When you open a bank account, you are typically provided with a Visa Debit card or a Debit Mastercard to use in conjunction with the account. Unlike a standard bank card, which can only be used to access your money in-branch and at the ATM, these cards can be used to pay when shopping online and at the checkout, wherever Visa and Mastercard are accepted.
With that in mind then, is there any difference between what’s on offer with a Visa Debit card and a Debit Mastercard?
Both the Visa and Mastercard networks are vast. It would be very unlikely you would find a retailer that accepts Visa and not Mastercard, or Mastercard and not Visa. Both allow for payments to be made online and in person at the checkout, while also providing access to cash at ATMs the world over.
Contactless payments allow for a speedier checkout when paying in person, allowing you to pay for purchases up to $200 with a tap of the payment terminal. Payments over $200 require a PIN. Visa’s contactless payment technology goes by the name of Visa payWave, while Mastercard has Mastercard PayPass. As a cardholder, using either will likely be a very similar experience.
Protection Against Fraudulent Payments
When it comes to personal finance, security is crucial. Both Visa and Mastercard offer similar security features on their debit cards, which are typically backed up by further security provided by the bank issuing the card.
In terms of fraud, both Visa and Mastercard have a Zero Liability policy.
According to Visa’s site:
“With Visa’s Zero Liability policy, you won’t be held responsible for fraudulent charges or unauthorised purchases made with your card or account information. This means you can use your card to shop with total confidence, as you will always be protected against unauthorised use.”
It’s worth noting that Visa’s Zero Liability policy does not apply to ATM transactions.
Meanwhile, Mastercard states:
“Have peace of mind knowing that the financial institution that issued your Mastercard won’t hold you responsible for ‘unauthorised transactions’. As a Mastercard cardholder, Zero Liability applies to your purchases made in the store, over the telephone, online, or via a mobile device and ATM transactions.”
In order to take advantage of either Zero Liability policy, cardholders must have used reasonable care in protecting their card from loss or theft, and must also notify their card issuer promptly of unauthorised use.
Both Visa and Mastercard provide an extra layer of protection for shoppers using their debit cards online.
Visa’s 3-D Secure is a password-protected authentication system designed to confirm your identity as a cardholder when your card is used online in suspicious or different than usual circumstances. You can opt to set up a password or have your bank send you a code via SMS. Mastercard’s SecureCode works in much the same way, and is designed to offer extra peace of mind when shopping online.
Digital Wallet Compatibility
Whether your debit card is compatible with your digital wallet is decided by your bank, rather than Visa or Mastercard. Both offer full compatibility with digital wallet technology, but the bank must provide support for the digital wallet for you to access it.
In general, debit cards are far from feature-packed. If you want fancy features, credit cards are where it’s at. However, both Visa and Mastercard offer free perks to debit cardholders, which tend to be underused, simply because most people don’t know they exist.
With Visa Offers + Perks, you can sign up to get personalised deals on music and sporting events, fashion, food, film and more.
Meanwhile, with Mastercard Priceless Cities, you register for access to discounted ticket prices or standard prices for unique experiences around the world.
Which Is Best?
As you can see, there’s not much between them. Whatever Visa offers, Mastercard provides something similar. While you may see a difference between the various deals offered on Visa Offers + Perks and Mastercard Priceless Cities, everything else is pretty much equal.
So, whether you have a Visa Debit card attached to your bank account or a Debit Mastercard, you are unlikely to notice the difference unless you take the time to look at the logo on the card.