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November 4, 2015

Rewards Credit Cards

Discover it® Review

When it comes to introductions, Discover it® is in elite territory as it offers some industry-leading introductory rates on purchases and balance transfers. Although Discover lacks the attractive bonus incentives to sign up and isn't currently as widely accepted as its competitors, Visa and MasterCard, the network continues to grow and offers a vast array of flexibility with your rewards.

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The Good

Excellent introductory rates

Rest assured that for a period of over one year you can pay back your balance at your own pace. If you're currently struggling to pay additional interest on another credit card, take a good look at the Discover it® card because it might be the perfect remedy with a 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for 14 months. Then the variable purchase APR applies, which is currently 10.99% - 22.99%. A fee of 3% applies for each balance transferred.

Multiple ways to earn bonus points

With popular rotating 5% cash back categories, such as dining, entertainment, and shopping, Discover offers a wide variety of options to spend and earn cash back on. Just be sure to sign up for the 5% categories in advance so you don't miss out on the bigger return. With many ways to earn points, you have the ability to accumulate rewards faster while maintaining flexibility. The current bonus is 5% cash back in categories that change each quarter up to the quarterly maximum when you sign up.* You also earn 1% cash back on all other purchases.*

Redeeming rewards in many ways

All of the cash back you earn will be redeemable online via Discover's online shopping mall, which offers anywhere from 5% - 20% off department store prices. In addition to your points never expiring, they can be redeemed via statement credit, merchandise, and charity. If you redeem your cash back rewards as gift cards, Discover will even double your return.

Superior customer service

One of the most overlooked features of credit card companies is the type of customer service offered by the company and Discover is no slouch in this department as they offer 100% U.S.-based customer service available anytime. They also earned the Highest in Customer Satisfaction Award among credit card companies from J.D. Power and Associates in 2014. If you travel and need assistance, Discover automatically adds travel and car rental insurance to cover you from having to pay premiums at the airport. If you made a purchase and now it's discounted, Discover will refund you the difference.

Flexible due dates

One underrated feature of the Discover it® card is that it has flexible due dates, which allow you to choose your own due date and pay online or by phone. The benefit of having a due date that you set can be huge. You can stagger your Discover it® payment date with the due dates of your other bills so that you're never running short on cash. Several other credit cards have a set due date at the beginning of each month, which generally coincides with many other bills that you have to pay, like rent or phone bills.

Strong fraud protection and access to credit score

The Discover it® card comes with a $0 Fraud Liability Guarantee, which means that you're never responsible for unauthorized charges. Discover also monitors every purchase and alerts you of any suspicious activity via email, phone, or text, so you know right away if someone is trying to steal your identity. Not having to worry about fraudulent charges is a great benefit, and is not offered by every credit card. Plus, you'll have free access to your FICO® Credit Score on your monthly statement to help you stay on top of your credit.

The Bad

No bonus incentives

Unlike its main competitor, the Chase Freedom® card, the Discover it® card does not currently offer any bonus incentives when you sign up. If you're looking for a card that offers a hefty sign-up bonus, you may want to look elsewhere. To most, however, this shouldn't be so much of a problem as Discover does offer many inclusive benefits and services to offset such incentives with no hassle.

Limits to earning cash back

While you may earn up to 5% back on various rotating categories per quarter, each quarter there is a maximum of $1,500 you can earn 5% cash back on. If you are a big ticket spender, you may want to visit alternative options so you can capitalize on more cash back rewards beyond 1% per dollar spent once you hit that $1,500 mark.

Limited exposure

One notable point is that, as of right now, Discover is not accepted as universally as its competitors, Visa and MasterCard. Discover charges some of the highest premiums to merchants across the globe, which is why many won't accept Discover. However, Discover attempts to alleviate these issues with all the added benefits of security and privacy, along with excellent customer service available any hour of the day.

The Details

Rates and Fees

  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Cash Advance Fee: $10 or 5% per cash advance
  • Cash Advance Rate (APR): 24.99%
  • Foreign Currency Transaction Fee: None
  • Introductory Rate (APR): 0% for 14 months
  • Standard Rate (APR): 10.99% - 22.99%* Variable

Penalty Fees

  • Default Penalty Rate (APR): None
  • Late Payment Fee: $0 for first time, up to $35 thereafter
  • Minimum Interest Charge: $0.50
  • Over-Limit Fee: None
  • Returned Payment Fee: Up to $35

Balance Transfers

  • Introductory Balance Transfer Rate (APR): 0% for 14 months
  • Standard Balance Transfer Fee: 3% per transfer
  • Standard Balance Transfer Rate (APR): 10.99% - 22.99%* Variable


  • Additional Rewards for Dining: 5% cash back (rotates quarterly)
  • Additional Rewards for Gas: 5% cash back (rotates quarterly)
  • Additional Rewards for Groceries: None
  • Additional Rewards for Shopping: 5% cash back (rotates quarterly)
  • Additional Rewards for Travel: None
  • Bonus Points Offered: None
  • Rewards Earnings for All Purchases: 1% cash back
  • Sign-Up Bonus: None
  • Type of Reward: Cash Back

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