Discover it® Cash Back
You won’t earn one of those huge sign-up bonuses other cards offer, but if you’re looking for a no-frills cash-back card, the Discover it® Cash Back credit card does come with one intriguing feature: Discover automatically matches all the cash back you earn at the end of your first year.
For example: You earn $200 through your spending, get another $200 after your first anniversary. It’s that simple.
With the Discover it® Cash Back credit card, you can enroll every quarter to earn 5 percent cash back on up to $1,500 in purchases made in various categories throughout the year. You’ll earn 1 percent cash back on all other purchases.
For those who regularly buy big in a specific category, a card dedicated to earning specialized rewards might be best paired with the Discover it® Cash Back to maximize your benefits.
The rewards match is a nice perk, but you have to wait until the end of the year to receive it, and it’s only for the first year. There aren’t many additional perks or bonuses that come with this card — like travel protections, discounts at retailers or other incentives offered by some card merchants. Still, if you’re looking for a simple cash-back card that also lets you increase your earnings with rotating categories, this may be the card for you.
Watch out for the quarterly maximum though. You’ll only earn that top rate up to a $1,500 quarterly maximum in purchases, and you have to activate the bonus cash-back rewards through your online account each quarter.
Say, for example, the quarterly rotating category includes home improvement stores and wholesale clubs. Pay $1,500 for a riding lawnmower and you get $75 cash back. But all other purchases you make that quarter at the hardware store or your big-box club will earn the standard 1 percent.
Contextually speaking, a similar option with a little bit higher quarterly maximum and added redemption value is the Bank of America Cash Rewards Card. BoA allows cardholders to earn 3% cash back on their chosen category plus 2% cash back on grocery stores and wholesale clubs, for up to $2,500 in combined spending per quarter.
Bank of America Preferred Rewards members can also get a 25-75% rewards bonus on every purchase, when redeeming rewards into their Bank of America account.
Both of these Discover and BoA cards will help you see substantial returns in some of your biggest spending areas if you’re strategic with the categories.
Who should get this card
The Discover it® Cash Back card is ideal for anyone who wants an uncomplicated cash-back program, is looking to avoid annual cardholder fees or who wants to skip paying interest on their first 14 months of purchases and balance transfers.
But you’ll have to keep track of which categories offer enhanced rewards, which have to be activated each quarter. And, monitor how much you spend in those categories.
Fees and APR
- There is no annual fee on this credit card.
- You’ll pay no foreign transaction fee if you use this card overseas.
- The balance transfer fee is 3 percent of the amount transferred.
- Enjoy a 0 percent APR introductory interest rate on purchases and balance transfers for 14 months. Following the intro period, the standard APR is a variable 14.24% – 25.24% based on your creditworthiness.
- See Rates & Fees
Extras, perks and using rewards
This card comes with a generous introductory offer, which is good for anyone looking to pay off another high-interest credit card or finance a big purchase cheaply over time. The 14-month intro offer is not the best balance transfer on the market, but combined with the other benefits of this card, it makes the Discover it® Cash Back all the more attractive.
You can redeem your rewards at any time in any amount as a credit on your statement, an electronic bank deposit, for gift cards through Discover partners (in $20 increments) or use to shop on Amazon.com.
How this card compares
If you’re up for the challenge of tracking bonus rewards categories, Chase Freedom can give you some real cash-back bang for your buck. For travel junkies and road warriors, this card is ideal when paired with an eligible Chase card to reap maximum travel rewards on your spending.
There are other cards that offer better rewards, but the Chase Freedom Unlimited’s 1.5% cash-back on everything is an excellent reward coming from a no-annual-fee credit card.