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Visa or Mastercard?

Published : Sunday, 14 January, 2018 at 12:00 AM Count : 53
Tanvir Shams

One of the most common questions that may linger on your mind: "Which is better, Visa or Mastercard?" It depends on how you define 'better', but there isn't much difference between the two and probably none that you would notice in your day-to-day life.

The first thing to understand is that neither Visa nor Mastercard actually issues or distributes credit cards. Credit cards are issued by banks and those banks are the ones that set interest rates, charge fees and offer rewards. Visa and Mastercard are payment networks. They process payments between banks and merchants for purchases made with the cards.

Visa and Mastercard are (almost) equally accepted

Just about every merchant that accepts credit cards takes both Visa and Mastercard, That's true not only in our country but also internationally. However, there are a few exceptions to this near-universal acceptance. Usually they occur when a merchant has an exclusive deal with one payment network.

Differences between Visa and Mastercard
As far as consumer appeal goes, Visa and Mastercard share a lot more similarities than differences. Both offer three tiers of benefits. The higher-level offerings generally include discounted travel and vacation bundles.

Visa: Basic, Signature, Infinite
Visa offers three levels of benefits - Basic, signature and infinite. Most base-level Visa cards come with auto rental collision damage coverage, extended purchases warranties, unauthorized purchase coverage, emergency assistance and urgent card replacement. Visa Signature cards include all of the base-level offerings, as well as a 24/7 concierge service and an online portal that gives cardholders access to discounts and special access to entertainment, sporting events, dining and travel. Visa Infinite provides the same benefits as Signature but also includes a suite of super premium benefits designed to appeal to high-net-worth individuals. 

Mastercard: Basic, World, World Elite
MasterCard also offers three tiers of benefits: Base, World and World Elite. The base package offers perks similar to Visa's. These include auto rental collision coverage, fraud liability protection, emergency travel assistance, card replacement and extended warranties. Mastercard offers one notable service that Visa does not which is price protection. If you buy an item with a Mastercard and the price is reduced within 60 days, Mastercard will cover the difference, though there are exclusions. Speaking of which, although visa itself doesn't offer purchase protection, some card issuers on the visa network do offer security on price changes.

The bottom line on Visa vs. MasterCard
For some people, choosing Visa or MasterCard may provide a minor feature or two that acts as an added convenience. But most people would be better off spending time comparing what issuers offer, such as cash back and rewards earnings. This is where you'll find the most value per taka.

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