Visa and Mastercard are the most widely accepted credit card networks. Visa credit cards can be used at 44 million merchant locations in more than 200 countries and territories. Mastercard credit cards are accepted at 37 million merchant locations in more than 210 countries and territories.
Mastercard is accepted in more countries than Visa, yet roughly 7 million more merchants worldwide take Visa. Both have a claim to the title of most widely accepted credit card as a result. Visa also is the most widely used type of credit card.… read full answer
There isn’t a single credit card that’s most widely accepted, however, because there are hundreds of Mastercard and Visa credit card offers available.
Most Widely Accepted Credit Cards:
Most Widely Accepted Internationally: Mastercard (210+ countries and territories); Visa (200+).
Most Widely Accepted in the U.S.: Visa and Mastercard are both accepted at a little less than 11 million U.S. merchant locations.
Least Widely Accepted Internationally: American Express (160+ countries and territories); Discover (185+).
Least Widely Accepted in the U.S.: American Express (8.5 million locations). This includes the 1.6 million U.S. merchants American Express added in 2017.
Most Widely Used: Visa has the most credit cards in circulation (about 838 million). American Express has the highest purchase volume, at $14,480 per cardholder annually.
Best Worldwide Credit Cards: Visa or Mastercard credit cards with no foreign transaction fee.
The difference between Visa and Mastercard acceptance is slight. Either should suit your needs almost anywhere in the world. But if you plan on traveling internationally, be sure your Mastercard or Visa credit card doesn’t charge a foreign transaction fee. That will save you up to 3% on every purchase you make abroad.
Finally, it’s worth pointing out that store cards are the least widely accepted credit cards. They don’t belong to any of the four major card networks. So, they can only be used at their affiliated retailers.
Mastercard, Visa, American Express and Discover credit cards are all accepted worldwide. Visa and Mastercard are the two largest card networks in the world, both in terms of geographical spread and merchant acceptance. Mastercard credit cards are accepted in more than 210 countries and territories, while Visa credit cards are accepted in more than 200 countries. Discover credit cards are also accepted in approximately 200 countries, but merchant acceptance in those places will be spottier. Lastly, American Express cards are accepted in over 160 countries and territories.… read full answer
In addition to being card networks, American Express and Discover also issue credit cards, while Visa and Mastercard do not. Rather, many different banks and credit unions issue credit cards on the Visa or Mastercard network. That means the cards will work anywhere Visa or Mastercard does, and cardholders will receive some other network benefits, such as travel insurance. It also means you have a lot more options than you might have thought. So let's take a look at some of the top ones.
The Capital One Venture offers 75,000 miles for spending $4,000 in the first 3 months. On top of that, it earns 5 miles per $1 spent on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, and 2 miles per $1 on all other purchases. Plus, it charges a $95 annual fee. It also features a $0 foreign transaction fee. The card requires a credit score of 700, at a minimum. That means you need at least good credit or better to get approved.
The Bank of America Travel Rewards for Students is a Visa card with a $0 annual fee and a 0% foreign transaction fee. It also offers a 25,000 points for spending $1,000 in the first 90 days. Plus, you can earn 3 points per $1 spent on purchases at the Bank of America Travel Center and 1.5 points per $1 spent on all other purchases. The card accepts applications from students with limited credit (less than 3 years of credit history).
The Chase Sapphire Preferred is a Visa with a $0 foreign fee that offers a slew of international perks, including great travel insurance. It also has very good rewards, such as 60,000 bonus points for spending $4,000 in the first 3 months. Plus, you can earn 5 points per $1 spent on travel purchased through Chase, 2 points per $1 on all other travel purchases, 3 points per $1 on dining and online grocery purchases, 3 points per $1 on select streaming services, and 1 point per $1 on all other purchases. It charges an annual fee of $95. The card requires a credit score of 700, at a minimum. That means you need at least good credit or better to get approved.
The Chase Ink Preferred is a Visa with a $0 foreign fee offering 100,000 points for spending $15,000 in the first 3 months. Plus, it earns 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent per year on travel and select business expenses, and 1 point per $1 on all other purchases. The card comes with a $95 annual fee. It requires a credit score of 700, at a minimum. That means you need at least good credit or better to get approved.
At the end of the day, there are a few things that are really important to consider when shopping for the best credit card that's accepted worldwide. The card’s network is important because it will control where it is accepted. Then, you also need to look at foreign fees, annual fees and rewards to find the right mix for you. If you have bad credit, your best option will be a secured Visa or Mastercard.
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