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Discover Card

Apologies to William Shakespeare for that headline. But it makes a dramatic point that can have your business coming up roses.

In case you aren’t aware, as a merchant who is able to accept Discover card transactions (all of our MFA members who utilize our Credit Card Processing benefit are set up to accept Discover cards), there are many international cards that can also be processed without hassle in your credit card terminal.

In the industry, it is referred to it as “running on the Discover rail.”

Discover has been growing its relationships with card issuers in other countries. They include China’s UnionPay, Japan’s JCB, Diners Club International, Korea’s BC card and Serbia’s DinaCard.

UnionPay is the major card issuer in China, with 2.4 billion credit and debit cards issued to cardholders in that country. When those cardholders travel to the United States, they are told to look for either their card logo or the Discover card logo to make sure their card is accepted at checkout.

Tourism is a fast-growing segment of the Chinese market. Another area where we see growth in card usage is at merchants who are near a college campus. More and more college students from China come to school in the U.S. Those students carry the UnionPay card and want to use it in retail locations where they shop.

Japanese Credit Bank, JCB, has 71 million cardholders worldwide, and 3.4 million of them visited the U.S. last year. In total, Japanese tourists spent $14.6 billion here.

Also, if you have a retail location in a community with automotive business ties, there may be business travelers who also are looking to use their cards in your store.

BCcard is one of the largest card issuers in South Korea. It has issued 55 million cards there. Travelers from South Korea have an average income of $85,000 and are looking for business locations that accept their cards.

These specific card issuers represent the largest credit card issuers in their respective countries, with billions of cards in use.

Easy Acceptance

You are able to accept all those cards in your store without any special merchant agreements. Since you already accept Discover, you automatically accept all of these other cards.

They all work the same way a Discover card does in your terminal: just dip, tap or swipe the card and follow the prompts on the screen.

The cost to accept one of them is about the same as accepting a Visa or MasterCard from Canada or any other foreign country.

Here’s an important tip. Make sure that your sales clerks and cashiers know which cards you accept, so that if a consumer asks, “Do you accept…?”, they can answer the question quickly and correctly.

We can help by providing stickers and decals for use in your store and on your advertising materials to let visitors know you can accommodate their payment choices.

Simply contact the MFA office at (517) 575-0110 or email us to ask for these free materials.

The international traveler is a source of increased business for you. Make sure you put out the welcome sign – in the form of card logos – that lets your guests know you are happy and able to serve them.

John Mayleben CPP is Michigan Retailers Association senior vice president, technology and product development, and a national expert on electronic payment processing. He was the first person in Michigan and among the first in the nation to receive the Certified Payments Professional designation from the Electronic Transactions Association.