Mastercard, Inc. is a multinational financial service company based in Purchase, New York in the United States. Mastercard’s Global Operations Headquarters is based outside of St. Louis, Missouri. Mastercard card issuers are linked with acquirers and data processors in a single network known as Banknet, which is located in St. Louis, Missouri.
Mastercard does not extend credit, issue cards, set rates or fees, or offer benefits to card holders. Rather, Mastercard offers branded credit, debit, and prepaid cards to companies like banks and retailers who in turn issue the cards to customers. These companies set rates and fees and some of them offer various benefits to card holders, such as airline miles or cash back.
Mastercard is accepted at approximately 30 million locations around the world and processes approximately 18 billion transactions per year. Mastercard reported $10.8 billion in revenue for 2016.
Mastercard was created in 1966 in a cooperative effort between various financial institutions to be a major competitor of Bank of America’s BankAmericard, which later became Visa. Until 1979, Mastercard was known as Interbank Master Charge. Prior to 2006, Mastercard was a cooperative company owned by some 25,000 banks and other financial institutions. In 2006, Mastercard made its initial public offering and has since been a publicly owned and traded company.
Mastercard rolled out its Masterpass contactless payments technology in the United States, Europe, Africa and the Middle East in 2016, with other countries seeing the technology becoming available in 2017. Any merchant service should include Mastercard as part of the merchant account due to its worldwide popularity.