Best VISA Credit Cards

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Looking for the best VISA credit cards? Smart move. VISA is the world’s most widely accepted payment network and offers slightly better benefits than its primary competitor. If you’re looking at the big four (VISA, MasterCard, American Express and Discover), VISA is almost always the optimal choice. That said, there are tons of VISA cards floating around out there, and, admittedly, not all of them are great. To help narrow your selection, we’ve assembled a list of the best VISA credit cards broken down by category type.

Best VISA Credit Card Overall: Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
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This is a long-time NerdWallet favorite. Not only do we consider it the best overall VISA card, but it is perhaps the best credit card currently available through any payment network. The Venture is primarily a travel card, and it won’t do you much good if you never leave home. But even a single yearly vacation is enough to reap its rich rewards. You earn a flat 2% back on all purchases made with the Venture. Rewards come in the form of No Hassle Miles, which are most valuable when traded for travel services like flights, hotels and car rentals. You can redeem with any airline, hotel chain or rental company. Because it has no foreign transaction fee, this is an excellent option for international travelers. The annual fee is pretty reasonable at $59, and keep in mind your rewards will easily recoup that money. The Venture is simple yet rewarding, and we’d recommend it to anyone who could use a free flight or hotel stay.

Best Bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred

Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card
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Another stellar travel card, the Chase Sapphire Preferred gives the Venture a run for its money. Though its base rate isn’t quite as high, it offers a unique array of benefits that combine to provide some phenomenal rewards. To kick off your earnings, you get a signup bonus of Earn 40,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months.. Then, you get 2% back on travel and dining, while everything else generates a steady 1%. If you use your points to book travel through Chase, they automatically become 25% more valuable. One really neat feature is the 7% rewards dividend. Every year on the anniversary of your signing, you’ll receive a bonus equal to 7% of points earned over the past 12 months. Like the Venture, the Sapphire does not charge a foreign transaction fee, making it a great overseas companion. The annual fee is $95, but it’s waived the first year, and the rewards are well worth the cost.

Best Cash Back Card: Chase Freedom

Chase Freedom - $100 Cash Back Credit Card
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Why complicate credit card rewards with complex points systems and convoluted redemption processes? With the Chase Freedom, your rewards come in the form of no-nonsense cash. You don’t have to pay an annual fee, so all earnings result in immediate profit. The base rewards rate is 1% across the board, but the Freedom also comes with rotating 5% bonus categories. These categories change quarterly to reflect seasonal spending habits. Here’s the 2014 bonus category calendar:

  • Q1 (January 1 – March 31): Gas stations, movie theaters and Starbucks stores
  • Q2 (April 1 – June 30): Restaurants and Lowe’s home improvement stores
  • Q3 (July 1 – September 30): Gas stations and Kohl’s
  • Q4 (October 1 – December 31): Amazon.com, Zappos.com and select department stores

Additionally, you can receive up to 20% back when you shop at the Chase Ultimate Rewards online bonus mall. If you sign up right now, you’ll get a nice Earn a $100 Bonus after you make $500 in purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. signup bonus right off the bat. The Freedom, with no annual fee and high cash back rewards, is a tough card to beat.

Best for Debt Relief

Chase Slate Elite Credit Card
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So far, all of the cards listed have emphasized rewards. The Chase Slate serves a different purpose. It’s crafted for folks who need a little time to pay down debts without incurring further interest. It’s one of the best deals on the market, offering 15 months of 0% on transfers and purchases as well as no balance transfer fee. It’s that combination that makes the Slate perfect for anyone who wants some time to pay off debt interest-free: Because there’s no transfer fee, no matter how large your debt is, you’ll come out ahead if you can pay off your balance in the 15-month zero APR period. If you carry a balance, look to the Slate for some relief.

Best for Businesses: Chase Ink

Chase  Ink Cash Business Credit Card
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Every business builder needs a strong company credit card. The Chase Ink is always an excellent selection for small business owners. The rewards are tailored for business needs but aren’t half bad for travel rewards, either. You earn 5% on the first $25,000 spent annually on office supplies, wireless services, landline communication and cable services. You also earn an extra 2% on gas and lodging up to $25,000 in purchases. The 0% APR intro period lasts  a year, giving you time to make investments or pay down debts without being slammed by interest rates. Interestingly enough, the Ink is backed by both VISA and MasterCard, giving the cardholder even more versatility.

Citi Platinum Select MasterCard for College Students

Students looking for their first credit card should take a gander at the Citi Forward for College Students. The Citi Forward offers rewards that reflect the college lifestyle. You get 5 ThankYou points per dollar spent on entertainment and dining out, while everything else garners a flat 1%. The 7-month introductory APR period grants a nice cushion of time before interest rates kick in, which can be a real boon to young adults adjusting to the credit card game. We really like the Forward because it rewards students for good financial behavior. If you stay under your spending limit and keep up with payments, you can receive up to 1,200 bonus points and a 2% APR reduction. The signup bonus currently stands at 10,000 points when you spend $650 and sign up for paperless statements.

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