Discover it® Balance Transfer

Bankrate Score
Learn about the Bankrate score

A leading balance transfer card that also boasts a ton of compelling features.

Advertiser Disclosure: This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertising partners.

The Discover it® Balance Transfer card is one of the best balance-transfer cards available. This card offers a compelling rewards program that includes a generous 5% cash back on rotating categories, 1% back on everything else, and an introductory offer whereby Discover will match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year. So, if you earned $200 in cash back from spending, Discover would give you another $200 on your first anniversary.

Review

The Discover it® Balance Transfer card can help you consolidate your monthly payments and pay off your debt faster. Discover makes the balance transfer process easy and offers an introductory 18 months 0% APR on balance transfers; then a variable APR of 13.74% – 24.74% applies, all with no annual fee. What’s more, you don’t sacrifice rewards with this card. Discover offers 5% cash back on up to $1,500 each quarter on rotating bonus categories  — such as restaurants and gas stations — if you sign-up, plus an automatic 1% cash back on everything else. As an introductory offer, Discover will match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year automatically, and there’s no limit to how much is matched.

The cards’ 0% APR on balance transfers is attractive but its 3% balance transfer fee is a slight drawback given that there are competing balance transfer cards that offer an introductory period without the balance transfer fee, although, it’s worth noting that these cards often have a shorter 0% APR period. The Discover it® Balance Transfer card also offers fewer months of 0% APR on purchases than some other Discover cards available. For instance the Discover it® Cash Back card offers 14 months 0% on purchases. That being said, the value from this card really comes from the benefits it offers customers looking for favorable balance transfer terms. If you are planning a big-ticket purchase using this card in the near future, you might want to consider the Cash Back card as an alternative.

The low introductory APR periods are very important to pay attention to with this card because, depending on your credit score, the regular APR can range from 13.74% for those with excellent credit (arguably not a bad rate) but on the opposite end of the scale, those with fair credit could find themselves paying 24.74% on an outstanding balance. If you are transferring a balance that you are confident you can clear within the initial 18 month 0% introductory offer the card still offers a ton of value.

Who should get this card

The Discover it® Balance Transfer card is perfect for anyone looking to consolidate debt and have a card with a strong and fairly uncomplicated rewards program. Given the higher-end APR rates, this card would be more suited to those with a good or excellent credit rating unless the cardholder was extremely confident they would be able to pay off a transferred balance within the 18-month 0% APR period.

The benefits of this card, coupled with the fact that it has no annual fee, make it a very competitive option. Cardholders will have to keep track of the rotating categories and make sure to sign-up though, to make the most of the generous 5% cash back offers. Also, the cards below-average introductory 0% purchase APR for just six months makes the Discover it® Balance Transfer card less than ideal for anyone planning on big-ticket purchases past that 6-month-mark.

Advantages
  • The 18-month-long 0% APR for balance transfers makes this a great card for those looking to consolidate debt.
  • Discover will match all the cash back you earn in your first year and there's no limit to how much is matched.
  • Cardholders can enroll every quarter to earn 5% cash back on various rotating categories for up to $1,500 per period.
  • The Discover it® Balance Transfer card automatically awards 1% back on all other purchases.
  • No annual fee and your rewards don't expire.
  • Free Credit Scorecard with your FICO® credit score and free social security number alerts.
  • No foreign transaction fee.
Disadvantages
  • The 3% balance transfer transaction fee.
  • Potentially high regular APR rate, depending on your credit score.
  • Only 6 months 0% introductory purchase APR.

Fees and APR

  • This card charges no annual fee.
  • Introductory balance transfer APR of 0% for 18 months.
  • Regular APR between 13.74%-24.74%.
  • Introductory purchase APR of 0% for 6 months.
  • Balance transfer fee of 3%.
  • No foreign transaction fee.

Extras, perks and using rewards

For cardholders who like to pay attention to their credit card rewards in order to maximize their returns will best benefit from the rewards structure of the Discover it® Balance Transfer card which requires users to sign-up for the quarterly 5% rotating cash back categories. This process isn’t too onerous as Discover emails cardholders each quarter notifying them to sign up.

For cardholders who aren’t as focused on the rotating cash back categories, but who still want the balance transfer benefits this card can offer, the automatic 1% cash back rate on every dollar spent is a plus. This, coupled with Discover’s introductory offer that matches your earned rewards in your first year, makes the Discover it® Balance Transfer card a compelling choice. Cardholders would be best served to pay off the balance by the due date every month in order to avoid the interest charges.

There is no fee for redeeming your rewards, you can redeem at any time and your cash back never expires.

Discover offers some great security features with this card such as Social Security number monitoring. From when you sign up Discover will monitor thousands of risky sites for your information. You can also activate free alerts on your credit report and freeze your account to prevent any fraudulent purchases.

There are no foreign transaction fees with this card. Many credit cards charge around 3% of the transaction amount for every transaction made abroad.

This card is a great fit for those looking to consolidate and pay down debt. The cards 0% balance transfer APR for 18 months offers a generous time window to tackle debt while avoiding high-cost interest rate charges.

EDITORIAL NOTE

Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines, or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.