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Regular Contributor
loviedovie
Posts: 206
Registered: ‎12-20-2012
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Visa vs. Mastercard- what's the difference?

I'm new so forgive me for asking a really basic question but I don't know the difference between Visa and Mastercard versions of credit cards. Or is there a difference?

Starting Score: EXP 615 | TU 610 | EQ 635
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Super Contributor
longtimelurker
Posts: 8,199
Registered: ‎04-22-2013
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Re: Visa vs. Mastercard- what's the difference?


loviedovie wrote:
I'm new so forgive me for asking a really basic question but I don't know the difference between Visa and Mastercard versions of credit cards. Or is there a difference?

They are just different payment networks, some cards are available in both forms, others in just one.   For higher-tier cards, such as Visa Signature and Mastercard World, Visa and MC stipulate a list of benefits that such cards MUST have and there are small differences between the two that won't impact most people.  And anyway, issuers are free to offer more than the minimum and frequently do.

 

So a short answer is that there isn't much of a practical difference, and certainly Visa vs MC is much less important than choosing the right type of card and issuer.

 

In the US, if a merchant accepts Visa they will nearly always accept MC, and vice-versa (with a few exceptions).  Elsewhere this is not always true, so people suggest having one of each at least.

Member
aspen12777
Posts: 21
Registered: ‎09-03-2013
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Re: Visa vs. Mastercard- what's the difference?

I did some work for Visa at one of their sites and their cafe only took Visa... Go figure. 

 

Not even cash.  Make the world Visa. They had an ATM you could put cash in and get prepaid Visa cash cards. 

 

Nice company to work with. 

Established Contributor
MoreRewards
Posts: 587
Registered: ‎09-27-2013
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Re: Visa vs. Mastercard- what's the difference?

Simply different payment networks.

Both are widely accepted though some places rarely only take one. Like I found out my DR Office only accepts MC. Real downer for me since I wanted to use my Visa or Amex.
Frequent Contributor
Roarmeister
Posts: 334
Registered: ‎04-21-2012
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Re: Visa vs. Mastercard- what's the difference?

[ Edited ]

loviedovie wrote:
I'm new so forgive me for asking a really basic question but I don't know the difference between Visa and Mastercard versions of credit cards. Or is there a difference?

Take this article with a grain of salt becuase your mileage may vary!

http://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/credit-card-benefits/visa-credit-cards-mastercard-difference

 

MasterCard and Visa don’t issue credit cards

First, it’s important to understand that MasterCard and Visa do not issue credit cards.  Instead, they make money by processing transactions between your point of purchase and your bank. They have nothing to do with your rewards programs, interest rates, late feesor customer service issues. Simply put, they are payment networks that connect merchant payment terminals with your bank’s credit card department. Because millions of merchants accept huge amounts of credit card purchases every day, banks prefer to use one of these third party networks to process credit transactions.

So should I get a Visa or MasterCard? And does it matter?

Though networks have nothing to do with fees or rewards, they arrange most non-reward “perks.” Your bank (Chase, Bank of America, etc.) is in charge of things like cash back programs and airline miles. But the networks (Visa, MasterCard, Discover, etc.) add perks like fraud protection, car rental insurance, travel insurance, purchase protection and more. When choosing a network, you need to determine which offers the most generous and relevant perks. Visa and MasterCard are pretty similar, but Visa is just a little better. Its advantage is twofold. First, Visa has better “Loss of Use” coverage on car rental insurance. Second, MasterCard offers “Return Protection” on very few cards, whereas Visa Signature offers the service broadly. With exclusivity arrangements falling by the wayside, you are now more likely to be given a choice between networks when approved for a credit card. If your choice is between Visa and MasterCard (and it often will be), we recommend Visa, especially if the card falls under the Visa Signature category.

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Regular Contributor
loviedovie
Posts: 206
Registered: ‎12-20-2012
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Re: Visa vs. Mastercard- what's the difference?

wow Roarmeister, thanks!!! I love these forums- like having a bunch of credit professors you can ask questions to :smileyhappy:

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