Discover it® Balance Transfer

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Claire Dickey @ClaireDickey  in  Balance Transfer Advertiser Disclosure
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Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

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Best balance transfer card

Annual Fee:
$0
Purchase Intro APR:
0% for 6 months
Balance Transfer Intro APR:
0% for 18 months
Regular APR:
14.24% - 25.24% Variable
Terms and Restrictions Apply | Rates and Fees

Bankrate Rating

Commonly used for: Balance Transfer.

Score Breakdown

Bankrate Rating

Rewards
Annual Fee
Variable APR

Don’t sacrifice rewards for a low-interest APR. With the Discover it® Balance Transfer card, you’ll receive a generous rewards structure, first-year cash back matching, a long introductory low-interest rate and more.

Here are the details:

The main allure of the Discover it Balance Transfer is its 18-month 0% introductory APR on balance transfers (14.24% – 25.24% variable thereafter).

For no annual fee, you’ll earn 5% cash back on rotating bonus categories (up to $1,500 in purchases each quarter) after activation and 1% back on everything else. Discover’s third and fourth quarter bonus categories are as follows:

  • July 1 to September 30 – Restaurants and PayPal purchases
  • October 1 to December 31 – Amazon.com, Target (in-store and online), Walmart.com

In lieu of a welcome bonus, the Discover it Balance Transfer comes with Cashback Match™ — meaning Discover will automatically match all of the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year.

Is this card right for you?

As long as you have a good to excellent credit score, the Discover it Balance Transfer can help you pay off debt interest-free while earning a good amount of rewards on everyday purchases.

Make sure you’ll be able to fully pay off your debt within 18 months. For example, if you owe $3,000, that means you must be able to pay $166.67 a month to fully expend your debt without paying a dime in interest.

There’s a 3% balance transfer fee, so be prepared to pay this in addition to the debt you owe. Using the same example, if you owed $3,000, you’d be charged a $90 balance transfer fee. That fee jumps to 5% for transfers made after October 10, 2019.

Advantages
  • 0% APR on balance transfers for 18 months (14.24% - 25.24% variable thereafter)
  • Cashback Match™ feature (Discover will match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year)
  • No annual fee
  • No foreign transaction fees
Disadvantages
  • 3% intro balance transfer fee, up to 5% fee on future balance transfers (see terms)*
  • Must activate the 5% bonus category to receive 5% cash back (otherwise, 1%)
  • Rather short 0% APR on purchases for 6 months (14.24% - 25.24% variable thereafter)

How much are the rewards worth

To get the most out of this card, try and max out the 5% bonus category (up to $1,500 on purchases quarterly after activation, then 1%).

By doing so each quarter, you could earn $300 in cash back annually just from the rotating bonus categories. Say you spend an additional $300 a month in the 1% category — that’s an extra $36 in cash back for the year.

Don’t forget, Discover will match all of the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year. That brings your first-year earnings to $672.

How to use this card

To receive 5% cash back on the rotating bonus categories, you must activate online. Otherwise, you’ll earn 1% for the quarter. To activate, simply log into your Discover account.

It’s important to evaluate your spending patterns in conjunction with a card’s rotating bonus categories before applying. For example, the Discover it Balance Transfer’s fourth quarter bonus category for 2019 is Amazon.com. If you do a lot of your holiday shopping online with the retailer, this card could be a great fit.

To get the most out of the introductory balance transfer offer, make sure you’ll be able to pay off the balance within 18 months. Otherwise, go with a card that offers a longer introductory period, such as the Citi Simplicity® Card. With the Citi Simplicity, you’ll get a 0% introductory APR on balance transfers for 21 months (variable APR of 16.74% – 26.74% thereafter). Keep in mind you won’t earn rewards with the Citi Simplicity.

Other perks include no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees, meaning you can freely spend abroad without acquiring extra charges. Additionally, you’ll have access to security features like Social Security number monitoring, free alerts on your credit report and account freezing options, should you suspect any fraudulent charges.

The bottom line

The Discover it Balance Transfer is the card for you if you’re looking to dwindle your debt but don’t want to sacrifice a great rewards structure.

You’ll enjoy the 18-month long 0% introductory APR on balance transfers (then 14.24% – 25.24% variable) while still earning 5% cash back in rotating bonus categories (up to $1,500 per quarter) after activation, plus 1% back on everything else.