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- The Discover it® Cash Back and Discover it® Balance Transfer are both no-annual-fee cash back cards that feature rotating bonus categories.
- The Discover it® Balance Transfer offers a slightly longer intro APR balance transfer offer, but the Discover it® Cash Back features a much longer intro APR on new purchases.
- The right option for you will most likely depend on the type of intro APR offer you are looking for.
Choosing between the Discover it® Cash Back and Discover it® Balance Transfer can be tough. Both cards feature the exact same rewards rates and sign-up bonus, so the main difference lies in their introductory APR periods.
To help you decide, here’s a closer look at their main features, how much each card could potentially earn you and more.
|Features||Discover it® Cash Back||Discover it® Balance Transfer|
|Introductory APR||0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months||0% intro APR for 6 months on purchases and 18 months on balance transfers|
|Variable APR||17.24% to 28.24%||17.24% to 28.24%|
Discover it® Cash Back vs. Discover it® Balance Transfer highlights
With the exact same rewards structures and Discover’s fantastic Cashback Match™ welcome offer, the Discover it® Cash Back and Discover it® Balance Transfer could have a fierce fight for a place in your wallet. Here’s a breakdown of the two cards:
Sign-up bonus winner: Tie
Both the Discover it® Cash Back and Discover it® Balance Transfer benefit from Discover’s Cashback Match offer. This means Discover will match all the cash back you earn at the end of your first year with no limit. You don’t even have to worry about activating or requesting the match at the end of the year. Discover will add it to your account automatically.
Rewards rate winner: Tie
Both cards feature the same ongoing rewards rate. Each quarter, you’ll be able to activate rotating bonus categories that earn you 5 percent cash back up to the quarterly maximum of $1,500 on purchases after you activate, then 1 percent.
For Q4, Discover’s 2023 cash back calendar includes Amazon.com and Target purchases. If you forget to activate or make purchases outside the rotating categories, you’ll earn 1 percent back on every purchase with no limit.
Annual fee winner: Tie
Even though both cards offer a decent rewards structure and reasonable APR offer transfers, there’s no annual fee. You can rack up rewards while saving money with no worries about an annual fee.
Balance transfer fee winner: Discover it® Balance Transfer
Both credit cards come with a 3 percent intro balance transfer fee, which heightens to 5 percent on future transfers (see terms). The Discover it® Balance Transfer could be a better choice for its longer introductory APR period for balance transfers.
Intro APR period winner: Discover it® Cash Back
If you’re looking for a card that will give you plenty of time to pay off a large purchase without paying interest, the Discover it® Cash Back will work better. You’ll have a 15-month 0-percent intro APR after you open your card (then a 17.24 percent to 28.24 percent variable APR) — a timeframe that blows away the six-month period on purchases offered by the Discover it® Balance Transfer Card.
Which card earns the most?
The Discover it® Cash Back and Discover it® Balance Transfer both earn exceptional rewards for no-annual-fee credit cards. You can’t lose with either card because they have the exact same rewards rates and welcome bonuses. Using either card exclusively for at least the first full year will guarantee that you earn a big cash back bonus after your first year of card ownership.
Discover it® Cash Back vs. Discover it® Balance Transfer
Let’s say you use your credit card for $1,500 in purchases each quarter. If you completely forget to activate the bonus category each quarter, you’ll earn 1 percent cash back on every purchase automatically. This sends you home with $60 in cash back, annually.
However, you’ll boost your rewards significantly if you activate and maximize your rotating bonus categories each quarter. Using the same $1,500 quarterly spend (or $6,000 yearly), you’ll earn $300 in cash back annually from your 5 percent rotating bonus category spending (up to $1,500 on purchases per quarter, then 1 percent). Plus, with Discover’s first-year Cashback Match welcome offer, those earnings would be essentially doubled to $600 in cash back.
Why you should get the Discover it® Cash Back
The Discover it® Cash Back is a great choice if you want a low-cost rewards card with the option to earn big rewards on everyday spending. With no annual fee and an introductory APR on both purchases and balance transfers, your cost to carry this card may be next to nothing, giving you ample time to rack up cash back rewards (as long as you’re willing to activate the bonus categories every quarter).
In terms of Discover it® Cash Back benefits, you can freeze your account from either the mobile app or website. Discover will also monitor your credit and provide credit score updates at no charge. If you ever have a problem or question with your account, you can chat with Discover’s U.S.-based customer support team.
You can redeem your cash back rewards as statement credits or an electronic deposit into a bank account. Or you can use them to make purchases at select merchants, donate to an eligible charity or redeem for gift cards (gift cards range from $5 to $200, in increments of $5).
Recommended credit score
The Discover it® Cash Back requires a good to excellent credit score to qualify (between 670 and 850).
Why you should get the Discover it® Balance Transfer
If you’re trying to knock out your credit card debt from a different high-interest credit card, the Discover it® Balance Transfer can help you achieve that with its introductory APR on balance transfers. This is a fairly long intro APR period for balance transfers, meaning you’ll have plenty of time to pay your balance in full before you start accruing any interest.
Just like the Discover it® Cash Back, Discover it Balance Transfer benefits include the ability to freeze your account from the mobile app or website and have access to free credit monitoring, FICO credit reports and Discover’s U.S.-based customer support team.
You can redeem your rewards for gift cards, statement credits, merchandise, an electronic deposit to a bank account or donate to select charities.
Recommended credit score
You’ll need either a good or excellent credit score (between 670 and 850) to qualify.
The bottom line
There is no clear-cut winner between the Discover it® Balance Transfer and Discover it® Cash Back. Instead, the better choice for you will depend on how you plan to use your card.
If you want to pay off your existing credit card debt with a balance transfer, the Discover it® Balance Transfer is likely to suit you best. But if you need to make a big purchase and pay it off over time, the Discover it® Cash Back may be a better choice.