Best overall cash back card

Apply now
On Discover's secure site
See Rates & Fees, Terms Apply
Rewards rate
  • 5% Earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like Amazon.com, grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations and when you pay using PayPal, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate.
  • 1% Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – automatically.
Intro offer
Cashback Match™ 
Annual fee
$0
Regular APR
11.99% - 22.99% Variable
Recommended credit
Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

Best for balance transfers

Apply now
On Discover's secure site
See Rates & Fees, Terms Apply
Rewards rate
  • 5% Earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like Amazon.com, grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations and when you pay using PayPal, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate.
  • 1% Earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - automatically.
Intro offer
Cashback Match™ 
Annual fee
$0
Regular APR
11.99% - 22.99% Variable
Recommended credit
Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

Best overall student card

Apply now
On Discover's secure site
See Rates & Fees, Terms Apply
Rewards rate
  • 5% Earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like Amazon.com, grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations and when you pay using PayPal, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate.
  • 1% Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - automatically.
Intro offer
Cashback Match™ 
Annual fee
$0
Regular APR
12.99% - 21.99% Variable
Recommended credit
No Credit History 

Best travel card

Apply now
On Discover's secure site
See Rates & Fees, Terms Apply
Rewards rate
  • 1.5X Automatically earn unlimited 1.5x Miles on every dollar of every purchase - with no annual fee.
Intro offer
Discover Match® 
Annual fee
$0
Regular APR
11.99% - 22.99% Variable
Recommended credit
Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

Best for gas station purchases

Apply now
On Discover's secure site
See Rates & Fees, Terms Apply
Rewards rate
  • 2% Earn cash back on your next road trip with 2% cash back at Gas Stations and Restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter.
  • 1% Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - automatically.
Intro offer
Cashback Match™ 
Annual fee
$0
Regular APR
11.99% - 22.99% Variable
Recommended credit
Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

Best for gas, dining & large purchases

Apply now
On Discover's secure site
See Rates & Fees, Terms Apply
Rewards rate
  • 2% Earn 2% cash back at Gas Stations and Restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter.
  • 1% Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - automatically.
Intro offer
Cashback Match™ 
Annual fee
$0
Regular APR
12.99% - 21.99% Variable
Recommended credit
No Credit History 

Best for building credit

Apply now
On Discover's secure site
See Rates & Fees, Terms Apply
Rewards rate
  • 2% Earn 2% cash back at Gas Stations and Restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter.
  • 1% Earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – automatically.
Intro offer
Cashback Match™ 
Annual fee
$0
Regular APR
22.99% Variable
Recommended credit
No Credit History 

Bankrate’s picks for best Discover credit cards

Card Name Best For Cash Back Highlights Bankrate Review Score
Discover it Cash Back Best overall cash back card 5% cash back on rotating categories each quarter when you activate (up to $1,500 in combined purchases, then 1%) with 1% on all other purchases 4.2 / 5
(Read full card review)
Discover it Balance Transfer Best for balance transfers 5% cash back on rotating categories each quarter when you activate (up to $1,500 in combined quarterly purchases, then 1%) with 1% on all other purchases 4.2 / 5
(Read full card review)
Discover it Student Cash Back Best overall student card 5% cash back on rotating categories each quarter when you activate (up to $1,500 in combined purchases, then 1%) with 1% on all other purchases 4.1 / 5
(Read full card review)
Discover it Miles Best Discover travel card Unlimited 1.5X miles for every $1 spent 3.8 / 5
(Read full card review)
Discover it chrome Best for gas purchases 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants (up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter, then 1%) with 1% on all other purchases 3.9 / 5
(Read full card review)
Discover it Student chrome Students building credit 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants (up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter, then 1%) with 1% on all other purchases 4.1 / 5
(Read full card review)
Discover it Secured Credit Card Best Discover card for building credit 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants (up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter, then 1%) with 1% on all other purchases 4.0 / 5
(Read full card review)

Guide to Discover credit cards

Discover Financial Services operates one of the largest digital banks in the United States, Discover Bank, and a global payment network. In addition to credit cards, Discover offers customers products within Discover Bank while emphasizing value, customer service and security without annual fees on any card.

Discover consistently ranks among the top national issuers for credit card customer service. Discover finished a close second to American Express in the J.D. Power 2021 U.S. Credit Card Satisfaction Study, earning 837 out of 1,000 points.

Get to know Discover credit cards, and the Discover company itself, with help from Bankrate.

What is a Discover credit card?

Discover Financial Services designs and issues credit cards under its name. It offers a variety of credit cards that give customers a revolving amount of credit to spend on almost anything. Just like other credit cards, Discover credit cards have credit limits, interest and APRs, rewards rates and benefits.

Customers can apply for credit cards through Discover and have set credit limits and credit card interest rate based on the applicant’s credit score. In general, you need fair to good credit to snag one of the best Discover credit cards, but its secured credit card is available for people with no to low credit.

