2016's Best MasterCard® Credit Cards

Below are our staff ratings of 2016's top MasterCard® credit cards. Issued by a variety of banks globally, MasterCard® is accepted at more than 35 million locations worldwide:

Average APR
17.24%
Average Annual Fee
$29.80
Rate Trend
0.24%
since last month

More About: MasterCard® Credit Cards

How MasterCard Came to Be

Alexandra Leslie
By: Alexandra Leslie
Finance Contributor
How MasterCard Came to Be
CardRates.com Guide: MasterCard®

MasterCard is one of the world’s largest payment giants. Rather than issuing cards like a bank, MasterCard created a payment network that allows merchants to accept their cards. They process billions of credit and debit card transactions through this network every year.

MasterCard also considers itself a technology company that has “been a driving force at the heart of commerce, making the global economy safer, more efficient, more inclusive and more transparent for all.”

1.
MasterCard began in 1966

MasterCard started as the Interbank Card Association. Formed by 17 bankers who wanted reciprocal acceptance of credit cards, the ICA created a credit card called MasterCharge. At the time, it was a competitor with Bank of America’s BankAmericard, which later became Visa.

The Interbank Card Association was renamed MasterCard in 1979 to help establish a new global brand. In 1988, the growing payments company purchased Cirrus, the world’s largest ATM machine network, and combined it with MasterCard’s existing ATM network.

In 1991, MasterCard launched Maestro® – “the world‘s first truly global online debit program”- in partnership with Europay International. In 2002, MasterCard merged with Europay International.

The company is known for its award-winning “Priceless” advertising campaign, which launched in 1997 and continued for many years. By 2001, the company decided to take advantage of its expertise and launched MasterCard Advisors, which was “the largest global consultancy focused on the payments industry,” according to Mastercard.

2.
After decades of global success

MasterCard went public on the New York Stock Exchange in 2006. In the same year, they launched a new tagline, The Heart of Commerce™. In 2008, MasterCard began offering prepaid debit cards so consumers without bank accounts could still enjoy the convenience of shopping with plastic. They launched MasterCard Labs in 2010 to help incubate ideas, striving to bring innovative new technology to the market. They offer contact-less cards and are helping drive the United States payment industry toward EMV (chip-and-PIN) credit cards.

MasterCard is now accepted in more than 210 countries and territories, and with 85 percent of retail transactions still being made in cash and checks, they are confident they have plenty of room to grow.

Photo source: frugalbeautiful.com

Editorial Note: Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Alexandra Leslie

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