Alright, it’s official: winter holiday bills are in, Valentine’s Day bills are just about in – and your credit card bill is probably eye-popping (am I alone here?, I think not). Last week, we looked at discount shopping, but now it’s really time to tighten our belts until the next round of expenses come our way with Spring Break. And what better topic to look at than that little universal piece of plastic? I, for one, seldom have cash in my pocket and rely solely on my credit card, which fits quite conveniently into the back of my new iPhone case. So, I turned to the NetBase Insight Workbench to see what the social media universe is saying about these five credit cards: Discover Card, American Express, Diners Club, MasterCard and Visa.

I wasn’t surprised to see that Visa, MasterCard and American Express were the big buzz winners here – but what I found interesting were the differences in the other metrics between the three. Visa emerged victorious across all three metrics with 43.7% of the overall buzz, the highest Passion Intensity of 58 (Ok so not that much passion for the category as a whole) and the highest Net Sentiment score of 73. MasterCard had the lowest buzz volume of the top three, with 22% of the conversation, but trailed closely behind Visa with a Passion Intensity of 54 and a Net Sentiment of 70. American Express came in second with a share of buzz amounting to 31% but had the second lowest Passion Intensity, with a 41 and fell to the bottom with the lowest Net Sentiment of 65. Check out the chart below to see the competitive landscape here:

In this graphic, the amount of chatter about a brand is indicated by the size of the bubble, while the placement of the bubble shows the sentiment and intensity of passion.

Verbatim surfaced about Visa showed that it has the competitive edge with online consumers because of its versatility: there seems to be a Visa card for all types of consumers. Social media chatter extolled the virtues of the card for those developing their credit score, rebuilding their credit score, and those who travel extensively and want to rack up the miles or rewards (guilty as charged for me on the last one).

The Visa Black Card is the world’s most prestigious and versatile credit card today!

The Used Lender Secured Visa is the best card if you are developing or rebuilding your credit score

For frequent fliers, The Chase United MileagePlus Explorer card offered by Visa is by far the best card available

The Justice FCU Visa Platinum Rewards credit card offers an impressive rate AND big rewards

Visa debit is the safest option in the current financial times

I was interested to delve into the MasterCard data to see why it is that the brand is lagging behind Visa. Turns out that it’s everything from their advertising to difficulties using the card online, to higher fees.

The peelaway World MasterCard ad that opens on every page of TT is the PITS! It’s driving me crazy.

This is what happened, mastercard useless securecode didn’t work, and I had to leave my credit info through email

I have Deutsche Bank Gold Mastercard, which is a bit expensive

Verbatim about American Express showed that while it clearly has generated a lot of buzz , problems still remain – largely due to its seemingly unnecessary red tape and the inconveniences it causes its customers.

There are places in the world where Visa and MasterCard are accepted widely but American Express is more difficult to use.

Amex Credit Cards are hard to get approved

American Express is harder on rating customers for their Credit Card

It was much much more difficult to accumulate points with the American Express card, well, because it’s not accepted everywhere.

So who is your plastic of choice? Let me know what your gripes (or your raves!) are for your card!

Read more: