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How Does LendingTree Get Paid?
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How Does LendingTree Get Paid?

LendingTree is compensated by companies on this site and this compensation may impact how and where offers appears on this site (such as the order). LendingTree does not include all lenders, savings products, or loan options available in the marketplace.

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LendingTree is an advertising-supported comparison service. The site features products from our partners as well as institutions which are not advertising partners. While we make an effort to include the best deals available to the general public, we make no warranty that such information represents all available products.

Discover vs. Visa: How They Differ

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.

Have you ever wondered if there’s really a big difference between Visa® and Discover? You’ll notice both companies’ logos on the front of credit cards and at cash registers around the world — but what sets them apart? Let’s dive into the history of both companies, the benefits associated with credit cards from each company, and their acceptance rate around the globe.

Credit card network vs. credit card issuer

First, it’s important to understand the difference between a credit card network and a credit card issuer.

  • A network is responsible for deciding where credit cards are accepted and handles the transactions between merchants and credit card issuers. The four major networks are Visa®, Mastercard®, Discover and American Express®. Networks do not issue credit cards, but instead authorize and process credit card transactions.
  • A credit card issuer is responsible for issuing your credit card. The issuer designs the rewards programs, decides who is accepted, and sets your credit limit, the APR and all other terms. The biggest credit card issuer in the U.S. is Chase. But, as you will read below, some issuers can also own their own network.

Where do Visa and Discover fall?

  • Visa is a network. Banks all over the world issue Visa cards to consumers. Visa has a wider acceptance and usage than Discover.
  • Discover is both a network and an issuer. Basically all credit cards with the Discover logo on the front are issued solely by Discover. This limits the acceptance of Discover since it is only available via their limited network.

In terms of purchase volume, Visa has the largest share at $1.95 billion percent while Discover has the lowest at $139 billion in 2018.

What is Visa?

In 1958, Bank of America launched BankAmericard — the first card to feature “revolving credit” and became the first credit card network. The original BankAmericard was made of paper and only had a credit limit of $300.

In 1970, Bank of America passed ownership of BankAmericard to the numerous issuing banks. This created the foundation for the wide network that Visa has today since the various banks that operated Visa in these years were located across the nation.

It wasn’t until 1976 that BankAmericard officially changed its name to Visa. The issuing banks decided it was best for there to be a sole global network and made Visa its own company. Today, Visa is the largest credit card network and offers dozens of credit cards to consumers.

Visa credit cards are provided by various issuers and backed by the Visa network. Visa also provides debit cards, prepaid cards and secured cards. Since Visa is a network, you can’t apply for a Visa card directly from Visa’s website — you need to go through an issuing bank.

Some leading issuers that offer Visa cards

    • Chase
    • Bank of America
    • Capital One®
    • Credit One®
    • OpenSky®
    • First Access
  • Total UNITY
  • USAA®
  • primor®

Who accepts Visa cards?

Visa cards have global acceptance — millions of merchants accept Visa worldwide. The ability to use this card nearly everywhere credit is accepted is one of the reasons a Visa credit card is a great option.

Credit required

Visa credit cards typically require an average or better credit score; however, there are options for people with less than perfect scores.

In addition, if you are new to credit, there are several secured card options, such as the OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card or the Applied Bank® Secured Visa® Gold Preferred® Credit Card. Secured cards are a great way for you to build credit, but they do require you to submit a deposit that will serve as your credit line.

| Disclosures
OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card
OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card
on OpenSky's secure site
N/A
18.89% (variable)
$35
None
  • No credit check to apply and find out instantly if you are approved.
  • OpenSky gives everyone an opportunity to improve their credit with an 85% average approval rate for the past 5 years
  • Get considered for a credit line increase after 6 months, with no additional deposit required
  • You could be eligible for the OpenSky Gold Unsecured Card after as few as 6 months
  • Reports to all 3 major credit bureaus monthly, unlike a prepaid or debit card
  • Nearly half of OpenSky cardholders who make on-time payments improve their FICO score 30+ points in the first 3 months
  • Your refundable* deposit, as low as $200, becomes your OpenSky Visa credit limit
  • Easy application, apply in less than 5 minutes right from your mobile device
  • Offer flexible payment due dates which allow you to choose any available due date that fits your payment schedule
  • *View the cardholder agreement
300 599

How Does LendingTree Get Paid?

