The best Visa® credit cards of 2019

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In a Nutshell

You can find the Visa® logo on all sorts of credit cards. Here are a few of the best Visa® cards to keep in your wallet.

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This offer is no longer available on our site: Chase Slate®

At a glance: The best Visa® credit cards of 2019

Best simple cash back card Chase Freedom Unlimited®
Best for balance transfers  Chase Slate®
Top for luxury travel rewards Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Great for building credit OpenSky® Secured Credit Visa® Card

There’s no single ‘best’ Visa® credit card. The best for you depends on your circumstances and goals.

Lyn Alden, founder of market research firm Lyn Alden Investment Strategy, says three out of her four credit cards are Visa® cards precisely because of how widely accepted they are abroad. While traveling internationally, she doesn’t want to wonder which stores will accept her cards.  

Visa® also offers a variety of benefits to cardholders, such as zero liability on unauthorized purchases, discounts at select retailers and rental car insurance. This may be one reason to consider a Visa® card.

What to consider when picking out a Visa® card 

When choosing a new Visa® card, consider the following:

  • Will the card help you achieve your financial goals?
  • What fees does the card have?
  • With a rewards card, will you wind up spending more than you’ll earn in rewards?
  • Does the rewards program align with your normal spending?

With these questions in mind, consider the following five Visa® cards and decide which might be a good match for you:

Best Visa® card for cash back: Chase Freedom Unlimited® 

From our partner

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

From cardholders in the last year

See Details, Rates & Fees

Who’s it for?

Those who want to earn cash back on every purchase without keeping track of different categories.

Why we like it

Chase Freedom Unlimited® is a simple cash back credit card. You won’t have to worry about an annual fee or keeping track of categories that earn different rewards rates.

Instead, you can earn unlimited 1.5 percent cash back on every purchase. You’ll receive 1.5 points per dollar spent, and 100 points equal $1 in redemption value when redeeming for gift cards and travel.

Claiming your reward is also easy because you can choose to redeem your points as a statement credit, an electronic deposit into an eligible U.S. bank account, credit, gift cards, or travel credit. Also, your rewards won’t expire if your account is open and in good standing.

Watch out for

There’s a 3% (minimum $5) balance transfer fee and a 3% foreign transaction fee. Because of this, you may not want to use this card to consolidate debt or make purchases overseas.

There’s also a late payment fee of up to $37, depending on your balance.

How to use it

In addition to earning 1.5 percent cash back on your purchases, the sign-up bonus can boost your earnings.

The points you earn are part of the Ultimate Rewards® program, and you can consolidate them with points you earn from other Chase® cards to potentially get more value.

Alden has several Chase® cards and likes that “you can use whichever card is best for the situation, and then group your points together and send them to the rewards program that will offer the greatest benefits.”

Best Visa® card for balance transfers: Chase Slate®

From our partner

Chase Slate®

From cardholders in the last year

Who’s it for?

Those who want to consolidate their interest-accruing credit card debt by transferring it to a new card that has a 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 15 months.

Why we like it

There is a variety of balance transfer credit cards available to consumers, but Chase Slate® stands out because it doesn’t charge a balance transfer fee during the first 60 days of account opening.

Considering that you may be able to transfer up to your available credit limit ($15,000 max), you could save hundreds of dollars, compared to other cards that charge a balance transfer fee of 3 to 5 percent.

Chase Slate® also doesn’t have an annual fee. There’s no penalty APR, which is an increased annual percentage rate that applies to balances after a late payment.

Watch out for

The Chase Slate® card’s 0% intro APR for balance transfers and purchases isn’t the longest available (15 months).

After that, the variable APR jumps to 16.49% - 25.24% percent.

If you think you’ll need more than 15 months to pay off the debt you transfer, compare the cost of paying a balance transfer fee to the savings from a longer period that other cards may offer.

Also, keep in mind that you won’t be able to transfer balances from other Chase® accounts to this card.

How to use it

Transfer balances as soon as you can – only balance transfers that you make within 60 days of opening your account don’t have a fee. After that, the balance transfer fee is 5% or $5 minimum.

Also, make a plan to pay off the balances you transfer before the 0% intro percent promotional period ends.

Best Visa® card for travel: Chase Sapphire Reserve®

From our partner

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

From cardholders in the last year

See Details, Rates & Fees

Who’s it for?

Frequent travelers who seek luxury rewards and can afford a substantial annual fee.

Why we like it

Chase Sapphire Reserve® is a good fit for high-spending frequent travelers. This travel card has a $0 foreign transaction fee. You earn three points per dollar spent on dining and one point per dollar spent on other purchases.

You’ll get up to $300 in statement travel credits each year, which can offset travel purchases and make the annual fee effectively $150. Another perk for cardholders is the statement credit of up to $100 every four years to offset Global Entry or TSA Pre✓® application fees.

And Chase Sapphire Reserve® also gives you access to more than 1,000 airport lounges worldwide through the complimentary Priority Pass™ Select Membership program.

A co-branded travel card could be a better fit if you always use one travel company. However, for an all-around travel Visa® card, this stands out as the best. The premium perks are also in line with other cards that have a higher effective annual fee.

Watch out for

To receive the sign-up bonus, you need to spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. If that kind of spending would break your budget, this might not be the right time to get the card.

The card also has a hefty $450 annual fee. The rewards and perks can offset the card’s fee, but consider how it will impact your budget and whether it’s worth paying each year.

How to use it

To get the most out of your Chase Sapphire Reserve®, figure out if your normal spending will earn you the sign-up bonus.

Also consider if your annual travel spending lets you take advantage of the full $300 statement travel credits. You’ll need to make some calculations to see if the rewards you earn will offset the cost of the annual fee.

You can redeem the points you earn in a variety of ways, but to get the most value you may want to use them to book travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® portal.

You can book hotels, rental cars, cruises or airfare, and you’ll get 50 percent more value when you redeem your points for travel through the portal: 100 points is worth $1.50. If you use your points to redeem for cash and gift cards, on the other hand, 100 points is worth $1. 

Best Visa® card for building credit: OpenSky® Secured Credit Visa® Card 

From our partner

Who’s it for?

Those who have no credit history or made financial mistakes in the past and need to build or rebuild credit.

Why we like it

The OpenSky® Secured Credit Visa® Card doesn’t require a credit check and reports monthly to all three major consumer credit bureaus — Experian, Equifax and TransUnion.

Your refundable security deposit can be between $200 and $3,000, which will in turn determine your credit limit. Other cards may have a higher minimum security deposit, which could make opening one more of a challenge.

Carrying a balance from month to month? The variable APR is 19.39% for purchases, which is lower than many other secured credit cards.

However, try to pay your balance in full each month to avoid accruing interest and to help keep your utilization rate low.

Watch out for

The card has a $35 annual fee, 3% foreign transaction fee and charges the greater of $6 or 5 percent of the amount of each cash advance. Try to avoid extra fees or charges while using the card to build your credit.

In order to be eligible for the card, your monthly income must be greater than your monthly expenses.

How to use it

This card is best used as a tool to build or rebuild your credit. To do so, try to keep your revolving balance (your unpaid amount at the end of each billing cycle) under 30 percent of your overall credit limit, and then pay your bill in full and on time each month.

Bottom line

While Visa® credit cards may come with benefits or protections backed by Visa®, the issuer and particular card can affect fees, interest rates, promotions, perks and rewards programs.

Consider your goals as you zero in on a type of card, and consider whether one of these five Visa® cards could be a good fit.