Discover it Review

discover itThe Discover it card offers its customers substantial cash back rewards.  It also gives new account holders competitive introductory annual percentage rates on both purchases and balance transfers.  However Discover cards are still not as widely accepted as MasterCard and Visa (especially overseas).  On the plus side, the Discover it network continues to grow and earns high marks for customer service.

While there is no signup bonus offered with the Discover it card, new account holders can take advantage of a 0% introductory annual percentage rate on balance transfers which is valid for the first 14 months you have your card.  However, to be eligible for this offer, transfers must post to your account by May 10, 2015. After the promotional period, your APR will be between 10.99% and 22.99%, depending on your creditworthiness.  Cardholders are charged a balance transfer fee of three percent on the amount of the transfer.  This fee will not be waived by Discover.

The Discover it card also offers new card members a 0% introductory APR on purchases for the first 14 months from the date your account is opened.  After that time, your APR will revert to between 10.99% and 22.99%.  Again, your specific annual percentage rate will be based on your credit score and payment history and will be determined at the time of approval.

By using the card for purchases, you can receive cash back rewards as follows:

  • 5% cash back in specific, rotating categories
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases

Card holders may use their rewards to:

  • Redeem for cash
  • Pay for purchases at
  • Redeem for partner gift cards

The Discover it card also offers these benefits to its members:

  • No annual fee
  • No penalty annual percentage rate
  • Free monthly access to your FICO credit score
  • 100% U.S.-based call center service
  • 0% fraud liability guarantee
  • No foreign transaction fees


The Facts

Below we’ve broken down the specific details of the Discover it card to assist you in determining if it’s the right choice for you.

The Good:

0% Introductory APR on purchases:

New members receive a 0% annual percentage rate on all purchases made with the card for the first 14 months your account is open.  After this time, your actual APR will be between 10.99% and 22.99%, based on your creditworthiness.

0% Introductory APR on balance transfers:

New account holders also receive a 0% introductory APR for the first 14 months on balance transfers.  The 14 month period begins from the date of your first transfer and all transfers must post to your account by May 10, 2015.  By transferring the balance to the Discover it card, you will be able to make payments for up to 14 months while incurring no interest charges.  After this time, your APR will revert to the standard APR of 10.99%-22.99%, based on your credit score and other factors.

Easy to earn cash back rewards:

Card members can earn 5% cash back in specific categories that rotate quarterly.  There is no charge to sign up for the 5% cash back rewards but you do have to register each quarter to be eligible.  The 5% cash back bonus calendar for 2015 is as follows:

Jan-Mar 2015 Apr-Jun 2015 July-Sept 2015 Oct-Dec 2015
Gas and Ground Transportation Movies and Restaurants Summer Spruce Up and More Holiday Shopping and More


Spending is capped at $1,500  for eligible purchases made on the card each quarter in the selected category.  This equates to earning a maximum of $75 cash back per quarter.  Any spending amount over the $1,500 cap earns card members 1% cash back until the next quarter begins.

Discover it card members automatically earn 1% cash back on all other purchases made with the card.  There is no sign up required and there are no limits on how much you can earn.

 Easy to redeem cash back rewards:

Cardholders can redeem rewards for cash.  It can be used as a statement or can be directly deposited into your bank account.  You can redeem for any amount of what you have earned starting with one cent.

Discover it  card members can also choose to pay for items purchased at with their cash back rewards.  For people who frequently shop at this is a nice tie-in.

No annual fee:

The Discover it card charges members no annual fee.

No penalty annual percentage rate:

Almost every other rewards credit card applies a high penalty APR to any customer who makes a late payment on their account.  These often range from 24.99% to 29.99% and can be applied to your account indefinitely.  The Discover it card does not charge a penalty APR.  Card members are also allowed one late payment without incurring a fee.

No foreign transaction fees:

Card members are not charged a foreign transaction fee on any purchases made with the card while outside of the U.S.  Many credit cards charge from 2.7% to 3.0% on the total amount of every purchase made abroad.

Free access to FICO credit score:

Card members have free access each month to their FICO credit score.  This is a benefit which can help you maintain control over your financial situation and credit.

100% U.S.-based customer service: 

Cardholders can reach a U.S.-based customer service representative 24 hours a day / 7days a week.

The Bad:

Rotating rewards categories:

The categories for the 5% cash back rewards change quarterly and although the program is free-of-charge, card members are required to sign up each quarter to be eligible to receive the 5% cash back rewards.  If the categories do not include items you routinely purchase, it might be difficult to earn any substantial rewards.

No signup bonus:

The Discover it card does not offer any signup bonus to new customers.

The Ugly:

Cap on spending:

There is a maximum spending cap of $1,500 per quarter that card members can earn 5% cash back on.  If you plan to buy big-ticket items with this card, you may be limited as far as the cash back rewards you can receive.  Any amount spent over the $1,500 cap does earn 1% cash back but compared to other rewards cards 1% is a weak cash back rate.

Not universally accepted:

The Discover it card is not as accepted around the world as MasterCard and Visa.  If you often travel abroad, this is a serious point to consider. However, it is accepted by ~9.2 million merchants within the United States.