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There are few added anon commensurable companies than acquittal processors Visa (NYSE: V) and Mastercard (NYSE: MA). Both acquire about the aforementioned business model, are capitalizing on some of the aforementioned trends, and are advancing abounding of the aforementioned advance avenues. The big aberration is the accomplish they’re demography forth the way.

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In this adventure of Industry Focus: Financials, host Shannon Jones and Fool.com contributor Matt Frankel altercate the best contempo after-effects from the two companies and which could be the best banal to buy now.

A abounding archetype follows the video.

Shannon Jones: Welcome to Industry Focus, the appearance that dives into a altered breadth of the banal bazaar every day. It’s Monday, July 30th, and on today’s Financials show, we’re talking about one of the bigger banking industry rivalries there is. I can agreement at atomic one of these companies is acceptable to be begin in your wallet. You’ve probably estimated it by now, we’re talking Visa and MasterCard. Today, we’ll discuss their best contempo ceremony performance, what sets them afar strategically, and the assured catechism — which aggregation is the bigger buy? 

I’m your host, Shannon Jones. For our admirers who are not aware, I’ve afresh stepped in to ample the shoes of our Financials podcast host, Michael Douglass. He will be dispatch over to awning our Thursday Energy Industry Focus podcast. Be attractive out for him on Thursday. 

Today, I’m aing in the flat via Skype with banking expert, guru, all-around acceptable guy, Matt Frankel. Matt, glad to acquire you actuality today!

Matt Frankel: Always good to be here! [laughs] The hosts acquire changed, but I’m still here.

Jones: [laughs] Yes, Matt, the one key, constant agency above the Financials podcast. It’s so acceptable to acquire you, Matt! Let’s dive appropriate in. 

Visa and MasterCard. We get so abounding adviser emails about this matchup. It seems like the accessories accounting about Visa and MasterCard are some of our best popular. Before we absolutely dive into the two companies, Matt, let’s absolutely booty a footfall aback and set the date for investors who are new to this space, or alike aloof new investors in general. How do Visa and MasterCard absolutely accomplish money?

Frankel: First of all, I abandoned charge to absolutely run bottomward one business model, because both of these companies are 95% the aforementioned business. The one affair that, abnormally new investors to these companies are interested to accretion out is that these are not the companies that absolutely issue credit cards. These are what are accustomed as payment processors. 

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There are about four parties that are complex in a payments transaction. There’s the issuing coffer that absolutely loans money to the chump through their acclaim card. If you acquire a Coffer of America credit agenda in your wallet, a Capital One credit card, these are the arising banks. Then, you acquire the acquittal processor, like Visa or MasterCard. Then, you acquire the merchant. And then, finally, you acquire the merchant’s bank. It’s alleged a four-party payments system. Visa and MasterCard are just the middlemen between the arising banks that are lending the money and the merchants and the merchants’ banks that are accepting the money.

There are three capital means that Visa and MasterCard accomplish their money. Of course, it’s a little added complicated than we can get into in a about abbreviate podcast. But, the capital categories are account revenue, which are additionally accustomed as bash fees. Every time you bash your acclaim agenda at a point-of-sale terminal, Visa or MasterCard or whoever is abetment your agenda gets a baby cut of whatever that acquirement is. A continued time ago, aback I absolutely helped run a business, it was in the adjacency of 1%, a little added than 1% for Visa and MasterCard. So, they get a allotment of every transaction, which accustomed as account revenue. 

They additionally get what’s alleged abstracts processing revenue, which is a small, anchored bulk that they get for things like actually appointment the money from one abode to another, accouterment adjustment abstracts to a merchant, things like that. Then, there’s additionally what’s alleged all-embracing revenues, which are, if your acclaim agenda accuse you a adopted barter fee, or something to that effect. Any time that a acclaim agenda is acclimated alfresco of its capital area, you get a nice, additional, all-embracing acquirement stream, if it has to accord with bill exchanges or accessibility fees, those sorts of things.

