on an unsecured personal loan is always significantly higher than the rate on a car loan or home loan (although, due to the increased terms, you may pay more on these secured loans anyway).
It’s a little different with credit cards, however. 

An unsecured credit card is the norm, while a secured credit card is generally reserved for individuals who have poor credit scores. Unsecured cards typically charge interest rates between 16% and 27%, with the national average falling around the 19% mark. These rates are key when choosing the best Visa credit cards, but they aren’t the only things to consider. 

For our best Visa card list, we considered everything from travel rewards and cash back rewards, to balance transfers and more.

Chase Freedom

The Chase Freedom is often cited as being the most popular credit card in the United States, and it’s easy to see why. It is a rewards credit card that doesn’t require excellent credit, offers a $500 bonus when you spend $150 within 90 days of account opening, and has a competitive interest rate.

Cardholders can earn 5% cash back on quarterly rotating categories that include gas stations, grocery stores, US supermarkets, and more. This bonus rate is capped at $1,500, after which the rate returns to an unlimited 1%.

  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Regular APR: 16.49% to 25.24%
  • Account Opening Bonus: $150 when you spend $500 in first 3 months
  • Balance Transfer Fee: 3%
  • Foreign Transaction Fees 3%
  • Introductory APR: 0% on purchases/transfers for 15 months
  • Rewards Program: As much as 5% cash back

Chase Freedom Unlimited

The Chase Freedom cash-back credit cards offer many of the same rates and benefits and rates. The Chase Freedom Unlimited is basically the same as the Chase Freedom, with the same one-time bonus, APR range, and more. The difference is that there are no rotating categories or 5% bonus rate. Instead, all purchases earn 1.5%, with no limit whatsoever.

This card may be better suited to individuals who spend a lot of money every month but still want the benefit of a no-annual-fee card. It is a very popular cash rewards credit card and one of our top picks in numerous categories.

  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Regular APR: 16.49% to 25.24%
  • Account Opening Bonus: $150 when you spend $500 in first 3 months
  • Balance Transfer Fee: 3%
  • Foreign Transaction Fees 3%
  • Introductory APR: 0% on purchases/transfers for 15 months
  • Rewards Program: Unlimited 1.5% cash back

Chase Sapphire Preferred

The Chase Sapphire card is one of the better premium Visa cards and the Chase Sapphire Preferred is the more accessible option, with an annual fee that is a whole $455 less than the “Reserved” version discussed below.

The sign-up bonus requires you to spend $4,000 in the first three months but in return, it offers $750 in credits when redeemed for airfare, car rentals, hotels, cruises, and other purchases made through the Chase Ultimate Rewards program.

  • Annual Fee: $95
  • Regular APR: 17.49% to 24.49% variable APR
  • Account Opening Bonus: 60,000 points when you spend $4,000 in first 3 months
  • Balance Transfer Fee: 5%
  • Foreign Transaction Fees 3%
  • Introductory APR: N/A
  • Rewards Program: 1x to 5x points for travel purchases

Chase Sapphire Reserve

The Chase Sapphire Reserve card may seem a little expensive when compared to the other credit card offers on this page. After all, $550 is a lot of money to spend on a credit card and for the average user, it’s around 75% of the total amount they will spend on that card every month. 

However, this card is not aimed at average users and is geared more towards frequent flyers and big spenders, cardholders who will earn enough points to offset that high annual fee. It’s a points-based system, but they are basically air miles, and you can get bonus miles when you sign up, as well as a host of travel perks, with discounts and extra points available on hotel stays, flights, rental car transactions, and more.

You can get $100 TSA Precheck and GlobalEntry credit, as well as Lyft Pink and a Dashpass Subscription from Doordash.

  • Annual Fee: $550
  • Regular APR: 18.49% to 25.49% variable APR
  • Account Opening Bonus: 50,000 points when you spend $4,000 in first 3 months
  • Balance Transfer Fee: 5%
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: $0
  • Introductory APR: N/A
  • Rewards Program: 1x to 3x points for travel purchases

Wells Fargo Platinum Card

The Wells Fargo Platinum Card is ideal for helping you manage your money and keep your finances in check. It doesn’t offer a concierge service, bonus points or cash back, but it utilizes a number of very useful features to help users struggling with debt or seeking to take control.