LendingTree is compensated by companies on this site and this compensation may impact how and where offers appears on this site (such as the order). LendingTree does not include all lenders, savings products, or loan options available in the marketplace.

| Disclosures
Applied Bank® Secured Visa® Gold Preferred® Credit Card
Applied Bank® Secured Visa® Gold Preferred® Credit Card
on Applied Bank's secure site
N/A
9.99% (Fixed)
$48
N/A
  • Better than Prepaid...Go with a Secured Card! Load One Time - Keep On Using
  • Absolutely No Credit Check or Minimum Credit Score Required
  • Automatic Reporting to All Three National Credit Bureaus
  • 9.99% Low Fixed APR - Your Rate Won’t Go Up Even if You Are Late
  • Activate Today with a $200 Minimum Deposit - Maximum $1,000. Increase Your Credit Limit up to $5,000 by Adding Additional Deposits Anytime
300 599

How Does LendingTree Get Paid?

LendingTree is compensated by companies on this site and this compensation may impact how and where offers appears on this site (such as the order). LendingTree does not include all lenders, savings products, or loan options available in the marketplace.

Visa benefits

Visa offers three types of cards: debit cards, traditional credit cards, and signature cards. Each card comes with varying benefits. See below for a breakdown.

Visa debit

  • Zero liability
  • Continuous fraud monitoring
  • 3-digit security code to verify your identity for internet and phone purchases
  • Visa Checkout

 

Visa traditional

  • 24/7 customer service
  • Lost or stolen card reporting
  • Emergency card replacement and emergency cash disbursement
  • Auto rental collision damage waiver
  • Zero liability
  • Roadside Dispatch®
  • Visa Checkout
  • Rewards programs

 

Visa Signature® – Comes with all the benefits of Visa traditional credit cards AND:

  • Warranty manager service
  • Year-end summary
  • Travel and emergency services
  • 24/7 Visa Signature concierge
  • Visa Signature fine wine and food, entertainment, shopping, travel and sports offers

Other features like mobile app, free credit score, and intro bonus offers vary by credit card issuer.

Why choose Visa?

Visa credit cards are a great choice for people who spend both in the U.S. and abroad since Visa has worldwide acceptance. Visa has dozens of credit cards that provide a range of benefits with something for everyone. If you have average or better credit, you will enjoy the wide selection of Visa credit cards with premium rewards and benefits.

Since there are numerous issuers of Visa cards, in addition to the standard Visa benefits, you may receive additional perks from the card’s backing bank. Overall, Visa is a great choice for people who want a credit card that is widely accepted and comes with various benefits.

Top Visa cards:

| Disclosures
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
on Chase's secure site
N/A
17.49% - 24.49% Variable
$95
5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining and
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Enjoy benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining and 2x on all other travel purchases, plus more.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself BackSM, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get complimentary access to DashPass which unlocks $0 delivery fees and lower service fees for a minimum of one year when you activate by December 31, 2024.
750 850

How Does LendingTree Get Paid?

LendingTree is compensated by companies on this site and this compensation may impact how and where offers appears on this site (such as the order). LendingTree does not include all lenders, savings products, or loan options available in the marketplace.


| Disclosures
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card
on Chase's secure site
N/A
17.49% - 24.49% Variable
$149
Earn 3X points on Southwest® purchases. Earn 2X points on local transit
  • New Offer: Earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
  • 7,500 anniversary points each year.
  • Earn 3X points on Southwest® purchases.
  • Earn 2X points on local transit and commuting, including rideshare.
  • Earn 2X points on internet, cable, phone services, and select streaming.
  • $75 Southwest® travel credit each year.
  • 4 Upgraded Boardings per year when available.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
740 850

How Does LendingTree Get Paid?

