What do they do?

Visa and MasterCard are companies that process the transactions when you spend on your credit, debit or prepaid card.

  • They check with your card provider if the transaction should be accepted or declined

  • They confirm to the retailer that your payment can be made

  • They process the payment between your card provider and the retailer

Where can you use them?

It is very rare to find a location where one is accepted but not the other. Both can be used almost anywhere that accepts card payments in the UK and online.

If you travel frequently and want to use your card abroad, most countries accept Visa and MasterCard equally.

Do they offer protection online?

Yes, both Visa and MasterCard offer protection when you shop online.

MasterCard protects customers from card fraud with its SecureCode scheme, and Visa uses its similar Verified by Visa scheme for extra security.

Do they offer any benefits?

Yes, both offer deals that are only available to people who use their debit, credit or prepaid cards:

Which card should you choose?

There is a wide variety of MasterCard and Visa cards offered by prepaid, credit and debit card issuers. The main differences between the two are:

  • Where they are accepted

  • Their security schemes

  • Their card benefits

Instead of choosing between Visa or MasterCard, look for a credit card that saves you the most money, can be used how you need, and offers the best rewards.

If you want a credit card, choose one that fits your circumstances - not whether it is a Visa or MasterCard; here is how to choose a credit card that suits you.

If you need a debit card, you should base your choice on which current account offers what you need.

Here are the features that come with prepaid cards that you should look for.