Discover it® chrome review
Best for frequent diners and drivers
- Rewards rate: 2 percent cash back at gas stations and restaurants (on up to $1,000 combined 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 14 months
- Balance transfer intro APR: 0 percent for the first 14 months if done before Feb. 10, 2021
- Regular APR: 11.99 percent to 22.99 percent
Discover it® Chrome offers cardholders the opportunity to earn cash back on some of the biggest everyday expenses—gas and restaurants. It’s 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.
Current welcome offer
Like other Discover credit cards, the 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 of cash back in your first 12 months, Discover will give you 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 Chrome card’s limited bonus category rewards aren’t very conducive for a big payday.
While the 1 percent cash back rate on all purchases is unlimited, the 2 percent categories’ quarterly rewards spending cap hobbles this card’s cash back potential.
Earning cash back
You’ll earn 2 percent cash back on gas and restaurant merchants (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.
Redeeming cash back
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 (starting at $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. Depending on the balance, every gift card you redeem for comes with additional credit.
Points never expire, 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.
How much is cash back 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.
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 the J.D. Power’s top-ranked issuer for credit card customer satisfaction in 2018 and 2019—and only behind American Express by one point in 2020. 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 free issuer 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 annual fees, 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 $40 after that).
In case you already have a balance you’re trying to shave down, the Chrome card offers a sizable 14-month 0 percent introductory APR on purchases and on balance transfers made before Feb. 10, 2021 (3 percent introductory balance transfer until that date, then 5 percent). Even afterward, the 11.99 percent to 22.99 percent (variable) ongoing APR is well below average.
How the Discover it Chrome compares to other rewards cards
Two of the Discover it Chrome’s closest competitors are the Chase Freedom Unlimited® and Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card. These two cards earn unlimited 1.5 percent cash back on all purchases without category or quarterly spending restrictions. The Freedom Unlimited even carries extra unlimited rewards categories on top of its 1.5 percent flat-rate. If you want the option to redeem rewards for either travel or cash back, you can use the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card to earn 3X GoFar rewards points on dining, select streaming services, gas, ride-shares, transit and other travel for no annual fee.
All three of these cards offer a host of valuable travel benefits and shopping protections, but the Chase Freedom Unlimited may carry the best suite of perks with features like its trip cancellation/trip interruption insurance. If you’re not as keen on primarily travel features, the Propel card provides cellphone protection of up to $600 per claim when you pay your cellphone bill with your card (up to two paid claims per 12 months, including a $25 deductible).
It’s hard for the Chrome card to compete with these three cash back cards, but whether its lower rates are worth less cash back and fewer benefits.
|Card||Rewards rate||Annual fee||Welcome offers|
|Chase Freedom Unlimited®||
|Capital One® Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card||
|Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card||
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’re 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 credit card rewards, then the Discover it Chrome card might be a worthwhile first card. The Chrome is an inexpensive card on account of its low rates and fees, but this could also be said about its long-term value.
You need a good credit score or higher to qualify for the Chrome in the first place, so it isn’t feasible as a normal starter card. Plenty of other rewards cards, and even Discover cards, are available for those with good credit, so the Discover it Chrome might not be the best choice unless it’s perfect for your situation.
- 0 percent APR for 14 months on new purchases and balance transfers (11.99 percent to 22.99 percent variable ongoing)
- No annual fee, no foreign transaction fees, no penalty APR and your first late payment fee is waived (up to $40 afterward)
- All cash back earned in your first 12 months will be matched
- Not as many perks as some of its competitors
- The 2 percent cash back categories are limited to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter, then reverts to 1 percent
- Requires good credit to qualify, and better options are available with that score
All information about the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card has been collected independently by Bankrate and has not been reviewed or approved by the issuer.