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Discover’s Network of Networks Strategy Makes it More Global and Much Bigger Than It Appears

Before taking off on any international trip, most of us face the biggest anxiety of paying and transacting in a foreign country. Over the last decade, banks and networks have dramatically increased their fees for overseas transactions. On the other hand, some credit cards come with perks and benefits to allow a convenient trip, while some others could stick you with a bunch of unnecessary hidden fees. Now imagine an international trip from the US to China, India and the UK, where you can make purchases through your credit cards without paying any foreign transaction fees. This could be the reality if you use your Discover card.

When Discover entered the credit card business in 1985, its current competitors were already entrenched. So it had to innovate with unique differentiators such as no annual fee, 24/7 customer service, and its Cashback Bonus program. Discover entered the credit card business in 1985, its current competitors were already entrenched. So it had to innovate with unique differentiators such as no annual fee, 24/7 customer service, and its Cashback Bonus program.

Today, Discover has millions of loyal cardmembers throughout North America, with more than 5,000 new merchants start accepting Discover each day. There are over 30 issuers of Discover cards, with 1.6M ATMs worldwide and the numbers continue to grow. The network volume for the company was $322 billion, including $116 billion of Discover card volume.

One of the major differentiators for Discover is that it is both the network provider and the issuer. On the other hand, its competitors, Visa and MasterCard are associated with hundreds of member banks around the globe that issue their own versions of these cards. Mostly, there are two fees associated with these cards:

- Issuer fee: < ...

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