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Differences Among Mastercards

Allison Martin

MasterCard is a very reputable company in the industry of payments. They specialize in offering payment solution products to card issuers, such as Capital One, Bank of America and Chase.

MasterCard Benefits

Although MasterCard lets the card issuers determine the APRs and annual fees, they offer an array of benefits to all cardholders.

Convenient Check-Out Options

Cardholders can pay for items in a just a few seconds with either PayPass of MasterPass. As select retail locations where PayPass is accepted, cardholders can conduct transactions by simply tapping their MasterCard against the card reader. Even if the card is accidently tapped more than once, the account will not incur duplicate transaction fees.

For online transactions, users can check out with the click of a button. All the cardholder has to do is set up a free account and the MasterPass will serve as a digital wallet.

Enhanced Security Features

Whether you are shopping online or at a retail location, MasterCard is equipped with security features to protect you from fraudulent activity. These features include:

  • Secure Code, a private code issued by MasterCard to protect cardholders when shopping online
  • Hologram that moves when rotating the card
  • Signature Panel that produces evidence when tampered with

On-Demand Concierge Service

MasterCard cardholders have 24/7 access to a personal assistant to handle the following services:

  • Travel reservations (including airport lounge access) and assistance with international affairs
  • Entertainment and dinner reservations
  • Gift coordinating buying services
  • Roadside assistance (subject to a small fee)

Travel Insurance

MasterCard offers cardholders the following protections when traveling:

  • Car rental collision coverage
  • Lodging insurance in the event of a burglary
  • Cancelation coverage on nonrefundable travel arrangements
  • Accidental death coverage
  • Baggage delay, damage and theft coverage

Simplified Tax Payments

For a very low fee, cardholders can pay state (where applicable) and federal income taxes using their MasterCard. The transactions qualify for rewards and payment can be remitted online or via telephone.

MasterCard Differences

Although all MasterCards come with a standard set of features, there are many benefits specific to particular cards.


Cards offered by certain issuers, such as Bank of America and Capital One, enable you to earn cash back and product discounts on select purchases. Airline cards, including The Carnival and World Elite MasterCard, offer miles to cardholders on qualifying purchases.

Some rewards programs only allow cardholders to earn points on select purchases that vary by quarter while others follow the same guidelines throughout the year. Redemption options also depend on the product; some programs give you the option to redeem the rebates for cash while others must be spent online on select products and services or applied as discounts toward purchases.

Introductory Offer

Introductory offers also vary by credit card product. The length of the 0% introductory and transfer APR typically ranges from 12 to 18 months. In some instances, cardholders also earn cash rewards simply by conducting a particular volume of transactions within a specified period of time, such as within the first quarter of opening an account.


The APR differs by card, depending on factors such as credit history and card type. Some products, such as the BankAmericard and Barclay Rewards MasterCard, also offer a $0 annual fee, which is quite impressive considering the services and rewards systems that are available to consumers. In most instances, balance transfers, late payments and expenditures above the credit limit come at a price to the cardholder, depending on type of MasterCard that they possess.

Popular MasterCards

There are a variety of MasterCard products to choose from. Some of the popular ones include:

  • Capital One Platinum Prestige MasterCard offers cardholders 0% on APR and balance transfers for 14 months that will enable you to pay down existing outstanding obligations more rapidly and pocket funds otherwise spent on interest. It also offers an impressive ongoing interest rate as low as 10.9% for those with an outstanding credit history.
  • Barclaycard Rewards MasterCard offers an excellent rewards program with double points on select purchases and the ability to earn $50 and 5,000 bonus points immediately following the initial transaction. In addition, cardholders can take advantage of the 0% APR on purchases and transfers in order to reduce other debt balances without having to spend money on interest. No annual fee is assessed to account holders, making this card a more favorable option compared to others of its kind.
  • BankAmericard Better Balance Rewards MasterCard allows cardholders to earn $100 per year by demonstrating responsible payment habits by remitting any amount above the minimum payment in a timely manner each month. With this offer, Bank of America rewards cardholders who simply manage their debt the correct way. Those who choose to deposit these earnings into a qualifying Bank of America account are eligible for an additional $20 cash back bonus per year.
  • Chase Freedom MasterCard enables cardholders to earn $100 cash back if they spend at least $500 within the first three months of opening an account. It also offers an attractive introductory offer of 0% APR for 15 months, so the cardholder can pay off large purchases more rapidly. Once the promotional period expires, you can also take advantage of the cash rewards of 5% offered on select purchases without ever paying an annual fee.
  • Citi Diamond MasterCard enables cardholders to enjoy VIP treatment for entertainment events through Citi Private Pass. On top of that, the introductory APR of 0% is valid for 18 months, a lot longer than most credit cards. Although it does not offer a rewards program, the perks exclusive to account holders free of charge - such as online discounts through Citi Easy Deals and the 24/7 on demand concierge service - makes the card worth considering.
APR Annual Fee Introductory Offer Rewards
Capital One Platinum Prestige 0% for 14 months,
then 10.9 - 18.9% variable
$0 n/a n/a
Barclaycard Rewards 0% for 15 months,
then 14.99 - 24.99% variable
$0 5,000 bonus
points and
$50 cash back
2 points for groceries, gas and utilities
1 point for all other purchases
BankAmericard Better Balance Rewards 0% for 12 months,
then 11.99 - 21.99% variable
$0 n/a $25 credit per quarter
when you pay more
than the minimum payment
on-time each month
Chase Freedom 0% for 15 months,
then 12.99 - 22.99% variable
$0 n/a 5% cash back on select purchases
of up to $1,500 per quarter
Citi Diamond Preferred 0% for 18 months,
then 11.99 - 21.99% variable
$0 n/a n/a

Select a MasterCard That's Right for You

Before selecting a MasterCard that fits your needs, be sure to carefully review the terms and conditions to ensure you understand what your card offers and what it does not.

Differences Among Mastercards