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How To Do a Discover Balance Transfer

*Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.

This article was last updated February 28, 2022 . Terms and conditions may have changed. For the most accurate information, please consult the issuer website.

Moving debt from a high-interest credit card to one with a 0% introductory APR via a balance transfer is one of the best tools available for getting out of debt more quickly. Discover issues several cards with balance transfer offers — so if you’re carrying debt on a card from another credit card company, doing a balance transfer with Discover could give you a window of time to pay off what you owe without incurring expensive interest charges.

What you need to initiate a Discover balance transfer

There are just a few essentials for doing a balance transfer with Discover:

  1. A Discover credit card. This might be a new Discover card you opened for the purpose of doing a balance transfer or it might be an existing Discover credit card with a balance transfer offer available.
  2. The amount of debt you wish to transfer. Discover will allow transfers of about 95% of your credit limit, in order to leave enough credit to cover the balance transfer fee.
  3. Your old account information. You’ll have to enter the credit card number of the account you’re moving the balance from so Discover can pay it off.

How to do a balance transfer to a new Discover card

If you’re applying for a new Discover credit card from an online application, you should see a screen option to transfer a balance as you proceed through the online form. You’ll need to enter details of the account that you want to pay off and the amount of debt you want to transfer. Just note your balance transfer request won’t begin processing until your new Discover card has been open for at least 14 days; you’re also not guaranteed to qualify for the entire transferred amount, as Discover will need to conduct a credit review before you’re approved.

Once you receive your physical card in the mail, you can also call the number on the back to request a transfer over the phone. Just make sure to check if there’s a deadline by which you must complete the balance transfer in order to take advantage of the 0% intro APR offer, and request the transfer as promptly as possible.

How to do a balance transfer for existing Discover cardholders

If you’re already a Discover cardholder, you can log into your online account, click the “card services” tab and then select “balance transfers.” You’ll be taken to a screen that shows available offers, if there are any.

If you have available offers, you’ll be shown details on a screen like this:

After selecting your preferred offer, you’ll have to enter information about the amount you want to transfer and the account you’re paying off. You could also call the number on the back of your credit card and talk with a Discover representative by phone to find out if you have any offers and submit your balance transfer request.

How long does a balance transfer take with Discover?

If you’ve requested a balance transfer to an existing Discover credit card, the issuer notes that such requests are typically processed within four days. On the other hand, if you’ve requested a transfer to a new card, you should know your balance transfer won’t begin processing until the account has been open for at least 14 days.

What types of debt can you transfer?

Though balance transfers are commonly thought of as paying off one credit card with another, oftentimes you can transfer other types of debt to a balance transfer card. For example, Discover also lets you use a balance transfer to pay off gas and store cards, auto loans and medical bills.

That said, do the math before requesting a balance transfer, and be realistic about whether you’ll pay off the full amount of your debt before your card’s 0% intro APR period ends and the regular APR kicks in.

For example, using a balance transfer credit card to pay off an auto loan isn’t a smart move if the interest charges you’ll face on the card are more expensive than what you’d incur just by continuing to pay on the loan. Similarly, for medical bills, you might have an option to set up a payment plan rather than transferring the debt to a credit card.

Best Discover balance transfer credit cards

Discover it<sup>®</sup> Balance Transfer

Discover it® Balance Transfer

Apply Now
on Discover's secure site
Intro Purchase APR 0% Intro APR for 6 months
Annual Fee $0
Regular Purchase APR 13.49% - 24.49% Variable APR

The Discover it® Balance Transfer offers a lengthy 0% Intro APR for 18 months on balance transfers (after, a 13.49% - 24.49% Variable APR applies). The balance transfer fee is also reasonable: You’ll pay a 3% intro balance transfer fee, up to 5% fee on future balance transfers (see terms)*.

There’s also an intro APR on purchases, but it’s lackluster at just 0% Intro APR for 6 months (after, a 13.49% - 24.49% Variable APR applies) — there’s no doubt that its balance transfer offer is where this card shines.

Once you’ve finished paying off your transferred debt, keep this card in your wallet for a generous cash back program: 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like Amazon.com, grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations and when you pay using PayPal, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – automatically.

