Visa vs Rupay vs Mastercard: What Are The Differences?

Visa vs RuPay vs MasterCard

Visa vs Rupay vs Mastercard is a never-ending battle in the segment of payment networks. Reason? Because they are the most common payment networks in India for handling different transactions.

Visa vs RuPay vs MasterCard

As you use your debit card, you’ve probably noticed these logos—RuPay Card, Visa Card, and Mastercard. 

Have you wondered how they’re different from each other? Visa and Mastercard operate worldwide, serving as international payment networks, while RuPay takes pride in being India’s very own domestic payment network. 

That’s not all, the differences are much more than that!

In this write-up, we will dive into the specifics of these networks, so that you can grasp the differences and make informed choices in your financial endeavors.

Stay tuned!

(A) Why Visa vs RuPay vs Mastercard in the news?

Have you ever wondered why the debate on Visa vs RuPay vs Mastercard suddenly boomed? Due to new regulations by the RBI (Reserve Bank of India).

Earlier, whenever you applied for a debit/credit card in the bank, your card network (Visa/RuPay/MasterCard) was decided by the respective bank. Because the banks already have exclusive agreements with card networks like Visa, RuPay, MasterCard, etc. Based on that, the banks used to select your card network too!

But that won’t be the scenario anymore!

(A.1) RBI’s New Regulation

RBI (image)

From 1st October 2023 onwards, RBI has given you the freedom to select your card network! Yes, now you can choose the card network as per your choice.

Let’s go through the two new rules on debit and credit cards that have been stated by RBI and have been in effect since 1st October 2022-

  • Issuers are required to provide cards across various card networks.
  • Customers who meet the criteria can select their favored card network, either during the card’s issuance or at a later time.

Now you have the choice to opt for a card network irrespective of being a new customer or existing customer. Despite being an existing customer, you can change your card network provider while renewing your debit/credit card.

Sounds great! Isn’t it?

The RBI had already discussed this draft proposal to the card issuer through a circular on July 5, 2023. The card issuers include all the banks and financial institutions.

Now the question arises- Why did the RBI publish new rules regarding card networks all of a sudden?

(A.2) Reasons for implementing new rules

The recent move of RBI aims the following-

  • To diversify the options of card networks for customers.
  • To break the existing monopoly of the arrangements between the card networks and issuers.

Currently, India hosts five card networks-

  • Visa Worldwide Limited
  • RuPay (by National Payments Corporation of India)
  • MasterCard Asia /Pacific Pte. Ltd,
  • American Express Banking Corporation
  • Diners Club International Ltd.

Out of these, the top three are the most common card networks used by Indians. Consequently, this gives rise to the question- Which one is better in Visa vs RuPay vs MasterCard? That’s why folks are keen to learn the differences on these three cards!

(B) Synopsis of Visa vs Rupay vs Mastercard

Visa, Rupay, and Mastercard are all popular payment card networks, but there are some key differences between them. Rupay is an Indian domestic debit card, while Visa and Mastercard are international systems of debit and credit cards. Rupay cards are primarily used within India, while Visa and Mastercard are accepted globally.

Now, let’s have a brief overview of these three cards-

ParticularsVisaRupayMastercard
IndustryPayment Cards ServicesFinancial and Payment Service SystemFinancial Services
OwnerVisa Inc.NPCI (National Payments Corporation of India)Mastercard Inc.
Founded195820141966
ProductsCredit Card
Debit Card
Payment Systems
Credit Card
Debit Card
Contactless Smart Card
Stored-value Card
Digital card
BharatQR
Credit Cards
Debit Cards
Payment Systems
Areas ServedWorldwideIndiaWorldwide
Redemption OptionsCashback, travel, merchandise, gift cards, etc.Cashback, discounts, reward points, etc.Cashback, travel, merchandise, gift cards, etc.
Visa vs RuPay vs MasterCard: Synopsis

In the upcoming sections, we will go through a detailed analysis of Visa vs Rupay vs Mastercard.

(C) Visa vs RuPay vs MasterCard

Go through the following table and you will learn the key differences among them-

AspectsVisaRupayMastercard
Global Acceptance & Market PresenceGlobally acceptedMainly used in IndiaGlobally accepted
Network TypeInternational DomesticInternational
Processing TimeHigher 
(Reason: Data sent to the payment network server outside the country)
Comparatively lesser time
(Reason: Data processed within the country)
Higher
(Reason: Data sent to the payment network server outside the country)
Special FeaturesExtensive travel perks and benefitsTailored for Indian consumers, offers discounts on various servicesDiverse range of card options with specific benefits
Merchant OffersGlobal network with diverse merchant partnershipsEmphasizes partnerships with Indian merchants, providing localized offersWide array of global and local merchant tie-ups
Technology IntegrationOften adopts newer payment technologies quicklyAdapts to evolving technologies but may have a slower integration paceEmbraces cutting-edge technologies swiftly
Transaction SecurityAdvanced security features  Focused on domestic security measuresAdvanced security features
Transaction Fees1.5% to 2.5%0.40% to 0.60%1.5% to 2.5%
Processing FeesQuarterly paid by the Indian banks to avail the services from a foreign payment network.No entry fee or quarterly fee.
Other charges are comparatively lesser than Visa and Mastercard
Quarterly paid by the Indian banks to avail the services from a foreign payment network.
Prevalence in ATMsWidely available at ATMs globallyMore prevalent in Indian ATMs, expanding internationallyWidely available at ATMs globally
Currency SupportSupports multiple currenciesPrimarily focused on Indian Rupee transactionsSupports multiple currencies
Partnerships and AlliancesCollaborates with a broad range of global financial institutionsPartnerships within the Indian financial ecosystem, including public and private banksFormed strategic alliances with various financial institutions globally
Visa vs RuPay vs MasterCard

