Skip to content

Mastercard Credit Cards

Updated Sep 25, 2020 | Published Sep 24, 20206 min read

Advertiser Disclosure

Credit Card Insider is an independent, advertising supported website. Credit Card Insider receives compensation from some credit card issuers as advertisers. Advertiser relationships do not affect card ratings or our Editor’s Best Card Picks. Credit Card Insider has not reviewed all available credit card offers in the marketplace. Content is not provided or commissioned by any credit card issuers. Reasonable efforts are made to maintain accurate information, though all credit card information is presented without warranty. When you click on any ‘Apply Now’ button, the most up-to-date terms and conditions, rates, and fee information will be presented by the issuer. Credit Card Insider has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Credit Card Insider and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. A list of these issuers can be found on our Editorial Guidelines.

At a glance

Mastercard is one of the most prolific card networks. It provides an infrastructure for consumers and businesses to make and receive payments, from both credit and debit cards, and plays a role in determining certain card benefits.

Credit Card Insider receives compensation from advertisers whose products may be mentioned on this page. Advertiser relationships do not affect card evaluations. Advertising partners do not edit or endorse our editorial content. Content is accurate to the best of our knowledge when it's published. Learn more in our Editorial Guidelines.

The information related to Citi Prestige® Card, Capital One® Secured Mastercard®, and Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business have been collected by Credit Card Insider and have not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of these products.

What Is Mastercard?

Mastercard is one of the most popular credit card companies in the world. It serves as the network for millions of credit cards and debit cards, facilitating transactions between consumers and businesses.

Mastercard doesn’t issue credit or debit cards, so it doesn’t set terms like interest rates and rewards. Instead, it provides a payment network that businesses use to accept card payments, transferring the money from your card account to the merchant’s account.

It’s wise to carry a Mastercard, even just as a backup, because you’ll almost never be stuck without a way to pay. Practically everyone takes Mastercard — it’s widely accepted in the U.S. and abroad, about as much as Visa.

You can get a Mastercard from many different card issuers. Citi, Capital One, and Bank of America provide quite a few, and you’ll find them from many credit unions as well.

See the best Mastercards below, followed by more information about the network and its cards.

What Are the Best Mastercard Credit Cards?

It really depends on what you’re looking for, but our picks for the top Mastercards are:

Best for Flat-Rate Rewards: Citi Double Cash

Citi® Double Cash Card - 18 month BT offer

Our rating
Min. credit levelExcellent
Details
Annual Fee$0
Regular APR13.99% – 23.99% (Variable)
Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

  • Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases.
  • To earn cash back, pay at least the minimum due on time.
  • Balance Transfer Offer: 0% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months. After that, the variable APR will be 13.99% – 23.99%, based on your creditworthiness.
  • Balance Transfers do not earn cash back.
  • If you transfer a balance, interest will be charged on your purchases unless you pay your entire balance (including balance transfers) by the due date each month.
  • There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
  • The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 13.99% – 23.99% based on your creditworthiness. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi’s discretion.

Citi is a Credit Card Insider advertiser.

With 2% cash back for everything you buy and no annual fee, it’s hard to beat the Double Cash for simplicity and reward value. You’ll get 1% back for purchases, and 1% for payments; you must pay at least the minimum due to earn rewards.

Best for Cash Back Bonus Categories: Chase Freedom Flex

Chase Freedom Flex℠

Min. credit levelGood
Details
Annual Fee$0
Regular APR14.99% - 23.74% Variable

The Freedom Flex has a lot to offer: 5% cash back in rotating bonus categories, 5% back on eligible groceries and certain travel expenses (wow!), and 3% back for dining and drugstore purchases. With surprisingly high rates for travel and dining, along with a three-month DoorDash DashPass membership, you can easily get a lot out of this card.

