When it comes to choosing a credit card, I frequently hear people advising others to get a Visa card because they’re so widely accepted. While I definitely buy this argument when it comes to comparing Visa vs. American Express or Discover cards, I’m much less convinced when it comes to Visa vs. MasterCard.
While it’s true that Visa is generally recognized as the most widely accepted type of credit card, does the Visa vs. MasterCard distinction really matter for casual credit card users? I mean, sure, we’ve had it drilled into our head that Visa is the “official card of the Olympics, ” but a much bigger issue for me is that Sam’s Club only accepts MasterCard. And does the fact that it’s one or the other outweigh the fact that you might not receive a long 0% balance transfer offer or a low ongoing interest?
Curious as to what snags others have run into, I asked my Twitter followers for their real world experiences with respect to Visa vs. MasterCard acceptance. Here are some of their responses:
- @IntuitiveJamie: I know the Dollar General Stores in MS only take Mastercard and not Visa.
- @faerievert: Yes, twice in Brazil at small restaurants Visa was the ONLY credit card option.
- @pewpewpew: The Olympics. They only accept Visa.
- @PFJourney: My friend couldn’t pay his speeding ticket because the law enforcement office would only take Visa. I thought that was strange.
- @KyleAAA: yeah, in South America… never in the US that I can recall.
This is far from a scientific survey, and it’s not exactly a huge sample, but it’s clear that the results are mixed. It seems that the biggest problems with MasterCard acceptance come overseas. It’s hard to say if this is a South American issue in particular, or if that’s a byproduct of the small sample size.Whichever card you might choose but always have a check on your credit report😉
And now I’m throwing it open to you, dear readers. Have you ever run into situations where a merchant will accept Visa but not MasterCard? If so, please share the details by leaving a comment.