Discover it® Cash Back Credit Card Review: Is It A Good Value?

Discover it® Cash Back Credit Card Review: Is It A Good Value?

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.

The Discover it® Cash Back is one of the better cash back credit cards, provided that you can take advantage of all of it has to offer. Instead of the traditional signing bonus that many other cards typically have, Discover will double the cash back you earned during your first cardmember year, if you are a new cardmember. This makes the Discover it® Cash Back one of the absolute best cash back cards - at least for the first year you have it.

Review: Is the Discover it® Cash Back Worth It?

Discover has a good promotion running for new applicants - they will double all the cash back you've earned at the end of your 1st year of card membership. During that first year, Discover it® Cash Back offers the greatest savings of any other cash back card around. If you count this bonus, your effective cash back rate during that first year can be at the very least 2%. This makes the Discover it® Cash Back, undeniably, one of the best rewards credit cards - for the first year, it even beats out competitors like the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer.

Discover credit cards are not as widely accepted as leading competitors. Like American Express, Discover cards run on their own payment processing network, different from VISA and MasterCard which are accepted nearly everywhere. With the Discover it® Cash Back, cardholders may sometimes run into issues where a vendor may not accept it as a form of payment. This generally happens in brick and mortar retailers and restaurants more so than it does online. It's one of the reasons we think that the Discover it® Cash Back is a great option as a supplemental credit card. Use it to earn the bonus rewards, but keep a more accepted primary card around just in case.

Discover it® Cash Back Features & Benefits

5% Bonus Cash Back Calendar

Cardholders can earn 5% cash back cash back in categories that change each quarter, up to a quarterly maximum each time you activate. The following table outlines the 2020 calendar year 5% bonus categories for the Discover it® Cash Back. Lining up your spending with this calendar is essential to maximizing the rewards you earn. Most of the time, you will be better off using another credit card to pay for purchases which aren’t a part of a 5% category at any given time.

Jan - Mar Grocery stores, Walgreens and CVS

Apr - Jun Gas stations, Uber, Lyft and wholesale clubs

Jul - Sep Restaurants and PayPal

Oct - Dec, Target and

Which Discover it® Credit Card Should I Choose?

Discover begun offering two different variations of its most popular product – the two cards are virtually identical, outside of the length of their introductory APR periods. If you don’t have any existing credit card debt you’d want to manage, we recommend the classic Discover it® Cash Back. It can provide users with some more breathing room when it comes to paying off new purchases. As always, we urge users to pay all credit card balances in full each month (if possible). If this is something you already do, choosing between the two credit cards will not make a difference.

Individuals who are more interested in managing an existing credit card balance will be better off going for the Discover it® Balance Transfer. This offer can be beneficial for consumers who are currently paying a lot of money towards credit card interest, and want to get some breathing room to pay off their debts.

How Does the Discover it® Cash Back Compare to Other Credit Cards?

Discover it® Cash Back vs Chase Freedom®

There are two benefits of the Chase Freedom® that can make it a more lucrative card however: a fixed sign-up bonus and network. Chase Freedom® cardholders can earn Earn a $200 Bonus after spending $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. The Chase Freedom® is part of the largest card network in the U.S. – VISA. This means users will have less trouble paying with the Chase Freedom® over the Discover it® Cash Back. Individuals who wish to make their final decision based purely on rewards value, should consult with the rewards calendar of each card to maximize rewards, you will want to select the credit card which best fits your spending schedule.

Discover it® Cash Back vs Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer

  • On Citibank's Secure Website
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The Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer lets you Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases. Additionally, consumers who nab the current ‘double your rewards after the first year’ promotion, will come out undeniably on top in terms of rewards at the end of that first year. Due to the high rewards rate on the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer being uncapped, high spenders will find more value out of it.

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

Comparison Tool

Finding a credit card that is well suited to your particular spending can, oftentimes, be difficult. To help with the process, we have constructed the tool below which will calculate the rewards rate of credit cards for you.

Assumptions based on $1,430 monthly spend
Monthly spending:
Joe Resendiz

Joe Resendiz is a former investment banking analyst for Goldman Sachs, where he covered public sector and infrastructure financing. During his time on Wall Street, Joe worked closely with the debt capital markets team, which allowed him to gain unique insights into the credit market. Joe is currently a research analyst who covers credit cards and the payments industry. He earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at Austin, where he majored in finance.

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).