Obtaining the Visa Black Card – Requirements and Review

September 12, 2011 5 Comments »

The Visa® Black Card (or it’s street name: Black Card) is one of the world’s most prestigious credit cards. The card was originally launched back in 2008 during the run-up to the financial crisis and marketed towards those individuals with immaculate credit scores and a taste for luxury.

Although it is a Visa Card and often simply referred to as the “Black Card” it shouldn’t be confused with American Express’s black Centurion Card (which carries an annual fee of $2,500 and a one-time activation fee of $5,000). The Visa Black Card, while just as prestigious, comes with an annual fee of a fraction of the price – $495.

The Visa Black Card is not run by Visa Inc, but managed by a company called Black Card LLC and is issued by Barclay’s Bank.

Visa Black Card Requirements and Availability:

Since this card is marketed as one of the most exclusive credit cards to obtain in the United States, let’s take a closer look at what membership entails…

- According to a number of media outlets who covered the card during it’s launch, it’s availability is in line with most other credit cards in that you must be a resident of the United States and have a qualifying credit score. Although it’s well known you must be in excellent credit standing to obtain the card, the actual credit score required to obtain the Visa Black Card has not been made public.

- The media coverage following the launch of this card pegged it as “only available to 1% of the US population.” However, while 1% sounds extremely exclusive, it still means over 3.5 million US citizens are likely eligible. Plus, many of the top Amex Travel Cards are also only available to the top 1% of US population.

- Despite the aura surrounding the Visa Black Card, we’ve heard from several sources that applications were mailed to people of all walks of life when it was originally launched. Even those with limited credit history were reportedly being directly marketed to by Barclays Bank. Keep in mind though this was back in 2008 when credit card laws weren’t quite as rigid as they are today.

- Today the card is marketed as available to only a small segment of the population to ensure the highest caliber of personal service provided to every card member.

Visa Black Card Features and Rewards:

- Made of Carbon. Unlike most plastic credit cards, this one is made of a lighter carbon which makes it smooth and lighter to touch. It’s a patent pending technology which is so far limited to just the Visa Black Card.

- 24 hour concierge service. Looking to have your credit card enable a life of luxury? The Visa Black Card’s 24 hour concierge service gets you reservations at the world’s most exclusive restaurants and travel destinations.

- Cash Back for Travel. Get 1% cash back on all airfare bookings regardless of carrier. These rewards come with no black out dates or restrictions.

- Access to VIP lounges. Once approved for the card you’ll have access to over 600 VIP airport lounges in 100 countries. This sounds like phenomenal VIP treatment, however, after digging through the fine print it appears you’ll only be able to take advantage of four complimentary VIP stays four times per year.

- Travel Insurance. Travel with piece of mind while using the Visa Black Card as you’ll have access to $250,000 worldwide travel accident insurance. This includes: lost luggage reimbursement, baggage delay insurance, trip cancellation insurance, trip delay insurance, auto rental collision damage waiver, roadside dispatch, legal, medical and travel services.

- Zero Liability Protection. Protecting yourself against all unauthorized purchases on your Black Card account.

Visa Black Card Media Coverage:

In early 2009, the card’s full-page New York Times ad was the focus of a Stephen Colbert segment where he joked, “Visa: it’s everywhere you want to be, unless that place is a Jimmy Buffett concert.” The Black Card Visa has also been featured as the premiere high-end credit card in Vegas magazine, Ocean Drive, Capitol File, LA Confidential.

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  • Brian

    This card is not as exclusive as they’d like you to believe. Yes, you have to have good credit but you dont need a perfect credit score and you dont need to make $250,000 a year either. My guess is if you can get approved for a jumbo mortgage, I think that’s over $500k, then you could also have the Visa Black in your wallet.

    I also used to get applications for this card in the mail very regularly in late 2008. I know the game has changed since then, but still…

  • Reid R.

    a 495 annual fee??? is there also a one time fee like all the black american express cards?

  • christina thomas

    I’ve heard many complaints about the annual fee. The problem here is simple: the Black Card may not be quite “as exclusive as they’d like you to believe”, but if you complain about the fee, then that means it’s not for you. The people who should have Visa Black simply drop $500 for a dinner or two.

  • JT

    Seems foolish to pay $500 a year for a card. I received this “exclusive” invitation.. and laughed. I have a fico score over 800. I have a job that pays well… but I’m not foolish with my money.. no matter if it’s only $500… or only $5.. I don’t throw any away. I did give $500 to Special Olympics last month.. but I’m not giving a penny to a bank. I already have 2 visas with high limits and low aprs… and I pay exactly $0 for them… and don’t even use them a lot.

    But if trying to impress is your thing.. then knock yourselves out.

  • E

    Tried to get credit increase and after telling them I didn’t want them to run my credit and get a hit on my fico score, they said it was part of the process of determining my approval, then denied me an increase because I took a 1,000 cash advance in vegas and didn’t pay it all down. All things they could have told me before running my credit score, which was good. When I asked to file a complain, they hung up on me. For a top notch credit card, they charge crazy fees to have a card, then hits you with a limit that is worthless if you spend a lot per month (15,000-20,000) as I do. Do not get this card! Zero benefits. Customer service is terrible. Stick with American Express Platinum.