Both offer worldwide acceptance, travel benefits and other perks.
Visa and Mastercard are the largest credit card processing companies in the United States. Each offers a range of benefits that vary by card issuer.
Compare two cards: Visa vs Mastercard
Compare Visa and Mastercard secured credit cards
What’s the difference between Visa and Mastercard?
Visa and Mastercard provide the technology and networks required for processing card payments. They’re the largest card processors in the world, and their products are accepted by millions of merchants around the world.
Neither Visa nor Mastercard issues cards, unlike banks and other financial institutions. That’s why you might get your credit card from Chase, but the bottom corner of the card will have a Visa logo.
Though Visa and Mastercard are similar in many ways, each has specific advantages. For example:
- Intro APR. Currently, the card with the longest balance transfer intro APR is Mastercard’s Citi Simplicity® Card.
- Travel partners. Visa offers more cobranded hotel and airline credit cards.
- Student and secured cards. Mastercard arguably has better secured and student credit cards, such as the Secured Mastercard® from Capital One®® and Citi Rewards+℠ Student Card.
If you have specific needs, you may find one processor offers more relevant cards.Back to top
Visa and Mastercard market share
|Number of countries||200+||200+|
|Market capitalization (value)||$325.43 billion||$230.59 billion|
|Number of cards in circulation||838 million||388 million|
Visa is the bigger company by a significant margin. However, in recent years, Mastercard has substantially increased its market share, bridging the gap between these two credit card giants.
Here are a few statistics on worldwide acceptance:
|Number of countries||200+||200+|
|Number of merchants||40 million (approx.)||40 million (approx.)|
|Cash advance locations||2.3 million||2.1 million|
What features and services do Visa and Mastercard offer?
Visa and Mastercard have a wide range of benefits that issuers can offer. These include:
Credit cards with Visa PayWave or Mastercard PayPass let you make payments by waving your card over compatible readers. You can add contactless Visa and Mastercard credit cards to mobile payment services.
Visa and Mastercard both provide standard and premium products. For example, you’ll find Visa Platinum, Signature and Infinite cards as well as Platinum, World and World Elite Mastercard products.
Benefits vary by card provider but could include concierge services, travel insurance, purchase protection, return protection, trip cancellation and interruption insurance, baggage insurance and more.
Premium Visa and Mastercard products might include exclusive discounts on hotels, as well as access to special events and offers.
Global cardmember services.
Visa Travel and Emergency Assistance Service and Mastercard Global Service provide emergency card replacements and cash advances when you’re traveling abroad.
How can I compare Visa and Mastercard credit cards?
Visa and Mastercard offer worldwide acceptance and extensive secondary benefits. Compare primary benefits to determine which network might be a better fit for you. These benefits might include:
The more perks a card has, the higher annual fee it’s likely to have. For this reason, Visa Signature and Infinite cards, as well as World and World Elite Mastercards, typically cost more.
You may also find 0% intro APRs for purchases or balance transfers.
Card issuer perks.
Credit card providers may offer a range of additional perks, including airport lounge access, travel credits and loyalty-program upgrades.
Card issuers regularly offer bonuses that you can earn by spending a certain amount on your card within a few months.
Pros and cons of Visa and Mastercard credit cards
There are relatively few downsides to using a Visa or Mastercard. Both are accepted widely, and each may offer valuable purchase and travel benefits.
Visa credit cards: Pros and cons
Mastercard credit cards: Pros and cons
Both Visa and Mastercard are excellent networks as neither has major weaknesses.
That’s good news, as it means you can cast a wide net for your new card. Instead of asking which processor is better, think of which benefits are most important to you. This could include rewards, intro APR, signup bonus and more. Then look for the specific card that checks the boxes.
Best of both worlds
Visa and Mastercard both offer robust secondary benefits, such as purchase protection and travel insurance. But you might not find these extras with every card.
If these features are important to you, consider applying for a pair of cards. You can open one card for your everyday purchases. With the other, look for a premium Visa or Mastercard — for example, a Visa Infinite or World Elite Mastercard. The high-end card will likely offer a wealth of extra benefits.Back to top
Both Visa and Mastercard are fine processors, and you’ll find excellent credit cards on both sides. Don’t pick your card based on the network — consider products based on their individual features.
Frequently asked questions