Curtis Arnold Editor-in-chief
Discover it brings back the same kind of feeling that early customers had when Discover invented the cash back credit card in the 1980s. Times have changed, and everyone from major banks to neighborhood credit unions now offers rewards. That's why Discover has returned to their roots, refreshing a classic product with a commitment to customer experience that may cause competitors to start playing catch-up all over again.
How Discover it-Double Cash Back your first year aims to redefine credit card customer service
A recent Bain & Company survey identified that many Americans make their banking decisions based on "moments of truth" instead of just prices. Researchers found that consumers often say they want the biggest rebates and the cheapest prices, but that they actually decide to stay loyal to a bank based on what happens when they need a card replaced or a transaction reversed.
Discover aims to capture that loyalty by access to live, American-based agents and by empowering those customer service professionals to resolve problems quickly. Agents can process same-day payments as late as midnight on the east coast, assuring customers who worry about forgetting to send a check. They can waive the late fee for your first missed payment, and they'll even help you work out a lower APR or a lower minimum payment if you lose your job.
Best card for no-hassle service and solid rewards
Because many of us don't like to think about potential calamities, the Discover it's reward program offers plenty of good news. Instead of a tiered structure with spending thresholds and other limitations, Discover it provides a simple, 1 percent cash back on your purchases. It also shares quarterly bonus offers with other Discover it cards, meaning that you can still get up to 5 percent cash back, subject to maximum quarterly spend, on eligible purchases in specialty categories when you enroll each quarter for the 5 percent categories. Now, thanks to an exclusive offer, new Discover cardholders who apply between June 1 and July 31, 2015 can double all the cash back they've earned at the end of their first year with the card.
Discover makes it easy to redeem your rewards as well. Instead of tracking a convoluted points system, you can use Discover's website to watch your CashBack Bonus balance grow. Discover's online shopping portal offers up to 20 percent back from participating merchants. A partnership with Amazon.com means you can redeem your rewards at anytime, for just about any kind of product.
How Discover it compares to other cash back credit cards
Discover it doesn't offer the biggest set of rebates on the market, but it remains one of the country's most accessible cash back credit cards with no annual fee. By comparison, American Express, a CardRatings.com advertiser, offers a number of cash back cards with cash back rewards that range between 2 and 5 percent (terms, limitations and restrictions apply). Like Discover, American Express earns significant praise for its customer service operations. American Express usually restricts its cash back cards to applicants with excellent credit. If you're the kind of customer who's worried about catching a payment before it's late, those cards may be out of reach.
This card also requires excellent credit however it more closely resembles the Chase Freedom card. Like Discover, Chase offers rotating, quarterly bonus categories. Although Discover has no foreign transaction fees on purchases made outside of the U.S. on the Discover it, Capital One cards, for example, enjoy a slight edge in parts of the world where Visa and MasterCard have built larger merchant networks.