Mastercard is accepted everywhere you can use a credit card or debit card. Millions of merchants in more than 210 countries and territories take Mastercard. And that includes 8 million retailers in the U.S. alone. For context, fewer than 8 million people live in the nine smallest U.S. states combined. Furthermore, Visa is accepted in just over 200 countries and territories, while American Express and Discover lag well behind.
But Mastercard isn’t accepted everywhere that you may find yourself spending money. Some stores and other merchants (like vendors at a local fair, for example) might only take cash. Transactions at some websites, or between you and other individuals, may require using electronic currency though outlets like PayPal, Venmo, or Bitcoin.
It’s impossible to give an exhaustive list of every place that does or does not accept Mastercard. But those that accept only non-Mastercard plastic are extremely rare. For example, Costco accepts only Visa cards (along with alternate forms of payment like cash and checks). On the other hand, Sam’s Club used to only take Discover, but now they accept cards from all four major networks.
Finally, it’s also important to note that 22,000 different financial institutions issue Mastercard credit cards and debit cards. That’s because Mastercard is a card network, not a card issuer. In other words, it dictates where your card will be accepted and what secondary benefits – rental car insurance, for example – you may receive.
You can compare Mastercard credit cards on WalletHub if you’re interested in applying for one. And if you’re not sure which Mastercard you’re likely to qualify for, you can check your latest credit score for free on WalletHub, too. We’ll also give you personalized card recommendations based on your score and spending habits.