If you’re looking for a credit card that offers security and that is widely accepted in countries all over the world, Mastercard credit card might be the right choice for you. Mastercard is a reputable credit card network that can broaden your purchasing power and allow you to make transactions wherever you are. Many different banks, credit unions, and even retailers offer Mastercard cards, and you can easily and safely apply for your card online. Before you do, however, it’s good to stay informed and learn as much as possible about Mastercard. So, let’s take a closer look at Mastercard offers, and see what their benefits and advantages are.
Mastercard in Numbers
On a daily basis, there are over 15 million Mastercard transactions in over 180 currencies. As opposed to Visa cards which are accepted in around 170 countries, Mastercard is accepted in 210 countries around the globe and counting.
235 million Mastercard credit cards are in circulation in the US alone, and over 668 million are used in other countries around the world. Mastercard® is a network that enjoys the trust of millions of people, and you wouldn’t be wrong in joining them.
Almost every merchant or store that accepts Visa will accept Mastercard credit cards as well. You can use these cards while traveling abroad or shopping online, and various different issuers who offer Mastercard will include many benefits and rewards to the cardholders.
Is Mastercard a Card Issuer or a Card Network?
There is a big difference between card issuers and card networks, as these two organizations perform very different tasks.
A card issuer is typically a bank or credit union that is in charge of distributing credit cards to clients. If you need a new card, you will go to a card issuer to get one. That bank or credit union will be responsible for the customer support aspect of credit cards, it will set the terms and conditions of using a card, decide whether an application will be accepted or denied. The issuer also sets the fees and rates, controls the credit card benefits and rewards, and sets your credit card limit.
A credit card network, on the other hand, is a credit card payment processor. It controls which stores and merchants can accept a card within the network, and it handles the transaction between the buyer and the merchant. Credit card networks are not responsible for lending money, setting the terms and conditions of credit cards, nor anything of the sort.
Mastercard is, therefore, a credit card network. If you want to apply for a Mastercard, you will have to send your credit card application to an issuer that offers such card.
What are Mastercard Service Levels?
As is the case with Visa credit cards, Mastercard cards can come in one of 3 versions with different service levels, each of them coming with some nice advantages. You can get one of the following Mastercard:
- World Elite
If you’re unsure of which type of credit card you have, you can check by looking at your card. If you have a World or World Elite, this will be written right next to the logo on the card. If all you see is a Mastercard logo and nothing else, you probably have the Standard. You can always check with your issuer to make sure.
What are Benefits and Rewards?
As mentioned, the three different types of cards come with some unique benefits. Whether the credit card you get has these benefits depends mostly on your credit card issuer, as issuers can decide whether they want to offer these features or not. Most issuers will offer the benefits that come directly from Mastercard or will offer some other similar benefits instead or on top of those.
- Zero fraud liability
- Mastercard global services
- ID theft protection
- All of the Standard Mastercard benefits
- Cellphone insurance
- Concierge services
- Travel services
- Discounts and memberships
World Elite Mastercard
- All of the World Mastercard benefits
- Higher claim limit on cellphone insurance
- Fandango membership
- Lyft membership
- Boxed membership
You can learn more about Mastercard benefits online, and through your credit card issuer. Note that your issuer can exclude some of the benefits or add some of their own, too.
Mastercard vs Visa Credit Cards
The most popular types of cards that you will encounter almost everywhere in the world are Mastercard and Visa. All of the other card networks are falling far behind, regardless of the unique advantages or benefits that they may have to offer. Choosing either an MC credit card or a Visa card will increase your purchasing power since both of these cards are available in many countries. Most of the differences between these two card networks come down to the card issuer. Your benefits, rewards, rates, fees, and application status all depend on the issuer, not the network.
Visa and MC only differ in a few circumstances:
- Mastercard typically has better currency conversion rates.
- Most MC have return protection for your purchases, while Visa only offers this with their Visa Signature cards.
- Standard Mastercards offer price protection, while only some of Visa’s cards have this.
- Visa doesn’t have a limit on the loss-of-use coverage with its Auto rental collision damage waiver, while Mastercard typically has a limit to $500.
The Final Word
As you can see, the differences are few, and not of great significance to the average cardholder. At the end of the day, choosing between a Mastercard and a Visa credit card comes down to your lifestyle and preferences.