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Discover it® chrome review: Lower rates over greater perks

This card is a solid choice for people hoping to save on interest rates, but it lacks in lucrative perks

 /  7 min
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Snapshot

4.0

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Bottom line

This card comes with a great introductory APR offer and affordable interest rates, but leaves much to be desired when it comes to added benefits. If you’re more interested in a card that helps you manage balances than one that allows you to maximize your benefits greatly, this card may be for you.

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Best for low interest

Discover it® chrome

Rewards rate

1% - 2%
Info

Annual fee

$0

Intro offer

Cashback Match™
Info

Regular APR

15.74% - 26.74% variable

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 – 850)
Info

Discover it® chrome overview

Discover it chrome offers cardholders the opportunity to earn cash back on two of the biggest everyday expenses — gas and restaurants. Its introductory APR offers and low rates and fees across the board make it an easy-to-use cash back option if you’re dipping your toes into the rewards pool for the first time, but we hesitate to call it a starter card since you already need at least a “good” credit score to qualify.

Unless you plan to pair it with another cash back card or its limited rewards suit you just fine, other cards for good credit easily outperform the Discover it chrome.

What are the pros and cons?

Pros

  • Checkmark

    Introductory 0 percent APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers (15.74 percent to 26.74 percent variable ongoing) can help consumers save on interest for over a year

  • Checkmark

    No annual fee, no foreign transaction fees, no penalty APR and your first late payment fee is waived (up to $41 afterward)

  • Checkmark

    All cash back earned in your first 12 months will be matched

Cons

  • Not as many perks as some of its competitors

  • The 2 percent cash back categories (gas stations and restaurants) are limited to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter, then reverts to 1 percent

  • Requires at- least good credit to qualify, and better options are available with that score

A deeper look into the current card offer

Quick highlights

  • Rewards rate: 2 percent cash back at gas stations and restaurants (on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter, then 1 percent), plus 1 percent on all other purchases
  • Welcome offer: All cash back earned within the first 12 months will be matched
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Purchase intro APR: 0 percent for the first 15 months
  • Balance transfer intro APR: 0 percent for the first 15 months
  • Regular APR: 15.74 percent to 26.74 percent variable

Current welcome offer

Like other Discover credit cards, the Discover it chrome doesn’t offer a traditional sign-up bonus. Instead of bonus rewards received in the first three months, all cash back you’ve earned by the end of your first year will be matched. For example, if you earn $200 in cash back during your first 12 months, Discover will match you with another $200, for $400 cash back total.

This can be especially beneficial if you earn more cash back than a typical intro bonus provides, but the Discover it chrome card’s limited bonus category rewards aren’t very conducive for a big payday.

Rewards rate

This card uses a cash back rewards system. While the 1 percent cash back rate on all purchases is unlimited, the 2 percent categories’ (on gas and restaurant, on up to $1,000 in purchases each quarter, then 1 percent) quarterly rewards spending cap hobbles this card’s cash back potential.

How you earn

You’ll earn 2 percent cash back on gas and restaurant purchases (on up to $1,000 in purchases each quarter, then 1 percent), plus 1 percent cash back on all other purchases. Besides gas stations, your categories will earn rewards from dining in, takeout and delivery from full-service restaurants, cafes, cafeterias and fast food restaurants.

How to redeem

Your cash back is added to your account within two billing periods. You can redeem your cash back for:

  • Cash back, as a statement credit or direct deposit (starting at 1 cent)
  • Gift cards (gift cards range from $5 to $200, in increments of $5)
  • “Pay with Cashback bonus” at eligible merchant checkouts, including Amazon.com and PayPal (starting at 1 cent)
  • Charitable donations (starting at 1 cent)

If you only have a small cash back balance to redeem, it’s interesting to note that Discover is one of the few issuers to make redeeming for a gift card a potentially valuable option. It adds an extra 5 percent to 20 percent value to the balance, depending on the merchant.

Your cash back never expires, but if your account is closed or you don’t use your account for 18 months, your rewards will automatically be applied to your balance (whereas most issuers forfeit your rewards).

How much are the rewards worth?

Cash back works by earning 1 cent for each percentage point of your cash back rate. For example, your 2 percent cash back categories net you 2 cents per dollar spent on each purchase. If you spend $500 at gas stations and restaurants within a quarter, you earn $10 in cash back for your purchases. Just make sure you spend within the gas station and restaurant category limits if you want to keep your cash back rate at 2 percent. Otherwise, you earn 1 percent on all your purchases.

Other cardholder perks

Discover credit cards don’t come with a boatload of benefits like other rewards cards might. Instead, Discover focuses on providing minimal-fee cards with top-rated customer service and account security.

In fact, Discover was ranked second for credit card customer satisfaction by J.D. Power in 2022 for the third year in a row and is only seven points behind American Express. You may enjoy Discover’s approach if you prefer low-cost cards over typical perks that you may not use.

Credit card account security

On top of the industry-standard $0 liability for unauthorized purchases, account alerts and free FICO Credit Scorecard access, you’ll receive free account monitoring with Discover Identity Alerts. Discover’s credit monitoring service is one of the few services that also crawls the dark web for your sensitive personal data, including your Social Security number.

If an account alert is triggered, you can freeze your account with the mobile app or contact Discover’s renowned U.S.-based 24/7 customer service.

