|Cash Back Rating:||3.9 / 5|
|Annual Percentage Rate:||4.2|
|Issuer Customer Experience||5.0|
In a Nutshell:
A good card for foodies and commuters, the Discover it® Chrome credit card features an outstanding sign-up bonus that matches the cash back you earn at the end of your first year and a solid rewards rate on restaurant and gas station purchases.
Average Yearly Rewards Value ($1,325 monthly spend)
Discover Customer Service Ratings
Other Notable Features: No foreign transaction fee, account on and off switch, no penalty APR, no late fee for the first late payment (up to $41 after that), no overlimit fee, free FICO® credit score, free social security number alerts
If you dine out frequently or spend a lot of time driving, the Discover it® Chrome credit card could be a lucrative addition to your wallet — especially in the card’s first year. The Discover it® Chrome card offers a strong cash back bonus on restaurant and gas station purchases, making it an ideal card for social nights out and weekend road trips. It also offers an outstanding sign-up bonus that promises to match your earnings at the end of the card’s first year. Depending on how much you spend, that bonus could net you substantially more cash back overall than what’s offered by competitors.
Discover has also won praise from credit card experts for its consumer-friendly terms and responsive customer service, making it a good pick for cardholders who want a safer card with strong rewards.
Solid rewards for gas and dining out
A good card for consumers who like to spend their evenings and weekends dining out, the Discover it® Chrome credit card rewards restaurant-goers with 2 percent cash back on dining purchases and 1 percent cash back on general purchases. The Discover it® Chrome card also rewards commuters and frequent road trippers with 2 percent cash back on gas. The 2 percent bonuses aren’t the most generous rewards bonuses cardholders can get – particularly since a $1,000 quarterly cap on bonus spending limits cardholders’ earnings. But when paired with the Discover it® Chrome card’s sign-up bonus, the rewards for the first year are among the best available on a card with no annual fee.
See related: Best fixed bonus category cash back cards
A promising sign-up bonus
You’ll have to be patient to earn a sign up bonus with this unusual cash back credit card. Unlike most rewards cards, the Discover it® Chrome card doesn’t gift cardholders with a quick cash infusion in the first few months of owning the card. Instead, cardholders who wait can net a much bigger reward overall if they use their card for all or most of their purchases. To lure new cardholders, Discover promises to match cardholders’ rewards earnings at the end of the card’s first year – a potentially lucrative deal for cardholders who use this as their everyday card. For some cardholders, the sign-up bonus alone could make the Chrome card worth applying for, even if they don’t use the card after the promotion expires.
A great card for the first year
Because cardholders’ earnings are matched at the end of the year, the Discover it® Chrome card’s effective cash back rate for the first year is substantially higher than almost every other competitor. For the card’s first 12 months, cardholders essentially earn 2 percent cash back on general purchases and 4 percent cash back on the first $1,000 per quarter on gas and restaurants.
To get a sense of just how big that sign-up bonus really is, consider how much you would take home if you spent roughly $1,000 a month on general purchases and an extra $1,000 per quarter (about $333 a month) on gas and restaurant purchases. With an effective 4 percent cash back rate on gas and restaurant spending and a 2 percent cash back rate on general purchases, you would earn roughly $400 by the end of the year — a pretty good return for a card with no annual fee.
Discover has also won praise from consumers and credit card experts for its extensive customer service and for its consumer-friendly policies. The Discover it® Chrome credit card, for example, offers somewhat lower fees than many of its competitors and it offers some of the safest terms available. Cardholders aren’t charged a late fee the first time they miss a payment (after your first late payment, an up to $41 late fee applies) and they won’t get hit with a massive penalty rate if they repeatedly fall behind. Discover was also the first major credit card company to offer customers FICO® scores for free on every statement. The Discover it® Chrome card doesn’t offer very many standard credit card perks, such as car rental insurance or extended warranty, though, so it’s not the best choice to use as your only card.
A potentially hefty APR
This card has a 0% intro APR for new purchases for the first 15 months, giving it great value for the first year and three months into your second year. However, the biggest downside to the Discover it® Chrome card is its extensive variable APR, which could run higher than normal depending on your credit history (17.24% - 28.24% Variable APR). Cardholders with the best credit scores may be offered the lower end of the range, which is average for a cash back card. For example, the average cash back card charges around 17% in interest. But because Discover advertises such a wide range of APRs, you could get hit with a much higher rate than you were expecting.
Discover it® Chrome vs. Discover it® Cash Back
If you’re considering the Discover it® Chrome you may also have come across the Discover it® Cash Back. Despite their similar names, the Discover it® Chrome and Discover it® Cash Back cards are pretty distinct offerings, designed for different types of cardholders. While the Discover it® Chrome is ideal if you spend heavily in dining and gas, the Discover it Cash Back may be a better fit if your spending is a bit less predictable.
Unlike the Discover it® Chrome, which offers 2% back on dining and gas station purchases year-round (on up to $1,000 in combined spending per quarter, then 1%), the Discover it Cash Back offers 5% cash back in rotating bonus categories that you must enroll in each quarter (on up to $1,500 in spending per quarter, then 1%). Typical Discover cash back categories include both dining and gas station purchases, as well as more unique categories like online shopping and wholesale clubs.
If you don’t mind putting a bit more legwork into earning rewards, the Discover it Cash Back could offer more value due to its higher rewards rate, but this will depend on how closely the quarterly categories line up with your spending habits and whether you’re able to time your purchases strategically. If you manage to max out the quarterly categories, you could earn at least $300 per year in cash back.
That said, if you’re looking for one card to put all of your spending on, the Discover it® Chrome is likely the better choice. Based on the average person’s spending, the Discover it® Chrome offers a higher average rewards rate (1.29% back) than that of the Discover it Cash back (since it carries a flat 1% back outside of its rotating categories). Additionally, some cash back categories can be tough to max out – while it might be easy to spend $1,500 in a quarter at Amazon.com, it will be much hard to meet that threshold on Uber and Lyft purchases.
Since neither card carries an annual fee and both offer a first-year CashBack Match™, it may also be worth getting both cards. This would allow you to earn consistent cash back on gas and dining purchases with the Discover it® Chrome and enjoy cash back variety with the Discover it Cash Back card’s rotating categories.
See related: Discover it® Chromevs. Discover it Cash Back
Why get the Discover it® Chrome card?
- You spend a lot of time driving or eating out and want to capitalize on your spending.
- You want to earn maximum rewards without paying an annual fee and are tempted by the card’s promise to match rewards at the end of the first year.
- You want a consumer-friendly card with safer terms and exemplary customer service.
How to use the Discover it® Chrome card:
- Use your card for all or most of your gas and restaurant purchases in order to maximize your spending.
- To earn a large return after your cash back is matched, use your card for all your general purchases.
- Try to pay off your balance in full to avoid the card’s high APR.
- For additional advice, check out our complete guide to transferring a balance to your Discover card.
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