Eli5: the difference between Visa credits master cards etc.


So like the title says I really dont understand why all the credit cards have different titles, what do they offer that’s different etc.?

In: 19

When you make a purchase on a credit or debit card, there is a payment processor that acts as a middle man to get the money from your financial institution to the merchant.

Visa and Mastercard are payment processors. Anyone can pay to use their services which is why you see them used all over the place.

Discover and American Express are the two other major payment processors, but they do not sell their services to financial institutions like Visa and Mastercard do. They issue their own cards.

So while you will see “Your Bank Mastercard”, you will never see “Your Bank Discover”. The only way to get a Discover card it to actually have a checking or credit card account with them.

Visa, Mastercard, Discover, Diners Club, American Express, etc. – they are different companies that offer credit card products (among other things). Some of what they offer is nearly the same across all or most of the companies, and there are some key differences. The different companies have different customer bases and credit/consumer risk tolerances, some are more reward-based, some have different products for different market segments, but they all do basically the same thing.