Discover credit card features and benefits

Discover cardholders can enjoy the following features and benefits:

Limited fees

  • No annual fee
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • No overlimit fee
  • No penalty APR and no fee on your first late payment (up to $40 after)

Rewards

  • Cash Back Match in the first year
  • Rotating quarterly bonus categories
  • 5 percent back on up to $1,500 in purchases and then 1 percent after when activated for Discover it Cash Back, Student Cash Back and Balance Transfer cards
  • 2 percent back on up to $1,000 each quarter (then 1 percent) on gas and restaurants with the Discover it chrome, Student chrome and Secured Credit cards
  • 1.5X miles on all purchases with the Discover it Miles

Security

  • $0 fraud liability for unauthorized purchases
  • 24/7 account monitoring
  • Free credit activity and Social Security Number fraud alerts
  • Discover Freeze it® account lock
  • Free overnight card delivery by request if lost or stolen

Customer service

  • U.S.-based customer service
  • Free FICO® Credit Scorecard
  • Year-end spending summary
  • Recurring charges dashboard

How to redeem Discover cash back

You can redeem your cash back rewards for:

  • A statement credit
  • A bank account direct deposit
  • Direct payment at Amazon.com and PayPal checkouts
  • A physical or digital Partner Gift Card with 5 percent to 20 percent added value to each gift card (depending on merchant). Partner Gift Cards range from $5 to $200 in increments of $5.
  • A charitable donation

You can use any Discover Miles you earn with the Discover it Miles card to cover travel purchases or Amazon.com and PayPal purchases at the checkout screen. In addition, you can convert miles at a 1:1 rate for cash back as bank account direct deposit. Discover has also announced that your miles can now be used to cover your credit card bill, including the minimum payment.

Discover rewards don’t expire for the life of your account. Unlike a few issuers, Discover will credit your account with your cash back or miles balance rather than forfeit your rewards if your account is closed or unused for 18 months.

Discover card drawbacks

Lower merchant acceptance

Since Discover uses its own network (like American Express), it isn’t accepted by as many merchants worldwide as cards in the largest two networks. However, the February 2021 Nilson Report stated 99 percent of U.S. merchants that accept credit cards take Discover.

Internationally, Discover’s 18 network alliances mean that 48 million merchants accept Discover cards in over 200 countries and territories.

No purchase protection, extended warranty or standard travel benefits

Although these common card perks are offered on many major cards, Discover discontinued its purchase protection, extended warranty and auto rental collision insurance features in 2018. Discover it Miles doesn’t provide standard travel features like airline loyalty program mile transfer, concierge services, priority boarding, travel accident insurance or luggage protection.

If you’re a traveler who leans on these perks, you may want to look at other travel credit cards.

Limited balance transfer terms

When Discover temporarily discontinued its balance transfer card in 2020, it no longer offered a credit card designed solely for balance transfers with Discover. The card recently became available again.

Some Discover cards currently include balance transfer offers, but the term lengths tend to be shorter than the 15-month or 18-month offers available with top balance transfer cards.

No consumer flat-rate cash back cards

The only flat-rate cash back card Discover offers is the Discover it® Business Credit Card and its unlimited 1.5 percent cash back on all purchases. Furthermore, the Discover it Miles (unlimited 1.5X Miles on all purchases) offers the option of redeeming Discover Miles for cash back at a rate of 1 cent per Mile.

The information about the Discover it® Business Credit Card has been collected independently by Bankrate.com. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.

Who should get a Discover credit card

There are several Discover cards available for consumers, and the one you choose should be based on your individual financial needs. Cardholders in the following categories can definitely benefit from Discover cards:

When not to get a Discover credit card

While the cash back in rotating categories is lucrative and alluring, there are some situations in which even the best Discover credit cards won’t be as rewarding as other cards.

  • You’re a frequent flyer: While the Discover it Miles card offers 1.5X Miles on purchases, you can find much higher rates on other travel cards, plus luxury travel benefits like lounge access and boosted miles values when booking through travel portals.
  • You want the best balance transfer offer: Even though Discover brought back its balance transfer card, the 18-month 0 percent intro APR (11.99 percent to 22.99 percent variable APR thereafter) on balance transfers offer isn’t as long as the best balance transfer cards on the market.

How we chose our top Discover credit cards

Bankrate’s personal finance experts have evaluated the top Discover cards according to our 5-star rating system. The list of criteria for rating credit cards includes:

Rewards

Whether the card offers cash back, travel points/miles or multi-purpose rewards for eligible purchases and the potential returns based on rewards rate (1 percent cash back per $1 spent, 1 mile per $1 spent, and so on).

Perks and benefits

Whether the card offers extras such as retail discounts, extended warranties on purchases, travel insurance and financial management tools.

Annual fee

Whether the card charges an annual fee and if so, how much the card’s overall value and benefits might offset the fee.

Introductory offers

Whether the card has a sign-up bonus, welcome offer or similar sign-up incentive and how much it adds to the card’s overall value.

Variable APR

How the card’s annual percentage rate (APR) compares with current averages as an indicator of cost and value.

Foreign transaction fee

Whether the card charges a foreign transaction fee for international purchases and how the fee affects the card’s overall value.


Have questions for our credit cards editors? Feel free to send us an email, find us on Facebook, or Tweet us @Bankrate.

Frequently Asked Questions

about the author
Upon graduating with a Bachelor’s degree concentrated in Finance, Joey worked at “Big Four” (Ernst and Young) accounting firm before exploring the world of credit cards. Over the past two years, he’s shared his expertise and has brought understanding to complex topics as a writer and editor for sites like Bankrate, CreditCards.com and NextAdvisor. Hi...
about the editor
Former Senior Editor Barry Bridges has been writing about credit cards, personal loans, mortgages and other personal finance products since 2017. Before joining Bankrate, he was an award-winning newspaper journalist in his native North Carolina.

* See the online application for details about terms and conditions for these offers. Every reasonable effort has been made to maintain accurate information. However all credit card information is presented without warranty. After you click on the offer you desire you will be directed to the credit card issuer's web site where you can review the terms and conditions for your selected offer.