Visa vs. MasterCard: the most important differences explained




90 percent of Germans decide in favor of a Visa or MasterCard – which one is better depends on the offer of the issuing bank.

D.When applying for a credit card, German customers can choose between four credit card providers: Visa Europe, MasterCard Worldwide, American Express and Diners Club. The last two are negligible in comparison: only ten percent of Germans opt for one of these variants – 90 percent choose a MasterCard or Visa credit card. But which of the top dogs is the better? At this point we offer you a comparison of the two models. In the big Credit card comparison test, see the individual products in detail.

The contents of this article:

Visa vs. MasterCard

The question of whether Visa or MasterCard is the better credit card is actually wrong, because in the end it is not the credit card company that decides, but rather the issuing banks about the advantages of an offer. ? Because the basic rule is: Visa and MasterCard are both accepted worldwide, have a similar number of ATMs and acceptance points, and technically function the same. If you want to be very specific, Visa has several thousand more points of acceptance and the number of cards issued is also higher than with the MasterCard. With sums in the millions or with the number of cards in billions, these differences are more likely to be neglected.

Credit card comparison: the best offers in the test

Overview of credit card types

With Visa and MasterCard you can basically choose from three different types or modes of operation:

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In detail: Visa credit card products

At Visa, classic credit cards are divided into other products that are tailored to the different needs of customers. The following Visa credit cards are available:

  • Classic: This basic card, which is usually issued in conjunction with a current account without an annual fee.
  • Gold: For customers who want a larger budget and want to benefit from additional services such as various insurances, discounts and bonus programs.
  • Platinum: The Platinum card is characterized by an even higher credit line and more extensive insurance benefits. For frequent travelers, the free payment abroad is often included.
  • Infinite: This Visa credit card is only available by invitation and opens the gates to airport lounges and exclusive events, promises preferential treatment in selected hotels worldwide, concierge services and extensive travel insurance for the cardholder and the family.

There are also business solutions for small and medium-sized as well as large companies: the business and corporate cards.

In detail: Credit card products from MasterCard

MasterCard also offers various cards for individual target groups. These include:

  • Default: The equivalent of the Visa Classic.
  • Gold: Not only is the name the same, but also the additional services. In addition to an increased budget, you benefit from special services, such as travel health insurance for the whole family.
  • Platinum: In addition to extensive insurance coverage with the MasterCard Platinum, customers benefit from exclusive services and access to airport lounges. Of course, the payment limit is usually higher.
  • Elite: Unlike other credit cards in this class, you don’t have to wait for an invitation, you can apply for the MasterCard Elite yourself. Otherwise, the services here are just as exclusive as with the Infinite, including selected trips, events and individual support.

MasterCard also offers business solutions depending on the size of the company and the intended use.

At the bank: These differences when comparing credit cards are important

When looking for a suitable MasterCard or Visa credit card, you will usually come across comparisons of the terms and conditions of banks. Please consider the following points here:

  • Base fees: Many banks offer credit cards without an annual fee, provided you apply for them together with a checking account. Without an account, annual fees are usually due. Also check how expensive a replacement and / or partner card is.
  • Usage fees at home and abroad: Withdrawals and payments in Germany should be free of charge with a Visa or MasterCard credit card, and there are often no fees in other EU countries either. If you use it worldwide, pay attention to the so-called foreign currency fee, which is usually calculated as a percentage.
  • Billing type: The classic charge credit card is billed monthly, with revolving cards you can agree to pay the loan amount in installments if necessary. Debit cards are also popular for full cost control, as billing always takes place within a few days.
  • Interest: With debit and revolving credit cards, interest is agreed for the overdraft or for the individual installments.
  • Payment restrictions: While traditional Visa and MasterCard credit cards are usually accepted worldwide without any problems, there are sometimes restrictions on debit and prepaid cards. Especially when it comes to booking rental cars or hotels, these cards are not always accepted as security.
  • Additional services: Additional insurance and bonus programs can be a decisive criterion, especially for frequent travelers. Read the small print about insurance to make sure that the included insurance actually fits your needs and affects your travelers at all.


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