Discover it® Cash Back Card Review – 2x Cash Back Match Your First Year

Discover it® Cash Back is a cash back credit card with no annual fee and a nice rewards scheme. The card earns a base rate of 1% cash back on all purchases, but select rotating categories – for example, gas stations, restaurants, and department stores – earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in purchases per quarter. Discover it Cash Back is part of a larger family of cash back and travel rewards credit cards, with stablemates such as Discover it ChromeDiscover it Miles, and Discover it for Students.

Discover it Cash Back competes with a number of popular cash back credit cards, including its Discover-branded peers. The closest analogues include Chase Freedom, Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card, and Citi Double Cash Card. Unlike most comparable cards, Discover it Cash Back doesn’t come with a traditional sign-up bonus – though it does automatically double cash back earned in the first year of card membership.

On your first card membership anniversary, Discover it Cash Back automatically doubles all cash back earned in that year, with no caps or restrictions. For instance, if you earned $200 in cash back during your first year, you receive a $200 bonus – for $400 total in first-year cash back earnings. This includes cash back you earn through the Discover Deals shopping portal. The more you spend, the more valuable this benefit is.

Discover it Cash Back earns 5% cash back on select quarterly rotating categories. Popular categories include gas station purchases, department store purchases, and restaurant purchases. The 5% cash back benefit applies to the first $1,500 spent across all rotating categories in a given quarter. Once you hit $1,500, future purchases in the rotating categories earn an unlimited 1% cash back. All other purchases also earn an unlimited 1% cash back. Note that you need to manually activate your 5% cash back categories each quarter. Once you activate, earnings are retroactive to the beginning of the quarter.

You can redeem your accumulated cash back rewards for statement credits, bank account deposits, pay-with-points at, and electronic and physical gift cards. Statement credit and bank account deposit redemptions can be made at any time, in any amount. Gift card redemptions come with a $20 minimum.

Discover’s Freeze It feature allows you to lock your account with a single click from any Internet-connected device, preventing new purchases, cash advances, and other activities. It comes in handy when you misplace your card or suspect that your account has been compromised. If you find your card, you can unfreeze your account using the same method. Keep in mind that balances continue to accrue interest and automatic payments for bills and other recurring expenses continue to execute as normal when your account is frozen.

Discover it Cash Back comes with a 14-month 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers. To qualify, balance transfers must be made by the 10th day of the third month after you open your account. For instance, accounts opened in January have until April 10th to take advantage of the promotion.

Discover it Cash Back includes a free FICO credit score on every monthly paper or electronic statement. You can also access your FICO score at any time through your online account dashboard.

There is no annual fee or foreign transaction fee. Balance transfers cost a flat 3% of the transferred amount. Cash advances always cost the greater of $10 or 5%, and late and returned payments cost $35.

This card requires very good to excellent credit. Any blemishes of note are likely to be disqualifying.

Like Chase Freedom and other cash back rewards cards with tiered, rotating spending categories, Discover it® Cash Back rewards you for making certain types of purchases at certain times. That’s great for applicants who intend to use this as a primary credit card and make a wide variety of purchases with it.

However, Discover it Cash Back’s approach to cash back certainly isn’t the only way to do such things. If you prefer a card without quarterly rotating categories or spending caps, there are plenty of great alternatives on the market.

Discover it® Cash Back is an ideal cash back credit card for moderate spenders who don’t mind manually activating their 5% categories each quarter and who can commit to spending $1,500 in those categories every quarter. Plus, with reasonable underwriting standards, Discover it Cash Back works for people without amazing credit. By the same token, this card isn’t meant for folks who can qualify for more generous cash back cards, nor those who prefer the simplicity of flat-rate cash back schemes.

The first-year cash back bonus, relatively low fees, lack of minimum redemption thresholds for cash redemptions, and reasonable underwriting requirements are all beneficial.

On the other hand, the lack of a sign-up bonus, a mediocre baseline cash back rate, and the manual activation requirement are all substantial drawbacks of this card. Overall, it’s a very good general-spending cash back card for moderate spenders.

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and has been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of the bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Categories: Credit and Debt, Credit Cards, Discover, Reviews

Brian Martucci writes about frugal living, entrepreneurship, and innovative ideas. When he’s not interviewing small business owners or investigating time- and money-saving strategies for Money Crashers readers, he’s probably out exploring a new trail or sampling a novel cuisine. Find him on Twitter @Brian_Martucci.

Comments Disclosure: The below responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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