Advertiser Disclosure

NerdWallet’s Best Visa Credit Cards of 2019

Jan. 30, 2019
NerdWallet's Best Visa Credit Cards
At NerdWallet, we adhere to strict standards of editorial integrity to help you make decisions with confidence. Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners. Here’s how we make money.

Visa credit cards are widely accepted both in the United States and outside the country. If you’re looking for a new one, options abound — which is good because there’s no such thing as a single “best” Visa card for everybody. To decide which card is best for you, consider your spending, debt and rewards preferences. Here are our top picks for credit cards bearing the Visa logo.

» MORE: Visa credit cards vs. Mastercard: Does it make a difference?

For flat-rate cash back: Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Credit Card

Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Credit Card

Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Credit Card

Apply Now on Alliant Credit Union's secure site
  • Recommended Credit Score
  • 690
    850
    Good - Excellent
  • Card Details
  • Pros

    • High rewards rate
    • No foreign transaction fee

    Cons

    • Has annual fee

    Annual Fees

    $0 the first year, then $59

    APR

    • Min APR: 11.99%, Variable
    • Max APR: 14.99%, Variable

    Bonus Offers

    None

    Intro APR

    • N/A
  • Additional Information
    • Exclusively designed for those spending $50,000+ a year on their card
    • Unlimited Cash Back: 3% cash back in year one & 2.5% cash back after
    • No limit to the cash back awards you can earn
    • No foreign transaction fees
    • Generous credit line
    • $59 annual fee, waived the first year
    • Works with Google Pay, Apple Pay and Samsung Pay
    • $0 fraud liability guarantee from Visa

Why we like it

The annual fee may be a turn-off, but the Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Credit Card was specifically designed for bigger spenders. If you spend more than $5,900 a year, it’s a better deal than a 1.5% cash-back card with no annual fee. Spend more than $11,800, and it’s better than a no-fee 2% flat-rate card.

Pros and cons

Pros: The card has an outstanding cash-back rate: unlimited 3% rewards on every purchase in the first year, then unlimited 2.5% cash back thereafter. The card also charges no foreign transaction fees, making it a good option for international travel.

Cons: There’s an annual fee of $0 the first year, then $59. After the first year, you’ll have to spend $2,360 a year to make up for it. Also, you must be a member of Alliant Credit Union, although anyone can join with a $10 donation to Foster Care to Success.

» MORE: Read our review of the Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Credit Card

For bonus category cash back: Chase Freedom®

Chase Freedom®

Chase Freedom®

Apply Now on Chase's secure site
  • Recommended Credit Score
  • 690
    850
    Good - Excellent
  • Card Details
  • Pros

    • No annual fee
    • 5% rewards on rotating categories
    • Access to Chase’s Ultimate Rewards site to earn more cash back

    Cons

    • If you value simplicity, a flat rate cash back card may be better
    • A foreign transaction fee

    Annual Fees

    $0

    APR

    • APR: 17.24% - 25.99% Variable APR
    • Cash Advance APR: 27.24%, Variable

    Bonus Offers

    Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening

    Intro APR

    • 0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 15 months
  • Additional Information
    • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 17.24-25.99%. Balance transfer fee is 3% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum
    • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
    • Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate
    • Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter
    • Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - it's automatic
    • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open and there is no minimum to redeem for cash back.
    • Free credit score, updated weekly with Credit Journey℠
    • No annual fee

Why we like it

The Chase Freedom® has one of the best rewards rates out there without an annual fee or a complicated redemption process. If you spend a lot on the 5% bonus categories — and most people do — you’ll easily earn substantial cash back with this card.

Pros and cons

Pros: This card offers 5% cash back in rotating bonus categories that you activate, on up to $1,500 per quarter in spending, and 1% on all other purchases. Bonus categories in recent years have included gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants and wholesale clubs. There’s a cash sign-up bonus that’s fairly easy to earn: Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.

Cons: Activating and keeping track of bonus categories can be a hassle. You can opt in to the bonus category at any time and get the bonus for the entire quarter — but if you forget, you won’t get 5% cash back. If you don’t spend enough to maximize the bonus categories each quarter, you might earn more rewards with another card.

