Visa vs Mastercard: What’s The Difference?

Since you clicked on this article, you’re probably on the hunt for a new credit card. Or you’re just interested in what we have to say on the Visa vs Mastercard debate. In any case, expect to learn useful information about the similarities and differences between Visa and Mastercard and whether or not the card network actually matters.

Strap in, and let’s begin!

girl in a bar paying with a credit card

What are the Benefits of Visa?

To fully comprehend the specifics of both Visa and Mastercard, we’ll first go over the unique benefits each of these cards provides.

But first, we must mention the three Visa tiers to avoid any confusion. Visa cards are divided into Traditional, Signature, and Infinite, where they ascend in order of exclusivity. Unsurprisingly, the Visa Signature and Visa Infinite help you Visa la Vida with luxury!

Further Reading: The History of Credit Cards 

Purchase Protection and Insurance

Purchase Protection is a valuable feature of Visa credit cards. It comes in handy if you buy something and it turns out to be defective or not as described. Therefore, if you have purchase protection, Visa will reimburse you for the cost of the item, up to a certain amount.

Fortunately, there are also several types of protection, some of which include:

  • Price Protection
  • Return Protection
  • Purchase Security
  • Cell phone protection

Aside from Purchase Protection, Visa also offers several types of insurance for cardholders, such as:

  • Lost luggage reimbursement
  • Extended warranty protection
  • Trip delay reimbursement
  • Trip cancellation/interruption reimbursement
  • Travel accident insurance
  • Hotel theft protection
  • Emergency medical/dental expenses

Visa Signature Luxury Hotel Collection

Unsurprisingly, Visa cards and Mastercards differ regarding luxury offers. Namely, if you have a Visa Signature card, you gain access to the Visa Signature Luxury Hotel Collection. This selection of more than 900 upscale hotels worldwide offers unique perks to all Visa Signature cardholders.

Some of the additions you might get at a participating hotel include:

  • Complimentary breakfast for two
  •  Automatic room upgrades
  • Late checkout
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • VIP guest status

However, to take advantage of these benefits, you’ll need to book your stay through your Visa Signature card and present it when you check in.

Travel Perks

The differences between Visa and Mastercard are also evident in their travel perks. For example, with Visa, you can download the Visa Travel Tools app to help you find the best deals on flights, hotels, and car rentals.

Moreover, if you have a Visa Infinite card, you also have access to the Visa Infinite Concierge service. This 24/7 service can help you make dinner reservations, book tickets to shows or events, and arrange transportation. Furthermore, Visa Signature and Visa Infinite cardmembers have access to:

  • Global Entry statement credits
  • Priority Pass lounge access
  • Rental car privileges
  • Travel rewards

Emergency Services

Visa also grants all cardholders access to emergency services 24/7. Therefore, you would have assistance in the case of:

  • Roadside dispatch
  • Lost or stolen card
  • Emergency card replacement
  • Emergency cash disbursement

To ensure you’re contacting the right people for your predicament, check the official Visa site for more detailed information.

What are the Benefits of Mastercard?

For a comprehensive view of the topic, let’s now discuss the benefits of a Mastercard credit card. Like Visa, Mastercards have three variations in exclusivity, Standard, World, and World Elite.

Purchase Protection and Insurance

Similar to the Visa credit cards, Mastercard’s Purchase Protection program can reimburse you for lost, stolen, or damaged items within 90 days of purchase. Of course, you must have paid for the item entirely with your Mastercard to be eligible for reimbursement.

The World Mastercard and World Elite Mastercard offer the most benefits in terms of insurance, including:

  • Mastercard ID Theft Protection
  • Global Emergency Services
  • Cell phone protection
  • Transaction alerts
  • Car rental insurance

Concierge Services

The World Elite Mastercards are equipped with concierge services that can carry out tedious errands like scheduling reservations, buying event tickets, or purchasing rare items from prestigious merchants. Moreover, your concierge is available to assist you 24/7, and it won’t cost you an arm and a leg.

However, if your money is burning a hole in your pocket and you don’t mind a hefty fee, check out the American Express Platinum Card for similar luxury benefits and services.

Access to Luxury Hotels and Resorts

What’s a Mastercard without generous travel perks? Besides concierge services, World and World Elite members can get upgrades at over 3,000 hotels and resorts worldwide. Moreover, as a guest at these properties, cardholders get things like:

  • Complimentary breakfasts
  • Amenity credits of up to $100
  • Hotel stay guarantees
  • Lowest hotel rate guarantee

Access to Luxury Events

Fortunately, it’s not all hotels and resorts with the World and World Elite Mastercard, as they also have numerous luxury offers at events. For example, cardholders can spectate or participate in events such as:

  • PGA Tour gold outings
  • Australian Open
  • Virtual Broadway
  • The Open Championship
  • League of Legends E-Sports
  • Dubai Opera
  • Chilean wine pairings
  • Expo 2020 Dubai
  • LookStyler personal shopping with a stylist
  • Private New York gallery tours

Cashback and Rewards

Mastercard credit cards have the upper hand regarding cashback and rewards. These cards offer points, air miles, or money back on every purchase from eligible merchants with Mastercard acceptance, including groceries, gas, retail, and travel expenses.

