Reviewing Mastercard (MA) & PayPal Holdings (PYPL)

PayPal Holdings (NASDAQ: PYPL) and Mastercard (NYSE:MA) are both large-cap computer and technology companies, but which is the better business? We will contrast the two companies based on the strength of their institutional ownership, dividends, valuation, earnings, risk, analyst recommendations and profitability.

Institutional and Insider Ownership

81.5% of PayPal Holdings shares are owned by institutional investors. Comparatively, 76.0% of Mastercard shares are owned by institutional investors. 6.0% of PayPal Holdings shares are owned by insiders. Comparatively, 0.3% of Mastercard shares are owned by insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that endowments, large money managers and hedge funds believe a stock is poised for long-term growth.


Mastercard pays an annual dividend of $0.88 per share and has a dividend yield of 0.7%. PayPal Holdings does not pay a dividend. Mastercard pays out 21.8% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. PayPal Holdings has increased its dividend for 5 consecutive years.

Analyst Ratings

This is a breakdown of recent recommendations and price targets for PayPal Holdings and Mastercard, as reported by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
PayPal Holdings 0 9 29 1 2.79
Mastercard 0 4 19 1 2.88

PayPal Holdings currently has a consensus price target of $60.21, suggesting a potential downside of 0.13%. Mastercard has a consensus price target of $128.45, suggesting a potential downside of 2.96%. Given PayPal Holdings’ higher probable upside, analysts plainly believe PayPal Holdings is more favorable than Mastercard.

Valuation and Earnings

This table compares PayPal Holdings and Mastercard’s top-line revenue, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
PayPal Holdings $11.76 billion 6.16 $2.26 billion $1.25 48.23
Mastercard $11.42 billion 12.34 $6.61 billion $4.04 32.76

Mastercard has higher revenue, but lower earnings than PayPal Holdings. Mastercard is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than PayPal Holdings, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.


This table compares PayPal Holdings and Mastercard’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
PayPal Holdings 12.82% 11.10% 4.87%
Mastercard 38.30% 74.92% 23.61%

Volatility & Risk

PayPal Holdings has a beta of 0.99, meaning that its share price is 1% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Mastercard has a beta of 1.17, meaning that its share price is 17% more volatile than the S&P 500.


Mastercard beats PayPal Holdings on 9 of the 17 factors compared between the two stocks.

PayPal Holdings Company Profile

PayPal Holdings, Inc. is a technology platform and digital payments company that enables digital and mobile payments on behalf of consumers and merchants. The Company’s combined payment solutions, including its PayPal, PayPal Credit, Braintree, Venmo, Xoom and Paydiant products, compose its Payments Platform. It operates a two-sided global technology platform that links its customers, both merchants and consumers, around the globe to facilitate the processing of payment transactions, allowing it to connect merchants and consumers. It allows its customers to use their account for both purchase and paying for goods, as well as to transfer and withdraw funds. It enables consumers to exchange funds with merchants using funding sources, which include bank account, PayPal account balance, PayPal Credit account, credit and debit card or other stored value products. It offers consumers person-to-person payment solutions through its PayPal Website and mobile application, Venmo and Xoom.

Mastercard Company Profile

MasterCard Incorporated is a technology company that connects consumers, financial institutions, merchants, governments and businesses across the world, enabling them to use electronic forms of payment. The Company operates through Payment Solutions segment. The Company allows user to make payments by creating a range of payment solutions and services using its brands, which include MasterCard, Maestro and Cirrus. The Company provides a range of products and solutions that support payment products, which customers can offer to their cardholders. The Company’s services facilitate transactions on its network among cardholders, merchants, financial institutions and governments. The Company’s products include consumer credit and charge, commercial, debit, prepaid, commercial and digital. The Company’s consumer credit and charge offers a range of programs that enables issuers to provide consumers with cards allowing users to defer payment.

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