Skip to Main Content

Is the Discover it Balance Transfer card worth it?

senior man online banking in home kitchen
vitapix/Getty Images
senior man online banking in home kitchen
vitapix/Getty Images
Bankrate Logo

Why you can trust Bankrate

At Bankrate we strive to help you make smarter financial decisions. While we adhere to strict , this post may contain references to products from our partners. Here's an explanation for . The content on this page is accurate as of the posting date; however, some of the offers mentioned may have expired. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

ON THIS PAGE Jump to Open page navigation

For consumers looking to pay down existing debt while also earning rewards, the Discover it® Balance Transfer card is a solid choice. For no annual fee, you’ll get access to an introductory zero-interest offer on balance transfers, as well as a shorter offer on new purchases, while earning cash back rewards on rotating categories.

If you’re interested in taking advantage of the Discover it Balance Transfer’s 18-month 0 percent intro APR on balance transfers (14.99% – 25.99% variable APR after the fact), it’s beneficial to evaluate the pros and cons of this balance transfer card to determine if it’s a good fit for your spending style. Read on to learn whether or not the Discover it Balance Transfer card is worth it for you.

When is the Discover it Balance Transfer card worth it?

The Discover It Balance Transfer credit card has a few benefits that can make it worth it for the average consumer looking to pay down debt. Here’s a look at everything from its zero-interest offers, cash back rewards and unique welcome bonus.

You need a long 0% intro APR offer on balance transfers

This Discover card offers one of the longer introductory balance transfer periods available—0 percent intro APR on balance transfers for 18 months, followed by a variable APR between 14.99% – 25.99% —as well as a short 0 percent intro APR on new purchases for 6 months.

For those looking to pay down existing balances over time while avoiding costly interest rates, this card is certainly worth it. Especially since there is no annual fee for owning the card, and the money you’ll save on interest can easily offset the card’s 3 percent balance transfer fee (up to 5 percent on future transfers, see terms).

What’s also notable about this card is that the variable APR (or the interest rate you’ll be charged after the introductory period ends) is quite reasonable compared to other balance transfer cards on the market. If you’re unsure whether you’ll be able to pay off your balance within the first 18 months of opening the card, the lower variable APR could further peak your interest in this card.

A rotating cash back rewards structure excites you

The benefits of the Discover it Balance Transfer extend beyond its introductory APR offers. With this card, you’ll receive 5 percent cash back, after activation, on rotating categories each quarter (up to $1,500 in quarterly purchases, then 1 percent). You’ll also earn 1 percent cash back on all non-category purchases. This ensures the card will continue to bring value to you long after your debt is paid off.

For the remainder of 2022, Discover’s cash back calendar includes:

  • April through June: Gas stations and Target (in-store and online purchases)
  • July through September: Restaurants and PayPal purchases
  • October through December: Amazon.com and digital wallet purchases (Google Pay, Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Garmin Pay)

Just be sure to activate your 5 percent category each quarter, or you’ll automatically earn 1 percent cash back for those purchases.

Your cash back rewards can be redeemed in a variety of ways: electronic direct deposit to an eligible bank account, statement credits, gift cards, charitable donations and payments toward Amazon.com or PayPal.com purchases.

You don’t want to be limited by your welcome bonus

The Discover it Balance Transfer card offers a distinctive welcome offer for new cardholders. At the end of your first year, Discover will match all the rewards you earned throughout the year (also known as the Cashback Match program). So, if you rack up $150 in cash back rewards, Discover will award you an additional $150 in cash back, bringing you to a total of $300 in cash back rewards.

While other cash back welcome bonuses typically have a set limit on how much you can earn (and how much you need to spend), with the Discover It Balance Transfer card, you’re in control.

When is the Discover it Balance Transfer card not worth it?

Overall, the Discover it Balance Transfer may not be worth it if you need even more time to pay off debt or aren’t positive you can complete your debt payoff within the 18-month window.

You need even more time to pay off debt

While 18 months is a very good offer, the U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card, for example, provides a 0 percent APR for 20 billing cycles, followed by a variable APR between 16.74 percent to 26.74 percent. The catch is that you must initiate the balance transfer within your first 60 days of card ownership, or you lose the offer.

You prefer an intro APR on purchases

Further, the Discover it Balance Transfer’s intro offer on purchases is incredibly short compared to other cards’ offerings. So, if you (more so) need help paying off an upcoming large purchase and aren’t looking to take advantage of the balance transfer offer, you’re definitely better off with a different card. Once again, the U.S. Bank Visa Platinum offers a fantastic introductory 0 percent APR on new purchases for 20 billing cycles (followed by the same (16.74 percent to 26.74 percent variable APR)—but you won’t earn any rewards.

Rotating rewards structures aren’t your thing

Lastly, if tracking (and activating) rewards categories isn’t something you’re interested in doing, you’ll be better off in the long run with a flat-rate rewards card.

The no-annual-fee Citi® Double Cash Card, for example, offers an unlimited 1 percent cash back as you buy, plus another 1 percent back when you pay for your purchases (effectively making it a flat-rate 2 percent cash back card). This Citi card offers a 0 percent intro APR on balance transfers for 18 months, followed by a comparatively higher variable APR of 16.24 percent to 26.24 percent. Note, the Citi Double Cash also doesn’t offer an introductory purchase APR whatsoever.

Should you get the Discover it Balance Transfer card?

Overall, you should apply for the Discover it Balance Transfer if you’re looking for long-term value, and you prioritize paying off debt over paying off a large purchase.

Further, while the card does offer a solid zero-interest period on balance transfers, if you’re uninterested in earning cash back rewards, you should opt for a card that has a slightly longer intro offer.

You might also consider whether or not you’ll need a longer introductory offer on new purchases, as well.

The bottom line

Overall, the Discover it Balance Transfer is one of the best balance transfer credit cards for 2022. Not only does it offer a lengthy zero-interest period on balance transfers, but it allows you to earn cash back rewards in rotating categories and provides a way to effectively double your first-year cash back earnings.

Written by
Erin Bendig
Erin pairs personal experience with research and is passionate about sharing credit card information and personal finance advice with others.
Edited by
Editor, Product
up next
Part of  Introduction to the Discover it Balance Transfer Credit Card