What to know about Mastercard credit cards | finder.com

Mastercard credit cards

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Mastercard, a third party payment processor, is a common credit card option from a large number of issuers. It’s not very different from its main competitor, Visa, given that both are accepted in most countries.

The kind of Mastercard that is right for you depends on your particular requirements. Here’s a basic rundown of what Mastercard credit cards have to offer.

Compare Mastercard credit cards

Updated September 19th, 2019
Name Product Filter values Rewards Purchase APR Annual fee
3% cash back on up to $10,000 in the first 12 months, then 1.5% on all purchases
0% intro for the first 12 months (then 14.99% to 24.99% variable)
$0
Earn 3% cash back on up to $10,000 in the first 12 months, then 1.5% on all purchases. See Rates and Fees.
N/A
0% intro for the first 18 months (then 12.99% to 20.99% variable)
$0
An 18 months 0% intro APR period on both purchases and balance transfers, plus zero foreign transaction fees, makes this is a strong well-rounded card. See Rates and Fees
N/A
26.96% variable
$0
A no-annual-fee card for average credit. Earn a higher credit line after five on-time payments.
N/A
26.99% variable
$0
Get access to a higher credit line after making your first 5 monthly payments on time.
1% cash back on all purchases, 1.25% for months you pay on time
26.96% variable
$0
Earn 1% cash back on all purchases or get 1.25% cash back for months you pay on time.

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What is a Mastercard?

A Mastercard refers to any credit card that uses the Mastercard network to process transactions between the issuing bank and the consumer. In essence, Mastercard doesn’t actually produce or issue credit cards. Instead, cards are produced by banks or other lenders such as American Express who partner with Mastercard to handle the processing behind the card.

Types of Mastercard credit cards

There are three types of Mastercard credit cards, each with different features. These include Standard, World and World Elite.

Standard

You’ll find these benefits in all Mastercard products:

  • Zero Liability protection.
    If your card is used fraudulently, you won’t be responsible for the unauthorized purchases. This protection applies to purchases made in store or online, or via telephone, mobile device or ATM transaction.
  • ID Theft Protection.
    Get credit monitoring and notifications about suspicious activity. If your identity is compromised, Mastercard offers ID Theft Resolution with help from a specialist.
  • Mastercard Global Service.
    Call this service any time for help with a lost or stolen card, and you can get an emergency card replacement. If you need cash, Mastercard can help you locate a nearby ATM or get an emergency cash advance.

World

World Mastercards come with benefits from lower-level cards as well as these additional benefits:

  • Postmates.
    You’ll get $5 off every purchase of $25 or more, excluding tips, taxes and delivery fees.
  • ShopRunner.
    Get a complimentary ShopRunner membership. Benefits include free two-day shipping and free returns at 100+ retailers. Other credit cards offer ShopRunner membership, such as American Express cards, so you have more options if a Mastercard doesn’t suit you.
  • onefinestay.
    Save 10% on onefinestay bookings when you use your eligible Mastercard.
As an eligible cardholder, you’ll enjoy a number of Mastercard hotel benefits.

  • Mastercard Luxury Hotels & Resorts.
    Book a stay at an eligible property in the Mastercard Luxury Hotels & Resorts portfolio, and you could enjoy benefits such as early check-in and late checkout, daily breakfast for two and special amenities.
  • Mastercard Hotel Stay Guarantee.
    If you book a hotel of at least three stars through Mastercard Travel & Lifestyle Services and it’s not to your satisfaction, a Lifestyle Manager will try to resolve the issue. If they can’t, they’ll look for comparable accommodations for you.
  • Mastercard Lowest Hotel Rate Guarantee.
    If you book a prepaid hotel and find the same stay for less elsewhere, Mastercard will refund the difference.
  • Travel services.
    Travel advisors can help you plan your trip based on your preferences.
  • Mastercard Airport Concierge.
    An agent can meet you at the airport and escort you through departure, arrival and connecting processes. This service is available at 700+ destinations worldwide.
  • Travel packages.
    Book air, car, cruise and vacation packages to help you streamline your trip planning.
  • Priceless Cities.
    Access exclusive experiences in cities near you, such as culinary events, guided tours, sports events, classes and more.
  • Priceless Golf.
    Access exclusive golf experiences and offers with the PGA Tour. You’re also eligible for golf benefits through Golf Concierge Services.
  • Cell phone protection.
    Pay for your cell phone bill with your World Mastercard to get credit card cell phone insurance. You’ll receive $1,000 in coverage annually, for up to two claims per year and a maximum of $600 per claim. For each claim, you’ll pay a $50 deductible.

