I‘ve carried the Discover card for longer than I can remember. Originally called the Discover More Card, it’s now known as the Discover it®. It’s one of my favorite cash back credit cards.
Historically, Discover is known for two things: (1) excellent cash back rewards, and (2) excellent 0% APR introductory rate offers on balance transfers. And based on my review of the new card, it doesn’t disappoint in either category.
Now we can add a third feature–Discover now offers cardholders free access to their FICO credit score. This is a first, as far as I know, and I’ll cover the details below. First, let’s look at the cash back rewards.
Discover it® Cash Back Rewards
The cash back rewards are similar to Discover’s previous cards, with a couple of exceptions.
First, the familiar 5% cash back on categories of purchases that change throughout the year is a feature of the card. We track these rotating categories for all credit cards that offer five percent cash back, which you can find on our 5% rotating categories cash back page.
Second, and this is a big change, the Discover it® - Double Cash Back your first year pays 1% on all other purchases. If you’ve seen the Chase commercials comparing the Discover Card to the Chase Freedom card, you know that Discover at one time paid just 0.25% until you spent $3,000 on the card. That limitation is now gone. You earn 1% on all purchases right from the start.
Third, Discover has added a “Cashback Concierge” service. You can now get on the phone with a Discover representative, and they will look at your account to help you get the most out of your cash back rewards.
Finally, you have many options on how to redeem your cash back rewards. You can of course use the rewards as a statement credit (which is what I do) or get direct deposit of the cash back directly to your bank account. But Discover offers other options as well.
You can, for example, use your rewards to get gift cards or merchandise. With gift cards, you can redeem your rewards for a gift card with a value exceeding the amount of your rewards. For example, $20 in cash back might get you a $25 gift card. Or you can buy merchandise with free shipping.
Discover it® 0% APR Balance Transfer
The length of time a 0% offer lasts varies from card to card and over time. Since I’ve been blogging, the standard length of a 0% offer has varied from as little as 6 months to as much as 24 months. Today, the absolute longest 0% offer you can find is 21 months.
With the Discover it® card, you can choose between two versions of the card. One version offers 0% for 6 months on purchases and 0% for 18 Months on balance transfers. The second version offers 0% on purchases and balance transfers for 14 Months. The choice is an easy one depending on whether you plan to take advantage of the balance transfer or prefer to use the 0% on purchases. If you use the balance transfer feature, there is a 3% balance transfer fee. There is no fee for taking advantage of the 0% APR on purchases.
After the 0% offer expires, the standard interest rate will be 10.99% – 22.99%* Variable purchase APR, depending on your credit.
Discover it® Free FICO Score Offer
Discover is the first major credit card issuer to offer free access to FICO scores. Each month cardholders will see their FICO score on their monthly credit card statement. The score will be based on data from TransUnion.
Discover it® Other Features
Beyond cash back and the no interest features of the card, Discover it also offers some lessor known features. Particularly in the area of fees, the card really shines.
- No annual fee
- No late fee for your first late payment
- No overlimit fee
- No foreign transaction fee
- 100% U.S. based customer service available any time
- Paying late won’t increase your APR
- Pay for millions of items with your rewards at Amazon.com
- Pay your bill ’til midnight (ET) the day it’s due by phone or online
- Choose your payment due date online or by phone
- Lower rate, lower payment or other help after job loss
- Automatic expedited delivery of your new card
It’s perhaps for the above reasons that Discover has been ranked #1 in customer loyalty for 16 years, according to the 2012 Brand Keys Customer Loyalty Engagement Index Report.
Discover Spend Analyzer
The Discover website offers what it calls the Spend Analyzer. This feature looks at the charges to your card over the past one, three, six, 12 or 24 months and analyzes your spending by category. With a click of the mouse, you can drill down into any spending category to understand exactly where your money is going.
As with anything, there are always some features that could be better. In the case of Discover it, there’s not much room for improvement. Discover could offer a bonus cash reward for new cardmembers. But beyond that, the card is competitive in every respect.
All-in-all the Discover it card is an excellent option. I’ve carried a Discover card for a long time and have been very happy with it. The website is extremely easy to use, redeeming cash back rewards is a snap, and Discover gives you a ton of options when it comes to paying your bill.
Compare this and other credit cards at CardRatings.com.