It’s not just the big four anymore. And they are more widely accepted than you think.
You may be surprised to find out that your local retailer or e-commerce site accepts more card brands than you, or even they think. Thanks to mergers and alliances, most retailers accept brands like JCB and Diners Club International in addition to the big four. If you are travelling to the U.S., it may be good to know that your payment card will still work here at more businesses than you think.
Visa & MasterCard are the most widespread brands. Most retailers who accept credit cards, will accept Visa & MasterCard. Although they are technically two separate associations, most payment processing companies offer merchant accounts that include both.
Contrary to popular belief, Discover is accepted nearly everywhere Visa & MasterCard are. Payment processing companies now bundle Discover with Visa & MasterCard, and have added Discover to existing merchant accounts. Gone are the days when businesses had to apply for Discover separately.
American Express is a widely accepted brand, but not as nearly as much as Visa and MasterCard. Pretty much all chains and major retailers accept American Express. The only ones that typically do not are smaller mom & pops who would rather turn away customers than pay a slightly higher fee that American Express has.
This brand is popular overseas, but is relatively unknown in the U.S. You can still get a Diners Club card in the U.S., but it is mostly marketed to the wealthy and businesses. Discover acquired the Diners Club International network, and has integrated the two networks. Now, Diners Club International is accepted anywhere Discover is, and vice versa. Newer Diners Club cards issued outside the U.S. & Canada will have a Discover logo on the back. U.S. & Canadian cards will continue to have the MasterCard logo for the foreseeable future, due to an alliance with MasterCard before Discover and Diners Club merged.
Another card available in some states in the U.S., but largely unknown is JCB. A major brand in Japan and throughout Asia, JCB is accepted in the United States anywhere Discover is, thanks to an alliance.
UnionPay is China’s payment card brand, and is issued in China and in surrounding countries. Thanks to an alliance with Discover, you can use your China UnionPay card anywhere Discover is accepted.
South Korean’s largest credit card brand also made a deal with Discover, and you can use your BC Card anywhere Discover or Diners Club International are accepted. Newer BC Cards will have the Discover logo on the back.
The ever busy Discover has also made a deal with Serbia’s DinaCard, which also can be used anywhere Discover or Diners Club International are accepted. Newer DinaCards will have a Discover logo on the back.
Although technically not a credit card, it is worth mentioning that PayPal is widely accepted online, and has started to promote its use in the retail environment. Home Depot is one of the retailers that announced it will accept PayPal at the register. If their initial trials are successful, you can expect to see more retailers embrace PayPal.
Other Regional Brands & PayPal
If you have a card with a regional brand not listed above, and the merchant accepts PayPal, you may still be able to use your card online. For example, GiroPay and Direct Debit (UK) may work via PayPal online, depending on what country you are paying from.
Image Courtesy of AdamR / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
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