If you’re interested in convenient cashback rewards and want to learn more about these credit cards, check out our BMO Cashback Mastercard or MBNA Amazon Card reviews.

Mastercard vs Visa: How Are They Similar?

However, just because both providers offer unique advantages doesn’t mean they don’t have many similarities. On the contrary, we’ll explore the features that show where it doesn’t matter if you choose Visa or Mastercard.

You might be interested: What are the Benefits of Credit Cards? 

Zero Liability

Both Visa and Mastercard offer zero liability protection for unauthorized transactions. Therefore, if your card is lost or stolen, you won’t be held responsible for any fraudulent charges to your account, and your provider will notify you when someone attempts to access your funds.

Global Emergency Services

Luckily, if you’re ever in need of emergency services, both Mastercard and Visa offer them 24/7. For example, if you lose your card while travelling, you can call the Visa Global Customer Assistance Center or the Mastercard Global Service number to help you cancel your card and send you a replacement as soon as possible.

You can also take advantage of these services whenever you need emergency cash advances or cash disbursement.

Cell Phone Protection

If you pay your monthly cell phone bill with your Visa or Mastercard, you may be eligible for cell phone protection if your phone is lost, stolen, or damaged. However, each card issuer has different terms and conditions for this feature, so ensure you check with yours to see if you’re covered.

How is Visa Different from Mastercard?

Finally, let’s compare the most popular products from Visa and Mastercard and discuss how they differ.

Visa vs Mastercard

Visa Signature vs Mastercard World

Although these cards share some similarities, they are different in many aspects. Firstly, World Mastercard’s price protection lasts for 120 days, while Visa Signature’s is only valid for 30 days. Moreover, both cards offer concierge services, but Mastercard World can also get you into 2,000 hotels and resorts, while the Signature Visa boasts only around 900.

Furthermore, Signature offers an emergency card replacement service, which is absent with World Mastercard. Nevertheless, World Mastercard makes up for it with its Priceless Cities program that provides cardholders with exclusive offers on luxury goods in selected cities.

The Tangerine World Mastercard is one of our favourite Mastercard World options, exhibiting countless travel and everyday spending benefits.

Visa Infinite vs Mastercard World Elite

The highest tiers by both providers, the Visa Infinite and Mastercard World Elite, take luxury to the next level. Each provides access to over 1,000 lounges and a full-service concierge.

In terms of insurance, World Elite Mastercard offers car rental and accident coverage, which Visa Infinite currently lacks. Moreover, as these are elite cards, Visa Infinite has a personal income requirement of $60,000, while Mastercard World Elite requires $80,000.

Lastly, Visa Infinite boasts the Dining Series and Wine Country programs, giving you access to exclusive events at a reduced cost. Meanwhile, Mastercard World Elite offers Priceless Cities, where you can engage in once-in-a-lifetime opportunities worldwide.

Of course, that’s not the end of the benefits of these cards! Check out our Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite Review to learn more about what a Visa Infinite card offers and the Capital One Walmart Rewards Mastercard for a review on a Mastercard World Elite.


With the many similarities and differences we’ve covered in the Visa vs Mastercard debate; hopefully, you can determine which one works better for you. Remember, there is no right decision, as it all depends on your specific situation. So, think about your lifestyle and the benefits you value most, and you’ll have your preferred issuer.


Is Mastercard accepted everywhere Visa is?

In short, it depends on where you are and where you’re trying to use your card. Visa is accepted in more places than Mastercard, but there are still some that only accept Mastercard. Additionally, while Visa is the most widely accepted credit card, Mastercard is accepted in more countries.

Is Mastercard better than Visa?

If you’re looking for a card with great rewards, Visa might be the better choice. However, if you’re looking for a card with lower interest rates, then Mastercard might be better for you.

Which is more popular, Mastercard or Visa?

According to a recent study, Visa is a little more popular than Mastercard in market share and amount of transactions worldwide. However, the difference is small since both cards are very widely accepted.

Where is Mastercard accepted?

Mastercard is accepted at millions of locations around the world. To find a complete list of places that accept your card, you can use the Mastercard Nearby app to tell you the nearest place to use or access your funds.

Visa vs Mastercard: which one is better?

Both providers offers a variety of features and benefits, so it mainly depend on your personal needs and desires.


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Visa vs Mastercard: What’s The Difference?

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