The three main credit card issuers are MasterCard, Visa and American Express. These three companies currently control the way that credit cards are run and are offered throughout the world.
The major difference between each one includes the availability of the issuer where you want to make a transaction and the fees.
Mastercard offers cards for personal use, business and merchants. These cards are available through a range of financial institutions which can be used around the world. They offer their members access to exclusive competitions and offers depending on the level of card.
American Express also offers their own brand of cards as well as through financial institutions. These cards are not as widely available around the world as other brands. American Express has some of the most expensive credit card fees out of all cards monitored by RateCity but in return offer a range of exclusive services.
Visa offers a range of credit cards that are available through a large range of financial institutions for both personal use, businesses and merchants. They also offer their customers access to pre-purchase tickets to concerts and gigs before they go on sale to the public as well as other exclusive offers.
When it comes to determining the difference between Mastercard, Visa and American Express it largely comes down to the finanical institution that is providing the credit card - rather than the credit card companies themselves.
All three credit cards are readily available worldwide, with Mastercard and Visa often more widely accepted in Australia. As Mastercard and Visa don't issue the card directly to consumers, but instead supply the plastic as a payment method, you need to look at the banks providing these cards to find out which type of card will best suit you.
The main difference between the three cards, aside from availability which is pretty even between Visa and Mastercard, is the fees, interest rates and rewards so if you really want to get to the bottom of which card is right for you look at these key points.