Mastercard Inc.
Traded as
IndustryFinancial services
Founded1966; 53 years ago (1966)
(as Interbank Card Association)
1979; 40 years ago (1979)
(as Mastercard)
HeadquartersMastercard International Global Headquarters, ,
Area served
Key people
Ajaypal Singh Banga
(President and CEO)
Richard Haythornthwaite
ProductsCredit cards, payment systems
RevenueIncrease US$12.497 billion (2017)[1]
Increase US$6.622 billion (2017)[1]
Decrease US$3.915 billion (2017)[1]
Total assetsIncrease US$21.329 billion (2017)[1]
Total equityDecrease US$5.497 billion (2017)[1]
Number of employees
~13,400 (December 2017)[1]
Footnotes / references
Logo update[2]

Mastercard Incorporated (stylized as MasterCard from 1979 to 2016 and mastercard from 2016 to 2019) is an American multinational financial services corporation headquartered in the Mastercard International Global Headquarters in Purchase, New York, United States.[3] The Global Operations Headquarters is located in O'Fallon, Missouri, United States, a municipality of St. Charles County, Missouri. Throughout the world, its principal business is to process payments between the banks of merchants and the card issuing banks or credit unions of the purchasers who use the "Mastercard" brand debit, credit and prepaid to make purchases. Mastercard Worldwide has been a publicly traded company since 2006. Prior to its initial public offering, Mastercard Worldwide was a cooperative owned by the more than 25,000 financial institutions that issue its branded cards.

Mastercard, originally known as "Interbank" from 1966 to 1969 and "Master Charge" from 1969 to 1979,[4] was created by an alliance of several regional bankcard associations in response to the BankAmericard issued by Bank of America, which later became the Visa credit card issued by Visa Inc.


Master Charge logo used from 1969 to 1979, featuring the original Interbank logo of 1966
Master Charge logo used from 1969 to 1979, featuring the original Interbank logo of 1966
First MasterCard logo, used from 1979 to 1990
First MasterCard logo, used from 1979 to 1990
MasterCard logo used from 1990 to 1996
MasterCard logo used from 1990 to 1996
MasterCard logo used for corporate branding from 1996 to 2006, and on the cards until July 14, 2016
MasterCard logo used for corporate branding and on the cards from 1996 to 2006, and on the cards only until July 14, 2016
MasterCard corporate logo used from 2006 to July 14, 2016
MasterCard corporate logo used from 2006 to July 14, 2016
Mastercard logo used from July 14, 2016 to February 7, 2019
Mastercard logo used from July 14, 2016 to February 7, 2019
Logo of Maestro, the debit card subsidiary
Logo of Cirrus, the interbank network subsidiary

Although BankAmericard's debut in 1958 had been a notorious disaster, it began to turn a profit by May 1961.[5] Bank of America deliberately kept this information secret and allowed then-widespread negative impressions to linger in order to ward off competition.[6] This strategy was successful until 1966, when BankAmericard's profitability had become far too big to hide.[6] From 1960 to 1966, there were only 10 new credit cards introduced in the United States, but from 1966 to 1968, approximately 440 credit cards were introduced by banks large and small throughout the country.[6] These newcomers promptly banded together into regional bankcard associations.[7]

In 1966, several bankcard associations joined together to form the Interbank Card Association (ICA).[7] The Interbank branding in 1966 initially consisted only of a small unobtrusive lowercase i inside a circle in the lower right hand corner of the front of each Interbank card; the rest of the card design was the prerogative of each issuing bank.[8] This tiny logo proved to be entirely unsatisfactory for creating nationwide brand awareness in order to compete against the established leader, BankAmericard.[8] In 1969, Interbank developed a new national brand, "Master Charge: The Interbank Card" by combining the two overlapping yellow and orange circles of the Western States Bankcard Association with the "Master Charge" name coined by the First National Bank of Louisville, Kentucky.[8]

That same year, First National City Bank joined Interbank and merged its proprietary Everything Card with Master Charge.

In 1968, the ICA and Eurocard started a strategic alliance, which effectively allowed the ICA access to the European market, and for Eurocard to be accepted on the ICA network. The Access card system from the United Kingdom joined the ICA/Eurocard alliance in 1972.

In 1979, "Master Charge: The Interbank Card" was renamed "MasterCard". In 1997, Mastercard took over the Access card; the Access brand was then retired.[citation needed]

In 2002, MasterCard International merged with Europay International, another large credit-card issuer association, of which Eurocard had become a part in 1992.

In mid-2006, MasterCard International changed its name to MasterCard Worldwide. This was done in order to suggest a more global scale of operations. In addition, the company introduced a new corporate logo adding a third circle to the two that had been used in the past (the familiar card logo, resembling a Venn diagram, remained unchanged). A new corporate tagline was introduced at the same time: "The Heart of Commerce".[9]

In August 2010, MasterCard expanded its e-commerce offering with the acquisition of DataCash, a UK-based payment processing and fraud/risk management provider.[10][11]

In March 2012, MasterCard announced the expansion of its mobile contactless payments program, including markets across the Middle East.[12]

In spring 2014, MasterCard acquired Australia's leading rewards program manager company Pinpoint for an undisclosed amount.[13]

Mastercard teamed with Apple in September 2014, to incorporate a new mobile wallet feature into Apple's new iPhone models, enabling users to more readily use their Mastercard, and other credit cards.[14]

