About Visa Black Card

  • Limited Membership
  • 24-Hour Concierge Service
  • Exclusive Rewards Program
  • Luxury Gifts
  • Travel Lounge Priority Pass (unlimited visits)
  • 1% Cash Back
  • Travel with No Blackouts or Restrictions
  • Patent Pending Carbon Card
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  • Simon Zhen's Profile Image

    By Simon Zhen, Nov 9th 2012

    Editor Rating

    The Visa Black Card is a relative newcomer to the U.S. credit market. At first glance at the design of the card, you may believe the card exudes affluence and luxury -- like the notorious American Express “Black” card. But, the Visa Black Card is far from comparable with the true “Black” card.

    Visa’s Black Card comes with a hefty $495 annual fee, which many cardmembers would expect to be justified with a slew of benefits and perks. However, this card’s rewards program and benefit package is lackluster -- better (or the same) perks can be found with other rewards or travel credit cards that are free or have a lower annual fee.

    The most notable benefit from the Visa Black Card is a complimentary membership to a VIP airport lounge program with unlimited visits to more than 350 lounges worldwide. The 24-hour personal concierge service may also be a useful service. But, these two perks are not worth the $495 annual fee. Again, these benefits can be found elsewhere.

    The Visa Black Card is made of a patent-pending carbon, known for durability and lightweight. It certainly looks like a status symbol. Visa says that it is only issued to 1 percent of the U.S. population but it sends pre-approved letters to households that cannot afford the card’s cost.

    In the end, there is little reason to sign up for a Visa Black Card, a poor attempt to convey prestige and exclusivity to potential cardmembers.

    Pros Cons
    Unlimited VIP lounge visits High annual fee
    Lackluster rewards & perks

    Annual fee

    The annual fee of $495 will instantly spook most consumers since most credit cards don’t have any annual fee. If you are going to pay this fee, you want to make sure that you’ll be getting some pretty neat perks.

    At $495 price level, the Visa Black Card competes with the American Express Platinum Card, which has a $450 annual fee.

    However, the Black Card’s rewards programs, perks and other features fall short of being worth this annual fee.

    Other fees/charges

    The Visa Black Card charges a higher-than-average 4% balance transfer fee, which can be expensive if you ever need to move a balance to this card (which you shouldn’t be doing).

    Also, the Visa Black Card has a 3% foreign-transaction fee. For frequent overseas travelers, this is a deal-breaker. Most travel cards and higher-end credit cards do not charge any foreign transaction fee. Since the Visa Black Card targets a demographic that is likely to travel internationally, you’d expect it waive foreign-transaction fees -- but it doesn’t.

    Interest rates

    The Visa Black Card has a regular APR of 14.99%, which isn’t too high. The interest rate is in line with many airline cards. Visa does require an excellent credit history in order to qualify for this card.

    Rewards/Perks

    With a very unremarkable 1% cash back on purchases, the Black Card cannot outshine the many credit cards that offer much more cash back without charging an annual fee. The cash back can also be redeemed for airfare at any airline with no blackouts or restrictions.

    Since Black Card members have unlimited access to participating VIP airport lounges, cardmembers would really have to take advantage of this perk to maximize the worth of their $495 annual fee.

    Visa also says that cardmembers receive luxury gifts from the world’s top brands. The worthiness of this particular perk can vary greatly, depending on the actual value of these gifts. Again, the value of the gifts should help meet or exceed the cost of the annual fee.

    Misc.

    A unique feature of the Visa Black Card is the design that employs patent-pending carbon, which is “guaranteed to get you noticed.” Realistically, the carbon construction does not offer any added value to the card. You might argue that a carbon-based card is more durable but a plastic credit card is already quite durable in its own right.

    The Breakdown

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    Interest rate
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    Rewards/Perks
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    Misc
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    Think Visa Black Card is right for you?

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