10 Reasons to Consider Using Discover Credit Cards

Discover credit cards

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Discover is one of those brands that remains steadfast in the credit card world. No bells, whistles, or excitement going on here — just solid products and reliable cash-back.

You’ll find no grand sign-up offers or complicated earning structures either — just simplified rewards, an easy redemption process, and consistent benefits.

Discover also knows its market well, offering credit cards that reward everyday spending and even a small business card.

Their credit card options for consumers just starting out, students, and those with less-than-perfect credit (or no credit at all) round out Discover’s credit card portfolio.

With all these choices, you’ll need a guide — that’s why we’ve put together a list of all the reasons you might consider a Discover credit card.

In this article we’ll cover:

  • Everyday earning potential of Discover cards
  • How the cash-back match feature doubles your earnings
  • The ease of redeeming your rewards
  • An overview of the best Discover credit cards
  • How to see if you’re pre-approved or pre-qualified

Let’s get started with 10 reasons to consider a Discover credit card, and find out if one of their cards is a fit for you.

1. No Annual Fees Ever

You’ll never have to worry about paying an annual fee with Discover credit cards; none of their credit cards ever charges an annual fee.

2. CashBack Match™ at First Anniversary

One of the most lucrative benefits offered by Discover cards is having all of your cash-back earnings doubled the first year you have your card.

At first renewal, all of the cash -back you’ve earned throughout that first year will be matched!

The following Discover Cards have this feature:

  • Discover It® Cash Back
  • Discover It® Miles
  • Discover It® Chrome
  • Discover It® Chrome for Students
  • Discover It® Cash Back for Students
  • Discover it® Transfer Balance
  • NHL Discover It® Card
  • Discover It® Business
  • Discover It® Secured Credit Card

Bottom Line: Regardless of how much cash-back you earn during your first year having a Discover It® credit card, all of your earnings will be matched at your first card anniversary. 

Shell gas station
Cash-back bonus categories on Discover credit cards help your rewards accumulate faster. Image courtesy of Shell.

3. Bonus Earning Categories

To maximize the CashBack Match™ feature that comes with Discover credit cards, you’ll want to take advantage of every opportunity to earn as much cash-back during your first year as possible.

Bonus earning categories help you do this.

Quarterly 5% Bonus Categories

Receiving 5% cash-back on your purchases is a level to strive for!

While you won’t find a credit card that delivers 5% cash-back on all of your purchases, Discover cards offer a respectable 5% cash-back on up to $1,500 for purchases in select categories that change each quarter.

You’ll earn 5% cash-back on rotating categories such as department stores, gas stations, wholesale clubs, Amazon, restaurants, and more.

The following Discover It® cards offer 5% quarterly bonus categories:

  • Discover It® Cash Back
  • Discover It® Cash Back for Students
  • NHL Discover It® Card
  • Discover It® Transfer Balance

Gas and Restaurant Bonus Earning

If your spending happens to fall in the categories of gas stations and/or restaurants, you might find one of the Discover It Chrome cards appropriate for your situation.

Both cards come with all the features you’d expect with Discover cards, such as easy redemption options and security features.

Discover It® Credit Cards for Gas and Restaurant EarningRewards Earning
  • Discover It® Chrome
  • Discover It® Chrome for Students
  • 2% cash-back at gas stations and restaurants
  • Up to $1,000 in combined purchases/quarter
  • 1% cash-back on all other purchases

It’s possible to realize a total of 4% cash-back on dining in the first year with Discover It® Chrome cards when CashBack™ Match is applied at your first card anniversary.

For the long term, however, there are better credit cards for dining; the American Express® Gold Card is one example, with 4% cash-back all the time on U.S. dining and at U.S. grocery stores.

Plus, the Gold Card from American Express earns Membership Rewards Points that can deliver value far greater than 1 cent/point at redemption time.

Bottom Line: Since all cash-back is matched the first year you have your Discover card, you’ll want to maximize earning in the bonus categories on your card. If you’re earning 5% cash-back, for example, you’ll then receive an effective 10% cash back the first year!

4. Earn More With Refer-a-Friend

Receive a $50 statement credit when someone uses your refer-a-friend link to sign up for a Discover Card.
Once your friend is approved and makes a purchase within the first 3 months after card approval, they will also receive a $50 statement credit. You can earn a maximum of $500 per year.
Amazon logo
Use your cash-back rewards during checkout for your Amazon purchases and receive full value. Image courtesy of Amazon.com.

5. Redeem Any Amount at Any Time

No need to wait until you have $100 of cash-back in your account before you can redeem your rewards, like some other cards require.

Discover allows you to redeem any amount you want, any time you want.

  • Cash – You can elect to have your cash-back deposited into your bank account or applied as a statement credit.
  • Amazon – When checking out on Amazon.com, you can pay with your Discover rewards.
  • Gift Cards – Use your rewards to purchase gift cards and receive $5 free added. Gift cards start at $20.
  • Charity – Use your rewards to donate to charity.
Bottom Line: There are no minimum thresholds to meet when redeeming your Discover cash-back rewards, and the redemption process is easy. 

6. An Easy Credit Card Solution for Your Business 

Focus on running your small business and forget about complicated earning/redemption rules on your business credit card.

The Discover It® Business Card earns 1.5% on every purchase, and it adds extra cash to your bottom line with the CashBack Match™ at your first card anniversary.

7. Cash-Back Credit Cards for Students

Lots of people begin using credit when they’re a student. Discover ensures student credit card selections include bonus category cash-back earnings, CashBack Match™ at your first card anniversary, and incentives for good grades.