LendingTree is compensated by companies on this site and this compensation may impact how and where offers appears on this site (such as the order). LendingTree does not include all lenders, savings products, or loan options available in the marketplace.


| Disclosures
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
on Capital One's secure site
N/A
17.49% - 25.49% (Variable)
$95
2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day; 5 Miles on
  • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 75,000 miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Enjoy two complimentary visits per year to Capital One Lounges or to 100+ Plaza Premium Lounges through our Partner Lounge Network
  • Earn 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of trip options
  • Use your miles to get reimbursed for any travel purchase—or redeem by booking a trip through Capital One Travel
  • Transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
680 850

How Does LendingTree Get Paid?

LendingTree is compensated by companies on this site and this compensation may impact how and where offers appears on this site (such as the order). LendingTree does not include all lenders, savings products, or loan options available in the marketplace.

What is Discover?

Discover was originally formed by Sears in 1985. The following year, in 1986, Discover released its first credit card with features that were unheard of at the time. The card was consumer driven with cash back rewards, no annual fee, and higher credit limits than other cards. This set off a competition among credit card issuers to offer the best perks for a wide range of consumers.

Sears sold off Discover to Morgan Stanley in 1997. Discover didn’t become an independent public company until 2007. Since Discover wasn’t backed by any banks, the company had to become both an issuer and a bank. This limited Discover’s acceptance, because while Visa and Mastercard had issuing banks all over the world providing their cardholders usage, Discover did not.

Since Discover acts as both issuer and bank, their credit cards are exclusively available through Discover. This means if you want a Discover card, you need to apply directly on Discover’s website. In addition to issuing credit cards, Discover operates PULSE, a network of more than 4,000 banks offering ATM and debit card access; Discover Network, a network with merchant and cash access locations; and Diners Club International, a global payments network.

Issuers that offer Discover cards

Discover is the sole issuer of Discover cards. This creates limitations on the acceptance of your card and the benefits you can receive since you can’t enjoy additional benefits like you can with Visa cards that are issued by a bank. For example, a Discover card only has the benefits provided by Discover. In contrast, the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Card is issued by Chase and will have benefits from Visa, Chase and Amazon.

Who accepts Discover cards?

Discover cards are accepted by 97 percent of U.S. merchants. This may seem like a lot, but you’re more likely to run into issues with Discover than Visa. If you find yourself traveling abroad with a Discover card, definitely bring another payment option. Outside of the U.S., Discover has even less acceptance, and you will have to rely on the Diners Club network for locations where you can use your card. The Diners Club network is extremely limited outside the U.S., and, excluding Asia, you will have a very hard time using Discover abroad.

Here are the networks used overseas:

  • In Central America: Discover
  • In South America: Diners Club
  • In the Caribbean: Discover
  • In Europe: Discover, Diners Club
  • In Asia: Diners Club, China UnionPay, JCB
  • In Africa: Diners Club
  • In Oceania: Discover, Diners Club

Credit required

Regardless of your credit score, Discover has a card for you. Discover accepts a range of credit scores and specializes in a selection of cards for people who are new to credit or have limited, bad or fair credit. Those who have good to excellent credit have several cards to choose from as well.

Discover benefits

Discover cards come with numerous benefits that are consistent throughout all their credit cards. Benefits include various rewards, security features, added value, and service options. Here’s a breakdown of what benefits you’ll receive with a Discover card:

Rewards

  • Rewards programs

Security

  • Free Social Security number alerts if your number turns up on risky websites
  • Free alerts to know when any new credit card, mortgage, car loan or other account shows up on your Experian® credit report
  • Freeze your card to prevent new purchases with an on/off switch in app or online
  • $0 fraud liability
  • Free overnight shipping for emergency card replacement

Value

  • All cards have no annual fee as of this writing
  • Paying late won’t raise your APR
  • No late fee on your first late payment
  • No overlimit fee
  • No foreign transaction fee

Service

  • Mobile app
  • 100% U.S.-based customer service
  • Free FICO® Score 8 with Discover Credit Scorecard
  • Pay your bill up to midnight (ET) the day it’s due by phone or online

Why choose Discover?

Discover can be a good option for you for several reasons. If you already have a card from another issuer that is backed by a more widely accepted network, then you may want a Discover card to maximize your rewards. If you’re a student, Discover offers great options that provide the groundwork to build responsible credit behavior.  You may look to Discover if you are new to credit or have bad or poor credit because of the selection of cards they offer that are designed for consumers looking to establish or rebuild credit. Overall, Discover is a good choice if you plan on spending in the U.S. and enjoy the benefits the Discover network provides.

Top Discover cards:

| Disclosures
Discover it® Cash Back
Discover it® Cash Back
on Discover's secure site
0% Intro APR for 15 months
13.49% - 24.49% Variable APR
$0
5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like
  • INTRO OFFER: Unlimited Cashback Match – only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year! There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. You could turn $150 cash back into $300.
  • Earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like Amazon.com, grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations and when you pay using PayPal, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - automatically.
  • NEW! Discover helps remove your personal information from select people-search websites. Activate by mobile app for free.
  • Every $1 you earn in cash back is $1 you can redeem.
  • NEW Intro APR: Get a 0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases. Then 13.49% to 24.49% Standard Variable Purchase APR applies, based on credit worthiness.
  • No annual fee.
  • Click "Apply Now" to see terms and conditions.
720 850

How Does LendingTree Get Paid?

LendingTree is compensated by companies on this site and this compensation may impact how and where offers appears on this site (such as the order). LendingTree does not include all lenders, savings products, or loan options available in the marketplace.


| Disclosures
Discover it® Secured Credit Card
Discover it® Secured Credit Card
on Discover's secure site
N/A
24.49% Variable APR
$0
2% cash back at Gas Stations and Restaurants on up to $1,000
  • No credit score required to apply.
  • No Annual Fee, earn cash back, and build your credit with responsible use.
  • Establish your credit line by providing a refundable security deposit of at least $200. That means a $200 deposit for a $200 credit line. Or a $500 deposit for a $500 credit line. Bank information must be provided when submitting your deposit, and the security deposit equals your credit limit.
  • Automatic reviews starting at 7 months to see if we can transition you to an unsecured line of credit and return your deposit.
  • Earn 2% cash back at Gas Stations and Restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – automatically.
  • NEW! Discover helps remove your personal information from select people-search websites. Activate by mobile app for free.
  • Get an alert if we find your Social Security number on any of thousands of Dark Web sites.* Activate for free.
  • Click "Apply Now" to see terms and conditions.
300 659

How Does LendingTree Get Paid?

LendingTree is compensated by companies on this site and this compensation may impact how and where offers appears on this site (such as the order). LendingTree does not include all lenders, savings products, or loan options available in the marketplace.


| Disclosures
Discover it® Student Cash Back
Discover it® Student Cash Back
on Discover's secure site
0% Intro APR for 6 months on purchases
14.49% - 23.49% Variable APR
$0
5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like
  • No credit score required to apply.
  • INTRO OFFER: Unlimited Cashback Match – only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year! So you could turn $50 cash back into $100. Or turn $100 into $200. There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. Just a dollar-for-dollar match.
  • Earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like Amazon.com, grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations and when you pay using PayPal, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – automatically.
  • NEW! Discover helps remove your personal information from select people-search websites. Activate by mobile app for free.
  • No annual fee and build your credit with responsible use.
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 6 months, then the standard variable purchase APR of 14.49% - 23.49% applies.
  • Click "Apply Now" to see terms and conditions.
600 850

How Does LendingTree Get Paid?

LendingTree is compensated by companies on this site and this compensation may impact how and where offers appears on this site (such as the order). LendingTree does not include all lenders, savings products, or loan options available in the marketplace.

FAQs

Can you have both Visa and Discover credit cards?

Yes, you can have both Visa and Discover cards. If you want, you can even have multiple Visa cards and multiple Discover cards.

Can you prequalify without hurting your credit?

You can prequalify for all Discover cards on their website and select Visa cards. Since Visa cards are offered from a range of issuers, prequalification options vary. Always check if a card has the option to prequalify before you apply, since prequalification won’t damage your credit score and is a great way to shop around for the best card.

Can you combine benefits on Visa and Discover cards?

No, you cannot combine benefits from Visa and Discover cards. The benefits each issuer provides are unique, and you can’t combine those benefits or rewards you earn from Visa with the benefits or rewards you earn from Discover. For example, if you make a purchase on a Discover card, you can’t use the extended warranty feature from your Visa card.