I am doing some finance research for payment methods in China, there is some confusion as to whether only certain types of Visa Credit Cards are accepted at businesses versus all Visas...
Is this the case? Can someone confirm this for me?
Generally, credit card networks (as opposed to debit/ATM cards that may or may not have Visa/MC logos) have a rule that a merchant must accept any credit card with their logo. Visa rules for merchants in the US say it explicitly:
Accept all types of valid Visa cards. Although Visa card acceptance rules may vary based on country specific requirements or local regulations, to offer the broadest possible range of payment options to cardholder customers, most merchants choose to accept all categories of Visa debit, credit, and prepaid cards.*
Unfortunately the Visa site for China is in Chinese, so I can't find similar reference there. You can complain against a merchant who you think had violated Visa rules here.
That said, its not a law, its a contract between the merchant processor and the Visa International organization, and merchants are known to break these rules here and there (most commonly - refusing to accept foreign cards, including in the US). Also, local laws may affect these contracts (for example, in the US it is legal to set minimum amount requirements when accepting credit cards).
This only affects credit card processing, and merchants that don't accept credit cards may still accept debit cards since those work in different networks, under a different set of rules. Those who accept credit cards, are also required to accept debit cards (at least if used as credit).
Many businesses that accept regular VISA credit cards will not accept VISA purchase cards intended for corporate/gov purchasing departments and able to furnish a more detailed audit trail (purchase order #, lot #, etc.) than a regular credit card. Other merchants take ONLY VISA purchase cards.