Best for Premium Travel: Citi Prestige

Citi Prestige® Card

Our rating
Min. credit levelGood
Details
Annual Fee$495
Regular APR17.99%–24.99% Variable
Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

  • 5X ThankYou points on Air travel and Restaurants
  • 3X ThankYou points on Hotels and Cruise Lines
  • No limit to the amount of points you can earn
  • Rewards never expire
  • $250 travel credit
  • Complimentary 4th night free on eligible hotel stays, capped at twice per year
  • Complimentary Priority Pass Select membership
  • Global Entry or TSA Pre✓ Application Fee Credit
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $495 annual fee

The information related to Citi Prestige® Card has been collected by Credit Card Insider and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of this product.

Book your long hotel stays with the Prestige and you’ll enjoy your fourth night free — even if you’re at a fancy resort with outrageous rates. This perk is capped at twice per year, and you have to book through ThankYou.com, but you can get some serious value if you stay at expensive hotels. There are also great bonus categories for travel and dining, and some other handy benefits to sweeten the deal, along with no foreign transaction fee.

Best for Balance Transfers: Citi Diamond Preferred

Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card

Our rating
Min. credit levelExcellent
Details
Annual Fee$0
Regular APR14.74% – 24.74% (Variable)
Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

  • 0% Intro APR for 18 months on purchases from date of account opening and 0% Intro APR for 18 months on balance transfers from date of first transfer. After that the variable APR will be 14.74% – 24.74%, based on your creditworthiness. Balance transfers must be completed within 4 months of account opening.
  • There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater
  • Get free access to your FICO® Score online.
  • With Citi Entertainment®, get special access to purchase tickets to thousands of events, including concerts, sporting events, dining experiences and more.
  • Shop with confidence knowing that you have dependable protection benefits, including $0 Liability on Unauthorized Purchases and Citi® Identity Theft Solutions.
  • The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 14.74% – 24.74%, based on your creditworthiness. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi’s discretion.

Citi is a Credit Card Insider advertiser.

If you’re carrying a balance on a credit card at a high APR, you’re paying a lot of interest, making your debt even more expensive. But you could transfer that balance to a card like the Diamond Preferred and get a long time to pay down the debt at no interest, potentially saving you hundreds or thousands of dollars. In this case you’ll get an intro APR of 0% for 18 months, and then the regular 14.74% – 24.74% (Variable) APR will kick in.

Best for Bad Credit/Building Credit: Capital One Secured

Capital One® Secured Mastercard®

Our rating
Min. credit levelBad
Details
Annual Fee$0
Regular APR26.99% (Variable)

The information related to Capital One® Secured Mastercard® has been collected by Credit Card Insider and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of this product.

Struggling to rebuild your credit history and raise your credit scores after some late payments or collection accounts? Credit cards can be useful tools along the way, as long as you commit to using them responsibly, and Capital One’s secured card might be the one for you.

In this case you’ll be asked for a refundable security deposit of either $49, $99, or $200; but no matter what your required deposit is, you’ll start out with a credit limit of $200. This is unusual among secured credit cards, and it’s a nice way to get a limit higher than your deposit. You can deposit more if you wish, up to $1,000 for a $1,000 credit line.

Best for Business Rewards: Capital One Spark Miles

Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business

Our rating
Min. credit levelGood
Details
Annual Fee$0 intro for first year; $95 after that
Regular APR20.99% Variable
Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

The information related to Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business has been collected by Credit Card Insider and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of this product.

The Spark Miles had long been a flat-rate business travel card, with a solid 2X miles for everything, but Capital One souped it up with 5X miles for hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel. It comes with two perks you don’t typically see on cards at this fee level: a Global Entry/TSA PreCheck credit and the ability to transfer miles to a selection of airline and hotel partners, potentially increasing their value.

Types of Mastercard Credit Cards

Mastercard credit cards come in a variety of types, also called tiers or levels. Your card tier will help determine the credit card network benefits you get.

The lower tiers have the most basic benefits, which include $0 liability protection and perhaps a few others. The higher tiers may come with more valuable protections like Purchase Assurance, along with perks like travel discounts, Lyft credits, and ShopRunner membership. To get a higher tier you typically have to pay an annual fee, and/or be approved for a credit limit of a certain amount.

