For a world traveler, having international credit cards is not a luxury, it is a must. With the global economy, however, it is becoming increasingly simple to obtain and use international credit cards.
While there are some credit cards that are still regional, like the Eurocard, most major credit cards today can qualify as international credit cards. If a traveler goes to more technologically advanced regions like Europe or the Far East, their credit cards should be accepted just as easily as they would be in the United States or Canada.
Mastercard and Visa are certainly considered to be international credit cards. They are used nearly everywhere in the world and a card originating in the United States will be accepted just as quickly as a Mastercard or Visa offered by a bank native to the country where the visitor is making their purchase. Conversely, a Mastercard of Visa originating in a nation like France or Germany will be accepted just as easily in the United States or Canada.
The American Express card was one of the first international credit cards and remains widely accepted overseas today. American Express was able to develop a broad customer base by making sure theirs were international credit cards and making sure they had offices in major cities around the world to help card holders if they ran into problems or had their cards stolen. While Mastercard or Visa have taken up an increasingly large portion of the credit card market, the blue American Express logo can still be found in many store windows in Europe, Asia and the Middle East.
Even though they are more widely accepted globally today, using international credit cards is not without risk. In some places, the ability to simply swipe the card and sign a form is not available, meaning carbon copies with the full credit card number on them is made. This increases the possibility of the theft of the card and illegal transactions made. Other places may use their scanners to not only get credit card information, but record pin numbers as well. Users of international credit cards should always be wary when they are in unfamiliar areas.