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Discover it® Balance Transfer Review

Excellent, Good

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By Brooklyn Lowery Site Editor  Updated Jul 1, 2019

Discover it® Balance Transfer Credit Card Essentials

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) and also enjoy a card that offers an introductory period of 18 months of 0% interest on balance transfers and six months of 0% interest on purchases. Not bad features for a card that doesn't come with an annual fee.

Most Notable Features of the Discover it® Balance Transfer credit card:

  • 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.
  • 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.

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.

But the Discover it® Balance Transfer card 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.

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. It's 3% of each transfer, which isn't huge (some cards charge up to 5%), 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 3% fee likely means you'll come out ahead.

Top Features

Balance Transfer Intro
APR: 0%
Period: 18 months
Balance Transfer Fee
3% intro balance transfer fee, up to 5% fee on future balance transfers (see terms)*
Regular APR
14.24% - 25.24% Variable

How the Discover it® Balance Transfer Credit Card Compares to Other Balance Transfer Credit Cards

Discover it® Balance Transfer Credit Card vs. Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Let's get this out of the way first: The Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card offers a shorter balance transfer 0% period at 15 months, BUT its 0% APR on purchases is longer at 15 months (after the intro periods, the APR jumps to 16.24% - 26.24% (Variable)). Basically, if you need a longer period to pay off an existing balance, the Discover it® Balance Transfer credit card might be the best option, but if you're looking to make a purchase and pay it off over time, the Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card could be a better fit.

Neither card charges an annual fee or foreign transaction fees, but their reward structures are different. Instead of rotating categories like the Discover it® Balance Transfer credit card offers, Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card members earn 1.5% cash back on every purchase without any caps or categories and your cash back doesn't expire as long as your account remains open.

If you're looking for a simple rewards earning structure and don't need the full 18 months to pay off a balance, you might consider the Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card. That said, if you max out those 5% categories each quarter, you'll likely earn quite a lot more in rewards.

Discover it® Balance Transfer credit card vs. Barclaycard Ring® Mastercard®

(This card is not currently available on CardRatings)

The Barclaycard Ring® Mastercard® is a no-frills card with no cash-back opportunities, but it does offer among the lowest ongoing APRs out there at 14.24% Variable. Like the Discover it® Balance Transfer credit card there's no annual fee or foreign transaction fees to worry about. (See Rates and Fees)

So what makes the Barclaycard Ring® Mastercard® unique? A couple of things, actually.

In particular, you won't pay a balance transfer fee when you move your balance to this card AFTER the first 45 days. This means you can take advantage of the lower-than-typical APR months or even years into carrying this card. For the first 45 days, you will pay a fee of 2% of the transfer amount or $5, whichever is greater, but you'll also receive 15 months no-interest on your transferred balance.

Furthermore, while getting 0% intro APR on purchases or balances transfers is a great perk for cardholders, many times, when the intro period is over, the APR can skyrocket. This isn't the case with the Barclaycard Ring® Mastercard®.

With the Barclaycard Ring® Mastercard®, instead of dealing with a future rate that could easily be above 20%, the ongoing APR is 14.24% Variable on all purchases, balance transfers and cash advances.

Though the Barclaycard Ring® Mastercard® might not offer any cash-back rewards like the Discover it® Balance Transfer credit card, the ongoing APR might make it worth it for some users.

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

Unlike the Discover it® Balance Transfer credit card, the Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever (Citi is a CardRatings advertiser) 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, 16.99% - 26.99%* 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. 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.

Who Should Get the Discover it® Balance Transfer Credit Card?

The Discover it® Balance Transfer card is best for individuals who want to earn cash back with no annual fee and who are looking for a no-interest introductory period on purchases (six months) and balance transfers (18 months).

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)*
14.24% - 25.24% Variable
Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever
Apply online for Citi Simplicity<sup>®</sup> Card - No Late Fees Ever
APR: 0%*
Period: 21 months
5% of each balance transfer; $5 minimum.
16.99% - 26.99%* Variable 
BankAmericard® credit card
Apply online for BankAmericard® credit card
APR: 0% Intro APR
Period: for 18 billing cycles for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days
Either $10 or 3% of the amount of each transaction, whichever is greater.
15.24% - 25.24% Variable APR on purchases 

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