Note that you’ll need to activate bonus categories quarterly, and your 5% earnings are capped at $1,500 spent in the bonus category per quarter. If you max that out, that’s $75 in cash back at the elevated rate each quarter, after which your earning rate drops to 1% on all purchases until the next quarter comes around.

We don’t recommend using a balance transfer card for purchases until you’ve paid off what you transferred, but if you do make new purchases in the first year, there’s a sign-up bonus: Unlimited Cashback Match – only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year! There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. You could turn $150 cash back into $300.

The Discover it® Balance Transfer‘s annual fee is $0 and the foreign transaction fee is none.

Quite simply, the Discover it® Balance Transfer is an excellent choice for consumers who need a long time to pay off transferred debt. With a year-and-a-half of no interest on balance transfers, this card offers plenty of time to breathe. It’s also worth keeping around after you pay off your balance transfer  thanks to a generous cash back program, which many balance transfer cards don’t offer.

  • Free access to your FICO® Score
  • Freeze and unfreeze your card online and in the mobile app
  • 24/7 customer service 100% based in the U.S.
  • Discover® Identity Alerts (enrollment required)

The Discover it® Balance Transfer offers a lengthy 0% Intro APR for 18 months on balance transfers (after, a 13.49% - 24.49% Variable APR applies). The balance transfer fee is also reasonable: You’ll pay a 3% intro balance transfer fee, up to 5% fee on future balance transfers (see terms)*.

There’s also an intro APR on purchases, but it’s lackluster at just 0% Intro APR for 6 months (after, a 13.49% - 24.49% Variable APR applies) — there’s no doubt that its balance transfer offer is where this card shines.

Once you’ve finished paying off your transferred debt, keep this card in your wallet for a generous cash back program: 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like Amazon.com, grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations and when you pay using PayPal, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – automatically.

Note that you’ll need to activate bonus categories quarterly, and your 5% earnings are capped at $1,500 spent in the bonus category per quarter. If you max that out, that’s $75 in cash back at the elevated rate each quarter, after which your earning rate drops to 1% on all purchases until the next quarter comes around.

We don’t recommend using a balance transfer card for purchases until you’ve paid off what you transferred, but if you do make new purchases in the first year, there’s a sign-up bonus: Unlimited Cashback Match – only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year! There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. You could turn $150 cash back into $300.

The Discover it® Balance Transfer‘s annual fee is $0 and the foreign transaction fee is none.

Quite simply, the Discover it® Balance Transfer is an excellent choice for consumers who need a long time to pay off transferred debt. With a year-and-a-half of no interest on balance transfers, this card offers plenty of time to breathe. It’s also worth keeping around after you pay off your balance transfer  thanks to a generous cash back program, which many balance transfer cards don’t offer.

  • Free access to your FICO® Score
  • Freeze and unfreeze your card online and in the mobile app
  • 24/7 customer service 100% based in the U.S.
  • Discover® Identity Alerts (enrollment required)
Discover it<sup>®</sup> Cash Back

Discover it® Cash Back

Apply Now
on Discover's secure site
Intro Purchase APR 0% Intro APR for 15 months
Annual Fee $0
Regular Purchase APR 13.49% - 24.49% Variable APR

The Discover it® Cash Back comes with the same cash back program as the Discover it® Balance Transfer but different 0% intro APR periods. Cardholders get a somewhat shorter 0% Intro APR for 15 months on balance transfers, after which a 13.49% - 24.49% Variable APR applies. Still, the balance transfer fee is the same: a 3% intro balance transfer fee, up to 5% fee on future balance transfers (see terms)*.

There’s also a 0% Intro APR for 15 months on purchases, after which a 13.49% - 24.49% Variable APR applies.

Cardholders earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like Amazon.com, grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations and when you pay using PayPal, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - automatically.

Just be ready to activate new categories every quarter, otherwise you’ll earn just 1% on all purchases. And take note that your 5% earning rate is capped at $1,500 spent per quarter in the bonus category. Once you hit the cap, your rewards will drop to 1% back on all purchases until the next quarter rolls around.