» MORE: Read our review of the Chase Freedom®

For flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

Apply Now on Capital One's secure site
  • Recommended Credit Score
  • 690
    850
    Good - Excellent
  • Card Details
  • Pros

    • High rewards rate
    • Flexible rewards redemption
    • No foreign transaction fee
    • Sign-up bonus

    Cons

    • Has annual fee
    • Redemption value for cash is half of value for travel
    • Requires good/excellent credit

    Annual Fees

    $0 for the first year, then $95

    APR

    • APR: 15.24% - 25.24% Variable APR
    • Cash Advance APR: 25.24%, Variable

    Bonus Offers

    Enjoy a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $500 in travel

    Intro APR

    • N/A
  • Additional Information
    • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $500 in travel
    • Earn 2X miles on every purchase, every day. Plus earn 10X miles on thousands of hotels, through January 2020; learn more at hotels.com/venture
    • Named ‘The Best Travel Card' by CNBC, 2018
    • Receive up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
    • Fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime; no blackout dates. Plus transfer your miles to over 12 leading travel loyalty programs
    • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
    • No foreign transaction fees
    • $0 intro annual fee for the first year; $95 after that

Why we like it

Simple rewards and flexible redemption have rightly made the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card one of the most popular credit cards on the market.

Pros and cons

Pros: You earn an unlimited 2 miles per dollar spent on everything, and (through January 2020) a whopping 10 miles per dollar at Hotels.com/venture. You can redeem miles for statement credit against most travel expenses. You’re not restricted to one airline or hotel, as is the case with co-branded cards. Just book your own travel, then pay for it with rewards.

Cons: You won’t find airline-specific perks with the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card. If you’re loyal to one particular airline or hotel chain, for example, it might be worth comparing this card with that of a co-branded card.

» MORE: Read our review of the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

For bonus travel rewards: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Apply Now on Chase's secure site
  • Recommended Credit Score
  • 690
    850
    Good - Excellent
  • Card Details
  • Pros

    • A large bonus
    • No foreign transaction fee
    • Cool factor - metal card
    • Earn more points on travel and dining at restaurants
    • Premium travel protection benefits

    Cons

    • $0 intro annual fee for the first year, after that $95 per year

    Annual Fees

    $0 for the first year, then $95

    APR

    • APR: 18.24% - 25.24% Variable APR
    • Cash Advance APR: 27.24%, Variable

    Bonus Offers

    Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

    Intro APR

    • N/A
  • Additional Information
    • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
    • Chase Sapphire Preferred named "Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption" - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, June 2018
    • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
    • No foreign transaction fees
    • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
    • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
    • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards

Why we like it

If you’re staunchly loyal to a single airline or hotel, a co-branded card might provide specific benefits that the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card does not. But if you want flexibility in earning and redeeming rewards for a reasonable annual fee, this is the best card around.

Pros and cons

Pros: Unlike with cards tied to a specific airline or hotel brand, you can use rewards from the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card in many places. You earn 2 points per $1 spent on dining and travel and 1 point per dollar on everything else. Points are worth 25% more when you use them to book travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, or you can transfer them at a 1:1 rate to several loyalty programs. The sign-up bonus is a huge plus: Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

Cons: As a general travel card, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card lacks the special perks — such as free checked bags and free anniversary nights at a hotel — offered by some co-branded cards airline and hotel cards.

» MORE: Read our review of the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

For 0% interest: U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card

U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card

U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card

Apply Now on US Bank's secure site
  • Recommended Credit Score
  • 720
    850
    Excellent
  • Card Details
  • Pros

    • No annual fee
    • Intro APR period on Purchases and Balance Transfers

    Cons

    • No rewards
    • Needs excellent credit

    Annual Fees

    $0

    APR

    • APR: 14.74% - 25.74% Variable APR
    • Cash Advance APR: 26.24%, Variable

    Bonus Offers

    None

    Intro APR

    • 0%* on purchases and balance transfers for 18 billing cycles*
  • Additional Information
    • 0% Intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 18 billing cycles. After that, a variable APR currently 14.74% - 25.74%
    • Great Offer from U.S. Bank, a 2018 World's Most Ethical Company® - Ethisphere Institute, February 2018
    • No Annual Fee*
    • Flexibility to choose a payment due date that fits your schedule
    • Get up to $600 protection on your cell phone (subject to $25 deductible) against covered damage or theft when you pay your monthly cellular telephone bill with your U.S.Bank Visa® Platinum Credit Card. Certain terms, conditions, and exclusions apply.
    • View Rates and Fees

Why we like it

If you have excellent credit and need to spread out payments on a purchase as long as possible without interest, here’s your card.

Pros and cons

Pros: Although the U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card reduced the length of its 0% introductory APR period (which used to be 20 billing cycles), it still gives you a good long time to pay off a major purchase. You now get 0% on Balance Transfers and Purchases for 18 billing cycles, and then the ongoing APR of 14.74% - 25.74% Variable APR.

Cons: This card offers no rewards, so there’s not a very compelling incentive to keep using it after the 0% intro period runs out. It also requires excellent credit, whereas many low-interest cards require only good credit.

