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Problem? USAA Switches from Mastercard to Visa

Problem? USAA Switches from Mastercard to Visa

Old Oct 26, 15, 5:35 pm
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Problem? USAA Switches from Mastercard to Visa

I just learned that USAA will be eliminating Mastercard and forcing all members to switch over to Visa cards. How well received is Visa around the world vs. Mastercard? In other words: will this be a problem?? Thank you
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Old Oct 26, 15, 7:07 pm
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I've always found them to be pretty equal as regards acceptance.

M/C is reported to give the better exchange rate for most currencies.
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Old Oct 26, 15, 7:13 pm
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I have never seen a merchant take MC but not Visa. I have seen the reverse numerous times especially in Africa, but MC is catching up.
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Old Oct 26, 15, 9:34 pm
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As this Q. is far more a credit card question than about travel, please follow as the thread moves to the appropriate credit card forum. Ocn Vw 1K, Moderator, TravelBuzz.
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Old Oct 26, 15, 9:39 pm
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Originally Posted by nonstarter View Post
I have never seen a merchant take MC but not Visa.
Suburban Chicago DMV, according to a college friend of mine who grew up and got his license there.

My own hometown DMV takes only Discover.
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Old Oct 26, 15, 10:36 pm
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Originally Posted by nonstarter View Post
I have never seen a merchant take MC but not Visa. I have seen the reverse numerous times especially in Africa, but MC is catching up.
Sam's Club takes MC and AmEx but not Visa, IIRC. And Costco will soon be Visa only. Other than those, both are accepted the vast majority of the time.
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Old Oct 27, 15, 1:33 am
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As an ardent user of USAA, this is going to be...interesting.

But yeah, to answer the question, most places that take MasterCard take Visa. I have seen one ATM in Germany where they only accepted MasterCard, though.
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Old Oct 27, 15, 3:46 am
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Remember that Visa gives worse exchange rates than the other networks almost 100% of the time. Visa rates have a buy/sell spread. MasterCard rates don't. So the odds of Visa being in your favour are exceptionally low (though non-zero).
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Old Oct 27, 15, 4:17 am
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Originally Posted by AllieKat View Post
Remember that Visa gives worse exchange rates than the other networks almost 100% of the time. Visa rates have a buy/sell spread. MasterCard rates don't. So the odds of Visa being in your favour are exceptionally low (though non-zero).
A purported upcoming benefit is elimination of foreign transaction fees. USAA charges a 1% fee unless you're on active duty. It's possible this change might swing in favor of customers who aren't in active duty.

And I've had a situation where a Mastercard exchange rate was worse than Visa (although this was less than a quarter of a percent). Many people do not realize that Mastercard implements a currency conversion fee and a cross border fee, totaling around 1.1%. This charge is passed on to banks who often pass it to customers. Because they didn't implement the fee, the banks are still able to advertise their cards as no foreign transaction fee. There's a thread on this forum about it.
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Old Oct 27, 15, 6:46 am
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You are right about the Illinois DMV. Talk about a pain to find that out after you wait in line.
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Old Oct 27, 15, 9:55 am
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Problem? USAA Switches from Mastercard to Visa

I don't know what USAA is, but Visa is the most widely accepted credit card in the world.
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Old Oct 28, 15, 6:24 pm
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Originally Posted by LondonElite View Post
I don't know what USAA is, but Visa is the most widely accepted credit card in the world.
Used to be true but no longer is. MasterCard has fully caught up to Visa in terms of global acceptance numbers and actually offers a few more ATM locations.

There are more Visa cards issued then MasterCard but acceptance is equal
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Old Nov 26, 16, 12:41 am
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Received a replacement for my expiring USAA MC and was pleasantly surprised to see it was still a MC w/ 2021 exp date.

I was fully expecting it to be a Visa card based on the information provided by the USAA website.

Crossing my fingers that they won't be sending out a Visa to me any time soon, as this is the only MC I have w/o FTF.
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Old Nov 26, 16, 9:30 am
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Originally Posted by LondonElite View Post
I don't know what USAA is, but Visa is the most widely accepted credit card in the world.
Originally Posted by Redhead View Post
Used to be true but no longer is. MasterCard has fully caught up to Visa in terms of global acceptance numbers and actually offers a few more ATM locations.

There are more Visa cards issued then MasterCard but acceptance is equal
In any case, that's Visa cards issued worldwide.

But Visa cards issued in the USA are accepted less than Mastercards at some unattended kiosks in Europe, because Visa cards issued in the USA generally don't have PIN capability on a chip purchase, yet some unattended kiosks in Europe (including self-serve gas stations, parking lots, etc) require a PIN for a chip card purchase (and don't accept a non-chip card either).

So unless USAA is going to make an exception and support PIN for purchases on its Visa card, this may result in a bit of decreased acceptance in Europe.

For more on PIN vs signature on chip cards, please see:
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Old Nov 26, 16, 3:39 pm
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Originally Posted by AllieKat View Post
Remember that Visa gives worse exchange rates than the other networks almost 100% of the time. Visa rates have a buy/sell spread. MasterCard rates don't. So the odds of Visa being in your favour are exceptionally low (though non-zero).
Is there a typical percentage difference? If so, what is it? If not, then I assume there is a range, and it is impossible to tell beforehand where in the range a purchase will fall. In this case, it would be interesting to know the range.

My questions are motivated by the situation where I have a Visa and a Mastercard, and the Visa pays a greater reward than the Mastercard. What is the break-even point?

Thanks for any insight.
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