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Visa vs Mastercard

We compared the features side-by-side and it turns out there's little difference between Visa and Mastercard credit cards – here's how to choose between them.

Most of the credit cards and debit cards you see in Australia have a Visa or Mastercard logo on them. These companies are 2 major international card payment networks and both are accepted almost everywhere in Australia and worldwide.

So, what's the difference between Visa and Mastercard? For everyday spending, the short answer is "not much", because your credit card features are largely set by the bank. But Visa and Mastercard do have specific features that set them apart, so let's take a look at what they offer.

What's the difference between Visa and Mastercard?

We've broken down things such as acceptance, contactless payment technology and extra perks to help you decide whether a Visa or a Mastercard is right for you.

FeatureVisaMastercard
Acceptance200+ countries200+ countries
Contactless paymentsVisa payWave can be used to make contactless payments without needing a PIN if you spend up to $100.Mastercard contactless lets you tap to pay for transactions without needing a PIN if you spend up to $200.
Exclusive offersVisa Offers + Perks gives cardholders access to exclusive discounts with partnered brands, pre-sale concert tickets, travel and dining deals.Mastercard Priceless Cities offers discounts and perks on hotels, shopping, dining, entertainment and more around the world.
Premium cardsVisa Platinum and Signature cards give you access to Visa Premium, with perks including concierge services, hotel offers and Visa Front Line Access for pre-sale concert tickets.Platinum and World Mastercard products are linked with Mastercard Priceless Cities, airport lounge access through Mastercard Airport Experience and other perks.
SecurityYou can contact the Visa customer support team 24/7 to report a lost or stolen card, request emergency cash or card or block your card.If your card is lost or stolen and you require emergency cash or card replacement, you can contact Mastercard Global Services 24/7.
Online shopping securityVisa Secure (formerly Verified by Visa) adds an authentication step to online purchases to help protect you from fraud.Mastercard SecureCode is an additional layer of security that protects cardholders from fraudulent transactions online.
Virtual card options?Yes, including with mobile wallets (depending on the bank or provider).Yes, including with mobile wallets (depending on the bank or provider).
Sustainability highlights
  • Commitment to net zero carbon emissions by 2040
  • Carbon-neutral operations
  • Visa and CPI Card Group produced a payment card made of up to 98% upcycled materials (Earthwise)
  • Net zero goal by 2040
  • Commitment to planting 100 million trees by 2025 through the Priceless Planet Coalition
  • Sustainable cards program with more than 60 financial institutions involved
Market share60% of the global credit and debit card market (according to a Reuters report in 2020).30% of the global credit and debit card market (according to a Reuters report in 2020).

Looking at these features side-by-side shows that you'll get very similar card acceptance, contactless payments, exclusive offers, premium perks and security for in-person or online shipping.

Both also have comparable sustainability initiatives, although it's worth taking a closer look at Visa and Mastercard initiatives if this is priority for you.

A key difference between Visa and Mastercard is the global market share. But Reserve Bank of Australia data shows that around 92% of all credit card and charge card transactions in Australia are made with Visa and Mastercard, and make up around 84% of all transactions by value. So the overall market share doesn't typically have a noticeable impact when you're paying by card.

Which is better?

Most of the time, you won't really notice a difference between paying with a Visa or Mastercard. If there are company features that you care about such as sustainability goals, that can factor into your decision.

But usually, you can focus on credit card features that you want and costs that are affordable for you – factors that come down to the bank or provider.

