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Discover it® Cashback Match™ review

Published: April 18, 2018

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Ratings Policy
Balance Transfer Rating:
3.7 rating
3.7 rating
3.7 / 5
Introductory Offer: 3.9
Net Value: 3.6
Features: 2.0

In a nutshell:

The Discover it cash back offers a low minimum APR and a generous cash back program for motivated cardholders who don’t mind tracking rotating bonuses; however, the card’s maximum APR is too high for carrying a balance and its interest-free promotional period is relatively short.

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0% Introductory Period
14 months (See rates and fees)

Transfer Fee
3% (See rates and fees)

Introductory Purchase APR
0% (See rates and fees)

Regular APR
13.49-24.49% (variable) (See rates and fees)

Annual Fee
$0 (See rates and fees)

Other Notable Features: Fraud protection, Discover Deals, free FICO® credit score, no penalty for first late payment, instant account freeze, 100% U.S.-based service, free social security number alerts

Cash Back Rating:
4.1 rating
4.1 rating
4.1 / 5
Rewards Value: 4.6
Annual Percentage Rate: 4.1
Rewards Flexibility: 4.1
Features: 2.0

In a nutshell:

The Discover it cash rewards card offers the most value in the first year of membership when it matches all your rewards.

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Rewards Rate

  • Enroll every quarter to earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in purchases in various categories throughout the year
  • 1% cash back on general purchases

Sign-up Bonus
Matches cash back at end of first year

Annual Fee
$0 (See rates and fees)

Average Yearly Rewards Value ($1,325 monthly spend)
$334

APR
13.49-24.49% (variable) (See rates and fees)

Rewards Redemption
Pros

  • Rotating categories
  • Redeem at any time
  • Redeem as gift cards, donations, credit to your account, direct deposit into any account, payment at select retailers

Cons

  • Enrollment required
  • 5% cash back is limited to $1,500 in purchases

Other Notable Features: Fraud protection, Discover Deals, free FICO® credit score, no penalty for first late payment, instant account freeze, 100% U.S.-based service, free social security number alerts

Low Interest Rating:
3.9 rating
3.9 rating
3.9 / 5
Rates, Fees, Penalties: 4.0
Rewards: 3.9
Features: 2.0

In a nutshell:

With the card’s long 0 percent introductory APR on both balance transfers and new purchases and its low regular APR, cardholders are bound to save on interest with the Discover it card.

Learn more about this card

Regular APR
13.49-24.49% (variable) (See rates and fees)

Introductory Purchase APR
0% for 14 months (See rates and fees)

Introductory Balance Transfer APR
0% for 14 months (See rates and fees)

Fees

  • No annual fee
  • 3% balance transfer fee
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • 5% cash advance fee (or $10, whichever is smaller)
  • (See rates and fees)

Penalties

  • Up to $37 late payment fee
  • No penalty APR
  • Up to $37 returned payment fee
  • (See rates and fees)

Other Notable Features: Fraud protection, Discover Deals, free FICO® credit score, no penalty for first late payment, instant account freeze, 100% U.S.-based service, free social security number alerts

No Annual Fee Rating:
4.1 rating
4.1 rating
4.1 / 5
Rewards Value: 4.2
Annual Percentage Rate: 3.7
Rewards Flexibility: 4.7
Features: 2.0

In a nutshell:

For the first year, the Discover it card doubles all of the cash back that you earn without any limits, making a great deal for cardholders able to charge a large amount on the card.

Learn more about this card

Rewards Rate

  • Enroll every quarter to earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in purchases in various categories throughout the year
  • 1% cash back on general purchases

Sign-up Bonus
Matches cash back at end of first year

Annual Fee
$0 (See rates and fees)

Average Yearly Rewards Value ($1,325 monthly spend)
$334

APR
13.49-24.49% (variable) (See rates and fees)

Rewards Redemption
Pros

  • Rotating categories
  • Redeem at any time
  • Redeem as gift cards, donations, credit to your account, direct deposit into any account, payment at select retailers

Cons

  • Enrollment required
  • 5% cash back is limited to $1,500 in purchases

Other Notable Features: Fraud protection, Discover Deals, free FICO® credit score, no penalty for first late payment, instant account freeze, 100% U.S.-based service, free social security number alerts

