What is the most widely accepted card internationally?
Visa and Mastercard are the most widely accepted credit cards. Visa credit cards can be used at 44 million merchant locations in more than 200 countries and territories. Mastercard credit cards are accepted at 37 million merchant locations in more than 210 countries and territories.
Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover credit cards can be used internationally, though Visa and Mastercard are the most widely accepted abroad. The best type of credit card for international use is a Visa or Mastercard credit card with no foreign transaction fees.
Of those countries, Visa is the clear winner, being the most popular credit card company in 123 countries. Surprisingly, American Express (AMEX) is the most popular in 23 countries including the UK and US. Finally, Mastercard was the most popular company in 22 countries including Canada and Australia.
Generally, Mastercard credit cards are more widely accepted internationally, while Visa cards tend to offer more benefits. But for most consumers, there is no practical difference between Visa and Mastercard. You should only worry about whether to get a Visa or Mastercard if you're torn between two offers.
According to Visa, cards issued through its payment network are accepted in 200 countries and territories around the world. Meanwhile, Mastercard reports acceptance in 210 countries and territories around the world.
It can be difficult to qualify for an American Express card with a score below 700 and some of their cards have even higher requirements. Visa cards can also be a better option for frequent travelers, since cards in the Visa network are more widely accepted abroad.
American credit cards work throughout Europe (at hotels, larger shops and restaurants, travel agencies, car-rental agencies, and so on); Visa and MasterCard are the most widely accepted. American Express is less common, and the Discover card is unknown in Europe.
Know your cards.
Debit cards from any major US bank will work in any standard European bank's ATM (ideally, use a debit card with a Visa or MasterCard logo). As for credit cards, Visa and MasterCard are universal, American Express is less common, and Discover is unknown in Europe.
Across all considered European payment figures, Visa outperforms MasterCard.
First, make sure any credit card you take to Europe is widely accepted. The Visa and Mastercard networks offer wider acceptance abroad than Discover and American Express. While you can certainly bring your Amex and Discover cards, it's best to pack a backup.
Why is Visa preferred over Mastercard?
Although Mastercard and Visa cards are accepted almost everywhere in the globe, Visa cards have a few more advantages. Even with a Visa card at the most basic level, you can access advantages like stolen or lost card reporting, urgent card replacement, emergency cash disbursement, roadside dispatch, and zero liability.
Does Costco take Mastercard? No, Costco does not accept Mastercard. Costco has an exclusive relationship and contract with Visa (previously it was American Express, but that relationship was severed in 2016). However, you can use a Mastercard or Discover credit card at Costco.com or in the Costco app.
Yes. As long as your ATM or credit card has either a Visa or PLUS logo, you can withdraw cash at ATMs that are part of the Visa or PLUS network. How do I find an ATM in the country that I'm traveling to? Visa is accepted at over 200 countries and territories around the world.
In many places in Europe, for example, stores and restaurants prefer not to accept Amex payments because of higher merchant charges. That means that, especially in cheaper stores and family businesses, your card might not be accepted.
The different fees often make or break a deal for a merchant. This is why many merchants, especially small businesses, don't accept American Express. American Express' interchange fee is just too high. Providers like Visa and Mastercard charge between 1.15% and 2.5%, while Amex charges merchants between 1.43% and 3.3%.
If you do want to wait until you arrive in Europe to get your euros, a word of caution. It's not usually a good idea to exchange currency at the airport, or even at your hotel. These places are definitely convenient, but you're likely to pay a premium for it. Commission fees can be high and exchange rates unfavorable.
Should You Use Cash or Credit When Traveling to Europe? Most international travelers will end up using a combination of cash and cards when visiting Europe. While credit cards are accepted in most situations, currency can be more convenient for public transportation and small vendors.
Many European payment terminals are equipped for “chip” cards. So if your Mastercard has a magnetic stripe but no chip, you may have trouble paying at an unmanned terminal. And you may find it harder to persuade a merchant to accept a card without a chip.
Despite some differences between European and US cards, there's little to worry about: US credit cards (Visa and MasterCard) generally work fine in Europe.
Debit cards are linked to the user's bank account and limited by how much money is in there. Credit cards provide the user with a line of credit that they can borrow against as needed and pay back later. Credit cards charge interest on the money the cardholder borrows (unless it's paid back within the grace period).
Should you buy euros before going to Europe?
Resist the urge to buy foreign currency before your trip.
Some tourists feel like they just have to have euros or British pounds in their pockets when they step off the airplane, but they pay the price in bad stateside exchange rates. Wait until you arrive to withdraw money.
Many digital-only providers, such as Starling and Revolut, offer bank accounts with debit cards that are free to use overseas, and you'll benefit from the Visa or Mastercard exchange rates while spending.
Consider carrying between $50 and $100 a day on average, but remember that cash can bring fees and thieves along with it. Payment cards often have lower fees and are far easier to carry with you while travelling.
Which is the best option: Travel Money Card vs Credit Card? While credit cards have the advantage of a larger fund limit than other options, the best option for travelling overseas is still the Travel Money Card.
“If the debit card isn't charged a processing fee, it would be a better choice.” Also, you may want to consider using a debit card rather than a credit card when making an international purchase if you have a credit card that charges foreign transaction fees.