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.
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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?
|Acceptance||200+ countries||200+ countries|
|Contactless payments||Visa payWave can be used to make contactless payments without needing a PIN if you spend up to $200.||Mastercard contactless lets you tap to pay for transactions without needing a PIN if you spend up to $200.|
|Exclusive offers||Visa 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 cards||Visa 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.|
|Security||You 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 security||Visa 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).|
|Market share||60% 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.
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
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 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
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.
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.
- Reuters article published 31 January 2020
- Visa Australia website
- Mastercard Australia website
- Visa Protecting the Planet webpage
- Mastercard Promoting Environmental Sustainability webpage
- Reserve Bank of Australia Credit Card and Charge Cards Market Share of Card Schemes Excel accessed 18 March 2022
- Reserve Bank of Australia Trends in Payments report 2020
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