What Is the Difference Between a Visa and MasterCard Account?


Quick Answer

Each Visa or MasterCard card is issued to the cardholder by a bank or financial institution, not by Visa or MasterCard themselves. Visa and MasteraCrd are payment processing companies. For most consumers and merchants, there are relatively few differences between these two card types. .

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Full Answer

Visa is accepted by at least 28 million merchants, while over 30 million merchants accept MasterCard worldwide. However, it is quite rare for merchants to accept one type of card but not the other.The main difference between these two card types is in available benefits programs and discounts. For example, the Visa Signature line offers perks for travelers, such as free room upgrades, delayed checkout times and improved travel insurance.

Visa's SavingsEdge program provides participants with discounts of at least 15 percent when patronizing qualifying merchants. These merchants include hoteliers, car rental services and gas stations. MasterCard's Easy Savings program is similar but features a different list of merchants, which includes car repair firms.

Visa and MasterCard also provide cardholders with various types of fraud protection. Ultimately, however, the cardholder experience is more affected by the institution issuing the card, not by the card's Visa or MasterCard branding. Collectively, Visa and MasterCard transactions account for 70 percent of all credit card purchases.

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