Rewards Rating:
3.7 rating
3.7 rating
3.7 / 5
Rewards Value: 3.3
Annual Percentage Rate: 3.9
Rewards Flexibility: 4.7
Features: 2.0

In a nutshell:

Nearly identical to the Chase Freedom card, the Discover “it” card offers a substantial amount of value for cardholders who don’t mind keeping track of rotating bonus categories; but what really sets this card apart from its competitors is its consumer-friendly terms and ultra generous sign-up bonus, which doubles the amount of cash back you earn at the end of the card’s first year.

Learn more about this card

Rewards Rate

  • Enroll every quarter to earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in purchases in various categories throughout the year
  • 1% cash back on general purchases

Sign-up Bonus
Matches cash back at end of first year

Annual Fee
$0 (See rates and fees)

Average Yearly Rewards Value ($1,325 monthly spend)
$334

APR
13.49-24.49% (variable) (See rates and fees)

Rewards Redemption
Pros

  • Rotating categories
  • Redeem at any time
  • Redeem as gift cards, donations, credit to your account, direct deposit into any account, payment at select retailers

Cons

  • Enrollment required
  • 5% cash back is limited to $1,500 in purchases

Other Notable Features: Fraud protection, Discover Deals, free FICO® credit score, no penalty for first late payment, instant account freeze, 100% U.S.-based service, free social security number alerts

The Discover it cash rewards card is a good no-fee cash back card with a generous 5 percent bonus rate for quarterly rotating categories — as long as you log in to your account to activate your category each quarter, you can earn 5 percent cash back on up to $1,500 in purchases per quarter for the following categories:

Discover 5 percent cash back calendar 2018

WINTER SPRING SUMMER HOLIDAY
January – March
(Activate now)
April – June
(Activate starting Feb. 1, 2018)
July – September
(Activate starting May 1, 2018)
October – December
(Activate starting Aug. 1, 2018)
  • Gas stations
  • Wholesale clubs
  • Grocery stores
  • Restaurants
  • Amazon.com
  • Wholesale clubs

One incredible feature sets the Discover it card apart from other 1 percent cash back cards with rotating bonus categories: The card matches all your cash back at the end of your first year of membership. Thus, you can earn up to 10 percent cash back on your purchases in certain categories.

Matches rewards at the end of the first year

With your rewards matched at the end of the first year, you can earn massive rewards in your first year of membership. Even with the $1,500 limit on purchases, you can earn up to $600 in the rotating bonus categories alone at the end of your first year. And there is no limit to the 1 percent cash back that you can earn on general purchases.

Up to 50 percent cash back on Discover Deals

Discover has an online shopping mall known as Discover Deals. When you shop at Discover Deals, you can earn an even higher rate of cash back. The bonus rate can reach as high as 25 percent, which Discover will also double at the end of your first year of membership. For example, Macy’s currently offers 5 percent cash back and Papa John’s offers a 25 percent discount on orders. With the year-end bonus, those rates would double to 20 percent and 50 percent respectively.

Excellent U.S.-based customer service

Discover makes prompt customer service a priority. When you have an issue that needs to be resolved quickly, Discover won’t subject you to a series of prompts to avoid connecting you with a human. They will let you speak with a well-trained, U.S.-based customer service representative immediately.

Why get the Discover it cash rewards card?

  • You plan to use your new card heavily in the first year of owning it.
  • You’re looking for a card that offers a large bonus in the first year.
  • You’re willing to do some extra work in registering for bonus categories and keeping track of bonus spending.
  • Quality customer service is a priority for you.

 How to use the Discover it cash rewards card:

  • Use it for all your purchases in the first year to take advantage of the 2 percent cash back rate (1 percent doubled at the end of the first year).
  • Remember to register and use your card for rotating bonus categories every quarter.
  • Before making a purchase, check Discover Deals to see if you can use your card to maximize the bonus.

As Holly Johnson from The Simple Dollar points out, you can also use the Discover it Cashback Match card for a balance transfer – it has a decent 0 percent intro APR period of 14 months, although a 3 percent balance transfer fee applies.

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