A Visa card is a safe way to pay for things, all around the world.

If you spend using a Visa card, Visa is the company that sends the money to the business you’re buying something from.

Visa doesn't supply the credit cards. And it doesn’t charge you anything for using a Visa credit card or Visa debit card. In fact, Visa doesn't deal directly with customers at all – it only deals with the banks.

With a debit card, you’re spending the money that you have in your bank account. In contrast, a credit card is a plastic card that gives you access to credit that you can spend. Credit is similar to a loan, but the money doesn’t arrive in your bank account as a lump sum. Instead, it’s loaded onto a credit card for you to use as you please.

What are the benefits of having a Visa credit card?

Visa credit cards come with lots of benefits. You’ll find more on these below.

Convenience

If you get a get a Visa card, you’ll be able to choose from a variety of ways to pay. Whether you choose to make a contactless payment, or swipe/dip and enter your pin, you won’t have to worry about having cash on you anymore.

Plus, Visa Checkout means you can make fast, easy payments from your own devices – including desktop, tablet or phone. By creating a Visa Checkout account online, you can safely save your Visa card details. This means you can pay for your purchases in one quick click.

Credit

Having a Visa credit card means you can spend money you don’t have. If you need to make larger purchases – such as a holiday or furniture – you can pay on your Visa credit card and then spread the cost of your repayments.

Widely accepted

Visa cards are accepted at millions of shops and restaurants all around the world. There are also millions of Visa ATMs globally. So you can be sure you’ll be able to buy what you need, wherever you’re going.

Security

If you lose your Visa card or it’s stolen, Visa can quickly get a replacement to you, even if you’re abroad.

Global assistance 24/7

Visa’s emergency assistance services are available around the clock, wherever you are in the world. You’ll have peace of mind that if you need to report a lost or stolen card or find an ATM, for example, you’ll be able to do it at any time.

Consumer protection

Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act means that if you buy goods or services, your card provider is jointly liable.

Online security

The ‘Verified by Visa’ system protects your card when you pay online and gives you extra security. You’re protected against unauthorised use, online fraud, missing deliveries, damaged goods and more.

Rewards

Some Visa credit cards offer rewards schemes such as free insurances or cashback. The rewards vary from card to card. To find the best visa rewards card for you, think about your lifestyle and what kind of rewards you’d benefit from. For example, if you’re a frequent traveller, a Visa card offering free travel insurance might be helpful.

Travel Tools app

The Visa travel tools app helps you to find ATMs abroad. It can also check exchange rates for you and is another way to get assistance for lost or stolen cards.

What are the downsides of having a Visa credit card?

As with any credit card, you’ll need to make sure you know how you’re going to pay it off.

If you don’t pay some or all of your balance each month, you’ll face fees, interest and other charges.

Are Visa cards the only credit cards in the UK?

No – there are other companies offering similar services to Visa card, UK wide.

When it comes to getting a credit card, Visa, MasterCard and American Express are the most common choices.

You’ll see the Visa logo on Visa credit cards.

What's the difference between Visa, MasterCard and American Express?

When choosing which credit card to get, people often see it as a case of choosing Visa, MasterCard or American Express.

They offer a very similar service. They all check with your card provider whether the purchase is approved. They confirm to the retailer whether your payment can be made. And they all send the money to the company you're paying.

The main difference is where they're accepted. Their security schemes, and the extra benefits they come with, may also vary.

What types of Visa credit card are there?

There are several different types of Visa credit card for you to choose from:

  • Interest-free purchase Visa credit card: Charges no interest on your purchases for several months

  • Balance transfer Visa credit card: Charges no interest on your existing credit card balance for several months

  • Money transfer Visa credit card: Can send money straight to your bank account, and charges no interest for several months

  • Overseas Visa credit card: Charges lower fees for use abroad, and offers better exchange rates. Sometimes using this kind of card abroad offers better value than using cash

  • Cashback Visa credit card: Gives you back some of the money you spend

  • Visa rewards credit card: Gives you vouchers or points when you spend. The best visa rewards card for you will be one where the rewards suit your lifestyle

  • Air miles Visa credit card: Lets you earn points that you can use for flights or holidays

  • Credit building Visa credit card: Visa cards for bad credit are for people whose borrowing history is either poor or non-existent. With Visa credit cards for bad credit, you can gradually build up your credit score over time.

Before you submit a Visa card application, think about which would best suit your lifestyle and spending habits.

What credit card should I get?

If you want a credit card, you shouldn't think of your choice as Visa vs MasterCard. You should find the credit card that suits you best. Whether it's a Visa credit card or a MasterCard one doesn’t matter.

Think about what you'll be using your credit card for. You should also look at interest charges and balance transfer services. Many also come with other benefits, such as cashback, air miles or shopping vouchers.

Once you know the type of card suits your lifestyle, you can compare Visa cards using our comparison table to find a deal that works for you.

What to look out for when choosing a Visa card

There are a few things to bear in mind when you choose your Visa credit card – or any credit card. These include:

  • Annual Percentage Rate (APR) – this is the cost of borrowing

  • Minimum monthly repayments – sometimes it’s a fixed sum, and sometimes it’s a percentage of the balance

  • Annual fee – some Visa credit cards charge a fee each year, which gets added to your balance

  • Additional charges – some Visa credit cards have additional charges if you go over your credit limit or make a late payment, for example

  • Introductory rates – some Visa card offers give low rates for several months as a special deal, but then the rate increases

  • Rewards – check to see what rewards and benefits are available.

Compare and apply for a Visa credit card

Once you’ve found one you want to apply for, Visa card applications are usually quick, fuss-free and simple. If you’re wondering how to get a Visa card then simply follow these easy steps.

  • Look at the Visa credit card comparison table at the top of this page to see which are the best Visa cards for your needs. A comparison is a good way to find the best visa credit card, UK wide, for you.

  • Getting Visa credit is dependent on your credit score. Think about using a credit reference agency to see what your credit record looks like before you apply. You want it to look as attractive as possible to lenders. Alternatively, you could use our eligibility checker to see your chances of being accepted before you apply.

  • Click through to the bank offering the credit card you want from our Visa credit card comparison table.

  • Fill in the form required to do your Visa credit card application. Online Visa card applications can be done in minutes.

  • If you've applied for an instant-decision Visa card, you'll find out straight away whether it's been approved.

  • Wait for your Visa card to arrive in the post.

If your application isn’t approved, avoid applying for the same credit card for six months as you’ll automatically be rejected. Limit the number of applications you do overall, as being rejected for credit can negatively impact your credit score. It’s better to make sure you fit the criteria before you apply.

What information do I need to share for a Visa card application?

There’s some specific information that you’ll need to share when applying for Visa cards, UK wide. This usually includes:

  • Your name

  • Your address

  • Your date of birth

  • Your employment status

  • Your income

  • Your nationality.

You may also have to supply proof of this information.

How long does it take to get a credit card?

Online Visa card applications shouldn't take very long at all. The application itself takes around 10 minutes. You'll get an instant decision and you should have your card within 10 days.

Visa card bank branch applications, or those done by post, take a bit longer.

Here are some tips to speed up the process of getting a new credit card.