Mastercard updates its card types every now and then, but when it comes to consumer credit cards you’ll usually see three:

  • Platinum Mastercard
  • World Mastercard
  • World Elite Mastercard

And for business cards, the following two types are most commonly in circulation:

  • Business Platinum Mastercard
  • World Elite Mastercard for Business

You can also find several other kinds of Mastercard, like debit cards, prepaid debit cards, prepaid travel cards, and gift cards. And for those, you’ll see levels like:

  • Standard Debit Mastercard
  • Enhanced Debit Mastercard
  • World Debit Mastercard

Mastercard debit cards may include many of the same protections and benefits you’d get from a Mastercard credit card. But the extras you get with credit cards tend to be a bit better. Learn more about how credit cards compare to debit cards, and why we typically recommend using credit cards.

Frequently Asked Questions About Mastercard

Which is better, Mastercard or Visa?

Neither Mastercard nor Visa is necessarily “better,” especially for the average consumer. For the most part they offer the same kinds of network benefits, like $0 liability protection, purchase protection, and travel accident insurance.

Mastercard and Visa have roughly the same acceptance worldwide; they’re the top two credit card networks in that respect. Mastercard is known for typically offering a lower currency conversion rate, which could make a difference if you spend a lot outside the U.S., although this won’t amount to much for most cardholders.

You may want to go for a specific Mastercard or Visa card if it has a feature you’ve got your eye on. But in most cases it doesn’t really matter. Learn more about the differences between Mastercard and Visa here.

Where is the card number on a Mastercard?

The specific location of the credit card account number, and also the credit card CVV location, will depend on the card issuer (not Mastercard).

The card number will either be on the front or the back (issuers tend to put them on the back more often these days). The CVV, a three-digit number for Mastercards, will usually be on the back, often next to the signature box.

Card art with credit card account number for the Capital One® Secured Mastercard®.

In rare cases, like with the Apple Card, there is no card number or CVV printed on the card in a bid to increase security. The details are only available digitally.

Is the Citi Double Cash a Mastercard?

Yes, the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer (Review) is a Mastercard, and it’s an awesome one too!

You earn 2% cash back for everything you buy, with no limits, making it one of the most versatile cards around. 1% is awarded for purchases, and 1% for payments. The minimum required payment must be made to earn rewards.

Are there Mastercard debit cards?

Yes, there are plenty of Mastercard debit cards to choose from, including Mastercard Prepaid Cards.

A couple options from popular brands are the PayPal Prepaid Mastercard® (Review) and Venmo Debit Card.

Debit cards differ from credit cards in a number of ways. Some people use them to better manage their money, or if they can’t be approved for credit cards. But we typically suggest using credit because credit cards offer a number of advantages over debit cards.

Is a Discover card a Mastercard?

No — Discover credit cards are not Mastercards.

Discover is a credit card payment network, like Mastercard. It’s also an issuer of credit cards.

In most cases, a card will only be on one network at a time — so it will be either Mastercard, Discover, Visa, or American Express.

But maybe you’re wondering, is a Capital One card a Mastercard? What about a Chase card, or a Citi card? The answer is “maybe.”

Issuers like Capital One and Chase may provide cards on either the Visa or Mastercard network, as they so choose. Some issuers stick with one network, while others diversify. The easiest way to find out the card network is to look for the network logo; if you don’t see a logo, it may be a store credit card that can only be used with that specific retailer, and perhaps its affiliates.

Was this helpful?
Brendan Harkness
Written by

Brendan Harkness

Brendan has been writing about personal finance for over eight years, and is now taking on the challenge of bringing high quality credit education to the masses. He makes sure that Credit Card Insider is covering the most important credit topics transparently and precisely, and that we have up-to-date reviews of credit cards so you can find cards that are right for you.

Do you have a correction, tip, or suggestion for a new post? Contact us here.

The responses below are not provided or commissioned by bank advertisers. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by bank advertisers. It is not the bank advertisers' responsibility to ensure all posts are accurate and/or questions are answered.