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Best Mastercard credit cards for June 2024

Updated May 23, 2024

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The best Mastercard credit cards offer generous rewards, long zero-interest introductory periods and tempting sign-up bonuses. Bankrate experts have picked the top contenders in a number of categories. Here are the top Mastercard credit cards available from our partners.

Best for getting more value from small purchases

Bankrate score

Rating: 4 stars out of 5
4.0
Info
Recommended credit score: 670 - 850
Info
Apply now Lock
on Citi's secure site

Intro offer

Info

20,000 points

$200 value
Info

Rewards rate

Info

1X - 5X

Annual fee

$0

Regular APR

18.74% - 28.74% (Variable)

Best flat-rate cash back card

Bankrate score

Rating: 4.2 stars out of 5
4.2
Info
Recommended credit score: 670 - 850
Info
Apply now Lock
on Citi's secure site

Intro offer

Info

$200 cash back

Rewards rate

Info

1% - 5%

Annual fee

$0

Regular APR

19.24% - 29.24% (Variable)

Best for building credit

Bankrate score

Rating: 4.2 stars out of 5
4.2
Info
No Credit History
Info
Apply now Lock
on Capital One's secure site

Regular APR

29.99% (Variable)

Annual fee

$0

Best for average credit

Bankrate score

Rating: 4 stars out of 5
4.0
Info
No Credit History
Info
Apply now Lock
on Capital One's secure site

Regular APR

29.99% (Variable)

Annual fee

$39

Best for college students

Bankrate score

Rating: 4.6 stars out of 5
4.6
Info
No Credit History
Info
Apply now Lock
on Capital One's secure site

Intro offer

Info

$50

Rewards Rate

Info

1% - 8%

Annual fee

$0

Regular APR

19.99% - 29.99% (Variable)

Compare Bankrate’s top Mastercard credit cards

Card Name Best For Bankrate Review Score

Getting more value from small purchases

4.0 / 5

Info
(Read card review)
Apply now Lock
on Citi's secure site

Flat-rate cash back card

4.2 / 5

Info
(Read card review)
Apply now Lock
on Citi's secure site

Building credit

4.2 / 5

Info
(Read card review)
Apply now Lock
on Capital One's secure site

Average credit

4.0 / 5

Info
(Read card review)
Apply now Lock
on Capital One's secure site

College students

4.6 / 5

Info
(Read card review)
Apply now Lock
on Capital One's secure site

What is a Mastercard credit card?

A Mastercard credit card is any card on the Mastercard payment network. Payment networks, like Mastercard, partner with issuers to provide credit card options to people. These issuers are financial institutions, including financial giants like Chase, Citi and Capital One, as well as community banks and credit unions.

Mastercard credit cards may include Mastercard-specific credit card benefits, but whether you have access to them depends on the issuer. In fact, the issuer — not the payment network — determines most of the features consumers look for in credit cards, including credit limits, rates and fees, rewards and other perks. 

Mastercard credit card pros and cons

Mastercard credit cards have a solid collection of perks, though they may not be for everyone. 

Pros

  • Checkmark

    Special benefits: By qualifying for a Standard/Platinum World or World Elite Mastercard credit card, you can access extra travel benefits and protections (depending on issuer).

  • Checkmark

    Great card variety: With choices that earn on dining, gas, entertainment and supermarket purchases, there’s no shortage of ways to earn rewards with Mastercard.

  • Checkmark

    High acceptance: Mastercard is one of the most connected payment networks in the world. If you carry a Mastercard, you can feel confident that you won’t run into issues using your card while traveling the globe.

Cons

  • Rewards limitations: Some of Mastercard’s options have less-than-ideal caps on how much you can earn in certain rewards categories. Also, some cards earn rewards you can’t transfer to travel partners.

  • Lack of travel options: While there are ways to earn travel rewards with a Mastercard, you can find more rewarding, flexible and travel-focused cards that belong to other payment networks.

  • Confusing benefit tiers: Understanding your benefits can be difficult because there are different tiers of elite status and issuers determine which perks are included.

Mastercard World and World Elite benefits

One of Mastercard’s major features is its broad acceptance — more so than American Express and Discover credit cards. Along with Visa, Mastercard is one of the most widely accepted credit card networks worldwide. According to its most recent Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filing, Mastercard processes transactions in more than 180 markets and 150 currencies. 

Additionally, Mastercard credit card benefits come in two tiers: Mastercard World and Mastercard World Elite. Which of the two tiers you receive on a card depends on the issuer as well as your creditworthiness.

