Discover Is More Widely Accepted Than You Might Think
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
To paraphrase another issuer’s old tagline: Discover card, don’t leave the US with it. At least, that’s been the knock on Discover, even as it promotes no foreign transaction fees on cards like the Discover it® Miles. That benefit does little good if no foreign merchant will accept the card.
But the reality is that Discover is actually accepted at more 30 million foreign merchants across 190 countries and territories — outside of the US. As you pack your wallet on your next international trip, it may help to note that Discover has established network alliances across the globe, including relationships in China, Japan, Korea, India, Brazil, Turkey, Nigeria and throughout Europe. In September 2018, Discover announced yet another alliance to expand acceptance in Mexico. Discover, Diners Club International, PULSE and network affiliate cards are now accepted on Prosa’s network in Mexico at both point-of-sale and ATM locations.
That doesn’t mean Discover can be used everywhere within the countries which it has agreements, just as the issuer isn’t accepted everywhere in the US. Still, in 2015, according to some studies, Discover actually became one of the most widely accepted payment card globally. In the US, it has the third highest acceptance rate among card networks, beating out American Express.
If you do travel with the card, just be aware there are still some some gaps in coverage. The issuer has a handy tool you can use to see if the country you’re traveling to accepts Discover. The area with the least coverage is Africa, where Discover is accepted only in Botswana, Egypt, Kenya, Morocco, Rwanda and South Africa. It also has coverage gaps in the Middle East, but it is accepted in the United Arab Emirates.
Check the tool to see where Discover cards are accepted at merchants and ATMs. You typically can use your Discover card wherever you see the Discover or Diners Club International symbols displayed. Other foreign partners include Union Pay on mainland China and JCB in Japan.
You’ll, of course, want to bring at least one backup credit card with you on foreign trips — in case the shop where you found that adorable tchotchke only accepts Visa. While you’re at it, I’d pack some local currency too, just to be extra safe.
Featured image by Caiaimage/Chris Ryan / Getty Images
Set your own sign-up bonus with the Discover it Miles card. Any rewards you earn in the first year will automatically be matched at the end of the year and you'll earn an unlimited 1.5 miles on all purchases with no annual fee.
- Unlimited Bonus: Discover will match all the Miles you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically. For example, if you earn 35,000 Miles, you get 70,000 Miles. That's $700 towards travel! The more you earn, the more you get.
- Earn unlimited 1.5x Miles for every dollar spent on all purchases - with no annual fee.
- No Blackout Dates. Simply pay for travel purchases like airlines, hotels, rental cars, and more with your Discover it® Miles card.
- Miles Pay You Back. Easily redeem Miles as a statement credit for travel purchases. Or get cash.
- Freeze your account in seconds with an on/off switch either on the mobile app or website to prevent new purchases, cash advances, and balance transfers.
- Get your free Credit Scorecard with your FICO® Credit Score, number of recent inquiries and more.
- Get an alert if we find your Social Security number on any of thousands of Dark Web sites.* Activate for free.
- Rates & Fees