I am planning a trip to Switzerland, Italy and Austria this summer. Is the Discover card as widely accepted in Europe as say Visa or American Express??
I don't think so, I wouldn't rely on using Discover - a lot of places in the US aren't even taking it anymore. In all my bookings, plane reservations, etc. for my trip, I haven't seen an option to use discover once. My friend couldn't even use Amex for one of our flights, and it's all she has so i had to book it for her.
Get a free CapitalOne Visa card, they eat all the conversion fees. You can't possibly do any better than that.
Mastercard and Visa are pretty much universally accepted in Europe. AMEX is less common, and I would certainly not rely on a Discover Card because it's not very common here.
Also, be aware that it's more common for smaller shops and cafes not to accept credit cards here because of the costs and US debit cards usually do not work for purchases because the technology is different. So always have cash on hand and a way to access cash (i.e. ATM card).
Don't even bother taking your Discover card. It's not really recognized outside of the US anywhere. As previously mentioned, apply for a Capital One Visa. I can definitely vouch that they eat Visa 1% fee AND they don't charge anythin extra. Unlike most US banks.
Before my trip to Austria, I called Discover, and they told me no, Europe will not take the Discover card.
in europe like most the world - MC and Visa are the way to go (preferably carry one each from diff banks if possible... just incase!). Other than Dinners Club - and AMEX at bigger places - stick to MC/Visa or Cash.
It looks like Discover Card is now accepted wherever Diners Club Intl is accepted (and no foreign transaction fees to boot):
You can go with Internet links or go with signs on doors, winows, and pay points. Nope.
Discover is not widely accepted and may be rejected even where Diners Club is taken (mine was, two months ago). I transfer balances to Discover while I travel (lower interest rate) so I have the MasterCard and Visa available.
The key is where ever the Diner card is accept. The Diner card is rarely accepted. Even less than American Express. Go with VISA or MasterCard.
Note that this thread was last active in April 2007. There's just the off chance that Kathryn from Joliet has completed her trip. Maybe even made as many as 6 more, and probably has her answer. Unlike other boards where general topics stay for general consumption, yet become locked, on the Rick Steves Helpline they remain unlocked yet all messages go back to the original poster in answer to their question.
Just to reinforce what everyone else is saying. - A Visa or Mastercard are equally acceptable now (once Visa was preferred). You can use them at any large business, nice hotel or restaraunt, for tickets and rental cars. The only small exception is some automatic machines in Europe require a chip and pin Visa or Mastercard that isn't commonly available to Americans. - American Express is getting better but still isn't broadly accepted. If I had to guess, I'd guess about half the places that accept cards will accept an American Express (it may be more though). I take an American Express now, only because my card offers a great CDW option on car rentals - so it's only used for that. - Discover and Diners Club are much less likely to be accepted. I wouldn't recommend carrying either with you. The only exception here is to use it the way my mother does. She offers to buy lunch for the group; when the bill comes she asks if they take Diners Club then has to beg off paying when they don't. I'm convinced it's her way to not pay for lunch (but she swears it isn't). LOL.