MasterCard International is using its name recognition to secure discounts for its small-business cardholders. The Purchase, N.Y.-based card association has signed on more than 40 merchants who have agreed to offer its small-business cardholders the same discounts on products and services that they extend to large corporations.

"Our research revealed that small businesses were not receiving the same cost savings and benefits as large companies when ordering goods and services on the Internet," said Steve Abrams, senior vice president of corporate payment solutions at MasterCard. Both MasterCard and Visa U.S.A. have stepped up their emphasis on small businesses and say it is one of the fastest-growing markets for new accounts. MasterCard has 4.25 million small-business cards in circulation in the United States and six million globally.

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