The MasterCard Story

    From the earliest days of credit cards to the contactless and wireless payment options of today, MasterCard Worldwide has led the industry in driving this evolution.

    The last four decades have seen a remarkable transformation in how people and businesses the world over pay for the goods and services they need. The rise of the electronic payments industry has helped economic growth transcend borders, bringing benefits to every corner of the world.

    From the earliest days of credit cards to the contactless and wireless payment options of today, MasterCard Worldwide has led the industry in driving this evolution. MasterCard, at the heart of commerce, brings insight and innovation into the payments process to make commerce easier, faster, more seamless, more meaningful and more secure.

    The MasterCard story begins in 1966 when a group of banks created a member-owned association that later became MasterCard. In 1968 the company extended its presence to Mexico, Japan and Europe, marking the start of its commitment to becoming the leading global payments network.

    Through the 1980s, MasterCard continued to build on this promise, bringing the advantages of electronic payments to new regions and markets around the globe. MasterCard became the first payment card issued in the People’s Republic of China, and the company also launched Maestro®, the world’s first truly global online debit program, in partnership with Europay International.

    The next decade saw electronic payments become even more closely integrated into peoples’ lives, a behavioral shift MasterCard capitalized on by developing new technologies that improved convenience, speed and efficiency. MasterCard also launched the “Priceless” ad campaign, elevating its consumer brand and differentiating the company’s connection to consumers.

    Uncovering new ways to provide value to its customers, MasterCard launched MasterCard Advisors in 2001, bringing innovative consulting services to customers and others within the industry. That same year, MasterCard completed a major upgrade of its state-of-the-art network, enhancing its ability to process transactions safely, securely and instantly the world over.

    MasterCard also implemented structural changes that reflected a new outlook for the company. MasterCard integrated with Europay International in 2002, establishing a unified global corporate structure and also becoming a private share corporation.

    By 2005, MasterCard had committed itself to a new, customer-focused strategy that aligned its advisory and processing capabilities with its long-standing role as a franchisor. This three-tiered business model crystallized the company’s positioning as a franchisor, processor and advisor, laid the groundwork for its transition to a more transparent governance model and initial public offering in 2006.

    Today and beyond, MasterCard Worldwide continues to provide a unique combination of expertise, industry-leading insight, and globally integrated resources that the company leverages to deliver value to constituents. MasterCard is committed to innovating and growing the range of products and services the company brings to market through our strong partnerships with our customers.

    MasterCard Unveils World MasterCard for Business

    Read about MasterCard's premium payment card for high-spending small businesses.