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Does Discover Have Foreign Transaction Fees?

Last Updated: March 9, 2023
3 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 doesn’t charge any foreign transaction fees.

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

You can use your Discover Card in many countries throughout the world with no foreign transaction fees.

But there’s more to using credit cards abroad in order 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?

Your Discover Card is accepted at over 60 million locations globally, allowing you to use your card when traveling internationally.

Did you know?

You 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. Try using your card even if you don’t see the acceptance marks. Cardmembers traveling internationally should bring their Discover it® Miles Card, or obtain a Discover Card if they don’t already have one.

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 on a foreign transaction. Foreign transaction fees may apply when you use your credit card at merchants in other countries, or when you shop online from a seller outside the U.S. Confirm whether the cards you’ll take abroad assess such a fee—not all credit cards do.

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 the cash advance APR and fee will apply to these transactions.

Ask for a PIN

Most credit cards do have PIN numbers. 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.

Earn rewards on foreign transactions

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

Discover chip cards and contactless 101

Your card has evolved over time to make it more international travel ready. 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,1 and your card may also have contactless tap-to-pay capabilities. The chips, which you can see on the front of the card, offer more security when used at chip-enabled terminals. This means travelers with just magnetic strips may run into roadblocks when making a purchase.

Most chip readers can read magnetic strip cards, though travelers might have issues with self-serve points of sale, such as those at train stations, parking meters and gas stations. Those often require a PIN, one of those four-digit numbers you may have with a debit card attached to a bank account.

Discover Card monitoring during international travel

Finally, you can continue to monitor your Discover Card account from overseas using the customer website or 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 favorite card outside the United States without incurring pesky foreign transaction fees.

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