There is an infinite Visa card

Visa or Mastercard: the credit card giants in comparison

The choice for those interested in credit cards is almost endless. A large majority of the offers run through the credit card companies Visa and Mastercard - especially in Germany, the two competitors dominate the market.

The providers do not issue their credit cards directly to the customer. They issue licenses to various banks and savings banks, which in turn issue the cards. Visa and Mastercard only provide the payment system and the infrastructure. The licensed financial institutions manage the credit card account and determine the services and fees for the individual credit card offer.


  • Sales (2014): $ 12.7 billion
  • Profit (2014): $ 5.4 billion
  • Dissemination and acceptance (2018): Around 44 million acceptance points in 200 countries
  • Fees: Depending on the issuing bank

Here you will find an overview of all Visa credit cards in comparison.


  • Sales (2014): 9.4 billion dollars
  • Profit (2014): $ 3.6 billion
  • Dissemination and acceptance (2018): Around 43 million acceptance points in 210 countries
  • Fees: Depending on the issuing bank

Here you will find an overview of all Mastercard credit cards in comparison.

Visa or Mastercard: direct comparison

  • Card products: Visa vs. Mastercard

    The credit card offers from Visa and Mastercard are structured in the same way. Both offer a standard variant, gold card, platinum credit card and premium credit card. In addition, both Visa and Mastercard have prepaid credit cards. The performance of the credit card products can hardly be distinguished.

  • Visa Classic vs. Mastercard Standard

    The standard variant is a credit card that is accepted worldwide. Credit cards bring additional services only to a very small extent or not at all. For this, the annual fee is low and a low credit rating is sufficient to apply for the card.

  • Visa Gold and Mastercard Gold

    The gold cards are also full credit cards that also include additional services such as insurance or bonus programs. The annual fee is usually a little higher. The card-issuing bank requires a positive credit rating.

  • Visa Platinum and Mastercard Platinum

    A platinum credit card from Mastercard and Visa offers luxurious additional services and a high credit limit. The cards are reserved for an exclusive group of customers with the highest creditworthiness.

  • Visa Infinite and World Elite Mastercard

    Both Visa and Mastercard premium cards are usually only available at the invitation of the issuing bank or savings bank. Both credit cards offer a concierge service and many other luxurious services

  • Visa prepaid and Mastercard prepaid

    Customers with negative Schufa entries can apply for the prepaid credit card from Visa and Mastercard. The cards have no credit limit. Borrowing is therefore not possible.

  • Security with Visa and Mastercard credit cards

    The security measures for credit cards are on the same high level with both providers. With the Verified by Visa and Mastercard Secure Code systems, the providers have created online precautions for a secure payment process. In the event of abuse, neither Visa card nor Mastercard holders are usually liable as long as they have not acted negligently or with willful intent.

  • Visa and Mastercard services

    With a credit card from Visa and Mastercard, customers worldwide can make cashless payments and withdraw cash from gel machines. In addition, cards from Visa and Mastercard have NFC technology ("Near Field Communication"), which enables contactless payment in shops. Paying for online purchases, hotel, flight or rental car bookings is possible with credit cards from both providers. This does not apply to providers' prepaid credit cards. The acceptance of credit-based cards is generally somewhat lower. For example, hotels and rental cars mostly only accept “real” credit cards. However, all credit cards from both providers fulfill their basic functions as a payment card. When it comes to acceptance points, Visa credit cards are slightly ahead of the curve worldwide

Which card is suitable for whom?

The credit card providers Visa and Mastercard have a similarly attractive offer. There are no major differences in terms of acceptance points worldwide and the available ATMs. The decision for a credit card should therefore not be made by the credit card provider, but by the Credit card conditions depend. The issuing credit institutions - not Visa or Mastercard - decide on the additional services of a credit card, be it insurance or an included current account, as well as the fees for a Visa Card or Mastercard.

With the help of the cardscout credit card comparison, you can filter the selection of credit cards that meet your requirements and wishes

The third alternative: American Express

In addition to Mastercard and Visa, American Express offers credit cards on the German market. The credit card company sets itself apart from the competition because it issues credit cards directly to customers and not through various credit institutions.

Although the company does not provide any numbers for the acceptance points for its credit cards, American Express is likely to be clearly inferior to the credit cards from Mastercard and Visa. In the USA, American Express credit cards have more points of acceptance than a Visa or Mastercard.

Image source: gettyimages

Leonie Wiesner