Compare Visa vs Mastercard credit cards

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1 - 10 of 165
Name Purchase rate p.a. Annual fee Balance transfer rate p.a. Amount Saved
Kogan Money Card – Exclusive Offer
Exclusive
Kogan Rewards Program
Purchase rate p.a.
20.99%
Annual fee
$0
Balance transfer rate p.a.
0% for 18 months with 1% balance transfer fee, then 21.74%
$1,335.99 over 18 months
Go to siteMore Info
Get 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 18 months with a 1% balance transfer fee. Plus an ongoing $0 annual fee.
Virgin Money Low Rate Credit Card
Purchase rate p.a.
11.99%
Annual fee
$99
Balance transfer rate p.a.
0% for 15 months, then 21.69%
$937.92 over 15 months
More Info
Offers 0% p.a. for 15 months on balance transfers, with no balance transfer fee.
St.George Vertigo Card - Cashback Offer
Purchase rate p.a.
13.99%
Annual fee
$55
Balance transfer rate p.a.
6.99% for 12 months, then 21.49%
$562.66 over 12 months
Go to siteMore Info
Get up to $400 cashback at eligible supermarkets and petrol stations in the first 180 days. Plus, a low interest rate for purchases.
ANZ Low Rate - Credit Back Offer
Purchase rate p.a.
13.74%
Annual fee
$58
Balance transfer rate p.a.
21.99%
Go to siteMore Info
Get $250 back on your card when you spend $1,500 on eligible purchases in the first 3 months.
ANZ Platinum Credit Card
Purchase rate p.a.
20.99%
Annual fee
$0 first year ($87 after)
Balance transfer rate p.a.
21.99%
Go to siteMore Info
Get $300 back on your card when you spend $1,500 on eligible purchases in the first 3 months and a $0 first-year annual fee. Plus, complimentary overseas travel insurance.
St.George Amplify Platinum
Amplify Rewards
Purchase rate p.a.
19.49%
Annual fee
$49 first year ($124 after)
Balance transfer rate p.a.
0% for 24 months with 1% balance transfer fee, then 21.49%
$1,538.89 over 24 months
More Info
Earn 100,000 bonus Amplify Points (worth $450 in eGift cards) when you spend $3,000 in the first 90 days. Plus, a first-year annual fee discount.
NAB Low Rate Credit Card
Purchase rate p.a.
13.49%
Annual fee
$0 first year ($59 after)
Balance transfer rate p.a.
0% for 28 months with 2% balance transfer fee, then 21.74%
$1,768.59 over 28 months
More Info
Get a 0% p.a. interest rate on balance transfers for the first 28 months (with a 2% BT fee). Plus, save with a $0 first-year annual fee.
Latitude Gem Visa
Purchase rate p.a.
27.49%
Annual fee
$119.40
Balance transfer rate p.a.
N/A
More Info
Offers 0% p.a. for the first 6 months on purchases of $250 or more and long-term interest-free payment plans for up to 60 months.
St.George Vertigo Card
Purchase rate p.a.
13.99%
Annual fee
$55
Balance transfer rate p.a.
0% for 28 months with 1% balance transfer fee, then 21.49%
$1,780.59 over 28 months
Go to siteMore Info
Get a 0% p.a. interest rate on balance transfers for 28 months (with a 1% balance transfer fee).
NAB Qantas Rewards Signature Card
Qantas Frequent Flyer
Purchase rate p.a.
20.99%
Annual fee
$295 first year ($395 after)
Balance transfer rate p.a.
0% for 12 months with 3% balance transfer fee, then 21.74%
$632.32 over 12 months
More Info
Earn up to 120,000 bonus Qantas Points (90,000 when you spend $3,000 in the first 60 days and 30,000 after 12 months).
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Showing 10 of 165 results
Name Purchase rate p.a. Bonus points Points per $ spent Interest-free period Balance transfer rate p.a. Annual fee
Westpac Low Rate Card
Purchase rate p.a.
13.74%
Bonus points
N/A
Points per $ spent
N/A
Interest-free period
Up to 55 days on purchases
Balance transfer rate p.a.
0% for 28 months with 2% balance transfer fee, then 21.49%
Annual fee
$59
Go to siteMore Info
Save with a 0% p.a. interest rate on balance transfers for 28 months (with a 2% BT fee). Plus, a low 13.74% p.a. purchase interest rate.
Citi Clear Card - Exclusive Offer
Exclusive
Purchase rate p.a.
14.99%
Bonus points
N/A
Points per $ spent
N/A
Interest-free period
Up to 55 days on purchases
Balance transfer rate p.a.
0% for 24 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee, then 22.24%
Annual fee
$49 first year ($99 after)
Go to siteMore Info
Offers 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 24 months (with 1.5% balance transfer fee) and a $49 first-year annual fee.
Qantas Premier Platinum
Qantas Frequent Flyer
Purchase rate p.a.
19.99%
Bonus points
80,000
Points per $ spent
1
Interest-free period
Up to 55 days on purchases
Balance transfer rate p.a.
0% for 12 months, then 21.99%
Annual fee
$349 first year ($399 after)
Go to siteMore Info
Earn up to 80,000 bonus Qantas Points. Plus, save with a reduced first-year annual fee and 0% p.a. for 12 months on balance transfers. Ends on 01 May 2024.
Citi Clear Card - Balance Transfer Offer
Purchase rate p.a.
14.99%
Bonus points
N/A
Points per $ spent
N/A
Interest-free period
Up to 55 days on purchases
Balance transfer rate p.a.
0% for 28 months with 2% balance transfer fee, then 22.24%
Annual fee
$99
More Info
Offers 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 28 months with a one-time 2% balance transfer fee. Plus, complimentary insurance covers.
Citi Rewards Card - Flybuys Offer
Citi Rewards Program
Purchase rate p.a.
0% for 6 months, then 21.49%
Bonus points
100,000
Points per $ spent
1
Interest-free period
Up to 55 days on purchases
Balance transfer rate p.a.
N/A
Annual fee
$199
More Info
Get 100,000 bonus Flybuys points (worth $500 Flybuys dollars) when you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months. Plus, 0% p.a. interest rate on purchases for 6 months.
Citi Premier Qantas Card
Qantas Frequent Flyer
Purchase rate p.a.
21.49%
Bonus points
70,000
Points per $ spent
0.5
Interest-free period
Up to 55 days on purchases
Balance transfer rate p.a.
22.24%
Annual fee
$350
More Info
Get up to 70,000 bonus Qantas Points when you meet the spend requirements. Plus, complimentary lounge passes and international travel insurance.
Coles Low Rate Mastercard
Flybuys
Purchase rate p.a.
12.99%
Bonus points
N/A
Points per $ spent
0.5
Interest-free period
Up to 55 days on purchases
Balance transfer rate p.a.
0% for 15 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee, then 19.99%
Annual fee
$58
More Info
Save with 0% p.a. for 15 months on balance transfers (with a 1.5% BT fee). Plus, earn Flybuys points on Coles spending.
Westpac Low Rate Card - Cashback Offer
Purchase rate p.a.
13.74%
Bonus points
N/A
Points per $ spent
N/A
Interest-free period
Up to 55 days on purchases
Balance transfer rate p.a.
N/A
Annual fee
$59
Go to siteMore Info
A no-frills card offering up to $350 cashback: $50 each month you make at least $1,000 of eligible purchases for the first 7 months.
Coles No Annual Fee Mastercard - Bonus Points Offer
Flybuys
Purchase rate p.a.
0% for 6 months, then 19.99%
Bonus points
20,000
Points per $ spent
0.5
Interest-free period
Up to 55 days on purchases
Balance transfer rate p.a.
N/A
Annual fee
$0
Go to siteMore Info
Get 20,000 bonus Flybuys points (worth $100 Flybuys Dollars) and 0% interest on purchases for the first 6 months.
Westpac Altitude Platinum Card
Westpac Altitude Rewards
Purchase rate p.a.
19.99%
Bonus points
120,000
Points per $ spent
1
Interest-free period
Up to 45 days on purchases
Balance transfer rate p.a.
N/A
Annual fee
$49 first year ($175 after)
More Info
Up to 120,000 bonus Altitude Points (90,000 points when you spend $3,000 in the first 90 days & 30,000 points after the first spend in year 2).
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Showing 10 of 75 results

