Discover it® - 18 Month Balance Transfer Offer
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What if you had a rewards credit card that treats you like you would treat yourself? That's the marketing campaign behind the Discover it® - 18 Month Balance Transfer Offer, which promises to provide you with attractive rewards and a personal customer service experience. But how much of it is marketing hype, and how much of it can actually benefit consumers? Let's take a look.
Why We Like This Card
- Cashback Match™
- 0% introductory APR for 18 months on balance transfers (six months for purchases)
- 5% cash back on rotating bonus categories
How This Card Works
This is a rotating cash back credit card. You earn 5% cash back in categories that change each quarter up to $1500 every quarter when you sign up. All "regular" purchases earn 1% cash back, and once you reach your 5% special category cash back quarterly maximum of $1500, category purchases earn cash back at 1%, too.
Sign-up offer: With Cashback Match™, Discover will match all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year — automatically. New cardmembers only.
This credit card comes with a 18-month 0% introductory APR for balance transfers (6 months on purchases) — then a variable purchase APR applies (currently 11.24% - 23.24%). There is no annual fee, no penalty APR, no overlimit fee, and this card won't charge foreign transaction fees.
Pay bills by midnight of due date. With this card, you can make your payments up until midnight on the due date, and still be considered "on time." You won't be hit with a penalty APR, even if you do end up paying late.
Free FICO score and Freeze ItSM. Get your recent FICO credit scores for free on your monthly statements and online, and Discover's Freeze ItSM on/off switch lets you freeze or unfreeze your account in seconds if you need to prevent new account activity on your misplaced card.
U.S. based customer service. Discover users love the 100% U.S. based customer service call center — day and night. You'll always get a real person to answer your call in seconds. Additional benefits include flight accident insurance and rental car insurance.
- $0 Annual Fee
- 11.24% - 23.24% Variable APR (0% introductory APR for six months on purchases and for 18 months on balance transfers posted to your account by October 10, 2016)
- Balance Transfer Fee: 3% of the amount of each transfer
- $0 Foreign Transaction Fee
Cashback Match™ in your first year. The current bonus offer for new cardmembers includes Discover matching the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year. That's an attractive sign up bonus!
5% cash back. 5% cash back is a high reward for cash. The quarterly bonus categories for 5% cash back are generally in popular categories like restaurants, gas, and Amazon.com. Note that there is a limit of $1,500 in combined purchases each quarter. After that, it goes to 1% cash back.
Introductory APR. Get 18 months of 0% Introductory APR for balance transfers (6 months for purchases). That's a good offer that will help save on interest if you need that time to pay off other credit card balances, or if you need to make a large purchase that you can pay for within that time frame.
Fees. This card has no annual fee, no penalty APR for late payments, and no foreign transaction fee. Additionally, the first time you make a late payment, there is no late payment fee.
Easy redemption. Redeeming rewards is easy. You can redeem rewards for cash as a statement credit or direct deposit to your bank account, for any amount, at any time. You can also use your rewards to pay for purchases directly at Amazon.com.
Credit protection. In addition to getting your recent FICO Credit Scores for free, it's easy to freeze or unfreeze your card from further account activity if you think your card may be compromised.
Customer service. Discover is well known for its high customer service satisfaction score. You'll always reach a live person at their 100% U.S. based call centers.
Rotating categories. If you want to get the 5% bonus cash back, you have to remember to sign up for the rewards each quarter. If you forget, you will miss out on some of your category earnings. You'll also need to keep track of which categories offer the bonus during the time you are using the card. This type of reward credit card may not be for everyone. The 5% bonus is also capped at $1,500 in combined purchases per quarter. After that the rewards drop to 1%. Note: If you're interested in getting 2% cash back on restaurants and gas with no rotating categories, check out the Discover it® chrome card. (See also: 5 Best Cash Back Credit Cards)
APR range. Those with a low credit score may wind up with a 23.24% APR. If you plan on keeping a balance on the card, and/or don't have stellar credit, you may want to consider instead other credit cards with low interest APRs.
Limited Discover card acceptance. Although it's constantly expanding, Discover cards aren't as widely accepted as Visa or MasterCard.
Who This Card Is Best For
The Discover it Card is ideal for those who want to earn money on their regular spending, and are willing to plan out their spending and keep track of the rotating categories. Because the card comes with a generous 0% Introductory APR, it can be ideal for those who are trying to pay down debt by consolidating balances.
For those looking for a reasonable rewards program and a card with flexibility — and if you travel overseas and want to avoid transaction fees — the Discover it card is well worth carrying.
Editorial Note: 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 bank, card issuer, airline or hotel chain.