The cash back categories for 2022 are as follows:

  • Grocery stores and fitness club and gym memberships (January–March)
  • Gas stations and Target (April–June)
  • Restaurants and PayPal (July–September)
  • Amazon.com and certain digital wallets (October–December)

Plus, the card comes with a sign-up bonus, too: Unlimited Cashback Match – only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year! There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. You could turn $150 cash back into $300.

You’ll pay a $0 annual fee to carry the card, and the foreign transaction fee is none.

If you don’t need quite as long to pay off your balance transfer as the Discover it® Balance Transfer offers, the Discover it® Cash Back is a fine choice. Plus, it comes with the same great cash back program — so as long as your spending typically lines up with what’s offered in the rotating bonus categories, this card offers the opportunity to earn generous rewards. But first, you should finish paying off your transfer before making new purchases.

  • Free access to your FICO® Score
  • Freeze and unfreeze your card online and in the mobile app
  • 24/7 customer service 100% based in the U.S.
  • Discover® Identity Alerts (enrollment required)

The Discover it® Cash Back comes with the same cash back program as the Discover it® Balance Transfer but different 0% intro APR periods. Cardholders get a somewhat shorter 0% Intro APR for 15 months on balance transfers, after which a 13.49% - 24.49% Variable APR applies. Still, the balance transfer fee is the same: a 3% intro balance transfer fee, up to 5% fee on future balance transfers (see terms)*.

There’s also a 0% Intro APR for 15 months on purchases, after which a 13.49% - 24.49% Variable APR applies.

Cardholders earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like Amazon.com, grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations and when you pay using PayPal, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - automatically.

Just be ready to activate new categories every quarter, otherwise you’ll earn just 1% on all purchases. And take note that your 5% earning rate is capped at $1,500 spent per quarter in the bonus category. Once you hit the cap, your rewards will drop to 1% back on all purchases until the next quarter rolls around.

The cash back categories for 2022 are as follows:

  • Grocery stores and fitness club and gym memberships (January–March)
  • Gas stations and Target (April–June)
  • Restaurants and PayPal (July–September)
  • Amazon.com and certain digital wallets (October–December)

Plus, the card comes with a sign-up bonus, too: Unlimited Cashback Match – only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year! There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. You could turn $150 cash back into $300.

You’ll pay a $0 annual fee to carry the card, and the foreign transaction fee is none.

If you don’t need quite as long to pay off your balance transfer as the Discover it® Balance Transfer offers, the Discover it® Cash Back is a fine choice. Plus, it comes with the same great cash back program — so as long as your spending typically lines up with what’s offered in the rotating bonus categories, this card offers the opportunity to earn generous rewards. But first, you should finish paying off your transfer before making new purchases.

  • Free access to your FICO® Score
  • Freeze and unfreeze your card online and in the mobile app
  • 24/7 customer service 100% based in the U.S.
  • Discover® Identity Alerts (enrollment required)
Discover it<sup>®</sup> chrome

Discover it® chrome

Apply Now
on Discover's secure site
Intro Purchase APR 0% Intro APR for 15 months
Annual Fee $0
Regular Purchase APR 13.49% - 24.49% Variable APR

The Discover it® chrome offers a solid 0% Intro APR for 15 months on balance transfers; after, a 13.49% - 24.49% variable apr APR applies. You’ll pay a 3% intro balance transfer fee, up to 5% fee on future balance transfers (see terms)*. There’s also a 0% Intro APR for 15 months on purchases, after which a 13.49% - 24.49% Variable APR applies. Plus, like the cards mentioned previously, there’s a unique sign-up bonus.

That bonus comes in the form of a cash back match: Unlimited Cashback Match – only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year! There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. Just a dollar-for-dollar match.

For ongoing rewards, cardholders earn 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter. 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases - automatically.

The annual fee is $0 and the foreign transaction fee is none.

