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Does Discover Have Foreign Transaction Fees?

Last Updated: March 11, 2024
4 min read

Key points about: foreign transaction fees

  1. Some credit cards charge a foreign transaction fee on purchases made abroad or through an international merchant.

  2. Discover has no foreign transaction fee.

  3. Discover cardmembers earn cash back rewards on all eligible purchases, including foreign transactions.

Discover® charges no foreign transaction fee, so you can easily use your card throughout the world.
 
But there’s more to using credit cards abroad to reap the full benefit of all the services and ease cards offer overseas. Consider these tips for using a Discover® credit card, or any credit card, abroad.

Where can I use my Discover® Card internationally?

Discover® Card is accepted at millions of places worldwide1, allowing you to use your card when traveling internationally.

Discover Cardmembers can check our guide to international use to travel confidently knowing where your card is accepted. You should look for the Discover and Diners Club acceptance marks when making a purchase.

Find out whether you’ll pay a foreign transaction fee

Some credit cards charge a foreign transaction fee, which is a fee levied by a credit card company for a purchase in a currency other than the U.S. dollar.

Foreign transaction fees may apply when you use your credit card in other countries or shop online from a seller outside the U.S. Confirm whether the cards you’ll take abroad assess such a fee. Some credit card issuers, like Discover, have no foreign transaction fee.

Check whether there are any other international fees

Some foreign networks also assess their own fees on transactions involving foreign cards. You may want to do a little research to understand if those charges might apply on certain networks abroad.

Let your credit card issuer know you’re traveling internationally

Many creditors and financial institutions monitor your accounts for suspicious activity. Purchases from an unusual location can sometimes signal potential fraud, resulting in a fraud alert that temporarily “freezes” your ability to use your card until you can contact your credit issuer to verify the purchase.

To help avoid an inconvenient disruption, you may want to alert your credit card issuers and financial institutions of your travel plans—including layover locations and final destinations—before you depart. If you intend to use ATMs frequently during your travels, inquire about your bank’s daily limits to confirm you can access enough cash. Also, check if a cash advance interest rate and fee will apply on cash that you withdraw.

See if you're pre-approved

With no harm to your credit score2

Ask for a PIN

Most credit cards have personal identification numbers (PINs). But they may have come with your card so long ago you forgot, or maybe you never requested one. You may request one at any time, but plan ahead to ensure that the PIN arrives before your trip. Use the PIN as you travel to keep your card secure.

Earn rewards on foreign transactions

Just because you’ve left the country doesn’t mean you have to forego rewards. Many travel credit cards will let you earn rewards in the same way you would at home. Check with your credit card issuer to find out if there are any restrictions on earning rewards on purchases made abroad.

Typically, the best credit card for you allows you to earn rewards that exceed fees. An annual fee, foreign transaction fee, or balance transfer fee may diminish your rewards.

Did you know?

Travel rewards credit cards could help frequent travelers cover flights and other costs with travel rewards. With the Discover it® Miles Card, you could turn Miles into cash. Or redeem as a statement credit for your travel purchases like airfare, hotels, rideshares, gas stations, restaurants and more.3

Discover chip cards and contactless 101

Your card has adapted to international travel over time. Most merchants accept chip and tap-to-pay cards for both security and ease of use.

If you’ve replaced a credit card in the past few years, it’s likely you now have a chip card, which features EMV® technology,4 and your card may also have contactless tap-to-pay capabilities. It’s fast and easy to pay with your contactless Discover Card. The chips, which you can see on the front of the card, offer more security when used at chip-enabled terminals.

Most chip readers can read magnetic strip cards, though travelers might have to use their PIN attached to the bank account.

Discover® Card monitoring during international travel

Finally, you can continue to monitor your Discover credit card account from overseas by logging into your account online or using the mobile app.

Not only can you use your Discover Card in many countries, but it’s also an excellent choice for overseas travel. By following a few simple tips, you can still use your travel credit card outside the United States without incurring costly foreign transaction fees.

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  1. Discover Acceptance: Merchant acceptance rates vary by country. Prior to international travel, check Discover’s acceptance map. Register your travel plans to minimize purchase interruptions.
  2. There is no hard inquiry to your credit report to check if you’re pre-approved. If you’re pre-approved, and you move forward with submitting an application for the credit card, it will result in a hard inquiry which may impact your credit score. Receiving a pre-approval offer does not guarantee approval. Applicants applying without a social security number are not eligible to receive pre-approval offers. Card applicants cannot be pre-approved for the NHL Discover Card.

  3. Redeem Miles: Starting at 1 Mile, you can redeem your Miles as a credit to your account to pay for all or part of your bill, for cash as an electronic deposit to your bank account, or for a credit for Travel Purchases made on your statement within the last 180 days. Travel Purchases include airline tickets, hotel rooms, car rentals, travel agents, online travel sites, commuter transportation, restaurants and gas stations. Restaurant purchases include those made at merchants classified as full-service restaurants, cafes, cafeterias, fast-food locations, and restaurant delivery services. Gas Station purchases include those made at merchants classified as places that sell automotive gasoline that can be bought at the pump or inside the station. Gas Stations affiliated with supermarkets, supercenters, and wholesale clubs may not be eligible. Even if a travel purchase on your statement appears to fit in a Travel Purchase category, the merchant may not have a merchant category code (MCC) in a Travel Purchase category. Merchants and payment processors are assigned an MCC based on their typical products and services. Discover Card does not assign MCCs to merchants. Certain third-party payment accounts and digital wallet transactions may not be eligible for credit redemption if the technology does not provide sufficient transaction details or a qualifying MCC. See Terms and Conditions for more information.
  4. EMV® is a registered trademark in the U.S. and other countries and an unregistered trademark elsewhere. The EMV trademark is owned by EMVCo, LLC.
  • Legal Disclaimer: This site is for educational purposes and is not a substitute for professional advice. The material on this site is not intended to provide legal, investment, or financial advice and does not indicate the availability of any Discover product or service. It does not guarantee that Discover offers or endorses a product or service. For specific advice about your unique circumstances, you may wish to consult a qualified professional.