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Discover it Balance Transfer card benefits guide

Get more time to pay off your purchases and avoid interest


The Discover it Balance Transfer card offers up to 18 months of interest free financing on balance transfers and six months on purchases. And you’ll get rewards, all with no annual fee.

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Credit cards with 0% APR promotions can help you eliminate interest on your debt and give you more time to pay off your purchases.

The Discover it® Balance Transfer card offers up to 18 months of interest-free financing on your balance transfers and six months on your purchases. You’ll also earn up to 5% cash back rewards on your purchases with no annual fee, which makes this card a keeper after the interest rate promo expires.

In this article, you’ll find out what benefits you’ll receive and get some simple tips on how to maximize the value from this card.

Discover it Balance Transfer card benefits

As a cardholder, you’ll enjoy numerous benefits during the first year, and beyond with the Discover it Balance Transfer card. These are some of the most popular benefits:

0% APR promo for up to 18 months

The Discover it Balance Transfer card comes with a 0% APR promotion offer for 18 months for balance transfers and six months for  purchases. The 0% APR for purchases begins when you open your account, and it can give you extra time to pay off big items that you buy.

The balance transfer 0% APR period starts from the date of your first transfer. Keep in mind you’ll pay an intro balance transfer fee of 3% (up to 5% on future balance transfers; see terms). Even after paying this small fee, however, most customers come out ahead with the 0% APR period compared to their high-interest debt.

When the promotional interest rate expires, your APR will be a variable rate of 13.49% to 24.49%, depending on your creditworthiness.

5% quarterly cash back categories

Discover it offers rotating cash back categories – you can earn 5% on the first $1,500 you spend at eligible merchants. If you maxed out these bonus categories, you’d earn $300 cash back each year. Participating merchants in 2022 include grocery stores, gyms, Target, gas stations, restaurants and Amazon.com.

The categories are generally announced in advance, which allows you to plan your purchases. You must activate the 5% offer, however, before making any purchases to receive the higher rate. All other purchases earn an unlimited 1% cash back.

Cash back match the first year

While many credit cards offer a specific welcome bonus when you sign up and spend a certain amount, the Discover it card does things a bit differently – it matches all the cash back you earn in the first year instead of a traditional welcome bonus. In other words, you are in control of how much you can earn as a bonus during the first year you have the card.

So, if you earn $50 in cash back, Discover will match it. If you max out your quarterly 5% cash back categories and earn additional cash back on other purchases for a total of $350, Discover will match that as well.

No annual fee

With no annual fee, all of the cash back that you earn is yours to keep.

Free FICO credit score

For cardholders that are trying to improve their credit, Discover helps you track your progress. The Credit Scorecard includes complimentary access to your FICO credit score, number of credit inquiries and more.

Generous fee and interest rate policies

Discover offers numerous customer-friendly policies on fees and penalty interest rates that can save you money. While some banks cut off payments in the evening, Discover allows you to pay your bill until midnight Eastern Standard Time over the phone or online without counting the payment as being late. If you do pay your bill late, Discover will not raise your APR, and it will waive the late fee on your first late payment (after that, up to $41). Plus, if your purchases exceed your credit limit, you won’t get hit with an over-limit fee.

No foreign transaction fees

When traveling internationally or making purchases from another country, you can use the Discover it card without incurring foreign transactions fees. Some other credit cards charge a fee of up to 3%.

Maximizing the Discover it Balance Transfer card

With so many benefits of the Discover it Balance Transfer card, you’ll want to maximize them to save money and get the most rewards on your purchases. Here’s how:

Reduce interest on existing balances

If you’re carrying debt on a high-interest rate credit card or another loan, you can transfer the balance to the Discover it card and eliminate that interest. You’ll pay an intro 3% balance transfer fee (up to 5% on future transfers; see terms) on any balances you transfer, but you’ll save in the long run. With a 0% APR available for 18 months on balance transfers, you have over one full year to knock out that debt without paying any additional interest.

Get extra time to pay off big purchases

If you know you will have large purchases to make – such as replacing a roof, doing car repairs, or paying for college tuition or a kitchen remodel – you can benefit from the Discover it card. You have six months from the date you open your account to take advantage of the 0% APR on purchases. This gives you more than a year to spread out your payments into more bite-sized chunks.

Maximize quarterly 5% cash back categories

Keep track of the rotating quarterly cash back categories and activate them as soon as possible. Generally, you can activate them up to two months before the quarter begins, so you don’t miss out on active bonuses. Once you activate them, you can max out the $1,500 quarterly limit to earn $300 per year in bonus cash back.

Even if you aren’t planning to spend that much, you can still max out the rewards. For example, you may not spend $1,500 at restaurants in one quarter, but you can support the restaurant by buying gift cards during the quarter to max out your bonus; then, you can use those gift cards to pay for meals throughout the year.

Double your cash back after the first year

Discover’s Unlimited Cashback Match offer doubles all the cash back you earn during the first year you have the card. With that promotion, you’re earning 10% cash back on quarterly bonuses and an unlimited 2% on everything else the first year. Few cash back credit cards can come close to offering that type of earning power.

Redeem rewards in any amount

You can redeem your cash back rewards at any time and for any amount – and they never expire. You can have your rewards deposited into your bank account, get a statement credit to reduce your balance, or use them to shop at Amazon.com or PayPal.

Unlike airline miles or hotel points, you can use these cash back rewards for anything. Some customers use their cash back rewards to accelerate paying off their 0% APR balances so they can avoid paying interest when the promotion expires. You could also deposit the money into a high-yield savings account to save toward a goal or use it to treat yourself to something nice you’ve been saving up for.

Monitor the progress of your credit score

As you pay down your 0% APR balance, you can also improve your credit score. And with the free FICO score and other tools available through the Credit Scorecard, you can monitor your progress. Remember that higher scores can unlock lower interest rates, better loan terms and possibly, lower auto insurance premiums.

Bottom line

If you have high-interest debt or need extra time to pay off a big purchase, the Discover it Balance Transfer card is a solid choice. It provides 18 months of interest-free financing balance transfers and six months on purchases, plus you can earn up to 5% cash back on your purchases. Perhaps best of all, Discover will match all of the cash back you earn during the first year.

Editorial Disclaimer

The editorial content on this page is based solely on the objective assessment of our writers and is not driven by advertising dollars. It has not been provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products from our partners.

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