To anyone familiar only with the United States credit card market, Europe is a whole new world.

While the common brand names are there - MasterCard, Visa, American Express, even Plus and Cirrus - Europe has a very different market structure. Or more like 40 different structures, one for each country, ranging from the U.S.-like credit card culture of Britain to emerging markets in Eastern Europe that are just developing clearing systems.

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.