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Who Is Stronger? Visa or Mastercard?

Contributed by mm | December 13, 2004 10:37 AM PST

Do you have more Visa or Mastercard? Do you charge more to your Visa or Mastercard? To me, the answer to both questions is Mastercard. As a matter of fact, all my favorite cards, the 5%/1% cashback Citi Dividend Platinum, 1.5% cashback Fidelity Investment Rewards, and the 10%/1% cashback MBNA Cashback are in the camp of Mastercard.

Nevertheless, my case is not representative. Look at what the national survey says.

According to CardWeb, "[a]t the end of the third quarter, VISA had $293.5 billion in U.S. credit card outstandings, compared to $282.7 billion for MasterCard." Both Visa and Mastercard captured more than 40% of the market share, only leaving 7.1% for Discover and 5.8% for American Express. In terms of credit card accounts, "MasterCard ended the quarter with 218 million credit card accounts, about three million more than VISA."

If you want to add debit cards, check out this second survey. When debit cards are included, Visa is the clear leader with 52% market share or 452.5 million cards in force, while Mastercard has 325.8 million cards.

I don't even remember what's the last time I swiped a Visa credit card -- it must be at least three months ago. Is it just a coincidence that all the best reward cards carry the Mastercard logo?

This Post Has Received 3 Comments. Share Your Opinions Too.


Darren Commented on December 17, 2004

strangely here in Australia Visa has the better reward programs so I've not used my Mastercard in ages....


Nick Commented on November 20, 2005

MasterCard charges merchants a bit more to accept a thier card than Visa does. The charge is called "intechange". The "interchange" is given back to the card issueing bank (Citi, MBNA, etc). The issueing bank has more money to pay for marketing incentives if they issue the Mastercard.


chris curtis Commented on May 7, 2006

which card company is better, Visa or mastercard


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