Consumers who need a solid intro APR period on balance transfers, and don’t want to deal with the rotating cash back structures offered on the other two cards mentioned here, will likely find the Discover it® chrome a useful tool. Once you’ve paid off your balance transfer, you can take advantage of this card’s straightforward cash back rewards on gas station and restaurant purchases — and if you hit the $1,000 combined spending cap on purchases in those categories each quarter, that’s $20 in cash back at the elevated rate.

  • Free access to your FICO® Score
  • Freeze and unfreeze your card online and in the mobile app
  • 24/7 customer service 100% based in the U.S.
  • Discover® Identity Alerts (enrollment required)

The Discover it® chrome offers a solid 0% Intro APR for 15 months on balance transfers; after, a 13.49% - 24.49% variable apr APR applies. You’ll pay a 3% intro balance transfer fee, up to 5% fee on future balance transfers (see terms)*. There’s also a 0% Intro APR for 15 months on purchases, after which a 13.49% - 24.49% Variable APR applies. Plus, like the cards mentioned previously, there’s a unique sign-up bonus.

That bonus comes in the form of a cash back match: Unlimited Cashback Match – only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year! There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. Just a dollar-for-dollar match.

For ongoing rewards, cardholders earn 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter. 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases - automatically.

The annual fee is $0 and the foreign transaction fee is none.

Consumers who need a solid intro APR period on balance transfers, and don’t want to deal with the rotating cash back structures offered on the other two cards mentioned here, will likely find the Discover it® chrome a useful tool. Once you’ve paid off your balance transfer, you can take advantage of this card’s straightforward cash back rewards on gas station and restaurant purchases — and if you hit the $1,000 combined spending cap on purchases in those categories each quarter, that’s $20 in cash back at the elevated rate.

  • Free access to your FICO® Score
  • Freeze and unfreeze your card online and in the mobile app
  • 24/7 customer service 100% based in the U.S.
  • Discover® Identity Alerts (enrollment required)

Comparison of Discover balance transfer cards

Discover credit cardBalance transfer ongoing APR
Discover it® Balance Transfer0% Intro APR for 18 months13.49% - 24.49% Variable APR
Discover it® Cash Back0% Intro APR for 15 months13.49% - 24.49% Variable APR
Discover it® chrome0% Intro APR for 15 months13.49% - 24.49% Variable APR APR

Discover balance transfer frequently asked questions

No, you cannot transfer balances between credit cards from the same issuer. This is a standard restriction you’ll encounter when doing a balance transfer with any credit card company.

You will have to pay a balance transfer fee when moving debt to a Discover credit card. If you’re opening a new Discover card, you might have the option to start out with a 3% balance transfer fee with the potential for it to increase to up to 5% after a certain period of time.

However, you’ll be saving on interest charges that you’d otherwise incur if you were to carry a balance on a card without an intro period. Whether it’s worth it to you depends on how much debt you’re carrying and how high your interest rate is on the card where the balance currently is. If you’re not sure what your interest rate is, check the APR listed on your credit card statement.

Discover has a balance transfer calculator that you can use to do some quick figuring — just remember to add in any balance transfer fee amount into the total balance you include.

Yes, if you have a Discover balance transfer offer available, you can transfer a balance from a Chase credit card. In fact, you’ll be able to transfer balances from pretty much any issuer to a Discover card — except for Discover itself.

Glen Luke Flanagan

  • Expertise: Personal finance, credit scoring, credit cards
  • Education: Radford University, East Carolina University

 


 

Glen Luke Flanagan is a senior credit card writer for LendingTree. He joined the team in June 2019, and covers topics including new credit cards, how your credit score works and what you need to know about credit card interest.
 
Before joining LendingTree, Glen worked in journalism and government communications. As a journalist at newspapers in North Carolina and South Carolina, his reporting won awards from the North Carolina Press Association and the South Carolina Press Association, respectively.
 
Glen earned his bachelor’s degree in media studies with a concentration in journalism from Radford University, graduating summa cum laude in May 2014. He also earned a master’s degree in English with a concentration in technical and professional communication, as well as a graduate certificate in marketing, from East Carolina University in May 2022.

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The above offers and/or promotions may have since changed, expired, or is no longer available. Check the Issuers’ website for more details.