MasterCard Worldwide (NYSE: MA) 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 (later First Interstate Bank, subsequently merged into Wells Fargo Bank), Wells Fargo, Crocker National Bank (also subsequently merged into Wells Fargo), and the Bank of California (subsequently merged into the Union 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.

The name Master Charge was licensed by the above mentioned California banks from the First National Bank of Louisville, Kentucky in 1967. With the help of New York's Marine Midland Bank, now HSBC Bank USA, these banks joined with the Interbank Card Association (ICA) to create "Master Charge: The Interbank Card".

In 1979, "Master Charge: The Interbank Card" was renamed simply "MasterCard". In the early 1990s MasterCard bought the British Access (credit card) and the Access name was dropped. In 2002, MasterCard International absorbed Europay International SA, another large credit-card issuer association, which for many years issued cards under the name Eurocard.

In 2006, MasterCard International underwent another name change to MasterCard Worldwide. This was done in order to suggest a more global scale of operations. In addition, the company introduced a new corporate logo adding a third circle to the two that had been used in the past (the familiar card logo, resembling a Venn diagram, remains unchanged). A new corporate tagline was introduced at the same time: "The Heart of Commerce".

Based on an SEC filing in early 2005, MasterCard's largest current shareholders are:

1. 11.8% - JPMorgan Chase
2. 6.2% - Citigroup
3. 6.0% - Bank of America
4. 5.2% - Euro Kartensysteme
5. 5.0% - Europay France

The company, which had been organized as a cooperative of banks, had an initial public offering on 25 May 2006 at $39.00 USD. The stock is traded on the NYSE under the symbol MA.

Both MasterCard and Visa have paid approximately $3 billion in damages resulting from a class-action lawsuit filed by Hagens Berman in January 1996. The litigation cites several retail giants as plaintiffs, including Wal-Mart, Sears Roebuck & Company, and Safeway.

MasterCard's current advertising campaign follows this pattern:
“ tangible item/service: price, tangible item/service: price, tangible item/service: price, intangible item/concept: priceless.

There are some things money can't buy. For everything else, there's MasterCard. ”

This series of ads started in 1996 and there are numerous different TV, radio and print ads. It was created by McCann-Erickson. MasterCard actually registered Priceless as a trademark. Actor Billy Crudup has been the voice of the ads in the USA since 1997. In other countries the voiceover artist changes to suit the local market; in the UK, for instance, actor Jack Davenport is the voice.

This campaign attempts to position MasterCard as the credit card company with a sense of humor. They are designed to respond to the public's worry that everything is being commodified, and that people are becoming too materialistic. Many parodies have been made using this same pattern, though MasterCard has threatened legal action, contending that MasterCard views such parodies as a violation of its rights under the federal and state trademark and unfair competition laws, under the federal and state anti-dilution laws, and under the Copyright Act. Despite these claims, however, noted US consumer advocate and presidential candidate Ralph Nader emerged victorious (after a four-year battle) in the suit MasterCard brought against him after he produced his own "Priceless" political commercials.

During Super Bowl XXXIX on 6 February 2005, a MasterCard commercial was introduced featuring 10 legendary advertising characters from various foods and household products. The characters included Chef Boyardee, Charlie the Tuna, the Pillsbury Doughboy, Count Chocula, the Vlasic pickle stork, the Morton Salt girl, the Jolly Green Giant, Mr. Peanut from Planters, the Gorton's fisherman, and Mr. Clean.

MasterCard currently sponsors the New Zealand All Blacks, the country's world famous rugby union team.

MasterCard is also the sponsor of the FIFA World Cup and the UEFA Champions League.

It is currently the sponsor of the Memorial Cup Tournament of the Canadian Hockey League. MasterCard has just announced new sponsorship deal with Australian Cricket team.

In 1997, MasterCard was the main sponsor of the aborted MasterCard Lola Formula One team.

Key executives include:

* Robert Selander: President and Chief Executive Officer
* W. Roy Dunbar: President - Global Technology & Operations
* Lawrence Flanagan: Chief Marketing Officer - Global Marketing
* Gary Flood: Executive Vice President - Global Account Management
* Noah Hanft: General Counsel and Corporate Secretary
* Alan Heuer: Chief Operating Officer
* Chris McWilton: Chief Financial Officer
* Walt Macnee: President - The Americas
* Michael Michl: Executive Vice President - Central Resources
* Wendy Murdock: Chief Product Officer - Global Product Group
* Javier Perez: President - Europe
* André Sekulic: President - Asia/Pacific, Middle East & Africa
* Keith Stock: President - MasterCard Advisors
* Christopher Thom: Chief Risk Officer - Risk Management

As of December 2004, the following banks are represented on MasterCard's board of directors:

* Europay España, S.A.
* Clarima Banca
* Capital One
* Banamex (Citigroup's Mexican division)
* Citigroup
* Royal Bank of Scotland
* MBNA America (now Bank of America)
* Westpac Banking Corporation
* Southern Bank Berhad
* Bank of Montreal
* Banque Fédérative du Crédit Mutuel
* Deutscher Sparkassen-und Giroverband
* Orient Corporation
* Bank AL Habib
* Banco Mercantil
* Banesco

In January 2005, Washington Mutual Bank, the third largest issuer of debit cards in the United States, announced that it was changing its debit-card branding from VISA to MasterCard. The change will make Washington Mutual MasterCard's largest bank customer.

MasterMoney is the branding of a MasterCard debit card distributed in North America. Like many debit cards, the brand has capabilities of being used as an ATM card as well as a credit card, providing sufficient funds are in one's bank account (usually a checking account) in order to complete a transaction.

MasterCard PayPass is a new "contactless" payment feature based on the ISO 14443 standard that provides cardholders with a simpler way to pay by tapping a payment card or other payment device, such as a phone or key fob, on a point-of-sale terminal reader rather than swiping or inserting a card.

In 2003, MasterCard concluded a nine-month PayPass market trial in Orlando, Florida, with JPMorgan Chase, Citibank, and MBNA. More than 16,000 cardholders and more than 60 retailer locations participated in the market trial. In addition, MasterCard worked with Nokia, AT&T Wireless, and JPMorgan Chase to incorporate MasterCard PayPass into mobile phones using Near Field Communication technology, in Dallas, Texas.

In 2005, MasterCard began to roll out PayPass in certain markets. As of October 2006, the following financial institutions have issued the MasterCard PayPass:

1. Bank of America
2. JPMorgan Chase (available through its "blink" contactless feature)
3. Citibank (both MasterCard credit and debit cards)
4. HSBC Bank USA (debit card only)
5. Key Bank (debit card only)
6. Citizens Bank and Charter One Bank (both MasterCard credit and debit cards)
7. Commonwealth Bank (Australia)
8. Garanti Bank (Turkish, available through its Bonus Trink Card)
9. Banco de Oro Universal Bank (Philippines, available through its BDO International ATM Card)

MasterCard operates Banknet, a global telecommunications network linking all MasterCard card issuers and data processing centers into a single financial network. It is also referred to as "Global Payment System". The operations hub is located in St. Louis, Missouri. This network is equivalent to Visa's VisaNet network.

MasterCard Europe operates a Network known as EPSnet - this interfaces BankNet but is up for replacement in 2009. EPSnet is used to link Issuers and Acquirers for Online POS/ATM Transaction Processing.Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, with no Front-Cover Texts, and with no Back-Cover Texts.
Virtual Magic is a human knowledge database blog. Text Based On Information From Wikipedia, Under The GNU Free Documentation License. Copyright (c) 2007 Virtual Magic. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.1 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License".

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