Discover it® — New! Double Cash Back Your First Year
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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® card, 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.
Discover it — New! Double Cash Back Your First Year
The Discover it card is a rotating cash back credit card. You earn 5% cash back in categories that change each quarter up to the quarterly maximum 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. As an exclusive bonus offer for new cardmembers, Discover will double all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year — automatically.
This credit card comes with a 12 month 0% introductory APR — then a variable purchase APR applies (currently 10.99% - 22.99%). There is no annual fee, no penalty APR, no overlimit fee, and Discover It won't charge foreign transaction fees.
With the Discover it credit 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.
Get your recent FICO Credit Scores for free in an easy-to-ready chart 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.
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.
There is a 0% introductory APR for 12 months on balance transfers and purchases. (Or get the 18-month balance transfer version). After that, the APR is between 10.99% to 22.99%, depending on your credit score. Balance transfers are charged a 3% fee.
There is no annual fee, no foreign transaction fee, and no penalty APR for being late on payments. You also won't get hit with a late payment fee the first time you pay late.
First Year Double Cash Back: The current bonus offer for new cardmembers includes getting double 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. (The current bonus categories through December 31 is Amazon.com, Department Stores, and Clothing Stores.) Note that there is a limit of $1,500 in combined purchases each quarter. After that, it goes to 1% cash back.
0% Intro APR: Get 12 months of 0% Introductory APR for balance transfers or 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.
APR Range: Those with a low credit score may wind up with a 22.99% 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.
Discover Card Acceptance: Although it's constantly expanding, Discover card isn'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.
Those with poor credit who carry balances may not get the best use of this card once the introductory period is over, since the interest rate can be as high as 22.99%.
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.