Visa or Mastercard - which credit card suits you better?

23.04.2024 13:28

You want to apply for a credit card but are unsure whether you should choose a Visa or Mastercard? Don't worry, you're not alone! Many people are faced with this decision, as both card providers have an excellent reputation worldwide and offer numerous advantages. In this article, we will show you the differences between Visa and MasterCard and help you find the best credit card for you.

The most important facts in a nutshell

  • Visa and Mastercard are well-known card providers worldwide.
  • The Mastercard and Visa cards are available in different versions, for example as Classic, Gold or Platinum cards.
  • There are differences in the services and fees of a Mastercard or Visa card depending on the bank where you apply for the card.


  1. What are Visa and Mastercard?
  2. Visa - The card for global acceptance
  3. Mastercard - The card for diversity and innovation
  4. Fees and conditions
  5. Security
  6. Visa and Mastercard - different types of credit cards
  7. Which card should you choose?
  8. Conclusion and our recommendation

What are Visa and Mastercard?

Before we look at the differences, let's first take a look at Visa and Mastercard. Both companies are global payment service providers. They enable merchants to accept payments from cardholders. In doing so, they work with various financial institutions to distribute their credit cards. And as a result, their cards are widely used and accepted by countless shops and online merchants worldwide.

Visa - The card for global acceptance

Visa is one of the best known and most widely used card providers in the world. The Visa brand stands for unparalleled global acceptance. No matter where you travel, it's likely that you can pay with your Visa card in almost any country in the world. This is particularly practical if you like to travel or are travelling internationally on business.

Visa advantages:

  • Worldwide acceptance: From small shops to large shopping centres, Visa is accepted almost everywhere.
  • Attractive additional benefits: Visa often offers additional services such as insurance cover for travel or purchases.
  • Variety of choice: There is a wide range of Visa cards, including credit cards, debit cards and prepaid cards, covering different needs.

Visa credit card models at a glance:

  • Visa Card Classic
  • Visa Card Gold
  • Visa Card Platinum
  • Visa Card Infinite

Mastercard - The card for diversity and innovation

Mastercard is another leading card provider with an excellent reputation worldwide. In addition to a strong global presence, Mastercard is known for its innovative strength and the introduction of new technologies in payment transactions. If you like to use the latest payment methods and technologies, Mastercard could be the right choice for you.

Mastercard advantages:

  • Global presence: Mastercard is also accepted in many countries and at numerous merchants.
  • Innovative spirit: Mastercard is often a pioneer in new payment technologies such as contactless payments and mobile wallets.
  • Customised offers: There are different types of Mastercard cards tailored to specific target groups and interests.

Mastercard credit card models at a glance:

  • Mastercard Standard
  • Mastercard Gold
  • Mastercard Platinum
  • World Elite Mastercard

Fees and conditions

An important aspect when choosing your credit card is the associated fees and conditions. There may be some differences between Visa and Mastercard here.

Visa: fees and conditions

  • The fees vary depending on the credit institution issuing the Visa card. It is advisable to compare the conditions of the individual banks.
  • Some Visa cards may have annual fees, while others are offered fee-free.
  • The interest rates for open credit amounts can differ depending on the card and provider.

Mastercard: fees and conditions:

  • Similar to Visa, Mastercard fees and conditions vary depending on the issuing bank.
  • Some Mastercard cards offer special benefits such as fee-free foreign use or additional insurance benefits.
  • The amount of the debit interest may vary from card to card.
Payment with Visa or Mastercard
Check the terms and conditions of your card to avoid unwanted fees when paying.


Both Visa and Mastercard rely on high security standards to protect their customers' data and finances. Both providers use the EMV chip, which protects the card against skimming and other types of fraud. In addition, they usually offer a zero liability policy that covers you against unauthorised transactions, provided you report them promptly. There are therefore no significant differences between Visa and Mastercard on this point.

