Mastercard Credit Cards

Written by Jared Vincenti
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When Diner's Club issued the first credit cards in 1950, it wasn't long before there was competition. One of the most successful competitors was the BankAmericard, issued by the Bank of America. This credit card is now the VISA card, and has acquired many other companies in its growth over the years.

The MasterCard

The MasterCard was introduced as the Master Charge by the United California Bank specifically to compete with the Bank of America. The United California Bank is now part of Wells Fargo, and MasterCard is its own company. VISA has expanded out of Bank of America, though, and as its own company it remains the main competition to the MasterCard.

In response to VISA's growing presence overseas, MasterCard expanded in the 1990s, acquiring the European companies Access and EuroCard. With these networks consolidated, MasterCard was better able to compete with VISA outside of the United States. VISA acquired the Plus ATM network, and MasterCard acquired Cirrus, keeping the competition neck-and-neck to this day.

In addition, MasterCard's Maestro and Money Master debit card systems compete against VISA's check card debit system. The two are both healthy companies, and are good to the consumer by offering competing benefits for joining each system. All MasterCards start with numbers 51-55, and have 16 digits.

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