MasterCard Incorporated (NYSE: MA) or MasterCard Worldwide is an American multinational financial services corporation headquartered in the MasterCard International Global Headquarters, Purchase, New York, United States, in Westchester County. The Global Operations Headquarters is located in O'Fallo... read moren, Missouri, United States, a suburb of Saint Louis, Missouri. Throughout the world, its principal business is to process payments between the banks of merchants and the card issuing banks or credit unions of the purchasers who use the "MasterCard" brand debit and credit cards to make purchases. MasterCard Worldwide has been a publicly traded company since 2006. Prior to its initial public offering, MasterCard Worldwide was a cooperative owned by the 25,000+ financial institutions that issue its branded cards.
MasterCard, originally known as Interbank/Master Charge, was created by several California banks as a competitor to the BankAmericard issued by Bank of America, which later became the Visa credit card issued by Visa Inc.. From 1966 to 1979, MasterCard was called "Interbank" and "Master Charge".