Economy & Politics

FinanceMastercard & Visa – the secret winners of the Fortune 500

Many customers have Mastercard and Visa credit cards in their wallets.imago images / ZUMA Press

Sometimes the better story is not the obvious one. Sometimes you have to search for them in long numbers and tables – for example in the Fortune 500, the legendary list of the top-selling US corporations that the magazine of the same name presents on several double-page spreads each year. The retail giant Walmart has been in first place since 2012, Amazon made it to second place in 2019, and the online retailer will surely grow again in the coming year due to the corona crisis. That is the obvious story.

A few columns further, however, is another important category: the profit margin. Anyone digging through the columns of numbers will come across an unexpected result: two global financial companies and arch-rivals – Visa and Mastercard – head this category. The two companies record around half of their sales as profit margins that the retail companies at the top can only dream of. Walmart’s return on sales is just 2.8 percent.

That is perhaps the more exciting story. And it raises the question: what makes the two credit card companies so successful?

We are looking into this question today on Finance Forward, and OMR’s new finance portal. You can register for the daily newsletter here.


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