Is Cirrus a different company of its own, or is it a part of MasterCard? Learn about the relation between Cirrus and MasterCard, here.

Cirrus is an interbank and worldwide network of millions of ATMs (Automated Teller Machine). It was founded in 1982, almost 39 years ago, and is based in Purchase, New York. Cirrus allows people to access their bank deposit accounts at any time and place as it has an established network of ATMs around the world.

Is Cirrus owned by MasterCard?

Today, Cirrus is a subsidiary of MasterCard and functions to link various types of cards to ensure an integrated system of ATMs around the world. For example, it links MasterCard and Maestro credit, debit and prepaid cards, and even Cirrus ATM cards to ATMs around the world. Thus, today, Cirrus is a product of MasterCard. 

Was Cirrus always a part of MasterCard?

No, Cirrus was not always a subsidiary of MasterCard. It was earlier owned by 6 banks/corporations until the mid-1980s. These were the Bank of Montreal, the Norwest Corp, the Mellon Bank, the BayBanks Inc., the NBD Bancorp Inc., the First Interstate Bancorp. Back then, the name Cirrus we all know today was then known as the Cirrus system, LLC.  However, In 1987, Cirrus System was acquired by MasterCard, and ever since then, it has become a subsidiary of it. The acquisition of Cirrus by MasterCard allowed the latter to get one step ahead of its renowned competitor Visa International Inc. in terms of the number of ATMs.

* Fact: When Cirrus was put out to bidding for the first time, Cirrus did not accept the bid price that MasterCard offered as it was almost 10 million dollars lower than the rumored price of Cirrus. However, the following year, Cirrus ended up accepting MasterCard’s bid. However, the terms of transactions were never disclosed to the public. 

Learn more about the brands of MasterCard HERE.

A change in the logo?

Cirrus has gone through several changes and modifications in its logo since its inception. However, the maximum number of changes have been in the era post its acquisition. Although Maestro and MasterCards are linked to the network of Cirrus, and Cirrus itself is a part of MasterCard, we often see different logotypes for each of them.

Before the acquisition, cirrus used a logo of its own. However, post the acquisition, Cirrus changed its logo to match the logos of MasterCard. Thus, today, the Cirrus logo has been created in such a way that one can identify it as part of MasterCard. Although the logo was changed, it was only the pattern that was modified, the color continued to stay the same, i.e. Blue.

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Where and When can you use Cirrus cards?

If your card holds the Cirrus logo, you can access your deposit accounts at any ATM holding the Cirrus logo. Any transaction using Cirrus cards would require the use of a pin. 


The acquisition of Cirrus by MasterCard has allowed people to have easy financial services all across the world. The fact that MasterCard acquired one of the world’s largest networks of ATMs has allowed financial integration across a range of countries. More importantly, it took a step towards limiting the number of ATMs and networks available, to save the common man from unnecessary confusion about Finance-related affairs.

Learn more about the need of understanding Financial markets here.



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