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Regular Contributor
sengpatt
Posts: 223
Registered: ‎12-08-2012

Merchant Categories Abroad

Hi all,

 

I am planning a trip to Europe and was wondering if stores abroad use the same merchant as those in the US. I have the BofA Travel Rewards that has no FTF and earn 1.5% on everything (and an EMV chip), but even with FTF, I could potentially do better using these cards that have bonus categories:

 

BCP (6% on groceries): 6%-2.7%= 3.3%

Forward (5 pts on restaurants):  5pts-3%= ~2%

 

This of course hinges on the notion that merchants abroad do in fact correctly categorize themselves for US credit card purposes.

 

Does anyone have experience with this? Again, I'm fine putting everything on my Travel Rewards card, but it would be nice to get double the bonus on groceries, for example.

EX: 758 (10/12), TU: ???, EQ: ???

BankAmericard Travel Rewards // Citi Forward // Amex Blue Cash Preferred // Gap Visa
Valued Contributor
bs6054
Posts: 1,673
Registered: ‎11-11-2012

Re: Merchant Categories Abroad

Regardless of MCC abroad, there are other restrictions.  Amex BCP:

 

Get 6% cash back at U.S stand-alone supermarkets, 3% cash back on gasoline  at U.S. stand-alone gas stations, 3% cash back at select major department stores, and 1% cash back on other purchases

 


So the 6 and 3% are restricted to the US only.

 

I have the same question though, on Penfed which gives 3% on groceries.  I'm going to try it next month in the UK, there are no FTF so the worse is that I will get 1% back rather than 1.5% on a Cap One.   I will post when I find out.

Valued Contributor
bs6054
Posts: 1,673
Registered: ‎11-11-2012

Re: Merchant Categories Abroad

Here's a list of Visa Europe's MCC

 

http://www.visaeurope.com/plugins/app_vat/resources/mcc_list.html

 

Note a few things such as UK PETROL STATIONS but otherwise looks similar to the US list.

Valued Contributor
bs6054
Posts: 1,673
Registered: ‎11-11-2012

Re: Merchant Categories Abroad

And from a particular UK card issuer:

 

  • Supermarkets: 0.5% cashback on eligible purchases made at supermarkets which are identified by supermarket Merchant Category Codes 5411 and 5499. Supermarkets within these Merchant Category Codes include, but are not limited to; Tesco, Asda, Marks & Spencer, Waitrose, The Co-operative, Morrisons, Sainsbury's and Iceland.
  • Petrol stations: 0.5% cashback on eligible purchases (which includes petrol, diesel and LPG) made at petrol stations which are identified by petrol station Merchant Category Codes 5541 and 5542. Petrol stations within these Merchant Category Codes include, but are not limited to; BP, Shell, Esso, Sainsbury's Petrol, Asda Petrol, Tesco Petrol and Morrisons Petrol.

 

So, my card MIGHT work!

Regular Contributor
sengpatt
Posts: 223
Registered: ‎12-08-2012

Re: Merchant Categories Abroad

Good finds, bs6054!

I had overlooked the BCP being US-only, so I guess that one's out. I may still try to use my Forward, which Citi now apparently offers with an EMV chip, for restaurants and books and things. The 2% vs. 1.5% isn't huge, but it will help divert spending away from my BofA card, since its current CL isn't ideal.

Please do report back about your experiences in the UK. Luckily, I won't have to worry about codes for petrol stations and such, since I could only see myself wanting to drive in Europe if I had a death wish! Haha.
EX: 758 (10/12), TU: ???, EQ: ???

BankAmericard Travel Rewards // Citi Forward // Amex Blue Cash Preferred // Gap Visa
Regular Contributor
sengpatt
Posts: 223
Registered: ‎12-08-2012

Re: Merchant Categories Abroad

Also, this is off-topic, but a few remarks about the supermarket and petrol card:

-0.5%, eh? I am guessing 1% on everything cards are not a thing in the UK.

-The co-owned supermarket and petrol business must be a winner over there. (Although over here, too, I suppose.)

-This seems very promising!
EX: 758 (10/12), TU: ???, EQ: ???

BankAmericard Travel Rewards // Citi Forward // Amex Blue Cash Preferred // Gap Visa
Valued Contributor
bs6054
Posts: 1,673
Registered: ‎11-11-2012

Re: Merchant Categories Abroad

Lots of different credit cards, the one I posted seems to be not such a good one.  Here is my fave, just because of the mindblowing complexity of the algorithm (this is Barclays).  How do you time purchases to maximize, especially the anniversary stuff

 

Earn 2% cashback on your top five monthly purchases and 0.5% on everything else. All you need to do is use your card 15 times each month for the 2% booster to kick in (conditions apply).

Enjoy a 6% welcome bonus on your five biggest monthly purchases. You can earn up to £120 cashback on these during your first three months (conditions apply).

Each year you'll get a 4% thank you bonus on your top five purchases in the month after your card anniversary, no matter how much you spend.


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