Where Is My Credit Card Accepted?
The good news is that if you live in the United States, most major merchants will accept cards belonging to the Visa, Mastercard, Discover, and American Express payment networks. There are a few exceptions, of course. If you're traveling abroad, you might find that Discover and American Express are less popular, though they can often still be used. Find details on the major payment networks below:
Visa and Mastercard
Virtually every merchant that takes credit cards accepts both Visa and Mastercard.
Visa cards are accepted in more than 200 countries and territories worldwide. If a retailer accepts credit cards, then it more than likely accepts Visa. According to the Nilson Report, a payment industry publication, there were 335 million Visa cards in circulation as of 2017.
Mastercard's presence is also nearly universal, with acceptance in 210 countries. As of 2017, there were 200 million Mastercards in circulation.
The only exceptions to Visa's almost universal acceptance may be in the case where a retailer has an exclusive deal with one payment network. Costco wholesale clubs, for example, used to only accept American Express cards, until they switched to an exclusive deal with Visa in 2016.
If you're traveling abroad, you shouldn't have any problems with cards in either of these two networks.
As of 2017, there were 51 million Discover cards in circulation. Discover is accepted in 190 countries and territories around the world. Out of the four major networks in the U.S., Discover has the third-highest acceptance rate. But Discover is not far behind Visa and Mastercard, so you shouldn't have issues at most merchants in the country.
In fact, there aren't many major retailers that don't accept Discover. You can use it at major grocery and super stores, with popular ride-sharing programs like Uber and Lyft, and on mobile payment platforms like PayPal, Square and Venmo.
If you're traveling abroad, do your research before you leave. You can check which countries accept Discover on the company's website. Discover has also partnered with other card networks, like Diners Club, China UnionPay and JCB, to expand its reach.