Visa and MasterCard… nowadays the words are often used interchangeably. However they are two different companies. What are their differences and similarities? What are the pros and cons of each? Find out in our MasterCard vs Visa showdown! I’ve updated it for 2013…
Round One: Size of Company
First, let’s take a look at Visa’s basic stats:
Stock Symbol: V
Marketcap (size of company): $118 billion (Oct 2013)
Number of U.S. Visa credit cards: 278 million (March 2013)
Number of U.S. Visa debit cards: 428 million (March 2013)
And versus MasterCard…
Stock Symbol: MA
Marketcap: $80 billion (Oct 2013)
Number of U.S. MasterCard credit cards: 180 million (June 2013)
Number of U.S. MasterCard debit cards: 144 million (June 2013)
Winner? For this part, Visa clearly is the winner as far as size is concerned.
Round Two: Card Acceptance
Visa: The company reported being accepted in over 170 countries by more than 30 million merchants. They also claimed that cardmembers could get ATM cash advances at over 1.4 million locations across the globe.
MasterCard: They claim to be accepted in 210 countries “and territories” at over 28 million merchants. Their network of ATMs reportedly consists of around 1.5 million locations.
Winner? It’s a tie. Visa has a slightly higher number of merchants, but MasterCard is reportedly accepted in more countries.
Round Three: Who Has The Best Credit Cards?
MasterCard and Visa don’t actually issue cards… they are just the payment network that transactions are processed over. So ultimately, things like credit card rewards, benefits, etc. rest on the shoulders of the issuing bank. The 6 biggest credit card companies (based on amount of credit issued) that issue Visa and/or MasterCard are: Bank of America, Chase, Citi, Capital One, HSBC, Wells Fargo.
So who between them has the best credit cards? Unfortunately there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. It really depends on what you are looking for. For example, some banks have good reward credit card from Visa, while others have good ones from MasterCard.
Winner? Another tie. Since the rewards and benefits are determined by the bank, ultimately it is the issuing bank that controls if a particular credit card is good or not.
Final Round: Who Wins For 2013?
If you live in the United States and that is where you will be using the card, essentially there is no reason to choose MasterCard versus a Visa card (or vice-versa). Instead you should choose based on rewards, benefits, and interest rates rather than the logo that’s slapped on the card.
Written or last updated October 8, 2013