You can use Visa gift cards online

Visa card

From credit cards to prepaid cards

Josefine Lietzau
Expert for banking and credit as of February 6, 2020

Josefine Lietzau

Josefine Lietzau is an editor in the Bank & Investments team. During her studies in German and English, she worked for the editorial offices of the Green League, the Jüdische Zeitung and the Superillu. After completing her master's degree, Josefine Lietzau completed an internship at the online consumer portals Banktip and Posttip, where she then worked as an editor.

  • You can pay worldwide with Visa credit cards.
  • If your credit card is stolen, you must have it blocked. This can be done free of charge in Germany on the emergency telephone number 116 116. Until the card is blocked, you are liable for any financial losses that you have incurred.
  • The various Visa credit cards differ significantly in terms of services, conditions and billing frequency.
  • Visa itself does not issue any credit cards, the account-keeping banks take care of that.
  • Finanztip recommends the free credit cards from DKB, Hanseatic Bank, Barclaycard, Payback and Bitwala. The DKB card is recommended for children, for people with a bad Schufa score we recommend the Bitwala, Vivid Money and Insha debit cards.
  • With gold or platinum credit cards, consumers should check carefully whether the card is worthwhile for them.

Whether in Buxtehude, Shanghai or on the Internet - Visa credit cards are used everywhere. With them, customers in the Pay at home and abroad, true to the old Visa advertising slogan “I'll take my freedom”.

Where are the credit cards accepted?

If the Girocard (formerly: EC card) is not accepted abroad, most consumers use their credit card. Because with it you can not only shop online, but also withdraw money worldwide or pay in shops. The card-issuing bank determines the costs. When withdrawing, the machine operators may charge additional fees. However, these are usually displayed.

According to the company, Visa credit cards are accepted in more than 200 countries, and customers can use them to withdraw and pay. There are 40 million acceptance points where consumers can use their Visa cards and two million ATMs where they can get cash with their credit card. There are 400,000 ATMs in Europe. Visa does not publish any data on the number of machines in Germany, but most machines in Germany accept it.

Nowadays, accepting credit cards is about more than just paying in the supermarket. Consumers no longer have to give the card out of their hands or insert it into the payment terminal to pay with it - a new technology called Near Field Communication (NFC) makes it possible.

NFC logo on credit cards

Customers simply hold their credit cards up to the cash register, which is enough to pay. If you spend less than 25 euros, you don't even have to enter a pin or sign. Sometimes this also works for amounts up to 50 euros. The credit card companies are developing their own NFC systems, at Visa the whole thing is called "Paywave". Whether consumers can pay with NFC can be seen by the radio symbol on the credit card and cash register.

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How secure are Visa cards?

If your credit card is lost or someone steals it, you should act quickly. Customers have to block the card, for example via the emergency telephone number 116 116. It is free in Germany and chargeable abroad. Bank customers are liable for financial losses until they have done so if someone else uses the card. However, there is an upper limit of 50 euros. Some banks even refrain from burdening their customers with it.

Visa's "Zero Liability Policy" also applies. This stipulates that you are only liable in the event of gross negligence.

Visa credit card holders can use a security system to protect themselves when shopping on the Internet. This is a 3D secure process called “Verified by Visa” and is intended to prevent unauthorized persons from shopping online with the card. In addition to their card details, customers also enter a TAN transmitted via their cell phone when shopping. In addition to the TAN, there will be other options for confirming purchases in the future. These include, for example, apps for the smartphone or a fingerprint.

What does Visa offer besides credit cards?

There are some differences between Visa credit cards. The company has the following cards in its range for private users: Classic, Gold, Platinum and Infinite. The higher the status of the card, the more the banks usually expand the additional service, from insurance to concierge service. There are business and corporate cards for companies. How the conditions of the credit cards are structured depends on the card-issuing bank.

But Visa offers more than the well-known credit cards. With V-Pay, for example, Visa Europe is represented on the girocards (formerly: EC cards) of German banks as an international partner. If the corresponding symbol is printed on the card, the Girocard works completely outside of Germany via V-Pay. In Germany, customers sometimes pay via V-Pay without taking anything with them.

V-Pay logo on credit cards

Visa also operates its own ATM brand: Visa Plus. With cards bearing the plus symbol, consumers can only withdraw money, but not pay. For example, Postbank offers a Visa Plus card as a Sparcard.

How does billing work with Visa?

There are also differences when it comes to billing Visa credit cards. It depends on the type of card.

Debit - With these credit cards, the transactions are immediately debited from the account. This is the case with Bitwala’s Visa credit card, for example.

Batch - The DKB, on the other hand, only debits the bill once a month; these are so-called charge cards.

Revolving - With the Barclaycard Visa, customers can also pay the bill in installments, the bank charges interest in return. Such revolving credit cards are only a good option for people with a lot of discipline; everyone else should either forego the installment payment or choose a different card.

Bank customers also receive prepaid credit cards under the name Visa. With them, however, they do not receive any credit, they only use their credit. Such cards are particularly suitable for young people or people with a poor credit rating.

Which Visa credit cards does Finanztip recommend?

Finanztip looked at different Visa credit cards. We recommend the following free credit cards for classic credit cards:

However, the banks do not issue these cards to all consumers. We therefore recommend the following cards for minors and people with bad credit bureaus:

Whether a gold or platinum credit card is worthwhile depends entirely on how you use the credit card and whether the additional services actually help you. The offers from Miles and More or Amazon are not suitable for all consumers. These are not always gold credit cards, but the offers come with additional services.

Who is behind the Visa cards?

In 1970 the forerunner National Bank Americard was established with 243 banks as founding members. In 1976 the company got its new, now familiar name: Visa. Visa cards have also been issued in Germany since the 1980s.

In the meantime, Visa is a public company that offers the service, the brand, services and systems - but does not issue credit cards. Consumers get it from the banks that work with Visa. In Europe, this was done for years through Visa Europe. It belonged to about 4,000 European banks. Since the end of 2016, Visa Europe has been part of the international company Visa Inc. again after its sale. In its 2018 annual report, Visa Inc names total assets of almost 70 billion US dollars. Competitor Mastercard comes to 25 billion dollars.

Josefine Lietzau

Josefine Lietzau

Josefine Lietzau is an editor in the Bank & Investments team. During her studies in German and English, she worked for the editorial offices of the Green League, the Jüdische Zeitung and the Superillu. After completing her master's degree, Josefine Lietzau completed an internship at the online consumer portals Banktip and Posttip, where she then worked as an editor.

* What the star means:

With our recommendations, we want to help as many people as possible to do their own finances. This is why our content is available online free of charge. We finance our extensive work with so-called affiliate links. We mark these links with an asterisk (*).

At Finanztip, however, we handle affiliate links differently than other websites. We only link to products that were previously recommended by our independent expert editorial team. Only then can the relevant provider set a link to this offer. We get money if you click on such a link or conclude a contract with the provider.

Whether and in what amount a provider pays us has no influence on our recommendations. What our experts recommend to you depends solely on whether an offer is good for consumers.

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