Visa vs. Mastercard: Difference between Visa and Mastercard
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30 AUGUST, 2021

Using a credit card is one of the best ways to manage your finances in need. It comes with a pre-approved credit limit that you can use to make purchases of goods and services. Your issuing bank decides your credit card limit based on your income and credit score.

Most people are confused while exploring the difference between VISA and MasterCard. Both of them come with extremely similar features and benefits provided by the issuing bank. If you want to apply for a credit card for yourself, it would be wise not to base your decision on the VISA or MasterCard logo on the card but on the rewards points, discounts, and other benefits it offers.

Let's start with the basics: what is VISA and MasterCard, and eventually move to which is better, a VISA or a MasterCard!

What is a VISA Card?

A VISA card is a widely accepted payment tool, allowing users to make purchases and withdraw cash globally. Functioning as a major card network, VISA offers a convenient and broadly acknowledged means of payment. Whether making everyday purchases or travelling internationally, a VISA card is a reliable and widely accepted choice in payment cards.

What is MasterCard?

MasterCard isn't just a payment card; it's a global financial companion, effortlessly enabling transactions and international withdrawals. Celebrated for its dedication to innovation, MasterCard provides users with a flexible and secure financial tool. Choose MasterCard for a seamless and forward-thinking payment experience beyond the ordinary.

Similarities between VISA and MasterCard

All credit cards have either a VISA or MasterCard logo on top of it. It indicates that the VISA or MasterCard network transfers the information to ensure a smooth and safe transaction.

Here are the common things in VISA and MasterCard:

  • Contactless:

Both VISA and MasterCard credit cards offer contactless payment technology. You simply need to tap your credit card on a PoS machine to make a transaction; no need to enter a PIN.

  • Protection against fraud:

The best thing about both VISA and MasterCard is that they offer protection against fraudulent activities. For instance, if someone makes an unauthorized transaction from your credit card, you will bear no liability.

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Differences between VISA and MasterCard

So, which card is better: VISA or MasterCard? Well, it depends on your personal preferences. Here are some differences to be considered before choosing one.




Global Acceptance

Widely accepted globally.

Equally widespread global acceptance.

Network Size

Larger network, available in more countries.

Extensive network, accessible worldwide.

Rewards Programs

Diverse reward programs offered as per the chosen card.

Varied rewards, dependent on the issuer.

Security Features

Emphasises advanced security features.

Prioritises robust security measures.

Currency Conversion

Offers competitive currency conversion rates.

Provides competitive rates for currency conversion.

Technology Integration

Adopts new technologies swiftly.

Known for rapid integration of innovative technologies.

Service Fees

Charged based on the card volume.

Charged based on the percentage of global dollar volume.


  • Both the cards are accepted worldwide. However, if you use your credit card to make an international transaction, you will incur foreign exchange rates. Here, MasterCard credit cards offer better foreign currency rates abroad.
  • Most credit cards come with an auto rental collision damage waiver that you can avail while travelling. However, such benefits depend on your issuing bank, the credit card network, and the type of credit card you choose.
  • A MasterCard credit card comes with return protection. It means if a merchant does not accept the return of the product within 60 days of the purchase, your credit card issuer will refund the cost.
  • It also comes with purchase protection, allowing you to get a refund if you lose the product within 90 days of the purchase.
  • You are always protected against the prices of products and services. For instance, if you find a particular product at a lower price after buying it, your MasterCard will refund the difference. You are eligible to apply for a refund within 60 days of the purchase.

Benefits of Using a VISA Card

Here are the significant benefits of using a VISA Card:

  1. Insurance and Purchase Protection
    Selected VISA cards have built-in insurance coverage and purchase protection, safeguarding your transactions and purchases against unforeseen events.
  2. Offers on Hotel Stays
    Access exclusive discounts and special offers when booking hotel stays with your VISA card, ensuring a delightful and cost-effective travel experience.
  3. Travel Benefits
    Unlock travel perks, including airport lounge access and travel insurance, enhancing your journey with added comfort and security.
  4. Emergency Services
    Receive prompt assistance in emergencies, from card replacement to cash advances, ensuring a secure and stress-free financial backup during unexpected situations.
  5. Concierge Services
    Indulge in personalised assistance for reservations, travel planning, and more through VISA's concierge services, elevating your overall experience with convenience and efficiency.

