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MasterCard Credit Card Company

MasterCard Incorporated is a membership organization owned by the 25,000 financial institutions that issue its card. MasterCard is also the company's brand of credit cards.

It was originally created by United California Bank, Wells Fargo, Crocker Bank and the Bank of California as a competitor to the BankAmericard issued by Bank of America. BankAmericard is now the VISA credit card, issued by Visa International.

Master Charge: The Interbank Card Becomes MasterCard
The name Master Charge was licensed by these California banks from the First National Bank of Louisville, Kentucky in 1967. These banks joined with the Interbank Card Association (ICA) to create "Master Charge: The Interbank Card".

In 1980, "Master Charge: The Interbank Card" was renamed "MasterCard".

MasterCard Mergers and Other Ventures
In the late 1990s, MasterCard merged with Access, in the United Kingdom and Ireland, and EuroCard, in Continental Europe, and quickly removed the old names from cards, ATMs and in-store validators.

MasterCard also owns the Cirrus ATM (cash machine) network, plus the Maestro debit card network as well as the Master Money debit card in the United States, which competes against Visa International's more successful check card.

In early 2005, it was released that Citigroup owns six percent of MasterCard.

Signia is MasterCard's reply to the American Express "Centerion" or black credit card - it caters exclusively to their customers who spend the most each year.

MasterCard Credit Card Controversy
In 2005 tickets went on sale for the Football World Cup 2006. Having been the primary sponsor for a number of years MasterCard secured a deal which gave them the exclusive rights to credit card sales of tickets. This effectively shut out people without this brand of credit card, with the only option being a £30 bank transfer.

Also, Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder had planned to only allow season ticket holders to renew their seats for the 2005 season by only using the Washington Redskins Extra Points MasterCard, cash or check. However, at the request of MasterCard International, the Redskins backed off on this plan, and are now allowing the use of any kind of MasterCard to be used. No other card brand can be used.

MasterCard is not alone in the use of these exclusive deals, their competitors VISA have a similar deal with the International Olympic Committee through 2012.

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.

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