The Most Useful Credit Card Networks

By Eliza Daglish on December 25, 2012

Thanks to new concerns about high credit card processing fees, you might just find that your credit card might be denied at more places than ever before. Businesses large and small, and government agencies are now denying some high cost credit cards because of the processing fee.

In general, the most useful credit cards are those which are Visa and MasterCard branded. Such cards are accepted in most businesses because they are the least costly to process. Visa and MasterCard take a smaller cut of the total purchase than Discover or American Express, meaning that most companies will accept Visa or MasterCard cards before other card brands.

There is one downside to universal acceptance, however. American Express and Discover – the cards least likely to be accepted at every business – provide some of the highest rewards and cash back opportunities of any credit card company. American Express is known for its impressive cash back rewards to heavy spenders, with some cards returning as much as 6% of the purchase price back to the customer for payments made to buy groceries, gas, and other specialties. Discover also has an excellent rewards system which gives customers as much as 5% cash back on groceries, gasoline, restaurants, and travel spending as part of an annual rotational system.

Always be sure to carry two cards with different processing companies. Consider having at least one Visa or MasterCard as well as a high-end processor like Discover or American Express to take advantage of excellent credit card rewards when the opportunity arises.

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