» MORE: Read our review of the U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card

For premium features: Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Apply Now on Chase's secure site
  • Recommended Credit Score
  • 720
    850
    Excellent
  • Card Details
  • Pros

    • A large bonus
    • High rewards rate
    • High value benefits
    • Cool factor - metal card
    • No foreign transaction fee

    Cons

    • High annual fee
    • Needs excellent credit

    Annual Fees

    $450

    APR

    • APR: 19.24% - 26.24% Variable APR
    • Cash Advance APR: 27.24%, Variable

    Bonus Offers

    Earn 50K bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

    Intro APR

    • N/A
  • Additional Information
    • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
    • Named "Best Premium Travel Credit Card" for 2018 by MONEY® Magazine
    • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
    • 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. $0 foreign transaction fees.
    • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
    • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
    • Access to 1,000+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select
    • Up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®

Why we like it

The best premium travel card on the market gives you both top-notch rewards (what you get for using the card) and valuable perks (what you get just for carrying the card).

Pros and cons

Pros: The Chase Sapphire Reserve® gives you 3 points per dollar spent on travel and dining and 1 point per dollar on all other spending. Points are worth 1.5 cents apiece when redeemed for travel booked through Chase, or you can transfer them on a 1:1 basis to a dozen hotel and airline partners, possibly giving you even more value. You get $300 a year in credit for travel expenses. Add in the big sign-up bonus, and this card can easily pay for itself and then some, even with an annual fee of $450.

Cons: The $450 annual fee is a significant out-of-pocket expense. Much of the value of this card is tied to the $300 annual travel credit; if you don’t travel much, this isn’t the card for you.

» MORE: Read our review of the Chase Sapphire Reserve®

For small-business cash back: Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business

Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business

Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business

Apply Now on Capital One's secure site
  • Recommended Credit Score
  • 690
    850
    Good - Excellent
  • Card Details
  • Pros

    • High rewards rate
    • No foreign transaction fee

    Cons

    • Has annual fee
    • High APR

    Annual Fees

    $0 for the first year, then $95

    APR

    • APR: 19.24% Variable APR
    • Penalty APR: 31.65%, Variable
    • Cash Advance APR: 25.24%, Variable

    Bonus Offers

    A one-time $500 cash bonus once you spend $4,500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening.

    Intro APR

    • N/A
  • Additional Information
    • Earning unlimited 2% cash back could mean thousands of dollars each year going back into your business
    • Plus, a one-time $500 cash bonus once you spend $4,500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
    • Use Spark Cash across all your business spend, with no categories to limit your purchasing
    • $0 intro annual fee for the first year; $95 after that
    • Rewards won't expire for the life of the account, and you can redeem your cash back for any amount
    • Get employee cards at no additional cost, and earn rewards from their business spend

Why we like it

With unlimited 2% cash back, the Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business is a great deal on its own and can be a powerful complement to the other cards in your wallet.

Pros and cons

Pros: Flat-rate rewards cards are like khakis: boring, but they go with everything. When you pair this 2% cash-back card with a tiered rewards card, you’ll always earn more than the “1% back on everything else” that most cards promise. If you’re a one-credit-card type of entrepreneur, a flat-rate card like this will likely offer better long-term value than a tiered rewards card.

Cons: After the first year, you’ll break even on the annual fee only if you put more than $4,750 on the card per year. If you plan to spend less, consider a no-annual-fee card instead.

» MORE: Read our review of the Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business

For small-business travel: Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business

Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business

Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business

Apply Now on Capital One's secure site
  • Recommended Credit Score
  • 690
    850
    Good - Excellent
  • Card Details
  • Pros

    • High rewards rate
    • No foreign transaction fee

    Cons

    • Has annual fee
    • High APR

    Annual Fees

    $0 for the first year, then $95

    APR

    • APR: 19.24% Variable APR
    • Penalty APR: 31.65%, Variable
    • Cash Advance APR: 25.24%, Variable

    Bonus Offers

    A one-time bonus of 50,000 miles once you spend $4,500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening.

    Intro APR

    • N/A
  • Additional Information
    • Earn 2 miles per $1 on every purchase, every day
    • Plus, a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles once you spend $4,500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
    • Miles won't expire for the life of the account, and there are no categories to limit where or what you buy
    • $0 intro annual fee for the first year; $95 after that
    • There's no limit to the amount of miles you can earn
    • Redeem miles for travel, cash back, gift cards and more
    • No foreign transaction fees and fly on any airline, anytime, with no blackout dates or seat restrictions

Why we like it

The Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business is a keeper for traveling entrepreneurs whose expenses don’t fall into common bonus categories.

Pros and cons

Pros: This card features an industry-leading flat rewards rate of 2 miles per dollar spent on anything. Miles are worth 1 cent each when redeemed for travel expenses. The sign-up bonus is also a big draw: A one-time bonus of 50,000 miles once you spend $4,500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening..

