Q: Our daughter is off to college and we’re giving her a credit card for the first time. We’re long-time Visa users, but for our daughter’s purposes, is Visa a better option than MasterCard? — M. Moran, Boca Raton, Fla.
A: There are no significant differences between Visa (Stock Quote: V) and MasterCard (Stock Quote: M), unless your daughter plans to spend some of her college days overseas, where retailers in different countries can prefer one card over another. For example, in the recent Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Visa was the only credit card accepted for events and licensed souvenirs.
Back here in the states, your daughter might as well flip a coin. While virtually all retailers accept both MasterCard and Visa, some big stores accept one but not the other.
For example, The Dollar Store accepts Visa, but not MasterCard. But warehouse grocery giant Sam’s Club (Stock Quote: WMT) accepts MasterCard but not Visa credit cards (Sam’s Club does accept Visa bank debit cards).
According to the survey:
- 72% of online retailers accept all four major credit cards (American Express (Stock Quote: AXP), Discover (Stock Quote: DFS), MasterCard and Visa).
- 10.3% of online retailers accept American Express, MasterCard and Visa.
- 7.7% of online retailers accept Discover, MasterCard and Visa.
- 9.9% of online retailers accept Visa and MasterCard only.