Start shopping for a new credit card, and you’ll quickly find that the vast majority carry the name Visa or MasterCard on them. Trying to figure out which of these names implies a better deal can be confusing. If you’re struggling to sort out the differences between Visa and MasterCard, you’re not alone. Read on for an inside look at these credit companies and what they mean for you.
Similarities between Visa and MasterCard
Most financial experts are quick to point out that Visa and MasterCard operate in almost exactly the same way. Both are major international companies. Both create and maintain payment systems for credit cards and carefully track transactions.
It should be noted neither Visa nor MasterCard actually issue credit cards. They work with banks and financial institutions, which are the companies that issue credit cards to consumers. Citibank, Bank of America, and Chase are just a few of the many companies that take care of this part of the credit business.
Both MasterCard and Visa work with retailers and merchants around the world. These places accept credit cards and, like the banks and financial institutions, use the systems created by MasterCard and Visa. Tracking these transactions is no small task: billions of dollars go through the system every single day.
Differences between Visa and MasterCard
While Visa and MasterCard operate in a similar way, there are still differences between the two. They are separate companies, and thus each of them has their own set of unique features. Some customers have a personal preference toward either Visa or MasterCard.
As you look for a card, it is wise to look at all of the different features that it offers. While many are backed by either Visa or MasterCard, they also list a variety of additional benefits. Some cards specialize in low interest rates, while others offer valuable deals on balance transfers. Rewards programs, introductory offers, and grace periods are other items to consider. You’ll want to sort through all of these different characteristics as you search for your best option.
If you already have a Visa or MasterCard and are looking for another piece of plastic, you may choose to go with a card backed by the other company. While the risks are incredibly small, you’ll have another option to use in case something happens to one of the companies. Similarly, if one of these cards is not accepted at a store, you’ll most likely be able to use the other one.
By and large, there are few differences between Visa and MasterCard. Some of the biggest differences simply lie in personal preference. If you feel more comfortable with one, you may be inclined to stay with the company. If you want variety, consider getting a card from both of these credit card kings.
When you shop for a new credit card, you’ll want to see which company’s name is listed on it. Perhaps more important, however, will be looking for the other benefits included in the card. Find one that fits your financial lifestyle. It will most likely be your best option, regardless of whether it says Visa or MasterCard on it.