However, you must note that the information provided is a generalization, and specific features may vary based on the specific card variant and issuing bank.

Note: We have already covered the case study of Rupay Cards in detail. Visit the article “All About Rupay Cards” for more information.

(D) Which card is better- Visa vs RuPay vs MasterCard?

When deciding between Visa, RuPay, and MasterCard, it really comes down to what suits your individual preferences and needs. You can consider the following things before opting a card in Visa vs RuPay vs MasterCard-

(D.1) Global vs Domestic Use

If you find yourself jet-setting internationally, you might lean towards Visa or MasterCard for their widespread acceptance. However, if your transactions are mainly within India, RuPay’s focus on local use could be more aligned with your needs.

Simply, it means that if your work involves frequent international travel, opting for Visa or MasterCard could be advantageous. For instance, when conducting business meetings abroad, having a card that is widely accepted globally, like Visa, ensures seamless transactions and access to a network of ATMs.

(D.2) Transaction Fees

Take a look at the associated processing fees. RuPay tends to be more cost-effective for local transactions, while Visa and MasterCard may have higher fees, especially if you’re frequently making international transactions.

Suppose you’re a business professional frequently engaging in cross-border transactions. In this case, a RuPay card might be cost-effective for local purchases within India. 

On the other hand, if you often make online purchases from international vendors, a Visa or MasterCard may offer a more comprehensive and convenient payment solution, despite potentially higher transaction fees.

(D.3) Speed and Convenience

Visa vs Rupay Vs MasterCard- Which is the best

If speedy local transactions are a priority, RuPay’s local processing might be the way to go. On the other hand, if global transactions are on your agenda, Visa and MasterCard’s international networks could offer added convenience.

Consider a scenario where you need to make urgent local transactions, such as paying bills or purchasing goods. In this case, a RuPay card, with its focus on local processing, ensures quicker transaction speeds, contributing to timely financial activities.

(D.4) Card Features & Perks

Dive into the specific features and perks each card offers. Whether it’s travel benefits, discounts, or rewards, compare them to see which aligns best with your lifestyle.

Imagine you’re a frequent traveler who values airline lounge access and travel rewards. In such a case, Visa or MasterCard, with their diverse travel benefits, could be more appealing. Visa Signature or MasterCard World Elite cards often come with perks like travel insurance, concierge services, and exclusive access to airport lounges.

(D.5) Security

Consider the security measures in place. While all major cards prioritize security, if you prefer transactions confined within national borders, RuPay’s domestic focus might provide an extra layer of comfort.

If you prioritize data security, especially for transactions confined within national borders, a RuPay card might align with your preferences. For instance, if you’re a business owner handling sensitive transactions within India, the localized nature of RuPay transactions minimizes the risk associated with global data handling.

(D.6) Acceptance

Well, it is similar to the first point of global usage vs domestic usage. While opting a card in Visa vs RuPay vs MasterCard, think about where you’ll be using the card most. If global acceptance is crucial, Visa or MasterCard might be your go-to. However, if you’re primarily using the card within India, RuPay is tailored for that purpose.

Suppose you frequently travel for business and need a card accepted globally. In this case, having a Visa or MasterCard ensures that you can make transactions seamlessly in various countries. When attending international conferences or meeting clients abroad, the widespread acceptance of these cards becomes a significant advantage.

(E) Card Examples 

The following table describes various credit and debit cards of Visa, Rupay, and MasterCard-

Card TypeIssuerCard Name
VisaHDFC BankRegalia First
VisaICICI BankAmazon Pay
VisaAxis BankAce Credit Card
RuPaySBISBI RuPay
RuPayHDFC BankMillennia
RuPayICICI BankCoral
MasterCardHDFC BankRegalia
MasterCardAxis BankFlipkart Axis
MasterCardICICI BankPlatinum
Visa vs RuPay Vs MasterCard: Examples

These are some of the common examples of cards belonging to different card networks.

(F) Final Thoughts on Visa vs RuPay vs MasterCard

When picking between Visa, RuPay, and MasterCard, think about what suits you best. Each card has its own perks – Visa works worldwide, RuPay is for India, and MasterCard has various features. Consider what matters to you, like if you travel a lot or stay local. Visa is good for global stuff, RuPay is more for India, and MasterCard has different features. Understanding these differences helps you choose a card that fits your life well.

It’s like picking the tool that does the job just right – simple and straightforward!

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Published By: Supti Nandi
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