Mastercard credit card offers
Many Australian banks and lenders issue Mastercard credit cards and you'll see its logo on the front of them. By itself, Mastercard does not issue credit cards. Instead, it's the third-party payment processor that allows the card to be used.
With major banks and brands including Citi, Bendigo Bank, Bankwest and Westpac offering Mastercard credit cards, you can also compare options with rewards, balance transfers, frequent flyer points, low interest rates and more.
Mastercard credit card benefits
While banks and lenders choose to offer perks like rewards and interest-free periods, here are some of the benefits you'll find on most Mastercard credit cards.
Mastercard Priceless gives you access to offers for travel, dining, shopping and entertainment, with a global network of deals. To give you an idea of the offers available, when we looked in July 2023, you could get up to 10% cashback on accommodation through Booking.com.
Most offers run for a limited time, with the latest deals listed on the Priceless website.
Mastercard Travel & Lifestyle Services (World Mastercard benefit)
If you have a World Mastercard, you'll get access to this booking service that offers exclusive deals and perks such as complimentary breakfast, room upgrades and late check-out at partnered hotels. Plus, elite membership status with National Car Rental, Avis and Sixt. The Mastercard Travel & Lifestyle Services website has more details on current offers and how the service works.
Mastercard is accepted in over 200 countries and territories around the world, including almost every business that accepts credit card payments in Australia. So you can use a Mastercard credit card wherever you see the Mastercard logo, including online, at ATMs and EFTPOS terminals.
Contactless and mobile payments
Mastercard contactless (sometimes called PayPass) is a payment option that lets you tap to pay for purchases when you're at the shops. In Australia, Mastercard credit cards offer contactless payments as a standard feature, giving you a way to pay without entering a PIN if your purchase is under $200 (or $100 before the coronavirus pandemic).
If your credit card issuer supports Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay or another mobile wallet, you can also use your Mastercard credit card for contactless payments from your mobile phone or other device.
Security features of a Mastercard credit card
As well as security features offered by your bank or card issuer, some of the options you can get with a Mastercard include:
Mastercard’s Zero Liability policy protects cardholders from unauthorised and fraudulent charges made using their cards. You can receive protection though this policy if you meet certain criteria, which include exercising due diligence in keeping your card safe, and reporting theft, loss, or unauthorised use as soon as you find out.
SecureCode is designed to help protect your Mastercard credit card or debit card account from unauthorised transactions by providing an additional layer of security to online payments.
When your card is registered for SecureCode, any transaction you make with a participating merchant will require you to enter a unique code or password before the payment can be processed. You'll usually get the code via a text message to your phone. This helps verify that it is you making the purchase.
You can contact Mastercard's 24/7 customer service team on 1800 120 113 within Australia. This service can help you with the reporting of lost or stolen cards, it can provide emergency replacement cards and cash advances, it can help you find the nearest Mastercard or Cirrus ATM, and it can provide information related to your account.
How to compare Mastercard credit cards
With so many Mastercard credit cards available in Australia, comparing different options will help you find one that's right for you. Some of the key features to keep in mind include:
Most credit cards in Australia charge an annual fee, which typically ranges from $30 to $700 or more depending on the card. There are also some Mastercard credit card accounts that offer no annual fee, either for a promotional period or for life.
When you're comparing Mastercard cards, weigh the annual fee against its features to help decide if it's worth it.
Mastercard credit card interest rates typically range from 9.9% to 23.99% for purchases. You can also get 0% interest rate offers for purchases or balance transfers, which helps you save on costs when you open a new account.
Bank or brand
A lot of Australian banks and financial institutions offer Mastercard credit cards. As they determine many of the features and fees that come with the card, it's important to consider which company issues the card when comparing your options.
Complimentary insurance and other perks
Some Mastercard credit cards offer complimentary insurance for travel and shopping, as well as perks like airport lounge access and concierge services. These features can help you get value from your card, but only if you use them.
