Master Card History

Originally named Master Charge, the program was created in 1966 by United California Bank, Crocker National Bank (both California banks whom were merged/acquired by Wells Fargo) Wells Fargo, and Bank of California (whom later became Union Bank of California). Master Charge was created to compete with BankAmericard (the Visa predecessor) whom was created shortly beforehand.

These banks, along with First National Bank (Louisville, KY) and Marine Midland Bank from New York (whom became HSBC) formed the Interbank Card Association, abbreviated ICA and created what was known as “Master Charge – The Interbank Card” in 1967. It was around this time the logo of two intersecting orange and red circles were adapted.

It was not until 1979 that the name was changed to MasterCard. During the nineties MasterCard acquired the UK based credit card issuer, Access Card, and its business became part of MasterCard. They also bought Europay in 2002, which was another credit card association. Both of these companies brand names were dropped and replaced with the MasterCard name.

Like Visa, MasterCard Worldwide is an association that is owned by the banks and financial institutions whom issue the card. Over 25,000 owned the company up until it’s initial public offering in May 2006. Today MasterCard trades on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) under the ticker “MA” and is presently valued at around $30 billion. Their headquarters are out of Purchase, New York and their main competitor is the company they were created to go up against – Visa. Just like Visa, MasterCard does not issue the actual cards nor loan and money or credit. The financial institutions that issue the cards are responsible for both. MasterCard makes its revenue off of transaction fees as well as the fees that participating financial institutions pay to be a part of the MasterCard program. Along with the IPO the company also evolved the image of the company. The name was changed to MasterCard Worldwide to give it a more global image. The corporate logo was also modified to include a third translucent circle, which overlaps the original two. However the logo on MasterCard credit cards and debit cards remains the same.


Source: http://creditcardforum.com
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