The Name on the World's Most Accepted Card
MasterCard® is one of the world's most widely-known and trusted brands. In fact around the globe, no other card is more accepted. We are also responsible for the MasterCard/Cirrus ATM network, the world's largest.
Australian Head Office
100 Arthur Street
New South Wales 2060
Telephone: +612 9466 3700
2000 Purchase Street
Purchase, NY 10577 U.S.A.
Telephone: 914 249 2000
The Origins of MasterCard
MasterCard began in the late 1940s when several U.S. banks started giving their customers specially-issued paper that could be used like cash in local stores. In 1951, The Franklin National Bank in New York formalised the practice by introducing the first real credit card in 1951.
Over the next decade, several franchises evolved where a single bank in each major city would accept cards as payment with certain merchants they'd chosen to work with. On August 16, 1966, one of these groups formed the Interbank Card Association (ICA), which later became MasterCard Worldwide. Unlike other similar organisations, ICA was not dominated by a single bank. Member committees were established to run the association. They established rules for authorisation, clearing and settlement. They also handled marketing, security and legal aspects of running the organisation.
In 1968, ICA began what is now a huge global network by forming an association with Banco Nacional in Mexico. Later that year, they formed an alliance in Europe with Eurocard. The first Japanese members also joined that year.
Many countries followed closely behind the early international members and by the late 1970s, ICA had members from as far a field as Africa and Japan. To reflect the commitment to international growth, ICA changed its name to MasterCard. In the 1980s, there was further expansion into Asia and Latin America. In 1987, MasterCard became the first payment card to be issued in the People's Republic of China. By 1993, China was the second largest country in sales volume for MasterCard. In 1988, the first MasterCard was issued in the Soviet Union.
Today, there are more than 30 MasterCard offices around the world, including a strong presence in Asia Pacific, with offices in Sydney, Singapore, Seoul, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Jakarta, Manila and Beijing. MasterCard also has an impressive history of introducing breakthrough developments.