The four major credit card companies are Visa, Mastercard, Discover, and American Express. Here is some information about the types of credit cards that they offer, including specific benefits. Please note that all cards that have miles rewards may be tied to specific airlines. The miles that you earn must be used with those airline companies.
The two major credit card companies, Visa and Mastercard, do not issue cards directly. Instead, they provide financial institutions with their products so that those institutions can then offer them to their customers.
Visa: Visa currently has over 20 different credit cards available. Some of them have cash rewards while others have specific incentive programs such as earning airline miles or Disney rewards. They also have a card designed specifically for students who are just starting to build their credit.
Mastercard: Mastercard has a similar selection of credit cards to the ones offered by Visa. Many of the cards either offer cash back or a specific incentive/reward for the money you spend. They offer cards with low introduction interest rates, low ongoing rates, and/or no annual fees. Mastercard offers two different cards that are designed for students.
The major banks that Visa and Mastercard work with include, but are not limited to, Bank of America, Chase, Capital One, CitiBank, and First National Bank.
Unlike Visa and Mastercard, the two other major credit card companies, Discover and American Express, offer direct applications for their credit cards. This is advantageous for customers seeking credit cards that are not attached to specific banks or bank accounts or customers who are seeking specific rewards options that aren't available elsewhere.
Discover: Discover breaks their credit cards into four different categories: cash back, miles, business, and student. Their business cards allow business owners to get cash back on business related purchases. One card has higher points for supplies and the other has higher points for travel expenses. Their "Discover More" card offers different reward percentages for different products each month. Log onto their website each month to check the current percentages.
American Express: American Express also breaks their credit cards into four categories: premium rewards, flexible payment, air travel partners, and hotel partners. Their cards are ideal for people who travel frequently either for personal enjoyment or for business. The premium cards all have travel incentive deals such as discounts on hotels and access to airport lounges.