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:
- No annual fee.
- No overlimit fee.
- No foreign transaction fee
- No late fee on your first late payment and they don’t increase your APR for paying late.
- 5% cash back at Home Improvement Stores & More on up to $1,500 in purchases from April through June 2014 when you sign up.
- 1% cash back on all other purchases.
- A free FICO® credit score online and on your monthly statement
- 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.
- Human, 100% U.S.-based customer service available any time.
- 0% Intro APR* on balance transfers for 18 months. Then the variable purchase APR applies, currently 10.99% – 22.99%. A fee of 3% applies for each balance transferred.
- 0% Intro APR* on purchases for 6 months. Then the variable purchase APR applies, currently 10.99% – 22.99%.
I’ll go in to each of these areas further in this review.
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. 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.
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.
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.