The Top Credit Cards in America [Updated 2020]

There are a lot of credit card companies in America. While you might think that each one  functions the same way and they do, there are reasons why using the top credit cards in America is ideal.

When you hear the word, “credit card”, there might just be two or just a few more names that come to mind? This demonstrates how just a few credit card companies dominate the market. 

According to the Federal Reserve, the credit card debt of the United States has reached an all-time high exceeding $1 trillion. From this pool of money, the top 10 credit card issuers held 81.5% in 2018. 

The amount of money held by credit card issuers tell something about their credibility and quality of service. Moreover, the length of time they’ve been operating proves that they’ve stood the test of time.

According to Britannica, the use of credit cards started around the 1920’s. It’s important to trace back the origin of the credit card because the history of credit cards has a lot to do with how and why top credit card companies today dominate the industry.

As the credit card system back then became more widespread, there was an innovation with the intervention of banks. The first bank that began issuing these new credit cards was the Bank of America in California during 1958. 

The credit card then was called the BankAmericard. Later on, BankAmericard would then be what we now know as Visa. More competitors then rose such as Mastercard, Discover and others. 

Choosing the right credit card company is important as they also affect your financial situation. You wouldn’t want to entrust your financial future to a random credit card company. Here’s what you need to know about the top credit cards in America.


As mentioned earlier, Visa used to be BankAmericard. According to ValueWalk, “Visa is by far the largest credit card company in the United States”. However, Visa doesn’t issue its own credit cards. Instead, Visa offers payment products to banks and other credit issuers. 

Visa operates throughout the world. It is accepted by over 10 million merchants and has over 323 million active cardholders. That’s saying a lot as Visa has over 100 million more cardholders than the second largest credit card company.

Visa has a lot of partners including giant companies such as Amazon, Old Navy and more. If you don’t know it yet, you can have an Amazon credit card and it allows you to enjoy a lot of benefits when shopping at Amazon.

Moreover, having the partnership with Visa, the Amazon credit card functions much like a Visa card wherein the card is accepted wherever Visa cards are. You can earn points, discounts and enjoy other perks that the card offers. 

Having over 10 million merchants accepting Visa, using credit will be more convenient and reliable as Visa cards are accepted almost anywhere. Most if not all merchants that accept credit cards accept Visa. 

According to CreditCardInsider, Visa cards have different tiers. These are the different levels for Personal Visa:

  • Visa Classic
  • Visa Platinum
  • Visa Signature
  • Visa Infinite

Business cards also have different tiers:

  • Visa Business
  • Visa Signature Business
  • Visa Infinite Business

Each tier has different benefits. The higher the tier, the better the perks. Here are but some of the perks you can enjoy with Visa cards on the higher tiers:

  1. Personal concierge
  2. Airport lounge access
  3. Global entry or TSA Pre✓ application fee credit


Mastercard is the second largest credit card company in the world having over 191 million active cardholders. While Visa has a lot more cardholders, Mastercard still gets a good share from worldwide purchase transactions compared to others.

To give you an idea, in 2016, Visa accounted for $139 billion and Mastercard had $67.3 billion. Other top credit card companies such as Discover just had $2.3 billion and American Express had $7.2 billion.

Mastercard was then known as Interbank. But to compete with BankAmericard, several financial institutions formed an alliance crystallizing Mastercard. Like Visa, Mastercard is accepted in almost all parts of the world.

Mastercard also has different tiers:

  1. Standard Mastercard
  2. Gold Mastercard
  3. Platinum Mastercard
  4. World Mastercard
  5. World Elite Mastercard

Again, the higher the tier, the better the benefits. Determining the ideal Mastercard for you depends on how often you will use your card, where you will be making your purchases and the fees that are included.

Mastercard can compete with the benefits that Visa offers. With some, Mastercard even has an edge. For example, most Mastercards have return protection. Meanwhile, Visa just has return protection with its infinite cards. 

To better know which card is ideal for you, you need to know more about the benefits, services, fees and value that each type of card can offer you.  

To conclude, both Visa and Mastercard offer excellent services and benefits. However, with Visa having a far larger number of cardholders and merchants accepting their cards, Visa does have an edge.

There are certain merchants that just accepts certain credit networks. A popular example of this is Costco. Costco just accepts Visa cards. However, this doesn’t mean that Mastercard has nothing better to offer than Visa. 

Visa and Mastercard are the two leading credit card companies in the world. You can’t go wrong with choosing either one of them. The number of cardholders that Visa and Mastercard has combined is more than all the rest that the top 10 credit card companies have.

While there’s nothing wrong with choosing other credit card companies, choosing either Visa or Mastercard does allow you to have more credit options and benefits. With whatever you decide to choose, be sure to do your own research about them. 

We hope that this article has helped you with knowing more about the top credit cards in America and what they can offer you. What type of credit cards do you have?