Yes, you can use your Discover card in China. In general, Discover has less international acceptance than two of the other payment networks, Visa and Mastercard. But in China, Discover states that they have “high merchant acceptance,” which is actually the same phrase they use to describe their acceptance in the United States. In fact, you should be able to use your Discover card everywhere in China except for most merchants in Hong Kong and Taiwan. Within mainland China, you can use it at any merchant that displays a Discover, Diners Club or UnionPay logo (and you can always ask if you don’t see one). UnionPay is a Chinese credit card network, and all mainland Chinese merchants who take credit cards accept UnionPay. But in Hong Kong and Taiwan, you can only use your card if you see a merchant with a Discover or Diners Club logo.
Here’s what you need to know about using a Discover card in China:
Discover cards can be used at the millions of Chinese merchants with the Discover, Diners Club or UnionPay logo.
You won’t have to pay foreign transaction fees at Chinese merchants because Discover doesn’t charge them.
You can get cash advances in China from Citibank, ICBC and Bank of China ATMs. But watch out for the cash advance fees and high interest rates.
All mainland Chinese merchants should take your card. But Discover card acceptance is low in Hong Kong and in Taiwan.
It’s easy to use your Discover card in China, compared to a lot of countries. But you still shouldn’t expect 100% acceptance. It’s always useful to have some extra cash on you, or bring a card with higher global acceptance like a Visa or Mastercard.
Surprisingly, yes. While Discover and Amex are usually super hard to use in Europe, Discover made a deal with China's credit card payment networks, so it's going to be accepted virtually everywhere. Of course, they have to accept cards in the first place.
I recently traveled in northern China in June of 2019. Jinzhou is a second tier city of 800,000 near Shenyang on the Yellow Sea. American bank credit cards are NOT accepted at all at merchants in this city, in spite of what Discover Card may advertise. Chinese natives use AliPay or other Mobile Pay systems under the control of Chinese banks.
I had to stay in a branch of an American hotel chain (Crown Plaza, Sheraton, Ramada) to use my American credit cards for payment. Americans be warned: American bank issued credit cards are essentially worthless outside of major cities in mainland China.
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