Discover it® Cash Back review

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Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

Apply Now On Discover's secure website

Best for customer satisfaction rating

Annual Fee:
$0
Purchase Intro APR:
0% for 14 months
Balance Transfer Intro APR:
0% for 14 months
Regular APR:
11.99% - 22.99% Variable
Terms and Restrictions Apply | Rates and Fees

Bankrate Rating

Best for large cash back potential

  • Rewards Rate5 percent cash back after activation on rotating categories each quarter (up to $1,500 in purchases, then 1 percent), 1 percent for all other purchases
  • Welcome Offer: Automatic Cashback Match for the first year
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Purchase Intro APR: 0 percent for the first 14 months
  • Balance Transfer Intro APR: 0 percent for the first 14 months
  • Regular APR: 11.99 percent to 22.99 percent variable

Earning cash back from your credit card is an easy way to save a little bit of money on your everyday expenses, and the Discover it® Cash Back Credit Card is the perfect low-risk way to get started. Not only does the card charge no annual fee, but it also gets you 5 percent back on up to $1,500 in select purchases each quarter when you activate the bonus category (then 1 percent), as well 1 percent cash back on all other purchases.

The typical Discover it card review gives it 4.8 stars on Discover’s website, showing how much people love it. But is it the right card for you? Keep reading to see how well it fits in your wallet.

Discover it Cash Back card: Current welcome offer

The welcome offer for the Discover it Cash Back card is a bit different from the typical sign-up bonus other cards offer. Discover offers its Cashback Match program, which takes the total amount of cash back you accumulate in your first year and matches it. With this program, the size of your new card member bonus is up to you — the more you use your Discover cash back card, the bigger your bonus will be.

Cash back

Earning cash back with Discover does take a little effort, as you’ll need to keep track of the rotating bonus categories and enroll each quarter, but the bonus cash is well worth it.

Earning cash back

You can earn 5 percent back on up to $1,500 in purchases in different categories each quarter based on Discover’s 5 percent cash back calendar. You have to activate the bonus each quarter to take advantage of this rate. If you don’t activate a bonus category or if you exceed the $1,500 cap in a bonus category, you’ll earn just 1 percent cash back on your purchases. You’ll also earn 1 percent back on general purchases outside of the quarterly bonus category.

Redeeming cash back

You can redeem your cash back rewards for gift cards (Partner gift cards range from $5 to $200 in increments of $5), a statement credit to your account and even as charitable donations. Cardholders also have the ability to electronically deposit their rewards to an account of their choosing.

To designate a method for redeeming cash back, visit your card account or call the customer service line at 1-800-347-3085.

How much are points worth?

Each cash back “point” is worth $0.01 when you redeem it. For example, if you were to spend $1,500 buying gifts for your entire family from Amazon.com during the fourth quarter of 2020 after activating the bonus category, you would earn $75 cash back on those purchases because they fall into the 5 percent category for that quarter. Thereafter, you’d earn 1 percent cash back on your purchases.

Discover it Cash Back card: Benefits

In addition to the great cash back benefits, the Discover it card comes with a number of other features you’ll love.

Customer service

Discover is well-known for its customer service, consistently ranking at or near the top of J.D. Power’s credit card customer satisfaction surveys. The issuer offers a 24/7 customer service line, free overnight shipping for card replacements and free FICO credit score access on each month’s statement.

Freeze It

If your card is ever lost or stolen, Discover can freeze any new purchases, transfers or cash advances on your account, protecting you from potential identity theft. Keep in mind that some activity will still occur on your card, like prior recurring expenses (such as utility bills), returns, credits, delayed payments, account fees and interest.

If there are ever any unauthorized transactions or purchases on your card, you can still rest assured with Discover’s $0 Fraud Liability benefit, meaning that you won’t be held accountable for those transactions.

Social Security protection

For those who choose to opt-in to this benefit, Discover can search the web and notify you if your Social Security number is found on the dark web or any malicious websites, giving you time to put protections in place around your identity.

Rates and fees

The Discover it Cash Back card offers new account holders a 0 percent intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 14 months after signing up. Once the intro period is over, the regular variable APR applies and ranges from 11.99 percent to 22.99 percent variable. There is a Discover it Cash Back balance transfer fee of 3% intro balance transfer fee, up to 5% fee on future balance transfers (see terms)*

The cash advance APR is currently at 24.99 percent variable. Cash advance fees are either 5 percent of the amount or $10, whichever is greater.

The great thing about this card, though, is that there’s no annual fee, no penalty APR for late payments and no penalty fee for the first time you make a late payment. For all late or returned payments after that, Discover charges up to a $40 fee.

How the Discover it® Cash Back compares to other cash back cards

The Discover it Cash Back is one of the top cards in its category, but you may be able to earn more rewards by going with another card, depending on your shopping habits. The Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express earns 3 percent cash back at U.S. grocery stores on up to $6,000 in purchases each year, then 1 percent.

Also, keeping track of Discover’s revolving rewards categories can be tedious, so opting for a card with a flat rewards rate like the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card can be a simpler option.

Card Rewards Welcome bonus Intro APR
Discover it® Cash Back 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in purchases from rotating categories each quarter (activation required) then 1% cash back on all other purchases Discover will match all the cash back you earn in your first year with Cashback Match 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 14 months (11.99% to 22.99% variable APR after that)
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 per year, then 1%), 2% back at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores and 1% back on all other purchases Earn 20% back on purchases at Amazon.com on the card in the first 6 months (up to $200 back). Plus, earn $100 back after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your card within the first 6 months. 0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months (13.99% to 23.99% variable APR after that)
Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card Unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases $200 bonus cash after you spend $500 in your first three months 0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months (15.49% to 25.49% variable APR after that)

Best cards to pair the Discover it Cash Back card with

Stacking different cards is a great way to make sure you get the most rewards. While the Discover cash back card earns a fantastic rate on its quarterly categories, it’s not the best for travel purchases and rewards. Using a card that earns flexible rewards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card with your Discover card will help you take advantage of rewards categories that Discover misses.

Bankrate’s Take — Is the Discover it Cash Back card worth it?

The Discover it Cash Back credit card is perfect for people who can adjust their spending to take advantage of Discover’s cash back calendar each quarter. It’s a simple cash back card with no annual fee, making it accessible for people who don’t want to invest in a more expensive rewards credit card.

If you find that the Discover it Cash Back credit score requirements are too strict but you still want to take advantage of everything a Discover card has to offer, you can look into the Discover it® Secured card to help build your credit up with responsible use.

Pros

  • Earn 5 percent cash back on up to $1,500 in purchases each quarter on rotating categories after you activate, then 1 percent
  • No annual fee
  • Cashback Match program for the first year

Cons

  • Low rewards rate for most purchases
  • No opportunity to get more value from rewards by transferring