Are Visa and MasterCard the Same Company?

Are MasterCard and Visa the same company

Last Updated on 07/06/2017 by GS Staff

Q:

Are Visa and MasterCard the same company?

A:

When you think of credit cards, one of the first things that probably comes to your mind is Visa or MasterCard. You see their logos everywhere. They are in stores, doctors offices, gas stations, and many more places.

We tend to associate Visa and MasterCard together since we see them together so often. They may seem like the old married couple of the credit card world. However, Visa and MasterCard are not the same company.

Visa and MasterCard are separate publicly traded companies. They compete against each other for their share of the credit card market. Visa trades under the stock symbol (V) with headquarters in Foster City, California. MasterCard trades under (MA) with  headquarters in Purchase, New York. Their headquarters could not be located much more farther apart in the United States.

MasterCard (known as Master Charge at the time) was created in the mid-1960s to compete with Visa (known as BankAmericard at the time). MasterCard was started by a team of banks: Wells Fargo, United California Bank, Crocker National Bank, and Bank of California. Visa, as you probably guessed by its former name of BankAmericard, was created by Bank of America in 1958.

Image: Hloom via Flickr / CC BY-SA, 401(K) 2013