Tuesday, May 27, 2008

U.S. Credit Cards Accepted Internationally

If you’re traveling internationally, you’ll invariably take a couple of credit cards. The two “usual suspects” – Visa and MasterCard are widely accepted (in our experience, Visa somewhat more so, yet one hotel in eastern Europe accepted MasterCard but not Visa). American Express is accepted much less frequently, but will usually be taken at major car-rental agencies, large hotel chains, airlines, and high-end restaurants, especially in larger cities. Discover is accepted (depending on merchant) in Canada, Mexico, most of the Caribbean and Central America, China (on the UnionPay network), and Japan (on the JCB network), but still less often than Visa or MasterCard. (Update: The Discover/JCB/China Unionpay integration is apparently not yet complete.) Discover is not accepted in Europe or anywhere else in the world. The JCB card – available to residents of some U.S. states – is becoming more widely accepted in Europe and has a large presence in Asia, especially Japan. (JCB cards can also be used in the U.S. on the Discover network. But, integration with all Discover merchants has not yet been completed.) Finally, your Diners Club card is now a MasterCard, and will be accepted anywhere MasterCard is taken. (Discover recently purchased Diners, and their card options may change in the future.)