Jones: Really, for companies like Visa and MasterCard, volume is breadth the money is at. The added affairs they process, the added acquirement they make. The goal, of course, is to extend their network, especially internationally, which is key. Really, the added banks and partnerships that they’re able to assurance on board, the better, as well.

With that, Matt, let’s absolutely about-face our focus over to Visa. Visa is the bigger acquittal processor in the world. They afresh appear balance for their third quarter. They’re on a hardly altered budgetary agenda than MasterCard. Matt, what can you acquaint us about how Visa fared in this aftermost quarter?

Frankel: First of all, just to accord you an abstraction of how big Visa is, Visa has about 3.3 billion cards in apportionment with its logo on it. That’s a lot of cards. That’s about one for every two bodies in the world. So, Visa is the big aggregation here. They’re both big, but about speaking. 

Visa grew its acquirement by 15% year over year, grew its balance by 40% year over year. Most of that was due to tax reform, but like I said, there was some acquirement growth, so it was appealing able on both ends. Tax reform and acquirement advance accumulated to aftermath some appealing nice accumulation growth. Their acquittal aggregate — aloof to name a brace of statistics — was up 11% year over year. The cardinal of cards, I mentioned it was 3.3 billion, that grew by 4% year over year. And it was according advance on debit agenda and acclaim card products, which was nice to see. Account acquirement was up by 13%. Abstracts processing revenues were up by 19%.

Internationally, they grew by 16%. You mentioned a little bit ago that all-embracing is a actual big advance bazaar for Visa and MasterCard. In a lot of places about the world, credit cards and agenda payments in accustomed are not like they are in the U.S., where if you go to any merchant, you can apprehend them to at atomic acquire Visa and MasterCard. In places like a lot of Asia and Central America, especially, there are a lot of places breadth Visa and MasterCard are not boundless accustomed yet. China is a big bazaar that Visa is just tiptoeing into now. So, there’s a lot of all-embracing allowance to grow. That’s a key number that we appetite to watch every quarter. 16% all-embracing advance is absolutely impressive.

Jones: Yeah, absolutely. A astounding division for Visa, as expected. Aloof activity aback to the all-embracing markets, for our admirers who appetite a little added about that. Aback you anticipate about it, the U.S. is appealing saturated aback it comes to the acquittal processors. Really, the opportunities are abroad. Especially with the advance of adaptable connectivity, you see a huge befalling for Visa and MasterCard to absolutely boss and accretion added bazaar share. 

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Typically, these all-embracing retailers, abounding of them baby businesses, aloof the outlay appropriate to acquire some of these big, big-ticket acclaim agenda processing machines was so adverse to the business, it really wasn’t alike account it. So, banknote absolutely is the ascendant anatomy of acquittal internationally — especially, as Matt mentioned, in Asian markets in particular. 

With adaptable connectivity, you have, now, abounding added consumers abroad using their adaptable phones for payment. That’s a huge befalling in itself. Some estimates are that the all-around adaptable payments aggregate will access from $75 billion this year to over $500 billion by 2020. That’s about an 88% admixture ceremony advance rate. That’s huge. Those are opportunities that Visa and MasterCard are absolutely activity after.

Frankel: Right. There are a brace of added big catalysts for Visa and MasterCard activity forward. The rise of e-commerce. E-commerce sales were up 16% in 2017 year over year. E-commerce is an breadth breadth they don’t acquire to attempt adjoin things like banknote and checks. 

Also, cash is activity abroad in mom and pop merchants all about the country, and in some all-embracing markets. Aback you anticipate about how abounding baby merchants have the little Square acquittal readers, you can’t airing through a ability bazaar in North America these canicule afterwards anybody accepting acclaim cards. The acceleration of e-commerce and the affluence with which merchants can acquire agenda payments these canicule acquire absolutely been big catalysts for these companies.

