Visa and Mastercard

Exploring the Key Differences Between Visa and Mastercard

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For many users, it isn’t always clear that there is a difference between Visa and Mastercard. However, you may have encountered instances where merchants insist that you pay using a card of a certain network, citing high charges. This may lead you to wonder about the fuss since credit card issuers usually focus on individual benefits. 

This is because other than a few notable differences, American payment companies such as VISA, Mastercard, and American Express are mostly similar. If you are wondering which payment network is better for you, here are the key differences between Visa and Mastercard to consider.


What is a VISA Card?

A VISA card is simply a card activated by the VISA payment network that you can use for your financial transactions. Many financial institutions partner with VISA to host their cards and leverage its secure gateway. 

Moreover, each issuing bank has its terms and eligibility criteria that you must meet to qualify for a VISA card. While the network initially offered only credit cards, today it covers debit, prepaid, and gift cards under its vast offerings. 

Here are the different VISA card variants available in the market:

  • Visa Classic
  • Visa Gold
  • Visa Platinum
  • Visa Signature
  • Visa Infinite

VIA card benefits, common across all its tiers, include: 

  • Easy lost/stolen card reporting
  • Travel protection
  • Zero fraud liability 
  • An array of waivers
  • Return and purchase protection 


What is a Mastercard Card?

Mastercard is the world’s second-largest payment network processor, just behind VISA. If you have a Mastercard branded credit card, it simply means that all your payments will be routed via the Mastercard network. 

Just like with VISA, card issuers partner with Mastercard to specify conditions and criteria you must meet in order to get one. These are the Mastercard variants widely available in India: 

  • Standard Mastercard
  • Platinum Mastercard
  • World Mastercard
  • World Elite Mastercard

The benefits of Mastercard include:

  • ID theft protection 
  • Mastercard global service hotline
  • Zero fraud liability
  • Medical coverage 
  • Travel, dining and lifestyle services


Differentiating Between the Cards

These are the key points of difference between VISA and Mastercard:

Service Fees

Whichever payment network your credit card uses, be it VISA or Mastercard, a service fee will be charged for its use. It is via this payment processing fee that they earn revenue. The difference is in how VISA and Mastercard levy these charges. VISA charges the card issuer in either of two ways: 

  1. On a per-transaction basis 
  2. Based on the card volume

On the contrary, Mastercard charges your card-issuing institution based on the purchase transactions conducted. This is the total volume of all the transactions made in a specific period using Mastercard-branded cards. Hence, at your end, you get charged a standard fee annual or monthly, instead of a different charge per transaction.

Card Circulation and Acceptance

While both VISA and Mastercard branded cards are widely accepted worldwide, the circulation and volume differ. Since VISA is more widely circulated, these cards enjoy higher purchase volumes by card issuers than Mastercard. 

However, it is important to note that the quality of transactions depends on the partnerships VISA and Mastercard negotiate with merchants.

Contactless Payment Medium

Another key difference between VISA and Mastercard enabled cards is their contactless payment technology. While both card networks facilitate contactless payments, VISA uses payWave, whereas Mastercard uses PayPass. 

Both methods use Near-Field Communication (NFC) technology to transmit payment information between your card and the payment terminal. Hence, you can safely make contactless payments, without having to swipe your card or enter your PIN. Simply tap or wave it over the payment device to complete the payment.

Security and Technology

Both VISA and Mastercard are backed by highly cutting-edge technology and each payment is individually verified. VISA employs something known as “Verified by Visa” to scrutinise your transactions and ensure that purchases are duly authorised. 

This is done via a prompt, asking you to provide more information and your password when you use a new device or make a large payment. Mastercard, on the other hand, uses “SecureCode by Mastercard” for its security integration. This works by generating a private code when you use the card to transact online.


Should You Opt for a Visa Card or a Mastercard? 

There is no clear choice between VISA and Mastercard as they are similar in a lot of ways, with just a few differences. As such, it is better to focus on the best credit card offers available, rather than on the payment network while applying. 

Focus on the annual fees, interest rates, sign-up bonuses, rewards points and more, while being mindful of your credit health and income levels. If you are on the lookout for a card with versatile features and benefits, consider applying for the One Credit Card. 

It is an advanced metal card with a standout rewards program which lets you earn 5X points on the top two spending categories every month. Moreover, it is backed by an advanced app built using full-stack technology, which allows you to: 

  • Easily track your transactions
  • Opt for EMI facilities
  • Redeem reward points
  • Monitor due dates and outstanding balance 

Apply online to get started. 


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