The Mastercard brand is one of the most recognisable in the credit card industry today. From travel rewards cards and platinum products to debit cards and exclusive cardholder privileges, the range of options and benefits when it comes to Mastercard credit cards is comprehensive.
Of course, with such a wide array of choices, it's even more important you know what you're getting into before committing to a particular service. Instead of being overwhelmed by an ocean of options, understanding the benefits of Mastercard and how to carry out a comparison can help you sift through and find a suitable product.
What are the different Mastercard product offerings?
Mastercard credit cards come in all shapes and sizes. Among the products potential cardholders can receive are:
- Low-interest-rate credit cards
- Reward credit cards
- Low-annual-fee credit cards
- Debit cards, allowing you the benefits of a credit card with the use of your own money
- Gold and platinum cards
These products are offered across different banks and lenders, and offer a variety of rates and fees. While the long list of options can appear exhausting, a thorough Mastercard comparison will help you decide between them.
What are the benefits of Mastercard credit cards?
Mastercard is accepted at more than 30 million locations globally. Wherever you go, though the landscapes and languages might change, you can be almost certain that your Mastercard will be accepted.
Being a Mastercard credit cardholder also comes with a few more perks:
- The use of PayPass for purchases under $100, making shopping simple, quick and convenient
- Access to the GO Mastercard Online Service Centre, allowing you to view statements and transactions, pay bills and manage your account with a few taps on your smartphone or computer
- If in a bind, the ability to fall back on Mastercard Emergency Services at all hours of the day and all days of the year if, say, your card goes missing or you need an emergency cash advance
Mastercard credit cardholders also get access to a few exclusive programs:
- The chance to apply for a World Mastercard, letting you get exclusive deals at select retailers, tourist destinations, eateries and entertainment centres on city streets across the world
- Mastercard Privileges, letting all cardholders make use of special offers for accommodation, shopping and entertainment
- Mastercard Priceless Cities, allowing you to jump queues and pay less for experiences in locations as diverse as Indonesia and the United Kingdom
What is the history of Mastercard?
Mastercard began life in 1966, when 17 bankers met in New York to form the Interbank Credit Association, which came to offer its own credit card – the 'Master Charge'.
It began to spread from there, extending beyond the borders of the United States and touching down in Europe, Japan and Mexico in 1968, and further penetrating Asia and Latin America during the 1980s.
By 1979, it had changed its name to 'MasterCard', and in the 1980s it became firmly established as a global brand. In 1987, it became the first payment card ever issued in the People's Republic of China, and in 1988 it entered the Soviet Union.
It was in this decade that Mastercard came to Australia, initially being offered by some smaller banks and credit unions, and competing against the Bankcard that was issued by the major banks.
By 2006, while Bankcard was forced to withdraw, Mastercard's market share in Australia had steadily grown, spurred on by the increased pervasiveness of electronic payments in people's lives.
How can I get a Mastercard credit card?
If you want to enjoy the benefits of Mastercard products, the application process is simple.
Mastercard credit cards are issued by all major Australian financial institutions, so you can either go online or walk in to a bank branch and enquire. Just be sure you've carried out a Mastercard comparison to find the right product first.
The card provider will carry out a credit check on you when you apply. Different cards also have distinct applicant requirements that you'll need to be aware of, such as a minimum annual income.