Jones: Yeah, absolutely. One added affair I will say, one key breadth that I’ll be watching in particular, is China. One affair investors should apperceive is, in China, there is Alipay and Tencent’s WeChat app. These were basically created for consumers who didn’t acquire acclaim and debit cards there. They still capital their consumers to be able to boutique on their online marketplaces, to still be able to participate in e-commerce. Basically, this abandoned the charge for the middlemen, the acceptable banking system that we acquire actuality in the U.S. I’ve apparent Visa and MasterCard admiral allocution about it a bit, and think about means to adviser that, and, alike added so, avert adjoin that. That’ll be one breadth to watch, because I anticipate it’ll be interesting.

Frankel: Yeah, definitely. China, like I said, is a appealing beginning bazaar for acclaim cards. It was only a brace of years ago breadth Visa and the others weren’t accustomed to accomplish in China. As we know, that’s the best busy breadth in the world. If you anticipate Visa and MasterCard are saturated, in agreement of how big they can get, you ability be surprised.

Jones: That’s right, there’s a huge advance befalling there. Let’s talk about Visa’s strategy. What absolutely makes Visa unique? What areas are they activity after, apart from international?

Frankel: Like I said, Visa and MasterCard are 95% the aforementioned business. Having said that, they’re emphasizing altered areas. Visa is absolutely emphasizing assurance and aegis in payments. Both of them are aggressively advance in fintech, with Visa accepting an acclimatization adjoin safety. Security, abnormally with all these abstracts breaches that acquire been activity on recently, they appetite to accomplish the case about the apple that it’s safe for bodies to accomplish agenda payments. 

They acquire the advantage of calibration at this point. They acquire a big arch alpha over MasterCard in abounding markets because they’re such a bigger company. As we’ll see in a minute, there are about 50% added Visa cards in actuality in the apple than MasterCard cards. That in itself is a big advancing advantage that gives them a leg up aback it comes to ability and things like that.

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Jones: Really, in adjustment to break competitive, you mentioned how both companies are absolutely alive with and partnering alongside with fintech companies. It’s interesting, Visa is absolutely alteration their all-embracing focus. They’re attempting to move abroad from aloof actuality accustomed as a agenda arrangement and absolutely absent to be apparent as a technology belvedere solutions company. 

One thing that they absolutely afresh formed out is something that they alarm fintech in a box. Many of these abate fintech companies that are out there, they are attempting to onboard many of these abate companies assimilate their arrangement aural about a month, which is appealing fast, and basically giving them the tools, as a developer, to calmly accommodate on to the Visa network. I anticipate that’s article that should advice them as an open-source platform moving forward.

Another thing that’s been absolutely absorbing is their Visa Direct program. Basically, they’re attempting to advance how bound funds go from, if I’m activity to pay for article at a merchant’s store, how bound those funds get from me over to that merchant’s bank, and really try to advance that absolute process. Visa Direct is addition way that they’re accomplishing that. Of course, they’re well-positioned with the advance of adaptable payments, with Apple Pay, PayPal, Samsung Pay, Android Pay, Microsoft Wallet — again, not too abundant altered from MasterCard.

They also, too, acquired Visa Europe aback in 2016. This was absolutely advised to advice advance the transition from banknote to cyberbanking payments there in Europe. So far, you’re aloof starting to see the fruits of that, but I anticipate that really opened up the aperture to absolutely accord Visa that extra advance advanced advanced of MasterCard in that regard.

Frankel: Definitely. Visa has done a abundant job of transforming itself, as you said, from aloof a payments company into a technology company. The open antecedent is great. Fintech, they’re investing actual heavily, as is MasterCard. The Visa Checkout on that you’ll see on a lot of merchants’ websites is one acceptable example. That allows a one-click checkout, to animate barter to use their Visa agenda instead of some added company’s. MasterCard has a advancing affection now, but that was one big Visa innovation a few years ago. It’s a abundant archetype of how they’re aggravating to transform themselves into added of a technology aggregation than a payments company.

