Our editor's take
Curtis Arnold CardRatings Managing Editor
With a fresh look and a focus on customer service, the Discover it card aims to win back the cash back credit card category that the original Discover card invented in the 1980s. With no annual fee, no foreign transaction fee, and amnesty for many of the situations that cause most banks to hike their rates and fees, Discover it card has the potential to set a new standard for American rewards credit cards.
Discover it card offers easy redemption of cash back rewards
Previous versions of the Discover card featured a perplexing reward structure, often stacking tiered rebates based on annual or quarterly spending. Most card promotions highlighted 5 percent cash back on featured categories, but with spending caps that limited their value. Early cardholders had to wait to request an annual CashBack Bonus rebate in the form of a check or a statement credit, leaving little room for spontaneous rewards.
Today's Discover it card eliminates most of those hassles and hangups, in favor of a simple, streamlined path to rewards. As a cardholder, you'll earn a predictable 1 percent cash back on all of your purchases. And each quarter you sign up you can earn cash back in quarterly promotion categories which still carry spending caps, however you won't need to wait long to redeem your cash. Amazon.com now lets cardholder redeem CashBack Bonus credit for purchases, and Discover's website lets you request immediate statement credits.
Best cash back card for consumers concerned about finances
As part of Discover it's launch campaign, you've probably seen a series of ads featuring cardholders talking to their doppelgängers at one of Discover's call centers. The company wants to tell the story that you'll talk to someone who'll treat you the way you'd want to be treated.
Exclusively based in the United States, Discover's call center agents have been empowered to waive your first late payment service charge, to expedite emergency card replacements, and to process same-day payments up until midnight Eastern time. Agents even have the authority to work out an adjusted repayment schedule if you lose your job and can't make your current minimum payment. It's an honest, refreshing approach to customer service that reflects today's economic realities for many families.
Discover's American support centers don't just handle questions about missed payments and lost cards. They also form the backbone of an identity theft detection and resolution system that has earned Discover top marks from some of the industry's toughest critics. According to experts at Javelin Strategy & Research, Discover excels at detecting potential fraud and proactively resolving problems with cardholders and merchants. Likewise, the International Quality & Productivity Center has cited Discover's agents for acting in their customers' best interests, even when industry practices might dictate otherwise.
How Discover it card compares to other cash back credit cards
The Discover it card offers a nearly identical reward structure to that of its closest competitor, the Chase Freedom card. However, with no annual fee and a complementary set of rotating bonus categories when you sign up each quarter, bargain hunters can maximize their 5 percent rewards on both cards with just a little extra strategic planning.
On the other hand, if you don't often make the kinds of purchases that qualify for bonus rewards, you could get consistently higher cash back from one of Discover it card's other rivals.