dcsimg
Apply online for Discover it® Cash Back

Discover it® Cash Back Review

Excellent, Good

Our credit card articles, reviews and ratings maintain strict editorial integrity; however we may be compensated when you click on or are approved for offers from our partners. How we make money.

What Discover says about this card

Apply online for Discover it® Cash Back
  • 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.
  • Use your rewards at Amazon.com checkout.
  • 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 Aug 9, 2019

Discover it® Cash Back Essentials

When Discover it® Cash Back says it will match all your cash back accrued during your first year, it means that new cardholders could earn a staggering amount of cash back on purchases made within the rotating 5% cash-back categories in their first year (up to the quarterly maximum of $1,500 each time you activate). Think about it: $200 in cash back will automatically become $400.

Furthermore, Discover releases its full quarterly category list at the start of the year, making it easy for you to see whether the bonus categories will match your spending habits. 2019 categories include: January-March grocery stores; April-June 2019: gas stations, Uber and Lyft; July-September 2019: Restaurants and PayPal; October-December: Amazon.com, Target and Walmart.com.

That matched cash back in bonus categories is in addition to the match Discover is offering for all the purchases you make in the first year in regular, non-bonus categories. With a bit of strategy and some regular credit card usage, you could reap some serious cash back, particularly during your first year with the Discover it® Cash Back card.

In addition to the intro offer and with a fresh look and a focus on customer service, Discover it® Cash Back has redefined itself as a serious contender in the crowded cash-back credit card field (which the original Discover card invented in the 1980s). With no annual fee, no foreign transaction fees, and amnesty for many of the situations that cause most banks to hike their rates and fees, Discover it® Cash Back has the potential to set a new standard for American rewards credit cards.

CardRatings Editor's Analysis: Pros & Cons

  • Earn up to 5% back in quarterly rotating categories (up to the quarterly maximum of $1,500 each time you activate) – restaurant and PayPal purchases from July-September 2019 – when combined with the first-year match makes for a substantial opportunity for cash back; it effectively amounts to up to 10% cash back in those bonus categories for your first year.
  • There are no foreign transaction fees or over-the-limit fees, your first first late-payment fee is waived, there's no annual fee and Discover is known for its excellent customer service.
  • The card features bonus 5% cash-back categories on a rotating basis (up to $1,500 spent and only when you activate), but if you know you spend a lot in a particular category, you might be better off with a card that features a constant higher cash-back percentage in that category. Or, if you know these are the best categories for you, but still want 5% back in rotating categories, see if Chase Freedom® would be a good fit for you.

What Our Editors Like Best About Discover it® Cash Back

It's always nice to know that using your credit card is earning you rewards, and the Discover it® Cash Back does earn you rewards every time you swipe – at least 1% on all your purchases.

When you sign up and spend in one of the rotating categories each quarter, however, you boost your earning to 5% back on those purchases up to $1,500 spent.

When the time comes, Discover it® Cash Back then offers easy redemption of your cash-back rewards. You can use your points as credit toward Amazon.com purchases or to request immediate credit card statement credit through Discover's website, among several other options.

Additionally, if you're the type who wants maximum rewards and is willing to think through the strategy a bit, Discover it® Cash Back pairs well in your wallet with a flat-rate, no annual fee credit card like Chase Freedom Unlimited®. How does it pair well? Here's the deal:
  • Use your Discover it® Cash Back to earn 5% cash back on all your purchases in the bonus categories each quarter (up to the quarterly maximum of $1,500 each time you active).
  • Use your Chase Freedom Unlimited® to earn 3% back on up to $20,000 spent in your first year as a cardholder and then an unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase going forward – it's automatic. That's at least a half-percent more than you'd earn using Discover it® Cash Back.
  • Remember that Discover it® Cash Back matches all your cash back in the first year; that means you'll want to employ a strategy like that mentioned in the bullets above AFTER your first year of card membership. That's because the match effectively means you can earn at least 2% back on your purchases (and up to 10% back when you're talking about the bonus categories) with your Discover card for that first year.

Potential Downsides of Discover it® Cash Back

As is the case with any rotating categories cash-back card, you have to be willing to use a bit of strategy if you want to realize the full potential rewards of this card. If you're not someone who wants to keep up with using your card in the quarterly bonus categories, you'd likely earn more rewards with a flat-rate credit card like the Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card (then, 16.24% - 26.24% (Variable)) that offers a flat 1.5% back on all your purchases. Or, if you're wanting a little strategy, but not one that changes quarterly, you might consider a tiered cash-back rewards card like the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express (This card is not currently available on CardRatings) that offers 3% back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 spent annually, then 1%), 2% back at U.S. gas stations and 1% on your other purchases. (American Express is a CardRatings advertiser. Terms apply.)

Top Features

Cash Back on Gas Cash Back on Groceries Cash Back on Other
1-5% 1-5% 1-5%

How Discover it® Cash Back Compares to Other Cash-back Credit Cards

Discover it® Cash Back vs. Chase Freedom®

Discover it® Cash Back offers a nearly identical rewards structure to that of its closest competitor, the Chase Freedom® card. Neither has an annual fee, so it could be a good strategy to carry both cards and cash in on the two sets of rotating bonus categories when you sign up each quarter. Bargain hunters could maximize their 5% rewards on both cards with just a little extra strategic planning. Chase, though, has not historically announced its full year of rotating categories up front, so you'll have to rely on historical categories to make a decision about this one.

