Visa vs Mastercard: Which is better?
Both Visa and Mastercard offer convenient worldwide access, card security and other perks. But how do they compare?
When it comes to choosing a credit card, debit card or prepaid card, you usually have the option of a Visa or a Mastercard. These are the two major card-processing companies used in the UK, followed by American Express.
Each Visa or Mastercard credit card is independently issued by a bank or other provider that also offers a range of features and services to customers across their networks. Most banks and card providers don’t give you a choice between Mastercard or Visa, so you’ll probably find it more relevant to your decision-making process to focus on the features offered by a particular card and the provider in general.
Generally, there are very little differences between the two networks and you will rarely deal with Visa or Mastercard directly (it would usually be through your card provider). However, if you’re trying to decide between these two options, here we compare Visa and Mastercard features side-by-side to see how they stack up.
What are Visa and Mastercard?
Visa and Mastercard provide the technology and networks required for processing card payments. So if you buy an item with a Visa credit card, for example, the transaction will be processed on Visa’s network from the shop to the relevant bank or banks (including your own). Similarly, Mastercard credit card transactions are processed via the Mastercard payment network. These two companies are the largest card processors in the world, and their cards are accepted at millions of shops and other providers all over the globe. Generally, you will find most shops accept both Visa and Mastercard payments.
Individual banks and other financial institutions issue Visa or Mastercard credit cards based on the payment processing network they want to use. Whichever network is used, the company’s logo will be visible on the card. A few providers even offer both Visa and Mastercard options. In regards to specific card features, such as interest rates, annual fees, rewards programmes and introductory offers, it is ultimately the card issuer that decides what will be available on specific cards.
Traditionally, Visa has dominated the UK debit card market, but this is set to change. Santander and TSB will start issuing Mastercard debit cards in 2019, joining Virgin Money, Citibank, Clydesdale Bank, Yorkshire Bank and Metro Bank, which already provide Mastercard debit cards.