When you talk about Visa or MasterCard, you’re probably referring to your credit card. But Visa and MasterCard are actually payment networks or financial processing systems. These competing organizations handle trillions of dollars of credit and debit card transactions around the world, serving as the intermediary between you, the merchant who accepts your card, the merchant’s bank, and the bank that issued your card. Most merchants that accept one of these cards generally accepts the other, so from a pur- chasing perspective there’s little difference between them. Most banks also offer both cards. But some banks have stronger relationships with one or the other, and tend to offer more perks if you sign up for the one they favor. Most banks also offer debit cards with a Visa or MasterCard logo. You can use these cards at point-of-sale locations and also in place of credit cards in restaurants and retail stores. That differentiates them from bank ATM cards. If your credit card bill
 invites you to skip a
month’s payment
without penalty, the
lender isn’t doing you
a favor. If you take the 
offer, you probably won’t
owe a late fee, but you will owe finance charges on your unpaid balance. And any purchases you   Read more…