What kinds of VISA cards are there?

Written by Davies on cards / Reading time: 5 minutes.

What kinds of VISA cards are there?

If we speak about this with young people, they’ll probably think we’re kidding. But there actually was a time when the only way to pay if you went shopping was by cash.

When visiting a shop, customers of any product or service didn’t have other choice than carrying coins and notes. Literally there was no other way: it wasn’t invented yet.

Things continued like that until the 1950s, when in the USA pay cards were created. Anyway, the system didn’t become quite popular until the Seventies: at that moment the development of computers made its handling an easy and comfortable task both for merchants and for buyers.

Since then, the technology has expanded not only in America, but all around the world. There are very few places nowadays where card payments aren’t accepted.

In fact, in the last years the method has evolved and created new types, adapted to specific needs and circumstances.

Do you know them? Keep reading, we’re showing you!


VISA, a reference in pay cards

In the headline of this post we say “kinds of VISA cards” because this is the most important company in the world in the pay card service. It is an American company founded in 1958 as a Bank of America subsidiary.

Strictly speaking, VISA isn’t a bank by itself, but rather an intermediary.

Its mission is to issue cards and other paying systems backed by accounts in any bank in the planet, and run methods for these cards to work anywhere in the world. In such a way, you and the owner of the shop you’re shopping at don’t need to be customers of the same bank in order to transfer the money.

VISA has four operation centres around the world: two of them in the USA, another one in London and the last one in Singapore. All four are coordinated but independent; This means that, in the unlikely event of any of them to stop working, your card operations would still be processed without any problem.

The company claims to be present in over 200 countries worldwide and to perform more than 65,000 procedures per second. With their cards you can not only pay, but also withdraw cash in ATMs.


VISA credit and debit cards

All cards issued by VISA can be roughly divided in two main groups:

  • Credit cards. They’re called like that because they work approximately as if the issuing bank was loaning money to the user. When a purchase is done, it’s not paid at that very moment, but in a predefined term (normally a month) a bill is delivered to the consumer. Since it is a credit, the bank can pre-set the conditions, including higher or lower interest rates (or no rates at all). Banks usually set also a money limit that users can spend for each term, which is negotiated depending on the customer’s solvency. These cards are useful, for example, if you need to deal with a large expense for which you don’t have the money right now but you expect to get it soon. Its main drawback is that you may incur in debts should the expected income not arrive.
  • Debit cards. These cards are directly linked to the account the user has in the banking entity. The money to make the payment is deducted immediately from there. There is no credit, that is, nobody loans money to the user, so there are no interests to pay. Similarly, the spending limit is as much as you have in your account, not a single cent more. You won’t incur in debts, but if you oddly need to have a larger than usual expense for which you lack funds right now, you can’t do it with these cards. In Spain, and in most Western European countries, this is the most popular option.

There is a third kind that can’t be listed among the other two categories because it’s not linked to the user’s bank account. We’re speaking about prepaid cards.

In these, money is stored in the card itself, so you don’t need to access the bank network to withdraw it. While credit and debit cards are released after the user’s name (and therefore, ultimately, all the movements can be tracked), prepaid cards are totally anonymous. They’re commonly offered as gift cards. When its balance is over, they become useless and can be discarded.


The different kinds of VISA credit and debit cards

Among the credit cards issued by VISA, there are different kinds:

  • Classic
  • Gold
  • Platinum
  • Signature
  • Infinite

The first four types also exist as debit cards.

The differences between them are about the privileges and extra services they provide. For example, Infinite cards are those with the best features: they have travel insurance for flight connections, delays or cancellations, price protection (the difference is paid if, in 30 days, you find the purchased item cheaper), extended guarantee for some products, protections against theft or accidents, extra insurance in car rental, rewards programs, etc.

Getting one or another may depend on what does the bank offer you according to your financial status. It could also happen that in your country only certain specific kinds of VISA cards are available.


VISA cards and cryptocurrencies

A still little known but increasingly popular option is the possibility to link VISA cards not to bank accounts with fiat money, but to cryptocurrency accounts. Some of them, such as Davies now allow such an operation.

Like this, one more is added to the already long list of advantages cryptocurrencies have: the possibility of paying directly with them at any shop where VISA cards are accepted. Which are over 50 million businesses worldwide.

In this case VISA offers its world safe pay warranty. It also makes the task of paying anywhere in the world quite easier, since you don’t need to have a bank account in the same country anymore. And operations can be performed in a completely anonymous way, as if you were using cash.

Would you like to know in depth this and other benefits cryptocurrencies can add to your domestic finances? Don’t hesitate to ask us! We’ll be happy to solve all your doubts.