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Best Discover Credit Cards 2022: Which One Is Right For You?

Best Discover Credit Cards 2022: Which One Is Right For You?

Though international acceptance is limited, Discover credit cards often offer great cashback deals. Our choice for the best Discover card is the Discover it® Cash Back, which matches all the cash back you earn in your first year.

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Top Discover credit cards 2022

Best for cash back

Discover it® Cash Back

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Best for travel

Discover it® Miles

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Best for students

Discover it® Student Cash Back

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Discover credit cards can be a great addition to your wallet — especially for those who prefer to earn in cash back and don't plan to use their card internationally. Discover has something for everyone, from high-earning cashback cards to fair credit-friendly student cards.

We've analyzed a variety of Discover cards to establish our top picks.

Best Discover credit cards compared 2022

Earning rate
Cashback Match
Cash back: Discover it® Cash Back5% 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 - automaticallyUnlimited 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.
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Comparing the best Discover cards: Cashback Match

None of the cards on this list include a traditional sign-up bonus. However, they all offer a unique Cashback Match, which automatically matches the full amount of cash back you earn in your first year of card ownership. This can result in an incredibly lucrative year-end bonus for new cardmembers. The best part about Cashback Match is that because rewards are unlimited, you can control how much you'll end up earning. The more you spend on your card, the more cash back you'll receive at the end of your first year.

Comparing the best Discover cards: Earning rate

Each of the Discover cards on our list offers an earning structure that reflects the type of consumer that card attracts. For example, the Discover it® chrome and Discover it® Secured Credit Card both allow cardmembers to 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.

With the Discover it® Cash Back and Discover it® Student Cash Back cards, however, the earning structure gets a little more complicated. These cards offer rotating 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. While the increased amount of cash back in select categories can certainly be lucrative, cardholders must remember to activate each quarter in order to get these deals.

Earning rate
Discover it® Cash Back5% 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
Discover it® Student Cash Back5% 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
Discover it® MilesAutomatically earn unlimited 1.5x Miles on every dollar of every purchase
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Comparing the best Discover cards: Other features

Each of our top Discover card picks include a few unique features that set them apart as the best of the Discover cards. We'll outline some of these features below:

Discover it® Cash Back

  • Rewards don't expire: A top benefit of Discover cards is that rewards are unlimited and never expire.
  • Customer service: The Discover it® Cash Back card comes with a number of helpful customer service features. These include access to your free FICO Score whenever you want it, 24/7 customer service based completely in the U.S. and free overnight shipping should you need to replace your card.
  • Safety features: The Discover it® Cash Back card also offers stand-out safety features, including free Social Security number alerts, the ability to easily freeze your account if you lose your card and a $0 fraud liability guarantee.

Discover it® Student Cash Back

  • Students with limited credit histories can qualify: A main perk of the Discover it® Student Cash Back card is that you don't need to have fantastic credit to apply. This card only requires a Fair/Limited credit score for approval.
  • Rewards don't expire: The Discover it® Student Cash Back card offers unlimited rewards that never expire.

Discover it® Miles

  • Rewards don't expire: As with all Discover cards, your earning potential is unlimited and rewards never expire.
  • Free FICO Score: With Discover it® Miles, cardmembers have access to their free FICO Score. You can view your score on the Discover mobile app, online and on statements. Checking your score regularly is vital for maintaining a healthy credit score, so this is a nice perk of this card.

Discover it® Secured Credit Card

  • Accessible to consumers with bad credit: Because the Discover it® Secured Credit Card is a secured credit card, it's available to people with bad or no credit history. The primary intention of this card is to help consumers build and improve on their past credit history so they can graduate to a regular credit card.
  • Secured card that earns rewards: Even though this is a secured credit card that requires a minimum $200 deposit, it still allows consumers to earn valuable rewards on all purchases as well as matching all the cash back earned in your first year of card membership.

Discover it® chrome

  • Rewards don't expire: With the Discover it® chrome card, you'll get unlimited 1% cash back rewards in all spending categories other than gas and restaurants, and your rewards will never expire.
  • Top rewards on gas: The Discover it® chrome card lets you earn 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter, making it an ideal card for those who frequently fill up their tanks.