Chase Freedom® offers its rewards in the form of Chase Ultimate Rewards® points, which are transferable among different Chase products. If you already have a Chase Ultimate Rewards®-earning card in your wallet, like Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or Chase Freedom Unlimited®, for instance, it could pay to stick within the Chase family.

Discover it® Cash Back vs. Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card - $200 Cash Rewards Offer

The quarterly rewards bonus offer with the Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card - $200 Cash Rewards Offer is a bit less, however, it does come with the opportunity to choose which category bonus rewards can be earned in. Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card - $200 Cash Rewards Offer holders can earn 3% cash back in one choice category from the following list: gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drug stores, or home improvement/furnishings. Additionally, this card earns users 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs, up to $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club quarterly purchases, and then 1% above that and on all other purchases. The perctanges are a bit less than with Discover, but the spending cap is higher, and the freedom to choose a bonus category could be incredibly valuable to some users.

With the Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card - $200 Cash Rewards Offer there's an introductory offer of 0% APR for 15 billing cycles on purchases, and balance transfers made within the first 60 days the account is open. After the intro period, an APR of 16.24% - 26.24% Variable APR on purchases and balance transfers will apply.

Discover it® Cash Back vs. Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

If you're a big spender at supermarkets and gas stations, or a frequent commuter, the rewards offered by the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express could add up for you more quickly than they would with Discover it® Cash Back. You earn 6% back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 spent annually, then 1%), 6% on select U.S. streaming services like Spotify and Netflix, 3% at U.S. gas stations and on transit, including taxis and train tickets, and 1% on everything else with the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express Terms apply. That means it certainly tops the cash back offering of Discover it® Cash Back in the top two categories.

The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express does come with an annual fee of $95, however, so you'll need to spend enough to offset it (Terms apply. See Rates and Fees.); whereas, Discover it® Cash Back is annual-fee-free.

Who Should Get This Card?

Discover it® Cash Back is a no-brainer for anyone who is willing to take a few minutes each quarter to sign up for the bonus categories and then spend strategically within those categories to maximize their rewards. With no annual fee, no foreign transaction fee and that awesome first-year matching cash back, it's a fantastic option for even the occasional credit card user.

Lastly, to add some fun to the decision-making surrounding a new credit card, Discover it® Cash Back gives cardholders the option to select their favorite card design from an array of eye-catching colors. Royal purple? Chocolate brown? Striking silver? In other words, this card can fit both your financial and personal style.

To see the rates and fees for the American Express cards mentioned in this post, please visit the following links: Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express (See Rates and Fees); Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express (See Rates and Fees).

Discover it® Cash Back compared to other cash back cards

Card Name
Cash Back on Gas
Cash Back on Groceries
Cash Back on Other
Ratings/Apply
Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card - $200 Cash Rewards Offer
Apply online for Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card - $200 Cash Rewards Offer
Earn 3% cash back on gas or your choice of one of five other popular categories (up to $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club quarterly purchases)
2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs (up to $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club quarterly purchases) and unlimited 1% on all other purchases
Unlimited 1% on all other purchases
Chase Freedom Unlimited®
Apply online for Chase Freedom Unlimited®
Double Cash Back: Earn 3% cash back on all purchases in your first year up to $20,000 spent. After that earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases.
Double Cash Back: Earn 3% cash back on all purchases in your first year up to $20,000 spent. After that earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases.
Double Cash Back: Earn 3% cash back on all purchases in your first year up to $20,000 spent. After that earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases.
U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card
Apply online for U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card
1-5%
1-5%
1-5%
Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® Card
Apply online for Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® Card
1.5%
1.5%
1.8% cash rewards on qualified digital wallet purchases, like Apple Pay(R) or Google Pay(TM), during the first 12 months from account opening

Credit Card Consumer Average Ratings:

Overall Ratings
Reward Program
Card Benefit
Customer Service

Credit Card Consumer Reviews:

  1. Overall Ratings:
    Reward Program:
    Card Benefit:
    Customer Service:
    Dana ( Mar 4, 2014 at 11:13 am)

    This card is amazing. All the other CC's harass my mailbox daily, but then offer me a credit limit $3000 less than Discover did. How is that even possible? I love the free FICO score checker I can use when I log in too. The other day they emailed me a $5 starbucks card for being a member. It really seems like they're kissing my ass but I don't care I love this card!


  2. Overall Ratings:
    Reward Program:
    Card Benefit:
    Customer Service:
    joe ( Jan 6, 2014 at 9:30 am)

    card has many "NO"s but beware. If you're not planning on carrying a balance, you should find most of those things useless anyways.International fee is ZERO. rewards are at least 1% cashback but gifft card redemptions bumps the reward $$ to a higher percentage (redeem at 10% disc or 6% disc). Rotating categories are also helpful. effectively raising rewards rate on discount stores (walmart, target) to above 1%CON: no solid CB on supermarkets (gocery stores) gas only rotating. discover is not as accepted as Visa and MC, but sams club take them.





E-Mail will not be published








 
  How is your credit?
Oops! Your credit does not qualify you for this card. Applying and being rejected for this card could possibly hurt your credit
We are redirecting you to offers you are qualified for based on your credit.
720-850
Excellent
660-719
Good
600-659
Fair
350-599
Poor