Discover it® Card Review: 0% Intro APR on New Purchases & Balance Transfers
Discover it Card: No Annual Fee, Great Cash Back Rewards, & 0% Intro APR’s
The Discover it® card easily makes my best cash back rewards credit card list. I don’t review credit cards that often (this is only the 5th time in 5 years I’ve reviewed one), but when I find good cards that stand out amongst the competition, I feel compelled to share what I’ve found.
The Discover it® card has a rare combination of the following benefits that made it stand out to me. If I had to summarize those benefits, I’d best describe the card as “extremely customer friendly”.
No ‘Gotcha’ Fees
For starters, there are no ‘gotcha’ fees that are typical with many cards, including no overlimit or annual fee. There is also the very rare and nice benefit of no foreign transaction fees (many cards charge 1-3%). And if you’re late on a payment, there is no late fee for your first time and no increased APR for paying late.
Great Cash Back Benefits
Next, there are great cash back benefits with the Discover it.
Discover has generous rotating 5% cash back categories each quarter.
You can get 5% cash back for online shopping and department store purchases on up to $1,500 – Oct. through Dec. 2014 when you sign up.
Additionally, you can get 1% cash back on all other purchases.
Discover it 5% Bonus Categories
Discover has rotating 5% cash back categories each quarter.
I’d personally rather have consistent bonus categories, like I get with the Costco Blue Preferred card, but it’s a very nice benefit that the bonus is as high as 5% in these popular categories which are in line with typical seasonal purchasing behaviors.
Discover Online Mall: Why it’s Such a Big Deal
The Discover it also touts 5 to 20% cash back bonuses on purchases made through selected partner merchants through the Discover Online Shopping Mall. Their online merchant partners list is the best that I have seen amongst credit card companies that have similar partnerships. I typically don’t consider this to be a huge perk of credit card providers, but with Discover, it truly is. Don’t believe me? Check out this list:
- Apple Store: 5% cashback bonus
- Best Buy: 5% cashback bonus
- Groupon: 20% cashback bonus
- WalMart: 5% cashback bonus
- Kohl’s: 10% cashback bonus
- Lowe’s and Home Depot: 5% cashback bonus
- Target: 5% cashback bonus
- Meijer: 5% cashback bonus (this is huge if you get your groceries at Meijer!)
Just about every major retailer is included. Some others include Cabela’s, Sears, Dicks, JCPenney, Hotels.com, Old Navy, and Staples. If you frequently purchase from these retailers, then forget the 1% cashback bonus, you’re going to be getting much more back.
0% Intro APR & 0% Balance Transfer
The Discover it® card also serves another purpose as it ranks amongst the best 0% balance transfer cards with a 0% intro APR on balance transfers for a full 18 months, before the regular APR kicks in (currently 10.99% – 22.99%). It also offers a 0% intro APR on purchases for a full 6 months. Rarely do cards fit into both the balance transfer and cash back rewards niches as leaders in both areas.
3% Balance Transfer Fee
Discover it® card is offers an intro fee of 3% for transfers.
Other Great Perks
Additionally, there are a few other great perks that you just don’t see elsewhere.
One is that you get a free FICO® credit score online and on your monthly statement. Pretty cool.
Security is a big thing with Discover. Each Discover purchase is monitored. If it’s unusual, you’re alerted by e-mail, phone or text-and never responsible for unauthorized Discover card purchases.
And customer service is great. Discover has human, 100% U.S.-based customer service, and they are available any time.
Downsides to Discover it®
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – only use credit cards if you pay off your balance every month and your purchase behavior is not altered by the ease of use of credit cards. If you don’t, you should not be using a credit card, and credit card rewards programs are pointless.
Discover it® Final Thoughts
Discover it® card is definitely one of the top five consumer credit cards out there due to its no annual fee, extremely generous cashback rewards programs, and strategic partnerships with most of the largest retailers. The 0% intro APR and balance transfer rates are also a huge bonus, particularly if you’re interested in doing a balance transfer. I have no hesitation recommending the Discover it card if you are a responsible credit card user.