Best Discover Card for cash back

Discover it® Cash Back

Verdict: An all-around excellent credit card for earning cashback rewards

The Discover it® Cash Back has one of the highest earning potentials of any Discover credit card. It lets you 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

For 2021, the categories include:

  • Grocery stores, Walgreens and CVS (January-March)
  • Gas stations, select streaming services and wholesale clubs (April-June)
  • Restaurants and PayPal (July-September)
  • Amazon.com, Target.com and Walmart.com (October-December).

If you take full advantage of the 5% rotating categories, you'll earn up to $75 in cash-back rewards each quarter. All other spending with the card gets you 1% cash back.

Additionally, for new cardholders, Discover will match all the cash back you earn during your first year. For example, if you earn $300 in cash-back rewards, Discover will give you an additional $300.


Best Discover Card for travel

Discover it® Miles

Verdict: Ideal for frequent travelers looking to be reimbursed for travel purchases

The Discover it® Miles is a great card for travelers, since you earn a high flat rate of miles on every purchase. This means you won't have to worry about activating categories or spend time thinking about which card to use for which purchases. The miles you earn can be redeemed either as cash back or as a statement credit toward travel purchases for categories including airfare, hotels, restaurants, gas stations and more. There aren't any blackout dates, which allows you to maintain flexibility with your travel plans.


Best Discover Card for students

Discover it® Student Cash Back

Verdict: A strong rewards rate with valuable student-centric benefits

The Discover it® Student Cash Back is a top choice for students in need of a credit card. It shares a lot of the same features as the Discover it® Cash Back — namely the 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.

You also only need a Fair/Limited credit score to be approved for this card, making it more accessible to students who may have little to no prior credit history.


Best Discover card for bad credit

Discover it® Secured Credit Card

Verdict: One of the top secured credit cards for people with poor credit who still want to earn rewards

For people with bad or no credit history, the Discover it® Secured Credit Card is an excellent solution. Though it requires a minimum refundable $200 deposit, you only need a Limited/Bad/Poor credit score for approval. This card is intended to help consumers build positive spending habits and strengthen their credit score, and they'll even report your credit history to all three major credit bureaus. After seven months of card ownership, Discover will perform automatic monthly account reviews to see if you can qualify for a standard "unsecured" card and have your deposit returned.

The best part about this card, however, is that it also earns fantastic rewards. Not only will Discover match all the cash back earned at the end of your first year, but you'll also 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.


Best Discover card for gas and restaurants

Discover it® chrome Gas and Restaurant Credit Card

Verdict: An awesome card for earning rewards on gas and restaurant purchases

The Discover it® chrome is basically the "unsecured" version of the Discover it® Secured Credit Card. It lets cardmembers 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

This is a great card for those who consistently spend on gas and at restaurants. Plus, you'll get Discover's excellent Cashback Match offer, which matches the full amount of cash back you've earned at the end of your first year.

What credit score do you need for a Discover card?

The credit score needed in order to get a Discover card will depend on each specific card. Some Discover cards require Good or Excellent credit, while others only require Limited/Fair or even Poor credit. A great example of a Discover card that accepts people with bad or no credit is the Discover it® Secured Credit Card credit card.

As far as our top Discover card picks:

  • Discover it® Cash Back requires an Excellent/Good/Average credit score
  • Discover it® Miles requires an Excellent/Good credit score
  • Discover it® chrome requires an Excellent/Good/Average credit score
  • Discover it® Student Cash Back requires an Fair/Limited credit score
  • Discover it® Secured Credit Card requires an Limited/Bad/Poor credit score

Discover card acceptance

One of the main drawbacks of getting a Discover card is that it offers somewhat limited acceptance. Though Discover boasts 99% nationwide acceptance at places that accept credit cards, their international acceptance is lower.

Discover is its own network, similar to Visa and Mastercard, but currently has a narrower range of global acceptance than those more dominating networks. The Discover Global Network has availability in 200 countries and territories, but excludes most of Africa, the Middle East and parts of Eastern Europe and South America.

How does Discover cash back work?

