Debit and credit cards make it easier for consumers to make purchases without having to carry around cash and checks. Mastercard and Visa are two of the leading credit card payment networks in the industry, making their networks more accessible for consumers and merchants to conduct business.
While the two companies both offer their consumers a similar level of convenience, they still have a numerous amount of differences that distinguish themselves. Keep reading below to learn more about which one best suits your needs.
How Mastercard and Visa Work
Visa and Mastercard are both consumer-recognized brands that act as intermediary entities responsible for processing the payments made to a given merchant. Both payment networks provide cards to financial institutions that then offers the cards to consumers. Each network also work to administer benefits on behalf of the card issuers.
It is often misconceived that payment networks such as Visa and Mastercard generate money from the high interest rates associated with credit cards. However, they don’t set the established interest rate associated with a particular card. These rates are set by your financial institution the payment network provides the cards to.
The fee that people are confusing often depends on factors such as the card type, payment type, and whether the consumer is present. For example, a customer making an in-person purchase using a Visa Signature Preferred card results in the merchant being charged a fee of 2.10% plus 10 cents. Rates vary with each card and the difference can be a few pennies to thousands of dollars.
Visa and Mastercard have some of the lowest fees compared to other processors such as Discover and American Express. Merchants can expect to pay anywhere from 1.5% to 3.5% per transaction.
Mastercard vs. Visa Benefits
Mastercard and Visa are equally accepted in places where consumers want to shop, and both offer credit card consumers a variety of benefits through tier-based models. Visa’s program includes Basic, Signature and Infinite tiers. Similarly, Mastercard model consists of three tiers: Basic, World and World Elite. Take a look at each tier and compare the benefits of both providers.
Mastercard Basic vs. Visa Basic
The basic level for both networks offers consumers zero-liability fraud protection. Mastercard also offers limited price protection on purchases.
Mastercard World vs. Visa Signature.
In the second tier, Visa Signature comes with perks such as travel and emergency travel assistance services, warranty manager service and discount rates on hotels, cruises and car rentals. With this tier, you’ll also get access to Visa Signature Concierge service, which provides 24/7 help with researching travel, booking tickets to a show or buying presents for a loved one.
On the other hand, Mastercard World offers both World and World Elite (second and third-tier) customers shopping perks such as free two-day shipping at select retailers and extended warranty protection. It also offers World customers limited travel benefits.
Visa Infinite vs. Mastercard World Elite
Visa’s highest tier is referred to as Visa Infinite. Users receive all of the same benefits as the Visa Signature users as well as additional purchase protections and insurance-related benefits and discounts related to travel.
Mastercard’s World Elite suite offers a 24/7 concierge service that’s so sophisticated you might start to think of it as your very own personal assistant. In addition, this tier includes discounts on airline tickets and hotel upgrades.
In the case of travel emergencies, Mastercard reimburses you for nonrefundable cancellations or fees to change flights. Additionally, you can get a personal meet-and-greet agent to escort you through almost any airport in the world.
If you’re the type of person that values rental and insurance benefits then you may find Visa more appealing. On the other hand, if you prefer rewards for tasks such as buying gas then maybe check out Mastercard.
Even though Mastercard and Visa hold many similarities, there are subtle differences that suit different consumers more. For more variety of options, see our list of the best bank account bonuses & savings account offers.
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