Emergency credit card blocking number

With the emergency number 116 116 you can have your credit card blocked immediately by card providers such as Visa and Mastercard. Note, however, that this emergency number only works if your bank has registered it for this service. If this is not the case, you must contact your bank directly. You can often find the blocking number on the back of your credit card. This way you can act quickly in an emergency and protect your card.

Remember that you are responsible for any financial losses until your credit card is blocked - but this liability is limited to €50. Furthermore, there are banks that even completely waive customer liability in order to promote the use of credit cards as a means of payment.

Zero Liability Protection

Mastercard and Visa stand by their customers if they become victims of fraud. With Zero Liability Protection, these companies want to ensure that victims of fraud do not suffer any financial damage - unless they have acted negligently.

If your bank rejects a claim, point out that Visa and MasterCard have clear guidelines for such cases.

Visa and Mastercard - different credit card types and billing models

Credit cards come in different varieties, which differ mainly in the way they work. Here is an overview of the different types of credit cards:

  • Prepaid credit card: With a prepaid credit card, there are no creditworthiness requirements and no credit limit. Similar to a prepaid SIM card for a mobile phone, you always have to load the prepaid credit card with credit before using it, and then you can only use this credit.
  • Debit credit card: A debit credit card automatically settles all transactions with the permanently linked reference account - usually a current account. There is therefore no separate credit line and the debit is either immediate or within a few days.
  • Charge credit card: These credit cards offer a free credit line. All payments during the billing period are collected and debited from your reference account at the end of the month.
  • Revolving credit card: With a revolving credit card, you are granted a credit line: At the end of the month, you will receive a bill that you have to pay back in full or only in part. If you decide to use the partial payment option, you should be aware that credit cards can have high debit interest rates.

Choosing the right credit card depends on your needs. If you want a simple credit card without additional services and credit limit, the prepaid or debit credit cards of both companies might be suitable. However, if you want to benefit from maximum services, you can opt for credit cards with additional services such as a revolving credit card. Be aware, however, that although these cards may have low fees, they have a high interest rate, which can be costly if you use the instalment facility.

Which card should you choose?

The decision between Visa and MasterCard depends on your individual needs and preferences. What is more important is the specific offer of the issuing bank. Here are some questions that can help you choose:

  • Acceptance: If you travel a lot or do business internationally, a Visa card might be a better choice as it has wide acceptance worldwide. However, the differences in acceptance are rather small compared to the Mastercard and can vary depending on the country.
  • Additional services: Different cards offer different additional services, such as travel insurance, cashback or rewards programmes. Think about which additional services are important to you.
  • Fees and interest: Compare the fees and interest rates of the different card offers to find the most cost-effective option for you.
  • Innovation: Not all credit cards can yet be connected to your smartphone via Apple Pay or Google Pay. Therefore, check in advance whether the card supports this function.

Ultimately, both providers are excellent options that offer you a safe and convenient way to make payments worldwide.

Conclusion and our recommendation

Whether Visa or Mastercard - both card providers stand for reliability and security. The decision between the two depends on your individual needs, preferences and travel habits. Visa scores with its worldwide acceptance and a wide range of cards, while Mastercard stands out with its innovative strength and tailor-made offers. More important than the decision between Visa and MasterCard is which billing model and which bank that issues the credit card you choose.

We particularly recommend these cards from Visa or Mastercard:

Gebührenfrei Mastercard Gold

Advanzia Bank

Annual Fee
0.00 €
Worldwide Payment
0.00 %
  • 0€ annual fee - forever
  • No Video-/PostIdent necessary
  • Pay worldwide without fees
Extrakarte Mastercard

Novum Bank

Annual Fee
0.00 €
Worldwide Payment
2.99 %
  • 0€ annual fee - forever
  • Immediate decision on your application
  • Free use in the euro area

No matter which card you choose, with a Visa or Mastercard you will get a reliable and secure credit card. Feel free to use our recommendations to find the perfect offer for you.