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Visa vs Mastercard
12 Jul 2019

Visa vs Mastercard: What’s the Difference?

You’re looking to get a new credit card. Great!

The obvious next step is to figure out what kind to apply for. And most likely you’re familiar with the names Visa and Mastercard.

But you probably aren’t as familiar with the differences between these two.

Well, you’re in luck. In this post, we’re doing a thorough look at Visa vs. Mastercard, to help you decide if one is better for you.

So you’ll rest easy knowing you are using a credit card network that is reputable and fits your needs.

Sound interesting? Keep reading to find out more.

An Important Distinction

You might have noticed we said credit card network, and not credit card company. That’s because Visa and Mastercard are both credit card networks, not companies.

Credit card companies are the ones who set your credit limits, decide on your interest rates, and receive your monthly card payments. They’re the ones who give out perks and rewards, and report you to credit agencies if you don’t pay up!

Credit Card networks are the ones who do the processing and authorization of your purchases. They are essentially the middlemen between banks and merchants.


On the whole, any vendor that accepts Visa will accept Mastercard and vice versa.

This means there isn’t much of a difference between the two as far as where you can use them.

There are some occasional exceptions to this, but they are rare. Costco, for example, only accepts Visa. That’s due to a special deal they worked out with Citi.

So, especially if you applying for a card for the first time, it’s helpful to know that, by and large, either both are accepted at a merchant or neither is.

Card Issuers

While most credit card companies don’t show favoritism to Visa or Mastercard, some have preferences.

Notable examples are Citi, which tends to favor Mastercard, and Chase, Capital One Business, Wells Fargo, which favor Visa.

But that’s only relevant if you need to get a card from a specific company, and also need to use Visa or Mastercard in particular. But for most people, the company will take precedent on their card decision because of things like rates and perks.


Visa has three membership tiers: base, signature and infinite.

Certain Visa cards may also offer members concierge services for help with certain tasks like restaurant reservations, gift purchases, and event tickets.

Their “Loss of Use” coverage for renting cars is a bit better than Mastercard, though there are certain countries where Visa doesn’t do benefits for car rental insurance at all.


Like Visa, Mastercard also offers members three tiers: base, world, and world elite.

Their cards generally have better cost protection service. This refers to times when you buy something and then a retailer lowers the sale price within 60 days. In those instances, Mastercard will refund you the difference.

They don’t offer “Return Protection” with very many of their cards, which is something Visa offers widely.

Visa vs. Mastercard Conclusion

As you can see, the similarities of Visa vs Mastercard far outweigh the differences. Many of the differences you’ll experience come from the specific credit card company you go with.

But if the subtle differences we outlined make a difference to you, then you’ll now be able to decide which network works best for you!

Want to learn more about anything from credit cards to installment loans? If you have questions or want to know more, contact us today!

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