• MT Staff Writer
  • January 24, 2019

Editorial Disclosure: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any of the companies mentioned, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone.

“The editorial content on this page is not provided by any of the companies mentioned, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone.”

Discover it Cash Back Quick Facts

  • Introductory match on all cash back earned after the first year, with no limit
  • 5% cash back on different categories each quarter
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • Redeem cash back rewards at any amount, any time
  • Rewards do not expire
  • No annual fee
  • Free Social Security number alerts
  • 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for 14 months

Pros & Cons

Pros:

  • Generous cash back match at the end of the introductory year
  • Extra cash back on rotating categories
  • 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for 14 months
  • $0 annual fee

Cons:

  • Rotating bonus cash back categories may get confusing
  • Fewer merchants accept the card in the US and abroad
  • Introductory cash back bonus takes longer than other sign-up bonuses
  • Bonus cash back categories are chosen for you

Discover it Cash Back Full Review

Reaping the rewards of the Discover it Cash Back card may be a little more work than the standard card, but worth it for the right person.

The 5% cash back rate for rotating quarterly categories is more than double the typical flat cashback rates for other cards. If you plan accordingly, this could rack up some major cash back each quarter. What’s more, Discover will actually match your cash back earned after the first year, which is a major benefit as an introductory bonus offer if you’re willing to wait more than the typical 90-day period. However, it’s important to remember some caps to apply to how much cash back you can earn each quarter.

While the 5% rotating cash back rate and introductory cash back offer are tempting, keep in mind this card will only provide major benefits if you’re willing to do the work. The Discover it Cash Back card is a little more high-maintenance than the average credit card. The card does come with some perks of other cards, including no annual fee and 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for 14 months. After this period is over, ongoing APR jumps to 13.99% – 24.99% Variable APR.

Discover it Cash Back: Basics and benefits 

The Discover it Cash Back card offers no annual fee, a sign-up bonus that will match ALL cash back you’ve earned after the first year without limits. Cashback starts at 5% back in rotating quarterly categories up to $1,500 in purchases each quarter, 1% back after the $1,500 quarterly limit has been reached, and 1% back on all other purchases.

For an added bonus, cash back can be redeemed at any time in almost any amount. The only exception is for gift cards and eCertificates, which require a $20 minimum. Cash back rewards can be deposited into any account, included as statement credits on your card, donated to specific charities, used for shopping on Amazon.com, and redeemed for gift cards and eCertificates. 

As for fees, there are no foreign transaction fees and a balance transfer fee of 3% applies. Other added perks for Discover it Cash Back cardholders include free access to your FICO credit score and free Social Security number monitoring exclusively from Discover. 

The real perks of the Discover it Cash Back credit card are the 5% cash back rotating categories and the introductory bonus. The cash back bonus is more than double the typical flat rate for other cards. What makes the Discover it Cash Back credit card more special is no annual fee. Most credit cards with added cash back benefits require some sort of annual fee. In addition, the rotating cash back categories can be anything from gas stations, grocery stores, and more. 

Now, let’s move on to the introductory bonus. If you were to spend the maximum $1,500 each quarter on the bonus cash back category, you’d accumulate about $300 at the end of the year in cash back. Discover will match that amount, for a total $600 cash back after the first year. On top of all this, you’ll still earn 1% on purchases if you hit the limit, which means your first year of cash back with Discover it Cash Back could be even more than $600. Good things come to those who are willing to wait. You could wait the full year and receive $600 in cash back, or opt for a 90-day sign-up bonus for $150 to $200 with another card. You decide. 

The Discover it Cash Back card also gives cardholders 14 months of 0% APR on purchases. This may come in handy for someone looking to make a big purchase and pay it off over time, without the pesky interest rates. For balance transfers, the rate is 3%. This is pretty typical for most credit cards. If you’re interested in a better balance transfer rate, the Discover it Balance Transfer card may better suit you than the Discover it Cash Back card.

Discover it Cash Back: Pitfalls and other possibilities

No credit card is perfect, and this applies to the Discover it Cash Back card.

If you’re looking for a no-frills, easy-to-use credit card with a standard cash back rate, don’t bother with the Discover it Cash Back card. Earning the maximum rewards with this card takes work. If you aren’t willing to stay up to date with the bonus cash back categories, you could only be raking in 1% cash back on purchases. Other cards are available that will give you more than 1% on nearly all purchases. 

Now if you’re interested in utilizing bonus cash back reward categories, you may want to research the Chase Freedom card. This card has a lot in common with the Discover it Cash Back card, including 5% cash back on rotating categories and no annual fee.

However, the Chase Freedom card has a sign-up bonus you can earn far sooner than a year down the road. If you spend $500 on purchases within 90 days of the account opening, you’ll earn a $150 cash bonus. Chase Freedom also offers an additional month of 0% APR for a total of 15 months. In addition, cardholders are allowed to retroactively earn bonus cash back points. If a Chase Freedom cardholder activates the categories by the 14th of the third month of the quarter, they’ll get the 5% bonus on qualifying purchases. This may be very helpful for the forgetful cardholders out there. Discover it Cash Back does not allow retroactive rewards. 

One downfall of the Chase Freedom card is it charges foreign transaction fees. If you do not travel abroad often, this may not affect you as much as someone who does. While the cards are nearly the same, the main difference is whether you’re willing to wait for a possibly larger introductory bonus and retroactive rewards.

If you’re interested in earning bonus rewards through categories and you want to choose your categories, the U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa Signature Card may be what you’re looking for. The Discover it Cash Back card picks the bonus category for you, while this card allows you to earn 5% cash back in two categories you choose from a list. You can earn cash back on up to $2,000 in combined purchases every quarter. The U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa Signature Card also comes with no annual fee and a $150 cash bonus after spending $500 on eligible purchases in the first 90 days.

Is the Discover it Cash Back right for you?

If you’re an experienced credit cardholder looking to spice up your cash back rewards, the Discover it Cash Back credit card may be the perfect fit. It may also be a great option for those looking to strategically earn cash back in the first year and reap the rewards of the introductory match. However, if you’re a variable spender who prefers to an easy-to-use credit card, you may want to look for something with an easy sign-up bonus and flat cash back rate.

Many of the listings that appear on this website are from companies which we receive compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). The site does not review or include all companies or all available products.

Advertiser Disclosure: Many of the listings that appear on this website are from companies which we receive compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). The site does not review or include all companies or all available products.

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