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Discussion in 'Credit Talk' started by kenny, May 7, 2001.
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I never knew there was a real difference, but I remember reading somewhere recently that Mastercard is accepted in more places than Visa. I know I have seen one place that would take MC but not Visa.
To me there is practically no difference and I would not actively seek one above the other.
In the U.S. there is very, very little difference for a consumer. I don't think I've ever seen an American business take one and not the other. That's unless you count the IRS, which takes Mastercard, Discover, and AmEx but not Visa. (I think they do it as part of their mandate to confuse and inconvenience the public.) Maybe if you look on their websites you'll find some difference in gold or platinum features, but I've always thought they're close to worthless anyway. Could there be a difference in number of ATMs that accept each one? I don't know, it's been years since I've wanted to use a credit card in an ATM so I don't look for those logos.
Internationally Mastercard has a much bigger presence than Visa, and the two processing services are generally not bundled together for merchants. So if you're outside the U.S. you're more likely to have a Mastercard and more likely to need one versus Visa at least. Inside the U.S. Visa is a bit more popular in credit cards and is crushing MC in check cards.
As a merchant you can note that your chargeback percentages on the two cards are counted seperately. You may also pay a slightly different rate -- IIRC Mastercard charges 0.04% less than Visa. Normally this difference disappears in the clearing house so its not even an issue.
There was a day when Visa had 12 digit account numbers and Mastercard 20, but since then I don't think there's been anything to think about. Given a choice pick whichever card design is prettier.