Discover card foreign transaction fees are very straightforward to tell you about – they don’t exist. Discover is one of relatively few credit card operators that lets you use your card overseas without charging you a specific cost for it.
However, as you’ll see in this article, that’s not the only thing you should think about when considering whether to use a Discover card abroad. Read on to know more about it, and also learn how Wise can help you to use your money abroad.
A foreign transaction fee is usually charged every single time you use your credit card in a foreign country. They’re often around the 1% to 3% mark – a number that might be small on an individual purchase, but over the course of a whole trip can easily add up.
Discover’s foreign transaction fee on its cards is 0% – and there’s no specific charge at all for using the card around the world¹. But that doesn’t mean there are no costs at all.
And there are other considerations to bear in mind too, beyond the fees.
There may be other costs associated with using your Discover card abroad, not all of which are directly charged by Discover. These include the following.
You might be able to get fee-free ATM withdrawals at certain ATMs – use Discover’s ATM finder to check. But you may end up having to pay ATM fees at some machines if you need to withdraw cash³. Fees within the extended Discover network may be lower – it’s definitely worth doing your research.
There’s another thing you always have to watch out for when using a credit card abroad. Sometimes, you’ll be asked if you want your purchase or cash withdrawal to be processed in the local currency or in USD. It can be tempting to choose USD for the sake of convenience – but don’t.
This is called Dynamic Currency Conversion. Simply put, if you choose your home currency, it’ll convert your money at a very unfavorable exchange rate. So always choose the local currency. You’d be amazed at the fees you can avoid.
And of course, there are various other fees that having a Discover card in general will involve. None of Discover’s cards charge an annual fee, but like any credit card there may be other costs, including the following. These may change, though, so do check the specifics of your own card.
- APR. Discover’s APRs vary depending on which card you choose; many have 0% APR for an initial period. Then the rate tends to be between 11.99% and 22.99%.6
- Balance Transfer Fee. This is likely to be 5% of the amount.4
- Cash Advance Fee. This will be the greater of $10 or 5% of the amount.4
- Late fee. After the first time, which is free, it’s up to $40.4
- Returned payment fee. This is up to $40.4
Discover is popular in the US, but around the world it’s a less established name. Visa and Mastercard have a much wider international reach, and American Express is more widely used too.
Before traveling internationally with your Discover card, you should take care to find out how widely used it is in the country you’re visiting, and whether it has any international partnerships.
Discover has an online tool to help you with this.: you’ll find you can use your Discover card anywhere you see certain logos, or at the ATMs of certain banks. You’ll also learn that it’s more widely accepted in some countries than in others.
For instance, in Japan, you can use it wherever you see the Discover or JCB logo – and merchant acceptance is high.2 In the UK, on the other hand, you’ll need to look out for the Discover or Diners Club logo, and merchant acceptance is described as “growing”².
So the question of whether you should plan to use your Discover card abroad depends on where you’ll be going – not just on the lack of foreign transaction fees.
Want to manage your money in different currencies? Meet Wise.
With the Wise account and debit card, you can send, receive, and pay in 50+ currencies. Your money always gets converted with the real exchange rate, and there’s just a small transparent fee when it gets converted.
With just a few clicks, you can even create a free Wise account from home. See how you can benefit:
- Send and receive international payments
- Spend in different currencies with the Wise debit card
- Receive transfers like a local in 9 currencies. You'll get a UK sort-code and account number, European IBAN, US routing number, and other local bank details
- Hold your money in 50+ currencies and convert it always with the real exchange rate
The no foreign transaction fees rule applies to all of Discover’s cards, and so does the lack of annual fee. but they offer a range of different ones. Here’s the current list:5
- Cash Back Credit Card
- Travel Credit Card
- Gash & Restaurants Credit Card
- Secured Credit Card
- Student Cash Back Credit Card
- Student Chrome Credit Card
- NHL Credit Card
- Business Credit Card
They all offer slightly different deals in terms of cashback, APR and so on, and some have particular perks geared toward their target market – the student cards give you a bonus if you achieve a GPA of 3.0 or higher, for instance.
If you’re a frequent traveler, the Travel Credit Card might look especially tempting. For every dollar you spend you get 1.5x Miles, and in your first year that number is automatically doubled. That can add up to some useful savings on your trips abroad.6
Overall, Discover can be a pretty nice solution for your travel, as there’s no foreign transaction fee when you spend money abroad.
Nonetheless, Discover’s international reach is one reason it will definitely pay to do your research before embarking on an international trip with your Discover card.
If you’re looking for a simple and cheap solution for using your money abroad, check out the free Wise account - you’ll be able to do it in 70+ countries.
- Discover Can I Use My Discover Card Abroad?
- Discover Credit Card Acceptance
- Discover ATM Finder
- Discover Pricing Schedule as of 09/30/20 (PDF download)
- Discover Apply for the best Discover credit card for you
- Discover Travel Credit Card
This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from TransferWise Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.
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