The History of MasterCard

In 1966, a group of California banks formed the Interbank Card Association (ICA). With the help of New York’s Marine Midland Bank, now known as HSBC, United California Bank (later known as First Interstate Bank), Crocker National Bank and Bank of California (now known as Union Bank of California) joined with the ICA to create “Master Charge: The Interbank Card”. The card was given a significant boost in 1969, when First National City Bank joined and merged its own “Everything Card” with Master Charge.

As a side note, First Interstate Bank was merged with Wells Fargo who would go on to become one of the largest banks to distribute credit cards under the Wells Fargo label.  In 1968, the ICA and Eurocard began an alliance that allowed the members of ICA access to the European market, and the Eurocard to be accepted on the ICA network in the United States.

In 1979, “Master Charge: The Interbank Card” was renamed “MasterCard”. In 1997, Mastercard took over another card brand called Access. The Access brand was retired after the acquisition.

In mid-2006, MasterCard International changed its name 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.

MasterCard teamed with Apple September 2014, to incorporate a new mobile wallet feature into Apple’s new iPhone models, enabling users to more readily use their MasterCard, and other credit cards.

Master Charge as it was formerly known was a direct competitor to Visa which was launched by Bank of America in Fresno, California about five years earlier.