Here are the earnings you can expect for Discover® Student credit cards:

  • Discover It® Cash Back for Students – 5% cash-back on quarterly rotating categories
  • Discover It® Chrome for Students – 2% cash-back at restaurants and gas stations

Discover’s student credit cards share the same additional benefits:

  • 1% cash-back on all other purchases
  • Cashback Match™ at first card anniversary
  • $20 statement credit each year student GPA is 3.0 or higher (up to 5 years)
  • Redeem any amount, any time
  • 0% APR on purchases for 6 months
  • Free account alerts, zero fraud liability, and ability to freeze account

Bottom Line: Discover student credit cards come with all the benefits of Discover’s standard portfolio of cards. 

NHL Discover Card logos
NHL fans can select the logo of their favorite team on the NHL Discover It credit card. Image courtesy of Discover.com.

8. A Cash-Back Credit Card for the NHL Fan

As a former die-hard Detroit Red Wings hockey fan, I may have jumped at having the NHL Discover It® card just to get the cool logo 🙂

In addition to the snappy NHL logo, you can expect these benefits:

  • 5% cash-back on quarterly bonus categories
  • 1% cash-back on all other purchases
  • Cashback Match™ at first card anniversary
  • 10% discount at NHL.com and NHL.TV subscription
  • Redeem any amount/any time
  • Free account alerts, zero fraud liability, and ability to freeze account

You might get the card for the logo, but you’ll keep it for it’s first-year earning power.

9. Qualify for a Discover Card With Less Than Perfect Credit

If you have bad credit or no credit history, you won’t qualify for most credit cards.

Secured credit cards like the Discover It® Secured Credit Card can be a viable solution for building a credit history or re-building one that is less than perfect.

Finding a secured credit card is not difficult, but finding one that earns cash-back rewards is rare. Here’s what you can expect from the Discover It® Secured Credit Card:

  • 2% cash-back at restaurants and gas stations
  • 1% cash-back on all other purchases
  • Cash-back match at first card anniversary

You’ll also have the same “redeem any amount/any time” redemption privileges, zero fraud liability, and security options allowing you to freeze your account and get custom alerts.

Bottom Line: While secured credit cards require a security deposit, they’re an excellent solution for rebuilding credit. Earning rewards and not having to pay an annual fee are huge positives for a secured credit card. 

10. Enjoy 0% APR Purchases and Balance Transfers

If you need to make a large purchase or have high-interest credit card balances you’d like to pay off, a 0% APR period can save you hundreds of dollars in interest charges.

Here’s how Discover credit cards deliver the 0% APR benefit:

0% APR Discover Credit CardPurchasesBalance Transfers
  • Discover It® Cash Back
  • Discover It® Chrome (Gas and Restaurants)
  • NHL Discover It®
0% APR for 14 months0% APR for 14 months – 3% balance transfer fee
  • Discover It® Balance Transfer
0% APR for 6 months0% APR for 18 months – 3% balance transfer fee
  • Discover It® Miles
0% APR for 6 monthsN/A
  • Discover It® Business
0% APR for 12 monthsN/A
  • Discover It® Student Cash Back
  • Discover It® Student Chrome (Gas and Restaurants)
0% APR for 6 monthsN/A

 

Discover card pre-approval
Try Discover’s risk-free options to see pre-approved offers or find out if you’re pre-qualified. Image courtesy of Discover.com.

See If You’re Pre-Approved or Pre-qualified

No one wants to be denied for a credit card. That’s why we like Discover’s risk-free options for finding out if you have an approved offer waiting for you, or if you’re pre-qualified for one of their credit cards.

Unlike a formal credit card application, these options do not initiate a hard inquiry on your credit report.

  • Find your pre-approved offers – Fill out the pre-approval form requiring basic personal and financial info, submit the form, and review any pre-approved offers.
  • Pre-qualificationComplete the pre-qualification form, submit it, and select the cards you want to apply for.

For more information on pre-qualification/pre-approval, access our comprehensive guide.

Bottom Line: Use these risk-free options to get an idea of whether you’d qualify for a Discover It® credit card. Neither pre-approval nor pre-qualification guarantees your actual credit application will be approved, but you’ll increase your chances by knowing which cards to apply for. 

FAQ

How does cash back work?

When you make a purchase on a Discover credit card you will earn a percentage of cash back ranging from 1% to 5%. This cash back remains in your account until you decide to redeem it.

You can redeem your cash back rewards for a statement credit, have the cash transferred to your bank account, use it for a purchase on Amazon.com, buy gift cards, or donate to charity.

Cash back rewards do not expire. If your account is inactive for more than 18 months the rewards will be applied to your statement.

How does CashBack Match work?

At the end of your first year account anniversary, all of the cash back you have earned throughout that year will be matched.

For example, if you have earned $300 cash back throughout the year, another $300 cash back will be credited to your account after your first year card anniversary.

There is no cash-back match in subsequent years.

Which is the best Discover credit card?

The best  Discover card for you will match your spending habits and allow to you earn the highest cash-back rewards on those purchases.

For example, if you spend a lot on gas and dining, you may prefer the Discover It Chrome card which earns 2% cash back on those bonus categories.

Since none of the cards charges an annual fee, it’s easy to pick the card that fits your spending situation.

Do Discover credit cards have foreign transaction fees?

No, none of the credit cards offered by Discover charge foreign transaction fees.

Are Discover cards widely accepted?

You won’t have any problem using a Discover credit card in the United States as they are widely accepted. In addition, Discover credit cards are accepted worldwide in 190 countries.

There are areas where the card is not accepted, however, including parts of South America, much of Africa, Eastern Europe, and areas in the Middle East.

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