With Discover credit cards, you can earn cash back every time you use your card. Different cards offer differing amounts of cash back depending on the spending category, but generally you can expect to earn at least 1% cash back on every purchase. With Discover's special Cashback Match, you'll also receive double the amount of cashback you've earned over the course of your first year of card membership.

When you're ready to redeem your cash back, simply go online and have your cash back deposited directly into your bank account, use it to pay with rewards at checkout at Amazon.com and PayPal, purchase gift cards starting at $5 or make a charitable donation.

What's the best Discover card for you?

The best Discover card for you will depend on the type of consumer you are, your credit score and what you're hoping to get out of your card:

  • For consumers with a high credit score who like to earn rewards in cash back, the Discover it® Cash Back card will likely be the best option for your needs.
  • For those with a lower credit score or students looking for their first credit card, the Discover it® Student Cash Back or the Discover it® Secured Credit Card might be a good choice.
  • For frequent travelers who could benefit from putting their cash back towards travel purchases, the Discover it® Miles card could be a great addition to your wallet.
  • For people who spend significantly on gas and dining, the Discover it® chrome can be a nice option.

However, if you're not sold on Discover, consider other cashback or travel credit cards instead.

Discover Card FAQs

Is Discover accepted everywhere?

Discover isn’t accepted everywhere. While Discover is accepted at 99% places in the U.S. that take credit cards, its global acceptance is more limited. If you're wondering who takes Discover card, you can view Discover's Global Network here.

Is Discover a Mastercard?

Discover is not a Mastercard. Discover is its own separate network, much like Visa and Mastercard. However, Visa and Mastercard have greater worldwide acceptance.

How many Discover cards can you have?

You’re allowed to hold two Discover cards at any given time, not including other accounts you're an authorized user on. You can only activate one Discover card per year, so in order to apply for another card you'll have to have your first card for at least that long.

How to apply for a Discover card?

You can apply for a Discover card by going to Discover's website and filling out an application for your desired credit card.

How to close Discover credit card?

You can close your Discover credit card account by calling 800-DISCOVER (800-347-2683).

How long does a Discover card take to arrive?

Discover usually delivers your card within seven to 10 business days of being approved.

Why is Discover Card hard to get?

A Discover card may be hard to get if you don't have a high enough credit score to be accepted for that card. An alternative option could be applying for the Discover it® Secured Credit Card, which accepts consumers with little to no credit history.

What is the difference between a Discover card and a Discover it card?

Discover cards have been discontinued and can no longer be applied for. Discover it cards are Discover's new line of credit cards that are available to consumers.

Recap of the best Discover credit cards 2022

  • Best Discover card for cash back: Discover it® Cash Back
  • Best Discover card for travel: Discover it® Miles
  • Best Discover card for students: Discover it® Student Cash Back
  • Best Discover card for bad credit: Discover it® Secured Credit Card
  • Best Discover card for gas and restaurants: Discover it® chrome

Methodology

We've analyzed Discover cards to determine our top choices for the best Discover cards for most consumers. To find the best cards, we compared features like earning rate, required credit score and special benefits.

This list comprises Discover cards that appeal to a wide range of consumers. Those who prefer a travel credit card can redeem their rewards either as cash or a statement credit towards travel purchases with the Discover it® Miles card. Those with limited/fair credit might prefer the Discover it Student card, while consumers looking for a solid cashback card will appreciate what Discover it® Cash Back has to offer.

Our recommendations are not influenced by our advertisers.

The information related to Discover it® Cash Back, Discover it® Student Cash Back, Discover it® Miles, Discover it® Secured Credit Card and Discover it® chrome has been independently collected by ValuePenguin and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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How We Calculate Rewards: ValuePenguin calculates the value of rewards by estimating the dollar value of any points, miles or bonuses earned using the card less any associated annual fees. These estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone, not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.

Example of how we calculate the rewards rates: When redeemed for travel through Ultimate Rewards, Chase Sapphire Preferred points are worth $0.0125 each. The card awards 2 points on travel and dining and 1 point on everything else. Therefore, we say the card has a 2.5% rewards rate on dining and travel (2 x $0.0125) and a 1.25% rewards rate on everything else (1 x $0.0125).