Rates and fees

Discover it chrome doesn’t charge an annual fee, foreign transaction fees or a penalty APR. You also have a one-time safety net since your first late payment fee is waived (up to $41 after that).

In case you already have a balance you’re trying to shave down, the Discover it chrome card offers a sizable 15-month 0 percent introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers (3 percent intro balance transfer fee, up to 5 percent fee on future balance transfers, see terms*). Even afterward, the low end of its 15.74 percent to 26.74 percent variable ongoing APR is well below the current average credit card interest rate.

Bankrate staff experience

Bankrate editor Ashley Parks has carried a Discover it chrome since she was a sophomore in college. Originally, she had the Discover it Student chrome card, but has since upgraded to the regular Discover it chrome after graduating, and still finds a lot of value. The top earning spending categories, gas and dining, are two of the highest spending categories in her budget, so she strategizes to make the most of the card’s highest earning tiers.

“The Discover it Student chrome was my first credit card, and I learned later that it would be better for my credit to keep the card open, even after I graduated from college, to build up my credit history. Since Discover keeps track of things like your graduation date, enrollment status and current income, it was fairly easy to transition out of the student version of the card and into the full-blown version.

Though I now have another card that rewards me at a higher rate for gas, I still use the Discover it chrome exclusively for when I’m dining out. This way, I max out the 2 percent earning category each quarter to get the higher rewards rate for that spending. Definitely a cash back win.”

— Ashley ParksBankrate editor

How the Discover it chrome compares to other rewards cards

Two of the Discover it chrome card’s closest competitors are the Chase Freedom Unlimited® and Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card. They share some similar features, such as at least 1.5 percent cash back on all purchases without category or quarterly spending restrictions, that may interest you more than what the Discover it chrome has to offer.

Bankrate Score
See Rates & Fees , Terms Apply
Apply now Lock
On Discover's secure site

Annual fee

$0

Intro offer

Cashback Match™
Info

Rewards rate

1% - 2%
Info

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 – 850)
Info
Bankrate Score
Apply now Lock
On Capital One's secure site

Annual fee

$0

Intro offer

$200
Info

Rewards rate

1.5% - 5%
Info

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 – 850)
Info
Bankrate Score
Apply now Lock
On Chase's secure site

Annual fee

$0

Intro offer

Earn an Additional 1.5% Cash Back
Info

Rewards rate

1.5% - 5%
Info

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 – 850)
Info

Discover it chrome vs. Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card

Much like the Discover it chrome credit card, the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards card has no annual fee or foreign transaction fees and shares the same 0 percent introductory APR as its competitor. However, the Discover it chrome has it beat when it comes to ongoing variable APR. The Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards card has a 17.99 percent to 27.99 percent APR, which is considerably higher compared to the Discover it chrome’s 15.74 percent to 26.74 percent APR.

Since the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards card is a flat-rate cash back card with unlimited spending, it may be preferable to people who see themselves routinely going over the Discover it chrome’s spending cap for 2 percent cash back. Perks-wise, the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards card has slightly more going for it with travel benefits and extended warranty protection. Ultimately, the card you choose depends on your spending habits and what you value in a card.

Discover it chrome vs. Chase Freedom Unlimited

The Freedom Unlimited carries extra unlimited rewards categories on top of its 1.5 percent flat rate. It also may carry the best suite of perks with features like its trip cancellation/trip interruption insurance.

While the Discover it chrome is less stacked in terms of perks, its value comes from its lower rates and customer service. Once again, its regular APR beats out its competitors, offering percentages slightly lower than the average current trend and Chase Freedom Unlimited’s rate — 18.74 percent to 27.49 percent variable APR. If you value great perk over lower rates, the Chase Freedom Unlimited is an alternative to consider.

Best card to pair with Discover it chrome

A bonus category card typically couples well with a flat-rate card like the Capital One Quicksilver or the Chase Freedom Unlimited, since it can earn rewards on all purchases your categories don’t cover.

But before you get a second card to pair with the Discover it chrome, keep in mind that another card could make its limited rewards and benefits obsolete. It might be worth considering a flat-rate or stronger bonus category card off the bat if you may apply for a second card.

Bankrate’s Take — Is Discover it chrome worth it?

If you’re doing a lot of driving and dining and you want an easy cash back card to introduce you to the world of rewards, then the Discover it chrome card might be a worthwhile first card. The Discover it chrome is an inexpensive card on account of its low rates and fees, but its long-term value could be limited due to its similarly low cash back rates.

You need a good credit score or higher to qualify for the Discover it chrome in the first place, so it isn’t feasible as a traditional starter card for limited credit. Plenty of other more rewarding cards, and even Discover cards, are available for people with good credit, so the Discover it chrome might not be the best choice unless it’s perfect for your situation or you prefer top-notch customer service.

Written by
Garrett Yarbrough
Credit Card Reviews Writer

Bankrate expert Garrett Yarbrough strives to make navigating credit cards and credit building smooth sailing for his readers. After regularly featuring his credit card, credit monitoring and identity theft analysis on NextAdvisor.com, he joined the CreditCards.com and Bankrate.com teams as a staff writer to develop product reviews and comprehensive credit card guides focused on cash back, credit scores and card offers.

Edited by Credit Cards Editor

* 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.

Editorial Disclosure: Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, and have not been reviewed or approved by any advertiser. The information, including card rates and fees, is accurate as of the publish date. All products or services are presented without warranty. Check the bank’s website for the most current information.