Through Wells Fargo Online, cardholders can check their FICO score for free and using the My Money App they can monitor and plot spending. It also offers cellphone protection, an 18-month intro APR on purchases and balance transfers, and all the traditional features and benefits associated with using a Visa credit card.

  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Regular APR: 16.99% to 26.49% variable APR
  • Account Opening Bonus: Not Available
  • Intro APR: 0% APR on purchases/transfers for 18 months
  • Balance Transfer Fee: 5%
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: 3%
  • Cash Back Rewards: N/A

Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa

The Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa is a great rewards card offering a fixed return of 1.5% on all purchases. However, you can increase these earnings to 1.8% when spending on Apple Pay, Google Pay, and other digital wallets during the first 12 months. This card also offers up to $600 in cell phone protection, the rewards don’t expire, and there are no blackout dates.

The Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa offers a high credit line and low-interest rate for good and excellent credit borrowers (FICO score of 680 or more required), and you won’t pay interest on transferred funds for up to 15 months. To top things off, you’ll get a cash bonus of $150 when you spend more than $500 in the first three months.

  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Regular APR: 15.49% to 27.49% variable APR
  • Account Opening Offer: $150 when you spend $500 in first 3 months
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: 3%
  • Balance Transfer Fee: 3%
  • Introductory APR: 0% on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months
  • Rewards Program: Up to 5% cash back

US Bank Visa Signature Card

Earn 5% cash back on the first $2,000 you spend in two bonus categories of your choice, as well as 2% on another category and 1% on everything else. This is one of the better loyalty programs not connected to Chase Bank and it allows you to secure a $500 sign up bonus and move all the money to your US Bank or use as statement credit.

What’s more, you’ll also be a part of the Visa Signature program, which offers a host of features and benefits, as discussed at the bottom of this article.

  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Regular APR: 15.49% to 24.99% variable APR
  • Account Opening Bonus: $150 when you spend $500 within 90 days after applying online 
  • Intro APR: 0% APR on balance transfers for 12 billing cycles
  • Balance Transfer Fee: 3%
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: 3%
  • Cash Back Rewards: 1% to 5% cash back

The Best Secured Visa Cards

It’s rare to see many secured cards on any list of the best credit cards. They don’t have big rewards or perks; they’re not made for balance transfers and they don’t have high credit limits. However, these cards are essential if you have bad credit or no credit. In fact, if your credit history is in the doldrums, these cards could be your only hope, the only chance you have of getting a credit card and establishing a credit history.

Secured Visa credit cards are like prepaid cards. You make a refundable security deposit, this sets your credit limit, and if you ever stop making monthly payments, the credit card issuer will just take your deposit back. Every so often, the issuer will do an automatic review on your account, checking to see if your score has improved enough for you to be upgraded to an unsecured credit card.

In just 6 to 12 months, depending on your current credit score, a secured card could improve your score enough to give you the unsecured card you want. It also provides you with a safe and convenient way to spend money, and therefore has many other uses that extend beyond simple credit building.

Here is a list of the very best Visa credit cards in this category.

OpenSky Secured Visa Card

The OpenSky card has made it onto several of our top lists and is one of our most recommend secured credit cards. A security deposit of $200 is all you need to get started with a fixed APR of less than 19% and a respectable annual fee. OpenSky states that 99% of users build a credit score within just 6 months.

  • Type: Visa Secured
  • Annual Fee: $35
  • Regular APR: 18.89%
  • Security Deposit: $200 minimum
  • Rewards Card: No

Applied Bank Secured Visa

You can get a credit limit of up to $1,000 with the Applied Bank Visa, and with additional deposits, you can extend this to $5,000. It’s a rather high limit for a secured card, though, as the main goal is to build credit and lower is usually better.

However, you don’t need to deposit big to use this card and deposits actually start from as little as $200, with an APR of less than 10%. The only downside is the annual fee, which is quite high at $48. But considering the benefits it could provide, effectively giving you a credit score or helping to turn a bad score good, it’s worth it.

  • Type: Visa Secured
  • Annual Fee: $48
  • Regular APR: 9.99%
  • Security Deposit: $200 to $1,000 (up to $5,000 with additional deposits)
  • Rewards Card: No

Green Dot Primor Secured Visa

Deposit anywhere from $200 to $5,000 with the Green Dot Primor and get an interest rate of less than 14%. There are no application fees or processing fees. The only fees you need to worry about are annual fees and late fees, charged at $39 and $29 respectively.

