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AMEX, Visa, Mastercard – Does it matter?
With all the available credit providers, are there any that are particularly favourable? Here in the UK, AMEX is not as widely accepted as Visa or MasterCard, however I haven’t seen any other differences. Should the credit provider affect the choice of credit card to use?
Amex, Discover, and Diners Club all charge higher interchange fees to merchants, meaning payments made on one of these cards will cost vendors more than if the payments were processed by Visa and Mastercard.
While this isn’t directly relevant to the cardholder, it does affect both the amount of perks the card gives its members, as well as the amount of vendors which will accept the card.
From my experience in the US, I understand that Discover and Diners have fallen out of fashion, but that most places will accept Amex so there is little difference between an Amex and Visa/Mastercard.
However, in Australia having an Amex is a bit like having confederate currency. The vast majority of places will outright refuse to accept it, or otherwise charge a processing fee if you choose to use Amex. From your post it sounds like the UK is similar.
Long story short, there’s no difference from a user perspective, but because of the interchange fees Amex is less commonly accepted than Visa/Mastercard (especially overseas).