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The 3 Levels of Visa Credit Card Benefits

The most important features of credit cards are set by the banks that issue them, not by payment networks like Visa. But Visa does offer some cardholder benefits.
May 30, 2019
Credit Card Basics, Credit Cards
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Most benefits offered on Visa credit cards aren’t provided by Visa at all. That’s because Visa doesn’t actually produce credit cards. Visa credit cards are issued by banks, such as Chase, Wells Fargo or your local community bank. And it’s the issuers that provide most of the benefits that come with your cards.

Visa, by contrast, is a payment network, a company that processes transactions on credit cards. Even so, Visa does provide some cardholder benefits. Those benefits come in three levels, which the company calls “Traditional,” “Signature” and “Infinite.”

» MORE: Is there any difference between Visa and Mastercard? 

The benefits below are those listed as available for Visa-branded cards as of June 2019. Two things are important to note, though:

  • While Visa makes these benefits available for Visa-branded cards, issuers have some discretion on which benefits are actually included on a particular card. Visa’s benefits website warns: “Certain restrictions, limitations and exclusions apply and benefit configuration may vary. Please refer to your Guide to Benefits or contact your issuer for full program terms and conditions, and to confirm specific coverage levels.”
  • Many issuers offer benefits of their own on top of (or in place of) those offered by Visa.

Traditional benefits

  • Cardholder inquiry service. This allows you to call Visa and get details about your card, including both issuer- and network-provided features.
  • Lost/stolen card reporting, emergency replacement and emergency cash. If your card is lost or stolen, you can call Visa and it’ll work with your issuer to get you a replacement ASAP. It can also arrange with your issuer to get you some cash to hold you over until you get your card.
  • Auto rental collision damage waiver. This protects you if a car you rented is damaged in a crash or stolen. Learn more about credit card rental car coverage.
  • Zero fraud liability. You won’t be held responsible for fraudulent use of your card.
  • Roadside assistance. If your car breaks down or you need other help on the road, you can call Visa and they’ll send help. You have to pay, though.

Signature benefits

  • All Traditional benefits. Everything from the Traditional tier is included in Signature benefits.
  • Extended warranty. Visa extends the manufacturer’s warranty period on certain items you buy with your card. When the manufacturer’s warranty period is less than a year, Visa doubles it. For warranties of one to three years, Visa adds an extra year. Learn more about extended warranty coverage.
  • Year-end summary. You get a detailed summary of your spending each year, which can help with budgeting and tax prep.
  • Travel and emergency assistance. When traveling, you can access a 24/7 hotline to get help with logistics or emergencies. Services — which may incur a cost — include trip planning, medical referrals, emergency medical transportation, prescription and document delivery, legal assistance, ticket replacement, translation services and lost-luggage assistance.

Infinite benefits

  • All Signature benefits. Everything from the bottom two tiers is included in Infinite benefits.
  • Return protection. This coverage kicks in when a merchant refuses to accept returned merchandise bought with the card. It applies to purchases up to $300 for up to 90 days after purchase. Learn more about return protection.
  • Purchase protection. Items bought with the card are covered against theft or damage for 90 days after purchase. Coverage maxes out at $10,000 per claim and $50,000 per year. In cases of theft, you have to file a police report. Learn more about purchase protection.
  • Travel protections. When you pay for transportation with a Visa Infinite card, you get an array of insurance benefits and other protections. Learn more about credit card travel insurance.
    • Trip interruption and cancellation insurance. This benefit helps cover nonrefundable ticket costs when you have to cancel or cut short a trip.
    • Travel accident insurance. You get up to $500,000 in accidental death and dismemberment insurance.
    • Trip delay reimbursement. You’re eligible for up to $500 to cover costs when a flight is delayed for more than six hours or requires an overnight stay.
    • Lost luggage reimbursement. Checked and carry-on luggage is covered in case of loss or theft. Limits apply.

» MORE: Looking for a Visa? See our best Visa credit cards

What kind of Visa is my card?

If your card is a Signature- or Infinite-level card, you’ll usually see it identified as such right on the Visa logo. it’ll say “VISA Signature” or “VISA Infinite.” If it just says “VISA,” it’s probably Traditional.

To double-check, you can go to the website of the bank that issued the card and find its page for the card. If it’s a Signature or Infinite, it’ll tell you. This is a good exercise even if you know your Visa benefit level because as Visa itself notes, it’s up to the issuer to decide specific benefits.

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