The payment card market is doing well. Poles are eager to make cashless payments that allow you to pay for services faster and more conveniently than ever before. However, the payment card market itself is extremely diverse, both in terms of the type of cards and who signs them with their logo. Which credit card is better? Visa or MasterCard?
Traditional cash in recent years must face increasing competition from cashless payments. Payment cards not only enjoy great popularity, but also operate on increasingly convenient terms encouraging consumers to switch to this method of payment.
It is no wonder then that the wave of popularity of cashless payments makes it easier to come across offers that allow you to obtain various types of payment cards. We are talking here about both credit and prepaid cards (gift cards, Revolut cards) and finally debit cards. The latter is the most popular variety of payment cards. It is this type of card that is needed to use a piece of plastic to access a bank account and make payments using the funds on it.
Debit card – the most important information
Each debit card, even if decorated with various patterns and colors, always contains a number of necessary and unified information. Let’s start from the obverse. Each of them must contain eg a card number. In addition, the expiration date, the name of the owner, name of the bank, information about the possibility of making contactless payments and chip.
On the reverse, ie the reverse, there can be magnetic stripe, hologram, bank details (issuing the card), CVV number and space for the owner’s signature. Is that all? In no case. In the case of debit cards, one must not forget about one more important element on the first page of the card. This is the payment organization logo.
What is a payment organization?
A payment organization is an institution that brings together payment publishers (eg banks) from around the world under its own payment system. It provides them with its payment system, as well as a trademark, which is always on the front of the payment card. In the case of the Polish financial market, there are currently two payment organizations signing bank debit cards with their logo.
Both companies not only commonly appear through their logos on payment cards used by Poles, but also mark their presence in the advertising space. Promotional spots from both Visy and MasterCard suggest that they are competitive companies. It’s a fact. Are there any premises that can help determine which of the companies offers better payment cards? Let’s see.
Which credit card is better? MasterCard versus Visa – smaller differences, but still significant
The difference between these cards has narrowed in recent years. Currently, it is difficult to find service outlets that only support MasterCard or only Visa cards. The main differences remained only in the field of foreign transactions, although here too the case is less complicated than it was years ago.
Once MasterCard, as a company focused more on the European market, settled foreign transactions in euros. Visa, in turn, used only the US dollar. Depending on the current exchange rate of a given currency, foreign transactions have always differed in mutual favor or disadvantage of a particular company.
What makes MasterCard different?
Currently, the differences between MasterCard and Visa are in the method of settling foreign transactions from a slightly different party.
- In the case of transactions carried out in a euro area country, the bank in which we have an account converts at its own exchange rate into USD. The converted amount, with a commission for MasterCard standardized for the euro area countries, is charged to the consumer account in USD.
- However, if the transaction is carried out in a country outside the euro area, eg in Norway, then the issue of currency conversion is more complicated. First, the Norwegian krone is converted according to the payment organization exchange rate into euros. Then this sum is converted into USD at the bank’s exchange rate. The costs of such a transaction, ie the sum that will be collected from the consumer’s account together, can be high.
What makes Visa different?
The Visa payment organization is currently distinguished by the following features.
- During foreign transactions, Visa also uses its own exchange rate table. However, they are always converted to USD, regardless of whether the foreign currency is the euro or something else. Currency conversion for Visa cards in addition always occurs on the side of the card operator, ie the bank. It is also the bank that decides whether to charge additional fees from the account. Only with this in mind will it be known what amount is ultimately taken from the account.
Is making foreign payments with a Visa card cheaper then? It depends. In this case, you need to look more closely not at the payment organization’s currency converter, like at MasterCard, but at the table of fees and commissions. It may turn out that the bank charges a large commission for a foreign transaction with a Visa card.
Which credit card is better? Visa or MasterCard
The differences between MasterCard and Visa cards therefore report to the sphere of shopping outside Poland. Which one is better in this aspect? It all depends on the country and currency in which we make purchases. It may turn out that eg an unfavorable exchange rate of foreign currency will make purchases with a MasterCard card extremely expensive. On the other hand, your bank may add horrendous fees for your Visa card transaction. For security – it is worth comparing the currency conversion costs in MasterCard for a specific currency and the commission table of our bank that supports Visa cards.
It is also worth remembering that in some countries it is still not common to use the cards of both organizations at the same time, as is the case in Poland, for example. For this reason, for security reasons, it is better to obtain information on the popularity of given organizations in a particular country. An alternative is to simply buy two cards – one MasterCard and one Visa.