How to Use an American Express Card Overseas

Use your American Express Card at  an ATM to acquire local currency.
Use your American Express Card at an ATM to acquire local currency. (Image: Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images)

American Express is accepted at tens of thousands of locations worldwide. The credit card allows carriers a measure of protection, ensuring the carrier will only be liable for up to $50 if the card is lost or stolen while traveling. Use of the credit card overseas is similar to use in the United States, with the exception of currency conversion fees. The card may also be used to procure cash advances from banks, hotels, and ATMs.


Ask the shopkeeper, business owner or cashier whether American Express is accepted as a form of payment. If language is a barrier, show the card and point to it; the visual representation is generally understood. Do not order food, perishables or items that require alteration before determining that the credit card will be accepted.

Select the goods or services to be purchased.

Provide the American Express card to the cashier. Sign the receipt at the location provided.

Obtain a copy receipt for your records.


Insert your American Express card into the slot of the ATM.

Read the ATM monitor for an option to continue in English. If no option exists, press the cancel button, obtain local language assistance and return to the ATM.

Input your PIN number to continue.

Input the amount of local currency you wish to withdraw. The American Express card will restrict access to currency withdrawals based on any daily or weekly limits that may apply.

Remove the currency and American Express card from the ATM. Retain the receipt for your records.

Card Replacement

Determine whether the card is in your possession. If the card has been lost or stolen, the card should be reported and replaced as soon as possible.

Place a collect call to the American Express Card Replacement Unit at 1-336-393-1111. Contact the operator and ask to place a collect call.

Provide the requested personal information to confirm your identity. Follow the instructions the online operative gives you. Request the location of the nearest American Express Office, if you need card replacement more quickly than the standard seven to 10 business days.

Tips & Warnings

  • Currency conversion fees generally apply when using your American Express card. The actual fees are determined by the type of card you carry, as well as your status. Currency conversion fees are generally based on a percentage of the charge. The conversion fee will be shown on your American Express Monthly Statement not on the sales receipt.
  • When calling collect from outside the US, contact the operator and ask for a collect call.
  • Obtain a PIN number to withdraw cash from ATMs worldwide. If you do not have PIN access, contact American Express at least three weeks prior to your trip to receive a new PIN by mail.
  • Failure to remove the American Express card promptly from the ATM will result in the ATM pulling the card back into the machine as a theft-preventative measure. If the card is retained for theft purposes, you will need to acquire a replacement card, unless ATM access is granted locally.

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