28 Jan 2015

A credit, charge, debit or prepaid card branded by MasterCard Incorporated, a major technology and global payments company. MasterCard cards are available to individual consumers and to small, mid-size and large businesses with a variety of needs and credit histories. A wide variety of financial institutions, including Citibank, Capital One, Barclays and First Premier Bank, issue MasterCards to consumer. MasterCard itself does not issue cards, it only processes the card transactions. Each issuer decides what terms and rewards to offer consumers for each card. What these cards all have in common, regardless of the issuing financial institution or card type, is that consumers can use them at any business that accepts MasterCard cards.

To attract different types of consumers, MasterCards might have one or more features, such as no annual fee, rewards and cash back, a low ongoing interest rate or a low introductory interest rate. MasterCard also offers co-branded cards for consumers who want to maximize their discounts and rewards with a particular merchant, such as American Airlines, Exxon Mobil and Barnes and Noble. There is a secured MasterCard card for consumers who are new to credit or repairing bad credit, and there are prepaid MasterCard cards that can be given as gifts or used by consumers who don’t qualify for a credit card or who want the convenience of a MasterCard without going into debt. Consumers held more than 1.9 billion MasterCards in 2014.

Merchants pay MasterCard Inc. a small percentage of each MasterCard transaction they accept in exchange for the services and benefits MasterCard offers. By accepting credit cards, merchants can increase their sales, because consumers like the convenient and safe payment option. Merchants get paid in full for the purchases consumers charge to their MasterCards, and the issuing bank assumes the risk that the consumer might not pay the credit card bill in full. As with other credit cards, consumers can use MasterCard cards to make purchases in person, on-line or by phone, and consumers have no liability for any fraudulent transactions that might be charged to a lost or stolen card. MasterCard holders also receive benefits similar to those that other credit card companies offer, such as extended warranties and price protection.

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