In July 2016, Mastercard introduced their new rebranding, along with a new corporate logo. In addition, they changed their service name from "MasterCard" to "mastercard".[15]

In August 2017, Mastercard acquired Brighterion, a Delaware Corporation headquartered in San Francisco, California that provides a portfolio of artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies.[16] Brighterion holds several patents.[17]


The company, which had been organized as a cooperative of banks, had an initial public offering on May 25, 2006, selling 95.5 million shares at $39 each.[18] The stock is traded on the NYSE under the symbol MA, with a market capitalization of $236.15 billion as of August 2016.[19]


Anti-trust lawsuit by ATM operators

Mastercard, along with Visa, has been sued in a class action by ATM operators that claims the credit card networks' rules effectively fix ATM access fees. The suit claims that this is a restraint on trade in violation of federal law. The lawsuit was filed by the National ATM Council and independent operators of automated teller machines. More specifically, it is alleged that Mastercard's and Visa's network rules prohibit ATM operators from offering lower prices for transactions over PIN-debit networks that are not affiliated with Visa or Mastercard. The suit says that this price fixing artificially raises the price that consumers pay using ATMs, limits the revenue that ATM-operators earn, and violates the Sherman Act's prohibition against unreasonable restraints of trade. Johnathan Rubin, an attorney for the plaintiffs said, "Visa and Mastercard are the ringleaders, organizers, and enforcers of a conspiracy among U.S. banks to fix the price of ATM access fees in order to keep the competition at bay."[20]

Debit card swipe fee price fixing

Both Mastercard and Visa have paid approximately $3 billion in damages resulting from a class-action lawsuit filed by Hagens Berman in January 1996.[21] The litigation cites several retail giants as plaintiffs, including Wal-Mart, Sears, Roebuck & Co., and Safeway.[22]

Antitrust settlement with U.S. Justice Department

In October 2010, Mastercard and Visa reached a settlement with the U.S. Justice Department in another antitrust case. The companies agreed to allow merchants displaying their logos to decline certain types of cards (because interchange fees differ), or to offer consumers discounts for using cheaper cards.[23]

Payment Card Interchange Fee and Merchant Discount Antitrust Litigation

On November 27, 2012, a federal judge entered an order granting preliminary approval to a proposed settlement to a class-action lawsuit filed in 2005 by merchants and trade associations against Mastercard, Visa, and many credit card issuers. The suit was filed due to price fixing and other anti-competitive trade practices employed by Mastercard and Visa. A majority of named class plaintiffs have objected and vowed to opt out of the settlement. Opponents object to provisions that would bar future lawsuits and even prevent merchants from opting out of significant portions of the proposed settlement. Stephen Neuwirth, a lawyer representing Home Depot, said, "It's so obvious Visa and Mastercard were prepared to make a large payment because of the scope of the releases being given. It's all one quid pro quo and merchants like the Home Depot are being denied the chance to opt out of that quid pro quo and say this is a bad deal."[24]

Plaintiffs allege that Visa, Mastercard, and major credit card issuers engaged in a conspiracy to fix interchange fees, also known as swipe fees, that are charged to merchants for the privilege of accepting payment cards at artificially high levels. In their complaint, the plaintiffs also alleged that the defendants unfairly interfere with merchants from encouraging customers to use less expensive forms of payment such as lower-cost cards, cash, and checks.[24]

The settlement provides for the cash equivalent of a 10 basis-point reduction (0.1 percent) of swipe fees charged to merchants for a period of eight months. This eight-month period would probably begin in the middle of 2013. The total value of the settlement will be about $7.25 billion.[24]


Development since 2005[25]
Year Revenue
in mil. US-$
Net Income
in mil. US-$
Price per Share
in US-$
2005 2,938 393
2006 3,326 229
2007 4,068 1,108 13.65
2008 4,992 –534 20.33
2009 5,099 2,260 17.99
2010 5,539 2,752 22.01
2011 6,714 2,713 28.73
2012 7,391 3,937 41.58
2013 8,312 4,503 59.34 8,200
2014 9,441 5,106 75.33 10,300
2015 9,667 5,078 90.62 11,300
2016 10,776 5,761 94.50 11,900
2017 12,497 6,622 126.54 13,400

As of 2018, Mastercard ranked 236 on the Fortune 500 list of the largest United States corporations by revenue.[26]

Other Languages
العربية: ماستركارد
تۆرکجه: مسترکارت
català: Mastercard
Чӑвашла: MasterCard
čeština: MasterCard
dansk: MasterCard
Deutsch: Mastercard
eesti: Mastercard
español: Mastercard
Esperanto: Mastercard
فارسی: مسترکارت
français: MasterCard
한국어: 마스터카드
Bahasa Indonesia: MasterCard
italiano: MasterCard
עברית: מסטרקארד
lietuvių: MasterCard
magyar: MasterCard
Bahasa Melayu: MasterCard
Nederlands: MasterCard
norsk: MasterCard
norsk nynorsk: MasterCard
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: MasterCard
polski: MasterCard
português: MasterCard
română: MasterCard
русский: MasterCard
саха тыла: MasterCard
Simple English: Mastercard
српски / srpski: Мастеркард
suomi: Mastercard
svenska: Mastercard
Türkçe: MasterCard
українська: MasterCard
Tiếng Việt: MasterCard
中文: 万事达卡