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Can you use a Discover card for international travel?

Summary

Discover card holders can use their card at more than 44 million merchants in more than 190 countries and territories, and Discover’s international acceptance continues to grow.

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Discover issues some of the most popular cash back credit cards in the U.S., but may not be at the top of your mind when you think of international travel. You may be surprised to learn that, though the Discover network doesn’t have the vast international reach of Mastercard or Visa, your Discover card can be a good travel companion.

Discover card holders can use their card at more than 44 million merchants in more than 190 countries and territories, and Discover’s international acceptance continues to grow. Furthermore, Discover has good perks for travelers, including generous cash back rewards, 0% intro APR offers, no annual fees and – especially useful for traveling outside the U.S. – no foreign transaction fees.

Read on to learn more about where Discover cards are accepted internationally, plus some tips for using a Discover card for international travel.

The best Discover card for international travel

Discover it® Miles

Discover it® Miles

Why apply?

Thanks to the Discover it Miles card’s industry-leading rewards rate for the first 12 months, you can stack up a lot of miles with the card in your first year with very little effort.

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Key features:

  • 1.5x miles on every purchase
  • Matches the miles that you earn at the end of the first year
  • Unlimited miles, with no expiration or blackout dates
  • Redeem miles for cash back at a value of 1 cent per mile
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $0 annual fee

Where is Discover card accepted?

Before you embark on your trip, you should check Discover’s online map to see if your card will be accepted where you are traveling. Discover card acceptance varies widely between countries – even those within the same continent.

Discover card in North America

Discover – of course – has the widest acceptance within its home base, the United States. However, you may have trouble using your Discover card in Canada, since acceptance is more limited there.

CountryAcceptance rate
United StatesHigh
CanadaModerate
GreenlandLow
MexicoModerate

Discover card in Central America

In Central America, Discover card acceptance is high in Belize, but more limited in most countries.

CountryAcceptance rate
BelizeHigh
Costa RicaModerate
El SalvadorModerate
GuatemalaModerate
HondurasModerate
NicaraguaModerate
PanamaLow

Discover card in South America

On the other hand, you’ll have an easier time using your Discover card for travel in South America. The acceptance rate is high in many countries there, including popular destinations, Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Peru.

CountryAcceptance rate
ArgentinaHigh
BrazilHigh
ChileHigh
ColumbiaModerate
EcuadorHigh
ParaguayHigh
PeruHigh
Trinidad and TobagoLow
UruguayModerate
VenezuelaLow

Discover card in Europe

Unfortunately, using your Discover card can be hit or miss in Europe. While acceptance is high in a few countries, such as Austria and Switzerland, it’s more limited in many popular destinations. France, in particular, has a low acceptance rate.

CountryAcceptance rate
AustriaHigh
BelgiumModerate
Bosnia and HerzegovinaLow
BulgariaModerate
CroatiaHigh
CyprusModerate
Czech RepublicHigh
DenmarkModerate
FinlandModerate
FranceLow
GermanyModerate
GreeceHigh
HungaryLow
IcelandModerate
IrelandModerate
ItalyModerate
MacedoniaLow
NetherlandsModerate
NorwayModerate
PolandHigh
PortugalModerate
RomaniaLow
RussiaLow
SlovakiaHigh
SloveniaModerate
SpainModerate
SwedenModerate
SwitzerlandHigh
United KingdomModerate

Discover card in Asia

While using a Discover card is likely to be difficult in most of Asia, acceptance is high in a handful of Asian countries. Discover has a partnership with UnionPay in China and JCB in Japan. These alliances have boosted acceptance rates in those two regions. Discover card is also highly accepted in Israel, India and South Korea.

CountryAcceptance rate
ArmeniaModerate
AzerbaijanLow
BangladeshLow
CambodiaLow
ChinaModerate
GeorgiaModerate
IndiaHigh
IndonesiaLow
IsraelHigh
JapanHigh
KazakhstanHigh
LaosLow
MalaysiaLow
MongoliaLow
OmanLow
PhilippinesLow
QatarModerate
RussiaLow
South KoreaHigh
TaiwanLow
ThailandModerate
TurkeyModerate
United Arab EmiratesModerate
VietnamModerate

Discover card in Africa

Acceptance is limited in most of Africa, with the exception of two North African countries: Kenya and Morocco (which also happen to be popular tourist destinations).

CountryAcceptance rate
BotswanaLow
EgyptLow
KenyaHigh
MoroccoHigh
RwandaLow
South AfricaModerate
SwazilandLow

Other countries that accept Discover

Acceptance is limited in most spots in Oceania and the Pacific. However, the Caribbean is a hot spot for using your Discover card – acceptance is high in most of the islands there.

CountryAcceptance rate
AustraliaModerate
BahamasHigh
BarbadosModerate
Dominican RepublicHigh
FijiLow
GuadeloupeLow
JamaicaHigh
New ZealandModerate
Papua New GuineaLow
Puerto RicoHigh
Saint Kitts and NevisHigh
Saint LuciaModerate
United States Virgin IslandsHigh

Tips for using your Discover card internationally

Laks Vasudevan, Discover’s vice president of card programs, strategy and marketing, offers the following tips when using Discover or any credit card:

  • Report a lost or missing credit cardIn case your Discover card is lost or stolen while traveling, you can use Discover’s Freeze it feature to lock your account in seconds by calling Discover or logging into your account. You can unfreeze your account just as quickly.
  • Make sure you’re not liable for fraudIn case someone steals your credit card information, report it right away to your credit card issuer and check your account frequently for fraudulent activity. At Discover, customers are never responsible for unauthorized credit card, debit card, online, or mobile banking transactions on their Discover card accounts.

Here are a few more tips for traveling smoothly with your Discover card:

  • Register your travel plans with Discover online, via the mobile app or over the phone (1-800 DISCOVER) to help ensure uninterrupted use of your card.
  • Look for the Discover and Diners Club International acceptance logos at merchants as an indication that you can use your Discover card. Note that there are a few exceptions to this guideline, including Japan (JCB), China (UnionPay) and India (RuPay). Check Discover’s website for a full list of their affiliated networks.
  • Make copies of the front and back of your credit card and keep them in a separate place in case your card is lost or stolen.
  • Even in countries where Discover card acceptance is high, individual vendors may not accept the card. Touristy spots like hotels, restaurants or stores are more likely to take Discover. Outside of tourist zones, you may have a hard time using your Discover card. Be sure to have either a Mastercard or Visa card (and some cash) on hand

See related: 10 credit and money tips for travel abroad, Overseas travel – Tips to use your credit card, mobile banking worry-free while abroad

Bottom line

Before departing for your international trip, it’s important to consider if your Discover card will be widely accepted in the country you will be traveling in. Although Discover is growing in popularity and is well-accepted internationally, prudent planning is still important. This advice applies to any card you choose to bring on your travels: Be sure to bring at least two credit cards and inform both credit card issuers that you will be traveling to save yourself from being caught empty-handed.

Editorial Disclaimer

The editorial content on this page is based solely on the objective assessment of our writers and is not driven by advertising dollars. It has not been provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products from our partners.

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