Visa (NYSE:V) and MasterCard (NYSE:MA) are known by almost everyone, but there are five distinct reasons investors may want to buy shares today. 

While the payments landscape is subject to much change in the coming years -- the discussion surrounding mobile payments seems to get louder every day -- Visa and MasterCard sit at the heart of the payments industry. But it's important to know those firms aren't the ones whose focus is on the payment being received in stores, but instead ensuring the payment is authorized and settled across the network. As a result, they are likely to be entrenched in the payments industry for years to come.

Yet whether it's the result of the changes in the payments landscape, or the astounding growth in the stock prices of the firms -- MasterCard and Visa are up nearly 400% and 300%, respectively, over the last five years -- many have strayed from them as investments. But as shown in the presentation below, there are five reasons to love them not only as companies consumers enjoy, but investments as well.

Patrick Morris has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends MasterCard and Visa. The Motley Fool owns shares of MasterCard and Visa. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.