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American Express vs. Visa Credit Cards

American Express vs. Visa Credit Cards

*Editorial Note: This content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.

This article was last updated Mar 16, 2012, but some terms and conditions may have changed or are no longer available. For the most accurate and up to date information please consult the terms and conditions found on the issuer website.

On CompareCards.com, we routinely offer credit cards from a variety of issuers and a variety of credit card processors.  One of the many questions we take in from consumers is which processor is actually better to have in your wallet; American Express or Visa?  American Express doubles as a processor and card issuer but for purposes of this article, we’re only discussing their processor business.

If you happen to be a frequent credit card user, I’m sure you’ve noticed a good number of times where a business will not accept American Express.  You see, in order for a business to accept Visa, MasterCard, American Express or Discover, they must first sign a contact with the processor agreeing to pay them a flat fee per month + a per transaction fee.

Even though American Express is regarded as the best credit card issuer, they’re also regarded as the most expensive credit card processor.  Many businesses cannot afford to offer American Express as a payment option and thus you see “Visa and MasterCard” as the most common form of credit card options supported by small businesses.

On the flip side, Visa makes up for more than 70% of all the credit cards issued in the world today.  Visa offers a wide variety of payment plans for small business and continues to expand to thousands of new cities across the world every year.  If your business is of the international kind, having a Visa processor is a must.

Regardless of whether you choose to offer American Express or Visa as a payment option (or both), accepting credit cards has its advantages.  Some of which are:

  • Cash is available within a few days, vs. the time it takes to have a check clear
  • Checks can bounce, credit card payments are guaranteed
  • Most consumers don’t carry cash anymore, and offering a credit card payment method keeps your business available to customers



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