There are some things money can't buy, for everything else there's MasterCard.

The current slogan for MasterCard is something that everyone recognizes. It is at the tail end of the "priceless" commercials we all know and love (or hate), and has been a great marketing success.

MasterCard started in the late 1940s when the first United States banks started giving pieces of paper that could be used like cash in local stores, leading up to 1951, when Franklin National Bank in New York introduced the first credit card. The practice of credit cards would grow as more and more stores began accepting these credit cards, and in 1966 the Interbank Card Association was formed. This group would later become MasterCard International.

Unlike the other credit cards that were issued, cards from the ICA were not tied to any certain bank; ICA was run by an association with several banks. This allowed ICA credit cards to have a greater acceptance than those from a local bank. Now one could travel and use an ICA card across the country. The ICA continued to grow with its first international partnership with Banco Nacional in Mexico in 1968. This association was followed by an alliance with Eurocard to service Europe. Partnerships were later established in other parts of the globe, first in Japan and then the rest of the world.

In 1969, the ICA changed its name to MasterCharge, and the familiar logo of two interlocking circles of red and ochre was created. In 1979, the name changed again to become MasterCard.

In 2002, the company merged with Europay International and switched from a membership-based association to a private share corporation, MasterCard Incorporated.

MasterCard became the first payment card to be issued in the PRC in 1987, and the following year the first MasterCard was issued in the Soviet Union. Acording to MasterCard's website, there are over 37 offices worldwide, and the company employs over 4,000 people. The corporate headquarters for the company is in Purchase, NY with its technology headquarters in St. Louis, Missouri. The company is organized into regional offices geographically. (Asia/Pacific; Europe; Latin America/Caribbean; north America; South America; South Asia/Middle East/Africa)

Information for this node was taken from various pages at the MasterCard website, www.mastercard.com

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