  • Type: Visa Secured
  • Annual Fee: $39
  • Regular APR: 13.99%
  • Security Deposit: From $200 to $5,000
  • Rewards Card: No

Green Dot Platinum Secured Visa

The Green Dot Platinum card doesn’t charge you for applying and no hard credit checks are initiated. You can deposit with as little as $200, paying an annual fee of $39 and getting an interest rate of less than 20%.

  • Type: Visa Secured
  • Annual Fee: $39
  • Regular APR: 19.99% APR
  • Security Deposit: Minimum of $200
  • Rewards Card: No

Are Visa Cards the Best?

Visa is the biggest supplier of credit and debit cards in the world and you don’t get that big without doing something right. Visa cards are available across multiple categories and can always be relied upon to offer great security features and rewards. However, that doesn’t mean Visa cards are always the best cards available for your needs.

When looking for a credit card, it’s important to look at all issuers and networks. Don’t just assume that Visa is the best option because you know and trust the brand; don’t opt for the provider that you have a checking account with just because you’ve been with them for years.

If you’re looking for travel reward credit cards, the Chase Sapphire is worth a look, but you shouldn’t neglect airline specific credit cards and should also look into American Express credit cards. If it’s cash back rewards you prefer, the Chase Freedom and Chase Freedom Unlimited should certainly be considered, but the Discover It, along with several Mastercard and Amex cards, should be included in your comparison as well. 

What Visa Credit Card Should You Use?

The credit card that is ideal for you may not be ideal for everyone else. Just because the Chase Freedom Unlimited can give the average user a couple of hundred dollars doesn’t mean you will gain the same benefits.

You have to consider how the card will suit your circumstances and finances, because what can benefit one person could cost another. For example, if you:

Don’t Pay Your Balance…

Then you should focus primarily on the APR. Many users will focus on the rewards before anything else and if you spend a lot of money, it may seem like a sensible decision, but not if you don’t pay your balance every month.

By focusing on rewards before anything else, you could end up applying for a card that earns you an extra $100 at the end of the year, but requires you to pay more percentage points on your APR. 

These percentage points could offset all rewards and leave you significantly out of pocket, especially when you factor high cash advance fees, penalty APRs, late payment fees, and other bad borrower costs into the equation.

You may discover that the card with the best APR also has the best rewards. If so, that’s great, and you can enjoy the best of both worlds. Just remember to compare interest rates first and calculate how much these will cost you over the year compared to how much a rewards program will earn you.

Always Pay Your Balance…

Then you should look into reward credit cards. You won’t incur interest on balances that you repay in full every month, and if you make all your payments on time, you won’t be hit with any late payment fees. 

If you’re spending less than $10,000 a year on the card, focus on rewards cards that don’t charge an annual fee. Assuming an average cash back rate of 2% over the year, a spend of $10,000 will earn you $200. If you pay an annual fee of $95, that’s nearly half of your total rewards gone. Sure, you can probably get more during the first year thanks to welcome bonuses, but credit cards are not designed for short-term use.

If you’re spending $20,000 or more, you’re making in excess of $400 and that annual fee begins to have less of an impact.

Spend a Lot of Money…

Then you should look at premium reward cards. When you spend upwards of $50,000 a year on your credit card, it nearly always benefits you to opt for a premium card, even though this may result in an annual fee of more than $500.

For instance, let’s assume that you earn a 2% average rate without an annual fee on a basic rewards card. At the end of the year, you will have earned $1,000 in cash back. 

However, if you use the Chase Sapphire Reserve card, and we assume that $15,000 is spent on travel, $10,000 on dining, $1,000 on Lyft rides, and the rest on everything else, you’ll earn over $2,000 in credits that you can use with transfer partners, in addition to perks, benefits, and other extras worth several hundred dollars.

You will pay $550 a year for these benefits, but the rewards are more than enough to offset the costs and the more you spend, the more relevant this becomes.

Are a Frequent Flyer…

Then you should use a travel card. This only applies, however, if you pay your balance in full or don’t accumulate too much interest over the year. There are many travel reward cards out there, a number of which carry the Visa logo. 

These cards reward you every time you make travel-related purchases, including flight tickets, taxis, rideshares, and accommodation, and they also give you freebies and discounts relating to all of these purchases.