Visa and Mastercard benefits: What can you get?

While rewards, complimentary insurance and other card benefits are typically chosen by the bank or provider, both Visa and Mastercard also give you access to exclusive offers when you pay with your card.

Known as Visa Offers + Perks and Mastercard Priceless Cities, these programs cover travel, shopping, dining, entertainment and more. Here's a look at both of them.

Visa Offers + Perks

visa logo

Visa Offers + Perks (previously Visa Entertainment) is a complimentary perk that gives you access to shopping deals and offers with partners such as THE ICONIC, Booking.com and Hotels.com. Here are some of the offers you can take advantage of with a Visa card:

  • Shopping. Get discounts, cashback and other deals when you shop with partners.
  • Travel. Partners offer discounts on flights, accommodation and activities, with some offers even giving you extra perks at hotels.
  • Dining. Save on restaurant experiences, tasting sessions, masterclasses and more.
  • Competitions. Enter competitions to win freebies such as new-release DVDs or ticket passes. It can be as easy as answering a question to enter the draw.

You can search for offers nearby or anywhere in the world through the Visa Offers + Perks website.

Mastercard Priceless Cities

new mastercard logo

Mastercard's Priceless Cities program provides unique offers for a range of locations around the world, including Sydney, New York, London, Tokyo, Singapore and Bangkok. Mastercard Priceless Cities separates its promotions into 4 key categories:

  • Dining deals. These offers include exclusive tours and dining experiences at some of the best restaurants, opportunities to meet world-famous chefs, priority seating and complimentary glasses of wine.
  • Entertainment offers. Enjoy exclusive premium ticket pricing for stage productions, savings on local and international attractions and other random delights such as golf trips, yachting adventures or mixology classes – whatever tickles your fancy.
  • Shop and save. Attend private champagne receptions at boutiques and enjoy discounts off your purchases at VIP sales, or have your own personal stylist take you on a shopping tour for the day with these offers.
  • Travel in style. Receive complimentary room upgrades and enjoy club level access with free buffet breakfasts, afternoon tea and canapes. You can also get a special price on spa packages or luxury retreat packages involving romantic private dinners and sunset experiences.

Bottom line?

Although there are differences between Visa and Mastercard, you should pay more attention to how credit card rates, fees and features differ between banks when comparing credit cards. When deciding if a Visa or Mastercard is right for you, consider where you plan to use the card and the perks you want to take advantage of.

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2 Responses

    Default Gravatar
    FiroozehNovember 19, 2023

    Which debit account gives me an overdraft feature?

      AvatarFinder
      AmyNovember 20, 2023Finder

      Hi Firoozeh,
      Personal overdrafts are not typically a standard feature of bank accounts, but can sometimes be added to an eligible account if you request one. If you already have a debit card, you could contact your bank to find out if an overdraft is available. Or check directly with a new bank. Just make sure you check the interest rate that applies if you use the overdraft, as it may be higher than some low rate credit cards or personal loans. Also check if there are any establishment or ongoing fees. Finder’s guide to personal overdrafts has more details on how they work and what to consider. I hope this helps.

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