Have you ever thought of how all the payments made with your credit card work? How and why do your banks pay for your purchases? Credit card networks are what make all these things possible by working behind the scenes. Before having a credit card, you notice a lot of things, such as rewards/miles offered by the card, the bank that is issuing the card, fees and charges, and many more. What most people barely notice is the credit card network, but it is an important thing that you must pay attention to.

Different Credit Card Networks in India

What Are Credit Card Networks?

Credit Card Networks is a system that acts as a bridge between the banks or financial institutions that issue credit cards and the merchants or shops that accept your credit card. Networks don’t issue credit cards except for American Express, but they offer various additional benefits to their products that are provided to customers by the card issuers. Some of the major credit card networks in India are Visa, Mastercard, American Express, RuPay, and Diners Club. Each of these networks offers a range of benefits and rewards.

Difference Between Credit Card Issuers & Credit Card Networks

Credit Card Issuers Credit Card Networks
Institutions like banks and credit unions that supply credit cards to consumers. Card networks create virtual payment systems and charge merchants interchange fees for processing credit or debit card transactions.
Credit card issuers decide the amount of credit that they will provide to a cardholder. Card networks determine where credit cards are accepted and where they are not.
Their responsibility is to provide you with funds that don’t exceed your credit limit. Card networks have formed partnerships with various industries, such as travel, dining, and others.
They are responsible for answering the questions and resolving the doubts of their customers, and hence, providing customer support. Credit card networks are not at all responsible for the customer service provided to the cardholders.
They issue physical credit cards. They don’t issue credit cards but offer benefits on them.

Different Credit Card Networks


Visa is one of the most valuable financial services companies in the world. It is the top global card payment network, facilitating electronic fund transfers through Visa-branded products worldwide. Although Visa does not issue credit or debit cards on its own, it provides Visa-branded payment products to financial institutions, who use them to offer a range of products and services to customers.

Credit cards are available in seven different variants: Visa Classic, Visa Gold, Visa Platinum, Visa Signature, and Visa Infinite.


Mastercard, originally known as Interbank, is a multinational financial services company whose principal business is processing payments between card-issuing banks and customers who use Mastercard-branded products. It is the second most dominant card payment network, following Visa. Mastercard offers various types of cards.

Credit Cards with the variants: Standard Mastercard, Platinum Mastercard, World Mastercard, and World Elite Mastercard.

American Express

American Express is a unique card payment network that also acts as a card issuer, unlike Visa and Mastercard. In addition to issuing its own credit, prepaid, and gift cards, American Express also offers payment solutions to other banks, including ICICI Bank. American Express also provides its customers with exciting benefits, such as airport lounge access, with its products. Following are the types of cards issued by American Express:

Credit Cards—American Express issues a total of 6 retail credit cards, including the American Express Platinum Credit Card and the American Express Gold Card.

Diners Club

Diners Club International is a payment network and financial services firm owned by Discover Financial Services. It is credited with being the first company to introduce credit cards to the world and is known for providing exclusive benefits, such as rewards and unlimited lounge access, to its credit cardholders. In India, Diners Club has partnered with HDFC Bank.

Here are some of the popular cards issued on the Diners Club network in India-

  • HDFC Diners Club Black Metal Credit Card
  • HDFC Bank Harley Davidson Diners Club Credit Card
  • HDFC Bank H.O.G Diners Club Credit Card


RuPay is an Indian multinational financial services system that facilitates electronic payments for all Indian financial institutions and banks. It functions as a card payment network similar to Visa and Mastercard but does not issue cards itself. Instead, it offers its services through partnering with various banks and financial institutions to provide products to customers. RuPay-branded products also come with several benefits across some categories, including shopping, travel, etc. RuPay offers the following types of cards:

Credit Cards – RuPay offers credit cards with 3 variants: Classic, Platinum, and Select.

Also Read – Best RuPay Credit Cards for UPI Payments

Bottom Line

Although most people pay less attention to credit card networks when they apply for a credit card, understanding the card network, their acceptance, and the benefits provided by them can be beneficial for you when deciding to have a new credit card. The benefits like lounge access, foreign transaction conversion rate, and acceptance differ among card networks. Also, it is really important to know the difference between a card issuer & a card network in order to choose the right credit card.

Discover the Diverse World of Credit Card Networks and Choose the Best One for You.

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