Where are my credit cards accepted?

Woman shopping because she knows where her credit card will be accepted?Image: Woman shopping because she knows where her credit card will be accepted?

In a Nutshell

Not all credit cards are accepted everywhere. In this guide, find out which credit cards are accepted at major stores and locations — and which ones aren’t.
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Credit cards aren’t universally accepted at every merchant, so knowing where your card is accepted before you use it can be helpful.

Why are certain credit cards accepted by some merchants but not others? When it comes down to it, much of it has to do with fees that the merchant must pay to card issuers and/or payment networks.

When a consumer uses a credit card, a merchant pays processing fees for each credit card transaction. This can take a bite out of a merchant’s bottom line. Because of the cost, small businesses may be less likely than a major retailer to pay for the expense of connecting to a network.

In other words, whether a credit card is accepted depends on the merchant and if it wants to pay the fees associated with that card.

In the past, Mastercard and Visa cards had a much higher rate of acceptance than other card networks. But recently, American Express has made huge strides in increasing the number of vendors that accept its cards.


Where are my credit cards accepted?


Warehouse stores

Facing the crowds and shopping at warehouse stores may help you save money and get everything you need in one trip. But before you go to the register with a full cart, understand which cards are accepted and which aren’t.

What credit cards are accepted at Costco stores, Sam’s Club or Walmart?

In addition to the cards listed below, sibling companies Walmart and Sam’s Club each accepts its own closed-loop card, with the added bonus that Sam’s Club also accepts the Walmart credit card. While Costco’s card acceptance is limited, it includes the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi. Here are the other cards accepted by each wholesale store.

Note: Our guide refers to physical stores unless otherwise specified.

Credit cards accepted at wholesale stores*

Payment type Costco Sam’s Club Walmart
Visa
Mastercard  
American Express  
Discover  

*In addition to store-specific credit cards

Mobile payments

Making payments and transferring money has never been easier with the rising popularity of online and mobile payments. Though it’s easy to make payments using these platforms, you want to be aware of which credit cards they accept.

What credit cards are accepted by PayPal, Square and Venmo?

Payment type PayPal Square Venmo
Visa
Mastercard
American Express
Discover
Diner’s Club    
JCB  
UnionPay    

Note: Credit card processing fees apply.

Ride-sharing platforms

In today’s sharing economy, ride-sharing platforms like Uber and Lyft have become household names. With the power of your smartphone, you can get a car to come to you within minutes to take you to your destination.

The great thing about these apps is that you sync your credit card information within the app, so there’s no need to pull out your card with each ride. But which credit cards do these platforms take?

What credit cards are accepted by Uber and Lyft?

Payment type Uber Lyft
Visa
Mastercard
American Express
Discover

Grocery stores

Grocery shopping can be a big part of your budget, so it’s important to know if your favorite stores accept your credit card. Read on to learn more about which credit cards are accepted at grocery stores and grocery delivery services.

What credit cards are accepted by Trader Joe’s, Aldi, Whole Foods, Instacart and Amazon Fresh?

Payment type Trader Joe’s Aldi Whole Foods Instacart Amazon Fresh
Visa
Mastercard
American Express
Discover
UnionPay        
Diner’s Club        
JCB        
NYCE        
STAR        

Worldwide travel

Traveling abroad can be a great way to see the world and experience a new culture. But when you’re traveling outside the U.S., the last thing you want is a credit card that’s not accepted. You want to be able to relax and enjoy yourself without the stress of looking for another payment option.

The good news is that Visa and Mastercard are generally widely accepted abroad. The bad news is that Discover cards and American Express cards aren’t as widely accepted. Also, in some places cash is still king. It’s important to note that the same rules apply abroad as in the U.S., namely that whether a card will be accepted depends on the individual merchant. Even in Canada, where most types of cards are generally accepted, some merchants still stick with cash only.


Bottom line

As a consumer, you have many different types of credit cards at your disposal. The problem is not all merchants will accept all credit cards.

Before making a big purchase or planning your next dream getaway, do some research on which credit cards are more likely to be accepted and which ones aren’t. And it might be a good idea to have a second form of payment on hand, just in case.


About the author: Melanie Lockert is a freelance writer and editor currently living in Portland, Oregon. She is passionate about education, financial literacy and empowering people to take control of their finances. Her work has been f… Read more.