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LendingTree is compensated by companies on this site and this compensation may impact how and where offers appear on this site (such as the order). LendingTree does not include all lenders, savings products, or loan options available in the marketplace.
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LendingTree is an advertising-supported comparison service. The site features products from our partners as well as institutions which are not advertising partners. While we make an effort to include the best deals available to the general public, we make no warranty that such information represents all available products. We are compensated by companies on this site and this compensation may impact how and where offers appear on this site (such as the order).
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Discover it® Cash Back Review

LendingTree's Review

How LendingTree Rates Credit Cards?

Our experts rate credit cards based on several factors including card benefits, bonus offers and independent research. Credit card issuers do not influence or have a say in our card ratings. Read our credit card methodology here.
4.4
Discover it<sup>®</sup> Cash Back
0% Intro APR
0% Intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, then 17.24% - 28.24% Variable APR.
Rewards Rate
Earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places you shop each quarter like grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations, and more, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases—automatically. Redeem your rewards for cash at any time.
Sign-Up Bonus
Unlimited Cashback Match for all new cardmembers – 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.
Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It was not reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.

Our take: The Discover it® Cash Back is a solid cash back credit card with rotating quarterly bonus categories and no annual fee.

Pros and cons

  • High cash back rate
  • Cash back match the first year
  • Cash back is simple to redeem
  • Finance a balance transfer or a new purchase
  • $0 annual fee
  • Foreign transaction fee: none
  • Categories aren’t always lucrative
  • Rotating categories require activation
  • There’s a cap on the higher cash back rate
  • You can’t increase the value of rewards
  • Other benefits are limited
  • Discover has limited acceptance

Is the Discover it® Cash Back a good card?

Citi is an advertising partner.

If you’re the type of shopper who enjoys finding ways to squeeze discounts and savings out of every purchase, you’ll love the Discover it® Cash Back. It’s a standout card that offers a high cash back rate in rotating quarterly categories — if you don’t mind a little card maintenance. And, it offers a solid intro APR offers on purchases and balance transfers, too.

You’ll earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places you shop each quarter like grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations, and more, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases—automatically. Redeem your rewards for cash at any time.

5% cash back is one of the highest rates you can earn, but it’s limited to certain rotating categories. Discover’s bonus categories rotate each year and might not match up with your spending needs, so you may find that you are limited in how much you can take advantage of 5% cash back. Plus, you’ll need to remember to activate the categories each quarter — a major drawback if you want to keep things simple.

Quick facts

    • INTRO OFFER: Unlimited Cashback Match for all new cardmembers – 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.
    • Earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places you shop each quarter like grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations, and more, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases—automatically.
    • Redeem your rewards for cash at any time.
    • Discover could help you reduce exposure of your personal information online by helping you remove it from select people-search sites that could sell your data. It’s free, activate with the mobile app.
    • Get a 0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases. Then 17.24% to 28.24% Standard Variable Purchase APR applies, based on credit worthiness.
    • No annual fee.
    • Terms and conditions apply.
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit scores ranges may vary. Your individual chance at approval may vary due to factors such as creditors using a particular variation at their discretion
  • 660 720 850
    Good/Excellent
  • Free FICO credit score
  • No penalty APR
  • 100% U.S.-based customer service
  • Freeze your card online or in the app

Intro Purchase APR

0% Intro APR for 15 months

Regular Purchase APR

17.24% - 28.24% Variable APR

Intro BT APR

0% Intro APR for 15 months

Regular BT APR

17.24% - 28.24% Variable APR

Annual Fee

$0

Cash Advance Fee

Either $10 or 5% of the amount of each cash advance, whichever is greater.

Foreign Transaction Fee

None

Balance Transfer Fee

3% intro balance transfer fee, up to 5% fee on future balance transfers (see terms)*

Benefits of Discover it® Cash Back

  • Earns cash back at a high rate

    One of the greatest appeals of the Discover it® Cash Back is its eye-catching rate on quarterly rotating categories. You’ll earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places you shop each quarter like grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations, and more, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases—automatically. Redeem your rewards for cash at any time.

    The quarterly maximum is currently $1,500 in spending each quarter, so if you maximize the 5% category each quarter you’ll end up with $300 in bonus cash back.

    Discover’s 2024 categories

    January-MarchApril-JuneJuly-SeptemberOctober-December
    Restaurants and drugstoresGas stations and EV charging stations, home improvement stores and public transitTBATBA

  • Matches your cash back in the first year

    The Discover it® Cash Back offers a unique sign-up bonus for new cardmembers: Unlimited Cashback Match for all new cardmembers – 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.

    There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards, which makes the card an especially great deal for new cardholders — you’ll basically double any cash back that you earn in the first year.

  • Cash back is simple to redeem

    Unlike other cards that offer complicated redemption options or require work to truly maximize the value of their points, the rewards that you earn with the Discover it® Cash Back are quite straightforward. You can deposit your cash back directly into your bank account or apply it as a statement credit. You can also redeem it via Paypal or Amazon.com

  • You can finance a new purchase or a balance transfer

    The Discover it® Cash Back offers a longer-than-average intro rate for balance transfers and new purchases. You get a 0% Intro APR for 15 months on purchases, followed by a 17.24% - 28.24% Variable APR. There’s also a 0% Intro APR for 15 months on balance transfers, after which a 17.24% - 28.24% Variable APR applies — making this card a solid choice if you need to pay down high-interest debt from another card. Note that there’s a 3% intro balance transfer fee, up to 5% fee on future balance transfers (see terms)*.