Cons: The card has an annual fee of $0 for the first year, then $95. After the first year, you’d have to spend at least $4,750 a year on the card before the rewards would outweigh the cost. But keep in mind that this fee could be deducted as a business expense on your taxes.

» MORE: Read our review of the Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business

For gas: PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature® Card

PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature® Card

PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature® Card

Apply Now on Pentagon Federal Credit Union's secure site
  • Recommended Credit Score
  • 690
    850
    Good - Excellent
  • Card Details
  • Pros

    • No annual fee
    • Bonus cash back categories
    • No foreign transaction fee

    Cons

    • Membership required
    • Can't redeem for cash
    • Inconsistent point value

    Annual Fees

    $0

    APR

    • Min APR: 11.99%, Variable
    • Max APR: 17.99%, Variable
    • Penalty APR: Up to 17.99%, Variable

    Bonus Offers

    $100 bonus after spending $1,500 in purchase transactions within the first 90 days of account opening.

    Intro APR

    • 0% promotional rate for 12 months on transfers made now through March 31, 2019
  • Additional Information
    • 0% APR promo balance transfer rate for 12 months now through March 31, 2019. After that, the APR for the unpaid balance and any new balance transfers will be 11.99% to 17.99%. APR will vary w/the market based on Prime Rate. 3% balance transfer fee per transaction. Subject to credit approval. $100 bonus after spending $1,500 in purchase transactions within the first 90 days of account opening.
    • Rate and offers current as of February 1, 2019 and subject to change.
    • Earn 5 points on gas purchases at the pump. Fuel purchases for airplanes and boats do not receive cash back rewards.
    • Earn 3 points on supermarket purchases
    • Earn 1 point on all other purchases
    • No annual fee
    • No foreign transaction fees
    • No cash advance fee
    • Chip enabled for added security
    • Federally insured by NCUA
    • Variable rate as low As 11.99% APR

Why we like it

For some, the PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature® Card won’t be an easy card to apply for, and redeeming points might be a hassle. But if you need a sky-high return on your gas spending, it may be the card for you.

Pros and cons

Pros: If you’re willing to endure a little hassle in joining this credit union and using its points, it’s hard to beat the return in points on this card, which has an annual fee of $0. Each $1 spent on gas earns the equivalent of 4.25 cents when redeemed for gift cards, which is a superb return. It also helps at the supermarket. The card isn’t issued by a megabank, if that appeals to you.

Cons: To apply, you need to join the Pentagon Federal Credit Union, an organization that caters to military and government employees. (You can also join by making a charitable donation.) There is no cash-back option; just merchandise, gift cards and travel. Also, points generally aren’t worth the traditional penny apiece. You’ll typically get a value of 0.85 cent each, although points can be worth more than a penny when used for travel.

» MORE: Read our review of the PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature® Card

For restaurants: Uber Visa Card

Uber Visa Card

Uber Visa Card

Apply Now on Barclays's secure site
  • Recommended Credit Score
  • 690
    850
    Good - Excellent
  • Card Details
  • Pros

    • Bonus cash back categories
    • No annual fee
    • No foreign transaction fee

    Cons

    • Limited rewards on Uber spending
    • No intro APR period

    Annual Fees

    $0

    APR

    • APR: 17.24%, 22.99% or 25.99% variable based on your creditworthiness
    • Cash Advance APR: 27.24%, Variable

    Bonus Offers

    Earn $100 after spending $500 on purchases in the first 90 days

    Intro APR

    • N/A
  • Additional Information
    • Earn $100 after spending $500 on purchases in the first 90 days
    • 4% back on restaurants, takeout, and bars, including Uber Eats
    • 3% back on airfare, hotels, and vacation home rentals
    • $0 annual fee
    • Up to a $50 statement credit for online subscription services after you spend $5,000 on your card per year
    • Up to $600 in mobile phone protection including damage and theft when you use your Uber Visa Card to pay your monthly mobile phone bill

Why we like it

The Uber Visa Card has an annual fee of $0 and offers huge cash back on certain categories, especially restaurants.

Pros and cons

Pros: The card offers enticing cash-back rates on a plethora of useful categories, including 4% cash back on restaurants, fast food, bars, takeout and UberEats; 3% cash back on hotels, vacation rentals and airfare; and 2% cash back on Uber, online shopping and streaming services. Redeem points for cash back, Uber credits or gift cards. The card offers an easy-to-get sign-up bonus: Earn $100 after spending $500 on purchases in the first 90 days.

Cons: The card’s rewards rate for spending on actual Uber purchases is surprisingly low for a co-branded card.

» MORE: Read our review of the Uber Visa Card