World Elite

World Elite Mastercards include benefits from the lower-level cards and these additional benefits:

  • Lyft.
    Each month you pay for five eligible Lyft rides, you’ll earn a $10 Lyft credit.
  • Boxed.
    Earn 5% in Cash Rewards for each purchase you make at Boxed. You can earn a maximum of $500 in Cash Rewards per calendar year.
  • Fandango.
    For every two movie tickets you buy, you’ll get $5 off future movie tickets or at-home purchases.
  • World Elite Concierge.
    Access 24/7 concierge services, which can help you obtain hard-to-find gifts, secure tickets to shows and events, book dinner reservations and more.
  • Upgraded cell phone protection.
    Pay for your cell phone bill with your card, and you’ll receive up to $1,000 in cell phone coverage annually with a two-claim-per-year maximum. With a World Elite Mastercard, you can make claims up to $800 each, as opposed to the $600 max with a World Mastercard. There’s a $50 deductible per claim.

Other common Mastercard benefits

Most Mastercard products offer these additional benefits:

  • Global acceptance
    Mastercard is accepted in hundreds of countries and millions of locations around the world. You can use your Mastercard wherever the Mastercard symbol is displayed, including at ATMs, credit card readers in local shops, restaurants and online.
  • Mastercard PayPass
    Just about all newly issued Mastercard credit cards make use of this technology that enables cardholders to make contactless payments for purchases under $100.
  • Emergency Services
    You can contact Mastercard’s customer service team at 800-627-8372 to help you with the reporting of lost or stolen cards and it can provide emergency replacement cards and cash advances. It can also help you find the nearest Mastercard ATM and it provides information related to your account.
  • Currency conversion
    When you use your Mastercard overseas, you don’t have to worry about making confusing currency conversion calculations because it pays the merchant in the local currency and bills you in USD.
  • Masterpass. This payment method lets you make online payments with your Mastercard without needing to input your credit card information.

Why choose Mastercard?

One key reason to pick a Mastercard is that it’s accepted virtually anywhere that takes credit cards. Depending on which version you have, you’ll also find standard benefits to complement those from your card issuer.

You’ll also find superb Mastercard-exclusive products, such as the best-in-class Citi® Double Cash Card and excellent travel cards such as the Citi Prestige® Credit Card.

How can I compare Mastercard credit cards?

  • Fees.
    The fees you end up paying depend on the credit card issuer you choose to go with as well as the card you get. A basic no-frills Mastercard might require you to pay little or no annual fees compared to a gold or platinum Mastercard that may have a higher annual fee.
  • Interest rate offers.
    Compare Mastercard products based on any promotional interest rates that can help you cut costs with either 0% purchase or balance transfer offers.
  • Credit card issuer.
    As they determine many of the features and fees that come with the card, it’s important to consider which company will issue the card when comparing your options.
  • Rewards.
    You can find several Mastercard credit cards linked to various rewards and frequent flyer programs. This is something you should consider if you’re looking to earn points as you spend.
  • Complimentary insurance.
    Some Mastercard products offer complimentary insurance including extended warranties, price protection, Mastercard ID Theft Protection, global services, travel protection and more.

Compare the best Mastercard business credit cards

History of Mastercard

Mastercard began operations in the late 1940s, at a time when a number of American banks gave customers specially issued paper they could use in the form of cash at local establishments. Mastercard issued its first batch of credit cards in California, to serve as direct competition to the Bank of America card that later went on to become Visa.

With time, a number of franchises evolved in several cities and in 1966, one such group formed the Interbank Card Association (ICA). No single bank dominated the running of this organization and member committees came into effect for this very purpose. ICA went on to become Mastercard in 1979.

Visa vs. Mastercard

There isn’t a huge difference between the features offered by Visa and Mastercard, as most of your card features will largely depend on the issuer. However, it always helps to compare your Visa and Mastercard options since there are a few small differences.

Bottom line

As one of the largest credit card networks available in the US, you’re likely to find a Mastercard credit card that’s right for your needs.

Compare your credit card options to make sure you’re making the right choice.

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