Drawbacks of Discover it® Cash Back

  • Categories aren't always lucrative

    Unfortunately, the quarterly bonus categories may not always line up with your spending. For example, fitness clubs, gym memberships, PayPal purchases and streaming services have all been part of previous quarterly bonus categories. Depending on your spending patterns, it may be difficult to spend $1,500 in a quarter in these categories. Compare this to the Citi Custom Cash® Card, which awards you 5% back in your highest category of spend each month.

  • You have to activate the categories each quarter

    Another drawback is that you have to activate your 5% bonus cash back each and every quarter. If you don’t activate the new cash back category every quarter, you’ll earn just 1% cash back on all purchases. And unlike its main competitor, the Chase Freedom Flex℠, your activation doesn’t work retroactively. If you make a bonus purchase before you activate, you’ll still only earn 1%, even if you later activate your 5% bonus for the quarter.

  • There's a cap on bonus cash back

    After you’ve spent $1,500 in the bonus cash back category for the quarter, your earning rate will drop to a very low 1% on all purchases until the next quarter.

    Compare that to a card like the Chase Freedom Flex℠ — it also has rotating quarterly bonus categories, but also offers bonus earning on travel purchased through the Chase travel portal, dining and drugstore purchases.

  • You can't increase the value of your rewards

    Unlike its competitors — Chase and Citi — Discover doesn’t offer card pairing or point transfer options. Combining your points and/or transferring your Chase or Citi points can help maximize the value of your points. For example, with the Chase Freedom Flex℠, you could transfer your points to the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or Chase Sapphire Reserve® and redeem points through the Chase travel portal to get a 25% to 50% bonus. With Discover, you’re stuck at a 1% redemption value.

  • Other benefits are limited

    While the Discover it® Cash Back offers no annual fee, rotating quarterly bonus categories and doubling of your earned cash back in the first year, it is light on other benefits. The Chase Freedom Flex℠, in contrast, offers trip cancellation insurance, purchase protection and extended warranty, among many great perks.

  • Discover has limited acceptance outside the U.S.

    Even though it doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees, the Discover it® Cash Back isn’t the best option as a travel card. This is because acceptance is limited in countries outside the U.S. So you might want to consider a different card to use if you frequently travel outside the country.

Alternate Discover card to the Discover it® Cash Back

Compare it to the Chase Freedom Flex℠

| Disclosures
Chase Freedom Flex℠*
Chase Freedom Flex℠
Learn More
on Chase's secure site
0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months
20.49% - 29.24% Variable
$0
5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus
  • Earn a $200 bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Plus, earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (excluding Target and Walmart) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.
  • 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter!
  • 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, our premier rewards program that lets you redeem rewards for cash back, travel, gift cards and more
  • 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back. You can choose to receive a statement credit or direct deposit into most U.S. checking and savings accounts. Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open!
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 20.49% - 29.24%.
  • No annual fee – You won't have to pay an annual fee for all the great features that come with your Freedom Flex℠ card
  • Keep tabs on your credit health - Chase Credit Journey helps you monitor your credit with free access to your latest score, real-time alerts, and more.
660 720 850
Good/Excellent
*The information related to the Chase Freedom Flex℠ has been collected by LendingTree and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication. Terms apply

How Does LendingTree Get Paid?

LendingTree is compensated by companies on this site and this compensation may impact how and where offers appears on this site (such as the order). LendingTree does not include all lenders, savings products, or loan options available in the marketplace.

The Chase Freedom Flex℠ is another credit card that comes with $0 annual fee and similar rotating quarterly bonus categories. Like the Discover it card, the Chase Freedom Flex℠ also has a $1,500 cap on spending each quarter on its rotating categories.

However, the Chase Freedom Flex℠ is a more valuable and flexible card. Its greatest advantage is that it also offers bonus cash back on dining, drugstore and Chase travel purchases. Also, if you have a premium Chase credit card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, you can combine the rewards you earn from the Chase Freedom Flex℠ . This allows you to redeem points through the Chase travel portal for a 25% to 50% redemption bonus, and to transfer points to hotel and airline transfer partners for even more value.

The information related to Chase Freedom Flex℠ has been independently collected by LendingTree and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

Is the Discover it® Cash Back right for you?

If you don’t mind dealing with rotating bonus categories, the Discover it® Cash Back offers the opportunity to earn a generous amount of cash back. You’ll also want to consider the Chase Freedom Flex℠ as one alternative, since it also offers rotating quarterly bonus categories but comes with extra perks and benefits.

However, if you don’t want to deal with keeping track of rotating categories, you’ll find that there are many great cash back credit cards that are more straightforward.

apply-now-icon Apply Now
on Discover's secure site
Rates & Fees

Frequently asked questions

Yes, Walmart accepts Discover credit cards, including the Discover it® Cash Back. So if you are looking for a credit card to use at Walmart, the Discover it® Cash Back is one potential option.

Approvals for any credit card depend on your overall financial situation, including your income and credit score. Discover says that you’ll likely need the highest level of credit score to qualify for a card like the Discover it® Cash Back. If you have a lower credit score, you might want to consider an alternative card.

No, the Discover it® Cash Back does not charge a foreign transaction fee. That can make it a useful card to use when traveling abroad, though make sure that Discover is accepted where you’re looking to travel.

No, the Discover it® Cash Back is not a secured card. As an unsecured credit card, you will have access to a revolving credit limit each month. You can make purchases up to your total credit limit and then pay your statement balance when you receive your monthly bill.

Like most credit card companies, Discover will determine whether to issue you a credit card based on your overall financial profile. This might include your income, credit score and history and other factors. If you do not qualify for the Discover it® Cash Back, you might want to look at Discover’s other credit cards.

Discover does not publish a specific minimum or maximum credit limit for the Discover it® Cash Back. Instead, you’ll receive a credit limit based on your overall financial picture. If you want to increase the credit limit you’ve been given, you can always contact customer service to see if that’s an option.