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. It accounts for 53% of the cards in circulation.… 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 more 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 (10.1 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 335 million). American Express has the highest purchase volume, at $14,745 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 and Visa credit cards are accepted worldwide, or at least everywhere you can use a credit card. Visa and Mastercard are the two largest card networks in the world and the only ones with truly worldwide reach, though Mastercard does have a slight advantage. Mastercard credit cards are accepted in more than 210 countries and territories, while Visa credit cards are accepted in more than 200.… read full answer
The other two major card networks for U.S. credit card users are American Express and Discover. Amex credit cards can work in about 160 countries, but merchant acceptance is spotty in some. Same goes for Discover credit cards and the 185 countries they work in.
Still, it’s important to remember that while American Express and Discover issue credit cards, Visa and Mastercard do not. Rather, lots of 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.
Here are the best worldwide credit cards:
Best Card Networks: Visa and Mastercard credit cards are accepted worldwide.
Best Verification Method: Chip-and-PIN may make things easier, but even magnetic stripe cards work fine most places.
Best for Travel Rewards: Capital One Venture offers a $500 initial bonus and at least 2% back on all purchases. It is a Visa card and does not charge an annual fee.
Best for Business: Chase Ink Preferred is a Visa with no foreign fee offering a $1,000 initial bonus and up to 3% back on purchases.
Best for Students: Bank of America Travel Rewards for Students is a Visa card with no annual fee and no foreign fee that offers a $200 initial bonus and up to 3% back on purchases.
Best for International Benefits: Bank of America Premium Rewards is a Visa that doesn’t charge a foreign fee and offers a slew of international perks, including great travel insurance. It also has very good rewards.
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 network it’s on is key because it will control where the card is accepted. Then, you also need to look at foreign fees, annual fees and rewards to find the right mix for you.
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