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The global company “MasterCard Incorporated” (also referenced by its stock ticker at “NYSE: MA”) and also known as “MasterCard Worldwide” is a United States company with multinational locations. The company, which is generally known as a credit card company has expanded its services to provide financial services to its global clients.

The company’s base of operation is located in New York, (Westchester County). The wider global operations for international financial services is based in O’Fallon, Missouri, which is located just outside of St. Louis, Missouri. MasterCard is one of the most prominent international brands known throughout the world.

MasterCard Worldwide, which is the official corporate moniker now, went public in 2006 and has been a publicly traded company ever since. Prior to going public, the company was organized as a business cooperative which was owned by more than 25,000 banks and other financial institutions. All issued the MasterCard branded cards. MasterCard was originally branded and known as the “Interbank/Master Charge” and was created by several financial institutions and banks in California to compete with VISA’s predecessor, BankAmericard which was issued by Bank of America.

The first banks supporting MasterCard created the “Interbank Card Association” (“ICA”). Joined later by New York’s “Marine Midland Bank”, which is now the “HSBC Bank USA”, “Master Charge: The Interbank Card” was created. MasterCard gained entry into the European market with a joint venture with Eurocard and then the Access card from the United Kingdom.

In late 1979, “Master Charge: The Interbank Card” was rebranded simply to “MasterCard”. As the company’s international operations continued to expand, in 2006, MasterCard changed to MasterCard Worldwide. During 2010, MasterCard also expanded and developed its e-commerce services with its takeover of the British company “DataCash”. The company was one of the United Kingdom’s top payment processing as well as fraud protection and risk management service provider. MasterCard’s expansion continued when In 2012 the company announced the development and expansion of its global mobile “contactless” payment program which included financial and commercial markets throughout northern Africa and the Middle East region. The company’s expansive plans included its 2014 purchase of an Australian top rewards program management company called Pinpoint. Also during this year, MasterCard joined forces with Apple to install a new mobile wallet feature in the Apple iPhone product line which enables iPhone users the ability to use their phones as forms of payment instead of cash or carrying cards.

MasterCard recently worked with the Country of Nigeria to initiate a corporate branding of all Nigerian identification cards. Recently in late 2014, MasterCard reached an agreement with the government of Nigerian, through its “National Identity Management Commission,” to produce new Nigerian identification cards that will all bear the MasterCard corporate logo. The cards will contain the cardholder’s personal data as well as doubling as electronic payment cards. Some have found this new initiative to be suspect as a sovereign nation is being viewed by some to be subjecting itself to the control of an American company. Others are finding the new efforts promising and could be a way for a country to streamline costs as well as monitor census relevant data of its citizens.

In 2008, MasterCard, the financial institution Comerica Bank N.A., and the United States government through the Department of Treasury entered into a joint venture to introduce a Debit MasterCard designed on a direct express pay system (“prepaid debit card”). Agencies within U.S. states which have responsibilities for distributing federal disbursements use these types of debit cards to facilitate the payment of funds electronically and directly to various individuals who do not maintain standard banking or financial relationships. Comerica Bank is the designated bank for the issuance of the debit card. The card also provides its users with a number of protections similar to regular credit cardholders.

In June of 2013, the MasterCard company also announced a joint venture with British Airways which provides members of the “Executive Club Multi-Currency Cash Passport” the ability to earn extra reward points and facilitate multi-currency transfers and payments.

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