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Mastercard And Visa Credit Cards: Should You Apply For Both?

Oct 21, 2007
MasterCard and Visa: they're both household names in today's credit card world. In fact, MasterCard and Visa are so common that if you're shopping for a new card, it may be difficult to choose one over the other. Which one is more widely accepted? Which one has better benefits? Should you apply for both? Here are some points to consider while comparing MasterCard and Visa credit cards.

How MasterCard and Visa Operate

While you see their name on many cards, MasterCard and Visa do not actually issue credit cards. Rather, they function in a behind-the-scenes way. MasterCard and Visa are payment systems. They create and maintain the computer networks that process their credit card transactions. This is no small task. Literally billions of credit card transactions occur at ATMs and merchants around the world.

Other banks, such as Chase and Bank of America, issue the actual credit cards. These banks work with MasterCard or Visa. They place the brand name on their cards. If you see the Visa name on a credit card, it means that Visa is backing up the card. The same is true for cards with the MasterCard logo on them. This is why you see cards with names such as the Chase Platinum MasterCard. Note that the name of the bank and the payment system are both mentioned. When you make a payment, it goes to the bank that issued the card.

Comparing MasterCard and Visa

As far as worldwide acceptance, MasterCard and Visa are quite comparable. Both of them have an established global presence. Most retailers will take either one without hesitation. In rare occasions, a retailer may only accept one or the other. Even then, you should be able to find another store close by that does take your card.

If you're searching for a credit card, you are probably comparing interest rates, reward programs, fees, and included benefits. Keep in mind that the issuing banks determine these factors. They are not decided by MasterCard or Visa.

Reasons to Get Both

If you are applying for your first card, remember that MasterCard and Visa are quite similar. You will want to look at the various benefits offered by the banks that issue the cards. If you are planning to keep a balance from month to month, you may want to consider a card with a low interest rate. If you are looking for rewards and are able to pay off the balance in full each month, a card with a good reward program may better fit you.

If you have a Visa and want another credit card, it may be wise to get a MasterCard (and vice versa). The same is true for banks. If you have a card from Chase, try looking into a different card issuer. Having variety will aid you should anything happen to one of the institutions. Also, since the different lenders are in competition, you may receive offers for better credit card deals in the future.

MasterCard and Visa are both solid credit card choices. Having a card from each company will give you more credit options. And having cards from different banks will get you access to the best reward programs, interest rates, and other benefits. Start looking online today. Then pick out the credit cards that work best for you.
About the Author
Click here to find Visa Card and MasterCard Offers. Ed Vegliante runs www.Credit-Card-Surplus.com, a directory of credit card offers.
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