Frequently asked questions
How can I apply for a Mastercard credit card?
You can apply for Mastercard credit cards through the issuing institutions online or in-branch. Just make sure you've compared your options and confirmed you meet the eligibility requirements before applying.
How can I set up Mastercard SecureCode?
If your credit card provider offers SecureCode, you can start using it in just a few steps:
- Go to your card provider's website. This will have a link to SecureCode enrolment for your card or cards.
- Setup your verification method. The most common verification options are SMS codes or passwords. Depending on your provider, you may be prompted to enter your mobile phone number or create a password that you will use for the service.
- Shop online. After completing this process, just look for retailers that display the Mastercard SecureCode logo and begin shopping online.
Note that some financial institutions may automatically enrol you in SecureCode as an added layer of protection. When that's the case, there may be times when your bank will request additional information during the online checkout process to validate your purchase and ensure you are the person making the transaction.
What hotel benefits can I get with a Mastercard?
These hotel offers vary based on the type of Mastercard you have and when you're looking for deals. But some of the popular perks you could enjoy include:
- Discounts on your hotel bookings
- Additional nights at no extra charge
- Complimentary breakfast
- Complimentary room upgrades
- Early check-in and late check-out
- Discounts or credit for additional hotel services, such as dining or spa packages
In general, you'll get fewer premium perks through a Mastercard debit card or an entry-level credit card. But if you have a premium Mastercard credit card, such as a Platinum or World Mastercard, you'll have access to more of the high-value offers.
To see the latest offers, go to the Mastercard Priceless website. Or, if you have a Mastercard credit card with a concierge service, you could call them to find out what hotel benefits are available based on your travel plans.
How does a Mastercard credit card transaction work?
When you buy something using a Mastercard, several processes happen in the time between the purchase being made and the transaction showing up in your account (or on your statement).
What you usually see as a customer is the payment terminal or online shopping cart. Behind the scenes, there are three key roles:
- Merchant bank/acquirer. This is the establishment that is licensed by Mastercard to accept consumer payments on behalf of the merchant. To process a Mastercard transaction, the merchant must establish a relationship with an acquirer.
- Card issuer. The issuer is the bank, credit union, government entity, savings and loan association or retailer that issues the Mastercard to the consumer.
- Technology and network provider. In this case, the provider is Mastercard.
When you pay with a Mastercard, you go through a process of Authorisation, Clearing and Settlement:
|The following steps occur when a payment is being authorised. While it happens instantly, there is a lot of information exchanged within this process:||Clearing is usually accomplished within one day and follows three steps:||Settlement of the purchase usually occurs within two days:|
Does Mastercard charge any fees?
Mastercard does not charge cardholders a fee for using its network. But you could pay a surcharge when you use your Mastercard at some businesses, plus other account fees depending on your credit card provider.
How does Mastercard make money?
Mastercard makes money by charging fees to banks and other financial institutions, including:
- Gross dollar volume fee. A fee based on the gross dollar volume (GDV) of account holder activity.
- Domestic assessments. These are fees charged to cardholders' and merchants' financial institutions for domestic transactions.
- Cross-border volume fees. These are fees charged to cardholders' and merchants' financial institutions for international transactions.
- Transaction processing fees. These are fees charged to merchants' financial institutions for participating in the Mastercard network and for every transaction that's approved.
While many of these fees are relatively small, Mastercard's large global presence means that they add up. In fact, Mastercard's gross net revenue was US$22.23 billion for the 2022 financial year.
What's the difference between Mastercard credit and debit card payments?
The main difference between how debit and credit card transactions work is that money from a debit card is taken from your personal bank account, whereas money from a credit card is lent to you by a company.
As well as that, there is a difference in the way the payments are processed – but it depends on how you pay.
When you use a debit card, if you select "Cheque" or "Savings" when prompted, your payment will be processed by EFTPOS rather than Mastercard. When you use a credit card or make a contactless payment, the payment is always processed through the Mastercard network.
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