Mastercard World benefits include:

  • The Priceless Cities travel experience program, an offer unique to Mastercard
  • Identity theft protection
  • Room upgrades, if available
  • Vacation packages
  • Airport concierge service — something not provided at the equivalent Visa levels

World Elite includes all World benefits, plus:

  • Trip cancellation insurance
  • 24-hour concierge
  • Exclusive Mastercard discounts on a variety of airlines, travel expenses, entertainment brands and more

Additional Mastercard features

On top of the World Mastercard benefits, the network offers a few other notable features.  

  • SecureCode: A private code for your Mastercard account that can help keep your account secure when you make online purchases.
  • True Name™ Cards: To take a stand for inclusion and the LGBTQIA+ community, Mastercard worked with other financial institutions to introduce True Name cards in 2020. These cards allow applicants to choose their desired name without proof of a legal name change.
  • Masterpass: Mastercard's digital wallet, Masterpass, stores your card information and address online, facilitating safe online, in-app and in-person shopping. Like in-store purchases, Masterpass purchases are also protected by Zero Liability for any unauthorized purchases.

Expert advice for Mastercard

Several members of the Bankrate editorial staff are familiar with a wide range of credit cards and how each payment network compares. One of our experts, Re’Dreyona Walker, shares this perspective on Mastercard: 

“What sets Mastercard apart is its impressive range of benefits. Many Mastercard credit cards offer enticing rewards programs, enhanced security features and valuable perks, such as extended warranties, price protection and travel insurance — providing immense value for cardholders.

It also boasts a widespread network with acceptance at millions of merchants worldwide. Whether you're shopping online, traveling abroad or simply making everyday purchases, the chances of encountering a merchant that accepts Mastercard are extremely high, making it a convenient and reliable choice for cardholders.

Additionally, Mastercard's commitment to innovation and technological advancements such as Mastercard Contactless and the incorporation of biometric authentication shows that the network strives to enhance transaction security and provide a seamless and secure payment experience for its users.

While Visa is certainly a well-established network, Mastercard's benefits, global acceptance and commitment to innovation give it an edge.”

— Re’Dreyona Walker, Editor, Bankrate

Tips on choosing the best Mastercard credit card

When you’re ready to choose the right credit card for you, the Mastercard logo should not be the most important factor. To find the card that best fits your finances and lifestyle, follow these steps:

  • Credit Good

    Check your score

    Your credit score is one factor that determines your eligibility for different credit cards. If you have good-to-excellent credit (FICO score of 670 and above), you’ll have an easier time qualifying for great cards with some of the best features available. 

  • Credit Card Search

    Know what type of credit card you want

    Whether you want to earn rewards, take advantage of low-interest and balance transfer offers or focus on building credit, you’ll have an easier time finding your ideal card type if you know the category that best aligns with your goals and spending habits. Consider using an online comparison tool like CardMatch. This can help match you with credit cards you may be eligible for using a soft credit pull, which won’t impact your credit score. It may also help find cards with special offers and welcome bonuses.

  • Badge

    Know the features that matter most to you

    Once you know the type of credit card you’re after, it helps to know the features that will give you the most value. For example, if you’re looking for a rewards card, you’ll want to determine what kind of card rewards you want or what perks would increase the card’s value for you. 

  • Credit Card Apr

    Look at the rates and fees

    On top of an APR, your card may have other common credit card fees, such as an annual fee, balance transfer fee, foreign transaction fee and late payment fee. Keep these in mind before you apply for a credit card. If you think you risk incurring one of these fees, you should factor that fee into your card comparisons.

Based on your specific goals and preferred network features, a Mastercard credit card may be well worth it. Apart from its Standard, World, and World Elite tiers, you have the opportunity to earn competitive rewards, have $0 annual fees and even pay away debt with an introductory APR offer, depending on the card you choose.

How we assess the best Mastercard credit cards

Document
250+
cards rated
Congrats
50+
rewards programs valued
Search
5000
data points analyzed
Credit Card Reviews
40+
perks evaluated

When evaluating the best Mastercard credit cards, we take into account several factors, including how cards score in our proprietary card rating system and whether they offer features that fit the priorities of a diverse group of cardholders, from earning rewards to scoring a large sign-up bonus to saving on interest. 

We analyzed the most popular Mastercard credit cards and selected standouts that may appeal to people across a range of interests and credit levels. We scored each card based on the factors most relevant to its primary category, including its rewards rate, estimated annual earnings, intro APR period, ongoing APR, perks and more. 

Here are some of the key factors that we considered:  

Frequently asked questions about Mastercard credit cards


Have more questions for our credit cards editors? Feel free to send us an email, find us on Facebook, or Tweet us @Bankrate.

For Capital One products listed on this page, some of the above benefits are provided by Visa® or Mastercard® and may vary by product. See the respective Guide to Benefits for details, as terms and exclusions apply