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Discover it® Balance Transfer Review

Excellent, Good

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What Discover says about this card

Apply online for Discover it® Balance Transfer
  • INTRO OFFER: Discover will match ALL the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically. There's no signing up. And no limit to how much is matched.
  • Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com and more up to the quarterly maximum, each time you activate. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - automatically.
  • Redeem cash back any amount, any time. Rewards never expire.
  • 100% U.S. based customer service.
  • Get your free Credit Scorecard with your FICO® Credit Score, number of recent inquiries and more.
  • Get an alert if we find your Social Security number on any of thousands of Dark Web sites.* Activate for free.
  • No annual fee.

By Brooklyn Lowery Site Editor  Updated Sep 30, 2019

DISCOVER IT® BALANCE TRANSFER REWARDS

The Discover it® Balance Transfer card offers you plenty in the way of rewards opportunities, but also comes with a sweet balance transfer offer that we normally only see on cards for which that balance transfer offer is the primary selling point. In this case, you can earn as much as 5% back on your purchases (up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate) as well as an introductory period of 18 months of 0% interest on balance transfers and six months of 0% interest on purchases, then 13.49% - 24.49% Variable. Not bad for a card with no annual fee.

The most notable features of the Discover it® Balance Transfer credit card include:

  • First class customer service - 100% U.S. based service available any time
  • 0% balance transfer intro APR for 18 months
  • 5% cash back bonus on eligible quarterly purchases, up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate
  • Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • Dollar-for-dollar match of all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year
  • No late fee for your first late payment
  • Paying late won't raise your APR
  • No annual fee
  • No foreign transaction fees

CardRatings Editor's Analysis: Pros & Cons

  • Cardholders can take advantage of 0% APR on balance transfers for 18 months and purchases for six months (then, 13.49% - 24.49% Variable).
  • Cash-back rewards are a huge incentive with this card as cardholders earn 5% cash back in quarterly rotating categories and 1% on all other purchases.
  • As a new card member, you'll enjoy the benefit of having all the cash back you accumulate over the first year matched dollar-for-dollar. That means $200 in earned cash back will become $400.
  • Even with the intro 0% APR for balance transfers, there is a 3% intro balance transfer fee, up to 5% fee on future balance transfers (see terms)* to watch out for. Consider whether the Citi® Double Cash Card - 18 month BT offer would be a good alternative for you.

WHAT OUR EDITORS LIKE MOST ABOUT THE DISCOVER IT® BALANCE TRANSFER CREDIT CARD

Often credit cards with excellent balance transfer offers are "one trick ponies" in that they don't offer much in the way of perks or rewards earning – they are very specifically about making a balance transfer and taking advantage of the 0% intro period. The Discover it® Balance Transfer card, however, is different.

With this card, cardholders can earn plenty of rewards AND they're eligible for the Cashback Match™ you may have seen mentioned with other Discover it cards. Here's the deal: you earn 5% back on up to $1,500 spent in categories that rotate each quarter up to the quarterly maximum (you must sign up each quarter, but that's a quick and easy click of a button). Beyond that you'll earn 1% back on all your other purchases and on your purchases above the quarterly cap.

Here's the REALLY good part: At the end of your first year, Discover will MATCH all the cash back you earn during your first year. That means that earning $200 cash back in your first year is actually worth $400.

All this and there's no annual fee or foreign transaction fees to worry about eating into those sweet rewards.

Now, about the balance transfer part: 18 months is among the longest balance transfer intro periods on the market, so you stand to save some serious dough on interest if you have a balance you need to carry and pay it off over the course of a year and a half. Not to mention, you also can take advantage of six months no interest on purchases made directly on your 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 cash-back bonus balance grow. Discover's online shopping portal offers up to 20% back from participating merchants, and a partnership with Amazon.com means you can redeem your rewards at any time, for just about any kind of product.

DISCOVER IT® BALANCE TRANSFER FEE

A 0% percent APR offer for 18 months on all balance transfers (then 13.49% - 24.49% Variable) is enough to have anyone looking to move their outstanding balances to the Discover it® Balance Transfer, but you need to go in with your eyes open and understand that a 0% percent APR doesn't exactly mean no cost to you.

While you may not be paying interest on balance transfers for 18 months, there is a fee to be paid on all transfers. Presently, there is a 3% intro balance transfer fee, up to 5% fee on future balance transfers (see terms)*.

For this reason, the biggest advantage to making a transfer would be if you plan on carrying a certain balance for a significant length of time. It should also be noted that balance transfer fees aren't uncommon, and 3% is about the average, so don't let this make you shy away from this card if it's a balance transfer credit card you're in the market for. To see additional options, you can peruse some of our other top picks for the best balance transfer credit cards.

Top Features

Balance Transfer Intro Balance Transfer Fee Regular APR
APR: 0%
Period: 18 months
3% intro balance transfer fee, up to 5% fee on future balance transfers (see terms)* 13.49% - 24.49% Variable

HOW TO DO A BALANCE TRANSFER WITH DISCOVER

If you already have the Discover it® Balance Transfer card, the transfer process is simple and can be done online or by phone.

If you choose the online option, simply log on to your account and provide the information requested regarding what amount you will be transferring and from which card account you'll be transferring. The same process can be followed using Discover's user-friendly mobile app.

Should you prefer the phone, simply call 1-800-767-7339 and follow the prompts.

