MasterCard Canada Press Section

History & Role

MasterCard® was founded in 1966 as the Interbank Card Association (ICA) in the United States. In 1969, "Master Charge" was purchased by the California Bank Association and in 1979, the MasterCard brand was introduced. Issuers began offering MasterCard cards in Canada in 1973. MasterCard opened their Canadian office in 1993.


MasterCard's role is to:

  • Establish standards and procedures for the acceptance and settlement of member transactions on a global basis;
  • Provide a global communications network for interchange – the electronic transfer of information and funds among its members;
  • Develop marketing programs that build even greater awareness for the brand, thereby increasing business for its members; and
  • Enhance and support the marketing activities and operational functions of its members in connection with MasterCard programs and services.

MasterCard does not: issue cards; set annual fees on cards; determine annual percentage rates; solicit merchants to accept cards or set their discount rates. MasterCard member financial institutions manage the relationships with consumers and merchants.