Jones: Absolutely. Matt, let’s about-face apparatus and allocution about the underdog here. I about abhorrence to use that appellation aback it comes to MasterCard, but, aloof in agreement of about admeasurement and scope. MasterCard additionally aloof appear earnings. How did they book in their additional quarter?

Frankel: You mentioned that MasterCard is about 50% abate than Visa, in agreement of the cardinal of cards that abide with MasterCard logos on them. But, the added way to anticipate about that is, MasterCard has added allowance for growth. It looks like that’s absolutely what’s happening. You mentioned Visa’s numbers. Believe it or not, MasterCard’s were actually a little bit better. 

They grew acquirement by 18% year over year. Because of that accumulated with the furnishings of tax reform, their balance attempt up by added than 50% year over year, which is appealing absurd for a aggregation of that size. Acquittal aggregate was up by 14%. Aloof to recap, Visa’s was 11%. The number of cards in actuality attempt up by 5%, as adjoin to Visa’s 4%. And, they akin Visa in all-embracing advance with a 16% advance rate, which is appealing absorbing all by itself. 

MasterCard has been accomplishing a abundant job of authoritative acquisitions that add amount over the accomplished brace of years. If anything, I would alarm MasterCard the added advancing acquirer out of the two. Acquisitions are absolutely added of their action than Visa’s. MasterCard has absolutely been demography advantage of its advance opportunity when it comes to things like e-commerce and the acceleration of agenda payments worldwide, and it’s absolutely assuming in the numbers this quarter.

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Jones: Absolutely a phenomenal division for MasterCard, as well. Aloof like you mentioned, Matt, MasterCard is absolutely strategically advance in technology, and you are starting to see that pay off. But, I anticipate the advance aerodrome is much, abundant best for them. 

In particular, there were a brace of acquisitions that not abandoned expanded MasterCard above its core, but additionally added and will be acceptable its capabilities affective forward. Aftermost year, MasterCard absolutely bought out VocaLink. This was absolutely to aggrandize MasterCard above their traditional retail setup, breadth you acquire your person-to-merchant setup, and absolutely gave MasterCard an befalling to dive in to peer-to-peer and business-to-business acquittal networks. 

Also, you’ve apparent this with MasterCard integrating its arrangement with Zelle and PayPal’s Venmo. As a amount of fact, MasterCard is absolutely abaft the new Venmo customer debit card, which will basically accredit Venmo users to banknote out their balances and use those funds, either online or in stores wherever MasterCard is accepted. There are so abounding firsts that MasterCard is activity afterwards and acquire done. Masterpass, that was formed out not too continued ago, was the aboriginal network to acquire a agenda payments service across all accessories and all channels. 

You mentioned aegis and artifice for Visa. MasterCard is absolutely dispatch it up with that. They’ve been investing in several altered things, one of which was bogus intelligence. They’ll additionally be rolling out a biometric card, which will amalgamate the dent technology with fingerprint scans and alike iris scanning on a adaptable phone to verify online purchases. 

What you’re seeing is MasterCard advance heavily in technology, investing in its future, and I anticipate it looks appealing bright. I additionally agree, they are acutely aggressive when it comes to advance in the aing big wave, into how to differentiate themselves from Visa. I think, ultimately, MasterCard is absolutely set to boss that war on banknote that’s accident appropriate now.

Frankel: MasterCard, like you mentioned, is absolutely accomplishing a acceptable job with the peer-to-peer payments, abnormally Venmo. Michael would be actual appreciative of me, I assuredly acclimated Venmo last ceremony for the aboriginal time.

Jones: [laughs] Congratulations!

Frankel: Right after he leaves the show. [laughs] He always gave me a adamantine time about that, because he would accompany it up in every discussion. But, MasterCard is accomplishing a abundant job of amalgam technologies into technologies like that, and altogether accomplishing a absolutely acceptable job of abacus amount to their artefact that differentiates them from Visa. 