Furthermore, these cards offer additional perks that can save frequent flyers a lot of money over the year, including companion tickets, free checked baggage, and upgrades. You’ll need to fly at least a few times a year or take a couple of big vacations to make this work, however, and anyone who flies just once a year is likely to benefit more from a cash back card.

Have No Credit History…

Then you should get a secured credit card. These cards don’t offer perks and benefits like access to airport lounges, regular cash back, and annual travel credit. However, if you apply now, you could have an impressive credit history in just 6 months, and from there you can start thinking about rewards and higher credit limits.

Have Bad Credit…

Then you should look into secured credit cards and bad credit cards. It all depends on what you need the card for and how high of a credit limit you want. A secured credit card is usually the better option as it will allow you to build your credit score risk-free and many of these cards offer a free credit score check to monitor your progress.

An unsecured credit card may charge a higher interest rate and if you fail to clear the balance at the end of the month, that debt will grow quickly and could worsen your credit score and your chances of getting a better card with a beneficial rewards rate in the future.

Are a Student…

Then you should apply for a student credit card. You will need a school email address to apply for these cards and you can benefit from a host of perks and low rates, all of which are geared towards low-credit students who need to purchase educational materials and living expenses.

There are several great student credit cards out there, including the Journey Student Rewards Credit Card from Capital One and the Discover It Student card, both of which are unsecured and offer great reward programs.

Visa Card Benefits

There are three tiers of Visa cards where benefits are concerned. There are traditional Visa cards, Visa Signature, and Visa Infinite. These are offered directly through Visa and may be offered alongside benefits provided by the card issuer.

Traditional Visa Benefits

The following benefits are available on all Visa credit cards,

  • Inquiry Service: Cardholders all over the world can benefit from a 24-hour cardholder inquiry service. If you have a general issue with your card call the number on the back to get support. 
  • Zero Liability: There is no fraud liability, which means you won’t be asked to pay a single cent if you are the victim of fraud and all lost money will be returned.
  • Auto Rental Damage Waiver: If you rent a car using your Visa card, you may be covered for damage caused by collisions or losses resulting from theft.
  • Card Replacement: If you lose your card and need a quick replacement and cash injection, Visa may be able to help. They will connect you with your issuer and arrange for your card to be stopped, a new one to be sent quickly, and emergency cash to be made available.
  • Lost or Stolen: If your Visa card is lost or stolen, simply contact Visa (1-800-847-2911) and they will arrange the shipment of a brand-new card while immediately canceling the lost card.
  • Roadside Dispatch: This is a roadside assistance program to help you get going again, but it’s not free for traditional Visa users and you need to pay every time you use it.

Visa Signature Benefits

In addition to all the above benefits, users of Visa Signature cards can get:

  • Extended Warranty: If you purchase a product using your Visa credit card, you automatically extend the manufacturer’s warranty, adding an additional year to most warranties.
  • Summary: At the end of the year, you will receive a detailed summary of your credit card spending, which will help you with budgeting and financial planning.
  • Travel and Emergency Services: You can contact Visa anywhere in the world to deal with a slew of travel-related emergencies.

Visa Infinite Benefits

In addition to all of the above benefits, users of Visa Infinite cards can get:

  • Purchase Security: If an item purchased with your Visa card is lost, stolen or damaged within 90 days of your purchase, they will reimburse it to a specific amount.
  • Return Protection: Get added return protection when you purchase an item using your Visa credit card.
  • Travel Insurance: There are several insurance benefits tailored towards travel, including a reimbursement for delayed and canceled trips, lost luggage reimbursement, and cover if you have an accident.

Bottom Line: Choosing Visa

Visa is a great choice when you need a secure credit card that you can use all over the world. One of the frequently-overlooked benefits of owning a Visa card is that it can be used all over the world and is available in more countries and more retail locations than any other credit card. 

That doesn’t mean much here in the United States, as Mastercard, American Express, Discover, and Visa are all available in millions of retail locations. However, if you’re a frequent traveler, you’ll be much better off using a Visa.

In Europe, Discover is practically non-existent, especially in countries like the UK. Many consumers and retailers haven’t even heard of the brand and you’ll find a very small percentage of outlets that accept it.
 American Express is equally problematic and many retailers have turned their backs on it. but wherever credit cards are accepted, you’ll see the name Visa, and it’s often right alongside the name Mastercard.

Combine this benefit with the global travel cover all cards provide and the travel rewards that some cards provide, and it’s fair to say that Visa is a great choice.