What to know about Mastercard credit cards | finder.com
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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 Mastercards

Updated June 16th, 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% for the first 12 months (then 15.24%, 19.24% or 25.24% variable)
Earn 3% cash back on up to $10,000 in the first 12 months, then 1.5% on all purchases. See Rates and Fees.
0% for the first 18 months (then 13.24%, 17.24% or 21.24% variable)
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
1x points on all purchases with 2% point value when you redeem for airfare and 1% for cash back
17.24% variable
Enjoy unique excursions, privileged access to exclusive events and insider opportunities.
1x points on all purchases with 2% point value when you redeem for airfare and 1.5% for cash back
17.24% variable
Receive an annual $100 air travel credit toward flight-related purchases including airline tickets, baggage fees, upgrades and more.
1x points on all purchases with 2% point value when you redeem for airfare or cash back
17.24% variable
Earn 2% point value when redeemed for airfare or cash back through the Luxury rewards program.

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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 four categories of Mastercard credit cards, with each type offering their own features. Which one you receive depends on a few factors, including the card itself as well as your credit score. These include:

  • Standard and Gold
  • Platinum and Titanium
  • World
  • World Elite

What are the typical Mastercard 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.

What are the features of a Mastercard credit card?

Your built-in Mastercard features vary based on your type of Mastercard.

Standard and Gold Mastercard
These every day cards feature zero liability protection and Mastercard Global Services, a 24/7 customer service function.
Platinum and Titanium Mastercard
These cards possess all the features of a standard card, plus special offers available through the Mastercard site.
World Mastercard
World Mastercards have all the features of the prior levels, plus additional travel-related perks. These include discounts on certain flights or vacation packages, access to special activities and concierge services.
World Elite Mastercard
The World Elite Mastercard offers the highest tier versions of all prior benefits, as well as airport lounge access and certain travel insurance.

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 their customers specially issued paper that 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 since there are a few small differences between cards from each.

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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