Another accretion I was activity to acknowledgment is one alleged APT, Applied Predictive Technologies, that they acquired in 2015. That adds analytic capabilities to their articles that really differentiated them. That’s the key chat here, differentiation. They appetite to differentiate themselves from Visa, and they’re doing it through all of these value-adding acquisitions and advance heavily into the newest banking technology.

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Jones: Absolutely. Matt, we’ve talked about Visa, we’ve talked about MasterCard, the million-dollar catechism actuality — which one do you think, appropriate now, is a bigger buy?

Frankel: At first glance, both of these attending affectionate of expensive. For me, they’re almost the aforementioned business, so it comes bottomward to a catechism of appraisal and growth. Both stocks are up by over 700% over the accomplished decade, just to accord you an abstraction of how absurd this advance adventure has been. Visa has been up over 40% over the accomplished year alone, MasterCard about 60%. They barter at appealing aerial amount to balance multiples. Both are appropriate about 39X as we’re speaking. 

But, accustomed MasterCard is growing a little bit faster, I think, in my opinion, they’re accomplishing a little bit bigger job of advance in new technology. I would acquire to go with MasterCard. 

By the way, those amount to balance multiples, don’t let them alarm you. If e-commerce keeps growing like this for addition few years, if the acceleration of card payments common keeps growing as predicted, those multiples could assume actual cheap. But, for now, I would acquire to go with MasterCard, out of the two.

Jones: It’s adamantine to bet adjoin Visa, who’s been the ascendant bazaar baton for so long. Really, I don’t anticipate you can go amiss with advance in both in this regard. The war on banknote is absolutely still in its aboriginal innings right now. You’re activity to see advance abide to aces up for both of them. I accede with you, Matt. I think, from the technology perspective, MasterCard, to me, is the bigger abiding advance opportunity. But, just like Buffett said at his best contempo Berkshire Hathaway meeting — he’s a Visa shareholder, but he said, “Looking back, I could acquire bought MasterCard as well, and I absolutely should have.” 

That is absolutely the activity about here, too, at The Fool. Aback you ask analysts, it’s adamantine for them to accept one or the other, because they’re such great, alarming companies. I absolutely don’t anticipate you could go amiss with either.

Frankel: I’d go with MasterCard, but it’s absolutely boxy to over-emphasize how aing it is. If MasterCard was a 10, I’d alarm Visa a 9.9, in agreement of attractiveness. It’s really, absolutely close. But, like I said, MasterCard, I like how they’re growing, I like that they’re absorption on the technology aspect of it and all-embracing markets. But you won’t go amiss with either one of them. Don’t advertise Visa to buy MasterCard or annihilation like that.

Jones: You heard it actuality first, Fools! Both are great, MasterCard absolutely accomplishing its fair allotment to aing that gap amid it and Visa. 

Really, that’s it for this week’s Financials show. Don’t forget, this month, The Motley Fool angry 25. That’s right, it’s The Fool’s 25th anniversary. To celebrate, aggregate in the podcast swag abundance is 25% off amid now and the end of the month. You just acquire a few added canicule to snag some absolutely abundant deals on your podcast swag.

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As always, bodies on the affairs may acquire absorption in the stocks they allocution about, and The Motley Fool may acquire academic recommendations for or against, so don’t buy or advertise stocks based alone on what you hear. This show is produced by Austin Morgan. For Matt Frankel, I’m Shannon Jones. Thanks for alert and Fool on!

Teresa Kersten is an agent of LinkedIn and is a affiliate of The Motley Fool’s lath of directors. LinkedIn is endemic by Microsoft. Matthew Frankel owns shares of AAPL, BAC, BRK-B, and SQ. Shannon Jones has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends AAPL, Mastercard, PYPL, and SQ. The Motley Fool owns shares of Visa and has the afterward options: continued January 2020 $150 calls on AAPL and abbreviate January 2020 $155 calls on AAPL. The Motley Fool recommends BRK-B. The Motley Fool has a acknowledgment policy.

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