Yes, Mastercard is accepted almost everywhere you can use a credit or debit card. Millions of merchants in more than 210 countries and territories take Mastercard. And that includes more than 10.7 million retailers in the U.S. alone. Furthermore, Visa is accepted in just over 200 countries and territories, while American Express lags well behind.
Here’s what you should know about Mastercard’s acceptance:
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 only accepts Mastercards for online purchases. On the other hand, Sam’s Club used to only take Discover, but now they accept cards from all four major networks.
It’s also important to note that more than 25,000 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.
Mastercard is not accepted at stores and merchants (like vendors at a local fair, for instance) that only take cash or at retail chains that have an exclusive agreement with another card network. For example, Costco accepts Mastercard only for online purchases. There are also some websites that only take electronic currency though outlets like PayPal, Venmo, or Bitcoin. Mastercard credit cards also can’t be used to pay a credit card bill, but no credit cards can be used for that.… read full answer
Outside of those exceptions, you can use Mastercards globally, in over 210 countries and territories. And millions of merchants within those countries take them.
Here’s where Mastercard is not accepted:
Merchants who don’t take credit cards. Small businesses may not always want to bother with the fees they get charged for accepting credit cards, so you’ll probably run into some cash-only merchants at some point. In addition, you might not be able to use your credit card at certain events, like a food stall at your local fair, for instance.
Merchants with exclusive deals. Sometimes, a merchant will give its business to only one credit card network. Costco is a good example. They used to only accept American Express cards, and now they only accept Visa cards. But you won’t find a lot of places that accept credit cards and exclude Mastercard.
Certain virtual purchases. Some purchases can only be completed using virtual currency (e.g. bitcoin).
Monthly credit card bills. You can’t use any credit card, whether from Mastercard or another network, to pay another credit card’s bill on a monthly basis. But you can transfer a balance from one card to another, just not regularly. And that usually makes sense only if you’re opening a new account with a 0% introductory balance transfer APR.
So, if you’re able to use credit cards at a merchant, it’s almost guaranteed they’ll take your Mastercard. But in case they don’t, it helps to have some cash on you or a backup credit card from another network.
Visa and Mastercard are the most widely accepted credit card networks. Visa credit cards can be used at 44 million merchant locations in more than 200 countries and territories. Mastercard credit cards are accepted at 37 million merchant locations in more than 210 countries and territories.
Mastercard is accepted in more countries than Visa, yet roughly 7 million more merchants worldwide take Visa. Both have a claim to the title of most widely accepted credit card as a result. Visa is also the most widely used type of credit card. There isn’t a single credit card that’s most widely accepted, though. That’s because there are hundreds of Mastercard and Visa credit card offers available.… read full answer
Most Widely Accepted Credit Cards:
Most Widely Accepted Internationally: Mastercard (210+ countries and territories); Visa (200+).
Most Widely Accepted in the U.S.: Visa and Mastercard are both accepted at almost 11 million U.S. merchant locations.
Least Widely Accepted Internationally: American Express (160+ countries and territories); Discover (200+).
Least Widely Accepted in the U.S.: American Express and Discover (10.6 million locations).
Most Widely Used: Visa has the most credit cards in circulation (about 838 million). American Express has the highest purchase volume, at $15,904 per cardholder annually.
Best Worldwide Credit Cards: Visa or Mastercard credit cards with no foreign transaction fee.
The difference between Visa and Mastercard acceptance is slight. Either network should suit your needs almost anywhere in the world. But if you plan on traveling internationally, be sure your Mastercard or Visa credit card doesn’t charge a foreign transaction fee. That will save you up to 3% on every purchase you make abroad.
Finally, it’s worth pointing out that store cards are the least widely accepted credit cards. They don’t belong to any of the four major card networks. So, they can only be used at their affiliated retailers.
Visa and Mastercard are tied in the categories that matter most to consumers, so it's best to compare Mastercard and Visa cards to find the specific offer that will save you the most money. Both Visa and Mastercard are accepted in more than 200 countries, and it is rare to find a location that accepts one but not the other. Furthermore, both Visa and Mastercard administer certain benefits programs, including … read full answerrental car insurance and extended warranties. But individual card issuers decide what coverage cardholders receive.
So it doesn’t really matter whether you have a Visa or Mastercard in your wallet. As long as you have at least one of them and your card offers competitive terms, you’ll be in good shape. If you’d like to learn more about the similarities and differences between Visa and Mastercard, including how the best credit cards on each network compare, check out WalletHub’s complete Visa vs. Mastercard review.
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