Benefits of Using MasterCard

Here are the advantages of using a MasterCard:

  1. Wide Acceptance
    MasterCard boasts extensive global acceptance, allowing users to make transactions confidently across various locations, ensuring a versatile and widely accepted payment experience.
  2. Security Features
    MasterCard employs advanced measures to safeguard transactions, prioritising user security and providing users with a secure and protected financial environment.
  3. Contactless Payments
    Experience the convenience of contactless payments, simplifying transactions with a quick tap of your MasterCard for efficient and secure transactions.
  4. Airport Lounge Access
    Enjoy the privilege of airport lounge access, enhancing your travel experience with MasterCard's exclusive benefits, providing a comfortable and relaxing atmosphere.
  5. Discounts on Flights and Hotels
    Avail special discounts on flight and hotel bookings, enhancing the cost-effectiveness of travel plans with MasterCard's exclusive offers for users.
  6. Purchase Protection
    MasterCard offers purchase protection, ensuring the security of transactions and providing additional protection for your purchases, promoting confidence in your financial transactions.

Different levels of VISA and MasterCard Card

The features and benefits of both VISA and MasterCard are similar but not identical. Your credit card comes with certain conditions. For instance, the credit issuer decides if your credit card will have network benefits. Your MasterCard may offer travel insurance or rental car coverage, but it does not mean that all MasterCard cards offer the same coverage.

Here are differences based on the underlying three levels of your credit card.

1. VISA Credit Card

There are three levels of VISA credit cards - traditional, signature, and infinite. A traditional VISA credit card comes with features like auto rental collision damage waiver, zero fraud liability, emergency card replacement, and emergency roadside assistance.

The Signature VISA credit card offers the features of a Traditional VISA card with extended warranty protection and emergency assistance.

Whereas, the Infinite VISA card offers the features and benefits of both traditional and signature VISA cards. Besides that, it comes with added benefits, such as return protection, purchase protection, travel accident insurance, trip cancellation, interruption insurance, and lost luggage reimbursement.

2. MasterCard Credit Card

There are three levels of MasterCard credit cards - standard, world, and world elite. A standard MasterCard credit card is known for benefits, such as card replacement, identity theft protection, zero fraud liability, extended warranty, and price protection.

MasterCard comes with cell phone insurance, travel insurance, free access to concierge, discounts, and promotions with select retailers. Whereas, a World Elite MasterCard comes with the benefits of both Standard and World MasterCard.

As stated above, both MasterCard and VISA offer a host of benefits. However, your choice shouldn’t depend on them. Take a look at the offers and benefits offered by the various Kotak Mahindra credit cards. Choose the one which best suits your lifestyle and manage your finances better!

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Which Is Better VISA or MasterCard?

Deciding between VISA and MasterCard depends on personal preferences and lifestyle. Both are globally accepted, providing similar benefits. VISA's extensive global presence may be favoured, while MasterCard stands out for innovative solutions.

Consider your spending habits and desired perks to determine which card aligns better with your needs. If you're wondering "which card is better, VISA or MasterCard," both offer distinct advantages, so evaluating individual features and benefits is essential.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Do VISA and MasterCard have different levels of security?

While both VISA and MasterCard prioritise security, the specific measures may vary. Both employ advanced protocols to ensure robust protection, offering users a secure and trustworthy transaction experience with their respective security features.

2. Can I use a VISA card where MasterCard is accepted and vice versa?

Yes. VISA and MasterCard are universally accepted, allowing users to use either card where the other is acknowledged. This broad acceptance ensures convenience for cardholders, allowing seamless transactions wherever they go.

3. Are there any differences in the foreign transaction fees between VISA and MasterCard?

Foreign transaction fees may differ based on the card type for both VISA and MasterCard. It's recommended to consult your card issuer to understand any variations in foreign transaction fees associated with your particular VISA or MasterCard.

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Disclaimer: This Article is for information purposes only. The views expressed in this Article do not necessarily constitute the views of Kotak Mahindra Bank Ltd. (“Bank”) or its employees. The Bank makes no warranty of any kind with respect to the completeness or accuracy of the material and articles contained in this Article. The information contained in this Article is sourced from empaneled external experts for the benefit of the customers and it does not constitute legal advice from the Bank. The Bank, its directors, employees and the contributors shall not be responsible or liable for any damage or loss resulting from or arising due to reliance on or use of any information contained herein. Tax laws are subject to amendment from time to time. The above information is for general understanding and reference. This is not legal advice or tax advice, and users are advised to consult their tax advisors before making any decision or taking any action.