If you do not presently have the Discover it® Balance Transfer card, you will want to begin by starting an application. As part of the application process, you will be given an option to transfer an amount from a credit card you already have. Click on that option, provide the information requested regarding the amount and the other credit card account.

One key fact to remember is that the amount you can transfer from an existing card is limited by the credit limit on your Discover it® Balance Transfer card. If this is a new card, you won't have information available until you are approved.

POTENTIAL DOWNSIDES OF THE DISCOVER IT® BALANCE TRANSFER CREDIT CARD

Like with other rotating category cash-back credit cards, the Discover it® Balance Transfer card requires you to use a bit of strategy to reap the full benefits of the card and you have to remember to sign up each quarter to take advantage of the bonus. Though Discover posts the quarterly cash back categories ahead of time, if you're not someone who wants to keep up with using your card in the quarterly bonus categories, you instead might want to consider a flat-rate credit card.

Since you're looking at a balance transfer credit card, the other, perhaps more important downside is that you will pay a balance transfer fee with this card. As mentioned above, it's a 3% intro balance transfer fee, up to 5% fee on future balance transfers (see terms)*, but it is something to keep in mind. That said, if you have a balance on one card that's racking up interest charges each month, even paying that fee likely means you'll come out ahead.

HOW THE DISCOVER IT® BALANCE TRANSFER CREDIT CARD COMPARES TO OTHER CREDIT CARDS

Discover it® Balance Transfer vs. Discover it® Cash Back

The Discover it® Balance Transfer and Discover it® Cash Back share more similarities than differences. Both cards earn 5% cash back in rotating categories each quarter (up to $1,500 spent quarterly) with 1% earned on all other purchases, a first year match by Discover on all cash back earned (effectively you earn 10% cash back on rotating categories and 2% on all other purchases), as well as no annual fees.

As the name would imply, the balance transfer offer by the Discover it® Balance Transfer card is where it shines compared to the Discover it® Cash Back card. The Discover it® Balance Transfer card offers a 0% balance transfer intro APR for 18 months (then 13.49% - 24.49% Variable), while the Discover it® Cash Back card offers 14 months of intro 0% APR on balance transfers (then 13.49% - 24.49% Variable). It is noteworthy for those looking to make balance transfers on either of these cards that there is a 3% intro balance transfer fee.

Discover it® Balance Transfer vs. Citi® Double Cash Card - 18 month BT offer

(Citi is a CardRatings advertiser)

Like the Discover it® Balance Transfer credit card, the Citi® Double Cash Card - 18 month BT offer also has a 0% intro APR period on balance transfers for 18 months (then, 15.49% – 25.49% (Variable)). The ongoing rewards are a bit different with this card though.

With the Citi® Double Cash Card - 18 month BT offer, you have the opportunity to earn cash back twice— 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases. To earn cash back, pay at least the minimum due on time.

The Citi® Double Cash Card - 18 month BT offer is also a no annual fee card, but note, there is a 3% foreign transaction fee associated with this card, so it might not be the best option for frequent international travelers.

Discover it® Balance Transfer vs. Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever

Unlike the Discover it® Balance Transfer credit card, the Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever is yet another balance transfer credit card with no cash back rewards; however, it does have a perk of its own that might make it all worth it for some cardholders.

With the Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever, cardholders can enjoy no annual fees, no late fees and no penalty rates ever. It also has a 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 21 months from date of first transfer, all transfers must be completed in the first four months (then, 16.24% - 26.24% (variable), based on creditworthiness) – as compared to the Discover card that only offers six months of 0% APR on purchases to go with the 18 months for balance transfers (then 13.49% - 24.49% Variable).

The Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever does still have a balance transfer fee of 5% of the amount of each transfer or $5, whichever is greater. Note: if you transfer a balance with this offer after your 0% intro purchase APR expires, both new purchases and unpaid purchase balances will automatically accrue interest until all balances, including your transferred balance, are paid in full. Though the Discover it® Balance Transfer credit card does offer no late fees for the first missed payment, the Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever might be a better option for those who consistently struggle to make their payments on time.

IS THE DISCOVER IT® BALANCE TRANSFER A GOOD CREDIT CARD?

Thanks to no annual fees, a long introductory 0% APR period, no foreign transaction fees, a solid match offer bonus, and strong ongoing rewards, the Discover it® Balance Transfer is a CardRatings editors' favorite. It's important to note though that this card requires you to use a bit of strategy to reap the full benefits and you have to remember to sign up each quarter to take advantage of the bonus. If that's no problem for you though and you're looking for some extra time to pay down an outstanding balance, the Discover it® Balance Transfer card could be a great fit for your wallet.

Discover it® Balance Transfer compared to other balance transfer cards

Card Name
Balance Transfer Intro APR
Balance Transfer Fee
Regular APR
Ratings/Apply
APR: 0%
Period: 18 months
3% intro balance transfer fee, up to 5% fee on future balance transfers (see terms)*
13.49% - 24.49% Variable
APR: 0%
Period: 21 months
5% of each balance transfer; $5 minimum.
16.24% - 26.24% (Variable) 
APR: 0% Intro APR for 18 billing cycles for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days
Period: 18 billing cycles
Either $10 or 3% of the amount of each transaction, whichever is greater.
14.49% - 24.49% Variable APR on purchases 

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