Discover it® Cash Back Credit Card Review

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Discover it® Cash Back snapshot

If you’re on the hunt for cash back rewards or to take advantage of a 0% introductory Annual Percentage Rate (APR) on purchases and balance transfers, Discover may have just what you’re looking for. The Discover it® Cash Back card offers a high cash back rate on categories that change in their cash back rewards program – 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com and more up to the quarterly maximum, each time you activate. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – automatically.

We included details on this card along with a look at some of the other cards we consider top rewards cards that are on the market so that you can compare.

Discover it® Cash Back highlights

At a Glance
Annual Fee:$0
Foreign Transaction Fee:None
Rewards Program:Use your Discover it® Cash Back credit card and earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com and more up to the quarterly maximum, each time you activate.

Plus, you earn unlimited 1% cash back on all your other purchases made with your Card.

As an introductory offer: Discover will match all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically - for new cardmembers only. There's no signing up and no limit to how much is matched.
We Think it's Great For:People who want to maximize cash back earnings

People who don’t want to pay an annual fee
We Think These Folks Should do More Research:People who prefer a flat cash back rewards rate on all purchases

People who primarily want to earn travel rewards
Additional Information:Terms apply.

Discover it® Cash Back basics

The Discover it® Cash Back card features rewards, minimal fees and cash back incentive for new cardmembers as well as an introductory APR offer on purchases and balance transfers.

With the Discover it® Cash Back card, the 0% introductory APR period is 14 months long for both purchases and balance transfers. This card offers a 0% introductory APR for 14 months on purchases, then 13.49% – 24.49% Standard Variable Purchase APR applies, based on your creditworthiness. As we mentioned, this card also offers a 0% introductory APR for 14 months on balance transfers, then 13.49% – 24.49% Standard Variable Purchase APR applies, based on your creditworthiness. There is a 3% intro balance transfer fee, up to 5% fee on future balance transfers (see terms)*.

Terms apply.

Discover it® Cash Back vs. other cash back rewards cards

Our review wouldn’t be complete without discussing other popular cash back options. Here are three cards to consider as cash back contenders.

Chase Freedom®

Card highlights we want to feature:

  • Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. There are new 5% categories each quarter.
  • Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • No annual fee

The Chase Freedom® card is similar to the Discover it® Cash Back card in terms of the rewards program.


With the Chase Freedom® card you earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate with new 5% categories each quarter. Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.

There’s no annual fee and qualifying new Cardmembers earn a $150 Bonus after spending $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. Look at this card’s bonus categories and then compare to Discover’s to give you an idea of which one is more suited to your spending style.

Terms apply.

[Further Review: Chase Freedom® Review]

U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card

Card highlights we want to feature:

  • Earn 5% cash back on your first $2,000 in combined eligible net purchases on two categories you choose from select qualifying merchants
  • Earn 2% cash back on your eligible net purchases on your choice of one everyday category from select qualifying merchants
  • Choose your 5% and 2% categories each quarter
  • 1% cash back on all your other everyday eligible net purchases
  • No annual fee

usbankcashbackplusIf you’re not keen on the credit card company dictating which purchases qualify the U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card is designed with you in mind. With this card, earn 5% cash back on your first $2,000 in combined net purchases each quarter in two categories you choose from U.S. Bank select qualifying categories/merchants each quarter.  You must enroll each quarter into the categories of your choice.

Earn unlimited 2% cash back on eligible net purchases made on one everyday category of your choosing from U.S. Bank select qualifying categories, like gas stations or grocery stores. Be sure to activate your 5% and 2% categories each quarter, otherwise you will earn 1% on all eligible net purchases.

You earn 1% cash back on all your other everyday eligible net purchases.

U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card has no annual fee.

Terms apply.

[Further Review:  U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card Review]

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Card highlights we want to feature:

  • Qualifying new Cardmembers earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases.
  • No annual fee

The Chase Freedom Unlimited® is certainly worth a look if you’re interested in earning cash back on what you spend on purchases. Qualifying new Cardmembers earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases.

Your cash back rewards won’t expire as long as your account is open. This card’s features are likely to appeal to spenders who want an easy and simple rewards structure for their card purchases.

This card has no annual fee.

Terms apply.

 Discover it® Cash Back rewards program

The Discover it® Cash Back card offers two rewards rates—5% cash back and 1% cash back.

Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com and more up to the quarterly maximum, each time you activate. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – automatically.

Get Cashback Match™ at the end of your first year

The Discover it® Cash Back card has an intro offer: Discover will match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year, automatically, for new cardmembers only. There’s no signing up and no limit to how much is matched. Based on your credit card spending it could potentially be more value than the cards with bonus offers that we profiled earlier.

What are the Discover it® Cash Back bonus categories?

As far as the 5% cash back categories go, they tend to be things which every day spenders are generally likely to make purchases on. For example earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com and more up to the quarterly maximum, each time you activate.  Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – automatically. Remember you have to activate the categories to earn the 5% cash back, otherwise, you’ll earn unlimited 1% cash back on all your purchases.

Discover’s 5% categories for 2019 can be found below. You earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com and more up to the quarterly maximum, each time you activate. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – automatically.

5% Cash Back Calendar – 2019**

Quarter**Category**
January 2019 - March 2019Grocery Stores
April 2019 - June 2019Gas Stations, Uber and Lyft
July 2019 - September 2019Restaurants and PayPal
October 2019 - December 2019Amazon.com, Target and Walmart.com
**5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com and more up to the quarterly maximum, each time you activate.

Learn more about 5% Cashback Bonus at the Discover website.

How can I use my Discover it® Cash Back cash back rewards?

We think one of the best things about this card is the options for redeeming rewards. You can get them back as a credit to your account, an electronic deposit to your bank account, a donation to select charities or use your rewards at Amazon.com checkout – for any amount and as little as $0.01.  Alternatively, you can redeem for gift cards, although you will need to have a minimum amount of cash back rewards to redeem for gift cards.

Discover it® Cash Back pros

prosWe see the cash back rewards program as the main highlight if your regular spending habits are in sync with the rotating quarterly categories, you can earn rewards with the higher 5% cash back rate, up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate. Additionally, Discover has an intro offer: Discover will match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year, automatically, for new cardmembers only, which could be a valuable incentive for you to consider when you’re deciding which card is best for you. The intro offer does not require signing up and there’s no limit to how much cash back is matched for your first year as a new cardholder.

More icing on the cake, the fact that the Discover card has no annual fee and no foreign transaction fee.

Discover it® Cash Back cons

consWe see the main downside of this card is the possibility that certain of the 5% cash back categories aren’t a good match for your spending habits so in those cases you may not be able to reach the quarterly maximum. Choosing a card that pays the same rewards rate on all purchases may seem like the better option for this type of consumer

Remembering to opt-in each quarter to get the 5% cash back categories may also be a headache for some card users. Again, sticking with a card that has a flat cash back rate may be simpler if you don’t want the added hassle.

Should you get the Discover it® Cash Back credit card?

Anyone who’s an everyday spender and wants the opportunity for a bigger cash back boost in 5% cash back categories up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate, no annual fee, and plus earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases, automatically, may want to consider the Discover it® Cash Back card.

If you don’t think this is a good fit, there are plenty of other solid cash back options available. Just make sure that before you settle on any card, you’re comparing the rewards, rates and fees so you know what is being offered.

Learn More: Best Cash Back Credit Cards

Terms apply.


Independent Review Disclosure: All the information about the U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card has been collected independently by CreditSesame.com and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this cards The U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card is not available through CreditSesame.com.

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Published September 27, 2016
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