Discover doesn’t have wide acceptance internationally, what they do have is partnerships with other payment networks. These partnerships allow you to use your card where ever these other cards are also accepted. Below are the payment networks they have partnerships with:
- China Union Pay (Mainland China)
- JCB (Japan)
- Diners Club International
Basically when you see any one of these logos below, you should be able to use your Discover card.
Tips For Using Your Card Internationally
- Call Discover to let them know where you’re travelling to and the duration of your trip. International charges will usually be automatically declined if you have not let them know in advance. Call 1-800-DISCOVER (1-800-347-2683)
- Use the credit card acceptance map to see what payment network signs you should look out for. For example, when your in mainland China you’ll want to look for the UnionPay sign.
- Download and print a wallet-sized instruction card. Discover provides basic instruction cards that let cashiers know how to process your Discover card in their native language, you can find these at the following links:
- No instruction cards are currently available for Japan or any other countries at this stage.
Why Would You Want To Use A Discover Card?
- Discover does not charge any foreign transaction fees
- It’s possible to get EMV chip cards from Discover, you just need to call and request one
- Discover cards have good earning rates (e.g Discover it Miles is 3% cash back on all purchases for the first year)
- Their partnerships have good acceptance rates, especially in China & Japan.
The biggest problem with using your Discover card internationally are language barriers, it’s extremely difficult to explain that UCB has an agreement with Discover when one of you is speaking Cantonese and the other is speaking English and neither of you understand the other.
The instruction cards help somewhat, but I’ve still found difficulties in getting this message across. It’s still worth trying, but you might be better off just using an American Express, Visa or Mastercard without any foreign transaction fees if they are accepted.