Which Is Better: Visa or MasterCard?

Estimated read time: 4 minutes

Are you signing up for your first credit card? Perhaps you’re just looking for a new card? There are a number of players in the credit card space but the two biggest ones are Visa and Mastercard. Mastercard does 24 billion transactions per year, and Visa does 37 billion. So how do these two giants stack up?

Mastercard Visa
How high of credit score do you need? >650 >650
Number of worldwide transactions 24 billion 37 billion
Global acceptance 33 million merchants across more than 210 countries 44 million merchants across 200+ countries
Market share 31.7% 48.5%
Online shopping security features Mastercard SecureCode creates a private code for your account to use when shopping online Verified by Visa may ask you to provide additional information when using a new device or making an especially large purchase
Credit card tiers offered Standard, World Mastercard, World Elite Mastercard Traditional, Visa Signature, Visa Infinite
Offers lost or stolen credit reporting and protection yes yes
Emergency card replacement and emergency cash dispersal yes yes
Travel protection Trip cancellation insurance for World Elite cardholders; complimentary concierge for World and World Elite Travel accident insurance, trip cancellation coverage, and lost luggage reimbursement for Visa Infinite cardholders only
Price protection Yes, for all Mastercard cardholders No

First on the docket is Mastercard. Mastercard has three benefit tiers: Standard Mastercard benefits, World Mastercard benefits, and World Elite Mastercard benefits. Standard benefits include:

  • Pump and save: When you use any Mastercard at participating grocery stores, you can earn bonus rewards in the Fuel Rewards Network program.
  • Price drop protection: If you purchase an item with your Mastercard and the price drops, you may qualify for a reimbursement.
  • Warranties for years: Mastercard's extended warranties double the original warranty or service contract on items you purchase with the card.
  • ID safeguards: Mastercard provides identity theft resolution services, alerts, and assistance if your credit card is stolen or used fraudulently.
  • Returns guaranteed—even if the merchant refuses: Get ready to get at least a partial refund, even if the merchant won’t pay.

World Mastercard benefits are as follows:

  • Free two day shipping at hundreds of online retailers: World Mastercard cardholders get a complimentary ShopRunner membership.
  • Get upgraded on your next hotel stay: The Mastercard Luxury Hotels & Resorts program offers travelers free room upgrades, breakfast, and other perks when booking a stay at eligible properties.
  • Dine for less: Mastercard's dining program helps you make reservations at trendy eateries and receive perks like a free dessert or drink with your meal at certain participating restaurants.
  • Free 24/7 concierge: The concierge can assist you with shopping, booking travel, or recommend outings and service providers.
  • Love to tee it up? The Priceless Golf benefit includes daily membership to Tournament Players Club (TPC) Network golf courses.

Finally, if you qualify for World Elite class benefits, they are:

  • Skip the lines: With the Nightlife Program, you can score ultra hard-to-get reservations at popular nightclubs and lounges
  • Peace of mind: Mastercard's trip cancellation insurance will reimburse you if you have to cancel a trip due to weather, illness, or another covered cause.

So, with all of these great Mastercard benefits, how does Visa compare? Visa offers three tiers of benefits as well—Visa Traditional benefits, Visa Signature benefits, and Visa Infinite benefits. The Visa Traditional benefits are:

  • 0% fraud liability: All Visa cards come with 0% fraud liability and the following Visa basic benefits.
  • Save on car rental insurance: Visa cards come with an auto rental collision damage waiver (CDW) when you use your Visa card to rent a car.

Visa Signature benefits look like this:

  • In a bind while traveling? Visa can help: Visa Signature cards can help you find lost luggage and locate medical or legal help while traveling.
  • Gain access to exclusive events: Visa's Signature events are open to cardholders who want the privilege of securing tickets (at a cost) for exclusive sporting events and other cultural and culinary outings.
  • 24/7 concierge at your service: The complimentary concierge can help you purchase event tickets and gifts, book restaurant reservations, and even plan an itinerary.
  • Extended warranties, at no extra cost: Visa will extend the warranty on many items purchased with your Visa card for an additional year.

  • Travel savings: Visa Infinite cards offer reimbursement for TSA Precheck or Global Entry application fees.
  • Lounge access: They also come with complimentary access to airport lounges.

So, which is better? It’s hard to say, and really depends on the individual credit user, but we give this face off to Mastercard, mostly because Mastercard’s top of the line benefits are more robust and offer more for travelers of the business or leisure variety. Whether benefitting from luxury hotel savings or lounge access in over 600 airports around the country, you’ll love the swanky travel benefits that come with using a Mastercard. The difference is in the details, and that’s where Mastercard comes out on top!

Wells Fargo Propel American Express
Travel points & no annual fee
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Annual Fee
Recommended Credit:
Excellent and Good Credit
  • Rack up 30,000 bonus points, after spending $3,000 within your first 3 months
  • 3X points for eating out and for ordering in
  • 3X points for gas stations
  • 3X points rideshares like Uber or Lyft, and transit
  • 3X points for travel including flights, homestays like Airbnb, hotels, and car rentals
  • 1X point on other purchases