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History of MasterCard


In the last four decades, people and businesses worldwide have transformed how they pay for goods and services. The rise of the electronic payments has fueled economic growth while delivering value to consumers, merchants and governments. From the earliest days of credit cards to the contactless and wireless payment options of today, MasterCard has led the industry in driving this evolution.
 Our story began in 1966 when a group of bankers created a member-owned association that later became MasterCard. In 1968 we extended our presence to Mexico, Japan and Europe, marking the start of our commitment to becoming the leading global payments network.

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

In the ’90s, electronic payments became even more integrated into peoples‘ lives, a behavioral shift we capitalized on by developing new technologies that improved convenience, speed and efficiency. We launched “Priceless”, our award-winning advertising campaign in 1997, and it continues to build brand awareness and resonate with consumers worldwide.

In 2001, we launched MasterCard Advisors, bringing innovative consulting services to customers and others in the industry. That same year, we upgraded our state-of-the-art network, enhancing our ability to make payments safe, simple and smart. We integrated with Europay International in 2002, establishing a unified global corporate structure and also becoming a private share corporation.

By 2005, we committed ourselves to a new, customer-focused strategy that aligned our advisory and processing capabilities with our long-standing role as a franchisor. This three-tiered business model crystallized our positioning as a franchisor, processor and advisor, helping to lay the groundwork for our initial public offering in 2006 (NYSE: MA).

In 2010, we established MasterCard Labs, which serves as our incubator for new ideas, and also acquired DataCash. In 2011, we acquired the prepaid card program management operations of Travelex, now called Access Prepaid Worldwide.

Today we are innovating and growing the range of products and solutions we bring to market. As a technology company that‘s a key player in the payments industry, we‘re leveraging our technology and expertise to benefit our consumers, merchants, business partners, governments and the communities we serve. We‘re also building financial inclusion and revolutionizing the way people pay, whether by using our traditional cards, our Tap & Go™ PayPass technology or mobile devices.

With 85 percent of the world‘s transactions still made with cash and checks, there is plenty of room for us to grow and for billions of people to benefit from our innovations as we pursue a world beyond cash.

History provided courtesy of Mastercard