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

Discover offers a helpful web page that you can use to find out if your card will be accepted in each country that you visit. This page will also tell you which logos you can look for that indicate merchant acceptance. For example, Discover is accepted in Japan where you see a JCB logo, and in India, the RuPay logo signifies a compatible ATM. And in many countries, you can use your Discover card anywhere you see the Diners Club International logo.

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 card, or any credit card, abroad:

1. Before You Go: A Checklist

2. Protection on the Ground

3. Protect yourself against theft

4. Chip Cards 101

1. Before You Go: A Checklist

While your card may work with just a swipe, there are other logistics to consider when traveling abroad with your credit card. Thankfully, a quick phone call and a few minutes of thought before hand can help ensure smooth sailing.

Confirm your credit card is suited for foreign use.

Some credit cards charge a foreign transaction fee, which is a fee levied by a credit card company on a foreign transaction. Confirm whether the cards you’ll take abroad assess such a fee — not all credit cards do. 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.

Also check that your card works where you are visiting. For example, Discover has reciprocity deals with major networks in China and Japan, according to Nerdwallet. So travelers going to those countries might do well packing their Discover card, or obtaining a Discover card if they don’t already have one.

Tell your credit card company about your travels.

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, 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.

Ask for a PIN number.

Most 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, and if you’re concerned about being stuck trying to buy train tickets in Moscow because you don’t have a PIN, it doesn’t hurt to have one, according to Tripadvisor. The number can take 7 to 10 business days to arrive in the mail, so make sure you leave enough time before you go for the letter to arrive.

2. Protection on the Ground

You’ve got your card, and confirmation you can use it overseas. Perhaps you’ve confirmed overseas charges will remain minimal. Experienced travelers recommend a few more steps to protect yourself, your money and your credit card while traveling abroad.

Know the fees involved

Would you like to pay in euro or dollars? If you think this is a simple courtesy, think again. By paying in dollars when you’re in another country, you experience what’s known as dynamic currency conversion (DCC), which is a charge you pay for the vendor to convert the purchase price for you from the local currency to dollars. The issue here is that the exchange rate used might be one set by the merchant, and worse than you might get at a bank or official currency converter. This service can add as much as 7 percent (possibly higher) to the cost of your charge as a convenience fee for displaying your home currency on the receipt.

Merchants are required to obtain the permission of cardholders before providing this service and imposing this fee. To avoid this fee, you can decline any offers to pay in your home currency.

3. Protect Yourself Against Theft

Some credit card issuers also offer travel benefits to ease the stress (and cost) of lost luggage, flight delays and cancellations, and lost wallets and passports. Research the potential travel services your credit card issuers offer to ensure you can take advantage of such benefits if the need arises.

4. Chip Cards 101

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. The chips, which you can see on the front of the card, offer more security and fraud protection than older magnetic swipe cards. While a majority of retailers in the U.S. accept these cards, not all of them do. In Europe, however, the chip technology has become ubiquitous. This means travelers with just magnetic strips may run into roadblocks when it comes time to make 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.

A good idea when traveling is to always carry cash and coins in case they’re needed, as well as a second card in case you lost one, or your preferred card isn’t accepted somewhere. If there is an attendant at a nearby ticket window, make sure the vendor accepts your credit card brand and then explain that your charge needs to be processed with a swipe.

Finally, you can continue to monitor your Discover card account from overseas using the customer website, mobile app or by calling Discover from overseas at 801-902-3100.

Not only can you use your Discover card in many countries, but also it’s an excellent choice for overseas travel. By following a few simple tips, you can still use your favorite card outside the United States. It’s always a good idea to bring multiple forms of payment when you travel.

Originally published May 1, 2017

Updated March, 18, 2020

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.