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Discover it® Chrome review: Bonus cash back on gas and dining

Discover It® Chrome has evolved into a market leader for cash back incentives. With Discover It® Chrome, cardholders can take advantage of 2% cash back on purchases at gas stations and restaurants, and 1% cash back on all other purchases.
 CardRatings Editor  | Updated

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Discover it® chrome

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Our Rating:   
Excellent, Good

CardRatings Editor's Analysis: Pros & Cons

  • New cardholders receive a match on all the cash back earned at the end of their first year of credit card ownership, which makes it easy to accumulate rewards.
  • Discover It® Chrome offers 2% back at restaurants and gas stations on up to $1,000 in purchases quarterly, but if you spend more than that on gas or eating out, you could likely realize more rewards with a card that offers a higher cap.

DISCOVER IT® CHROME REWARDS

With cash back earned in popular everyday spending categories and no annual fee, the Discover it® chrome card has evolved into a market leader for cash back incentives. With the Chrome card, cardholders earn 2% cash back on purchases at gas stations and restaurants (on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter), and 1% cash back on all other purchases. And for new cardholders, the Discover it® Chrome will match all the cash back you’ve earned in the first year of card ownership, at the end of the year.

That means if you’ve accumulated $300 in cash back throughout your first year of card membership, Discover will match it - making your total cash back $600 - automatically.

Top Features

 Cash Back on Gas
1-2%
 Cash Back on Groceries
1%
 Cash Back on Other
1%

DISCOVER IT® CHROME BENEFITS

CASHBACK REDEMPTION OPTIONS

Unlike many cash back rewards cards on the market, the Discover it® chrome card’s cash back never expires and has many flexible cash back redemption options. The flexibility to redeem your cashback rewards for cash at any time, and in any amount is a huge benefit of the card. You can also use your rewards at Amazon.com checkout, using the Pay with Points feature. Other ways to redeem your cash back bonuses include a credit to your account, an electronic deposit to your bank account, or a donation to select charities.

SECURITY FEATURES

The Discover it® chrome card also offers some great security features. Discover offers the ability to freeze your credit card account in seconds by utilizing a simple on/off switch either on Discover's mobile app or website to prevent new purchases. Discover also offers a $0 Fraud Liability Guarantee so you're never responsible for any unauthorized purchases. The Chrome card also comes with the ability to activate free alerts that notify you if your social security number is found on any of thousands of Dark Web sites.

DISCOVER IT® CHROME FOREIGN TRANSACATION FEE

Having no foreign transaction fees is a feature that you will normally find in luxury travel rewards credit cards that also have premium annual fees. The Discover it® chrome card is one of the few no-annual-fee cash-back rewards cards that has no foreign transaction fees. What this means is when you are traveling internationally, you can use your Chrome card and you won’t be on the hook for additional fees on foreign transactions.

Oftentimes cards will have a foreign transaction fee of around 3% on any international purchases made. So if you were to spend $5,000 while abroad, you could end up shelling out around $150 on foreign transaction fees with a different card, or you could save that money by using the Discover it® Chrome card instead.

POTENTIAL DISCOVER IT® CHROME DOWNSIDES

While Discover it® chrome is a good no-annual-fee option if you spend a decent amount on gas and at restaurants, these cash back categories have caps, so this might not be the card for you if you spend exuberantly in these categories each quarter. Because of the match offer, this card has a lot to offer during your first year as a cardholder, but if you start spending over the $1,000 quarterly caps, it may be wise to look for a rewards card that fits your spending patterns more closely.

Another thing to look out for: Not Everyone Accepts Discover. Despite being around since the mid-1980s, Discover cards are still not accepted everywhere, but the good news is there are 9.2 million merchants who do accept them today and that number is growing both domestically and internationally.

DISCOVER IT® CHROME CREDIT SCORE NEEDED

The Discover it® chrome requires good to excellent credit to get approval, but other factors are considered in the application process as well, including payment history of revolving credit, your total open cards, and the average age of accounts open.

The credit agency Experian considers a good FICO score anything that’s above 670, but having a score above 740 or even 800 may further increase your chances of approval. Please note though that these numbers can vary between different bureaus.

If you have limited credit history or are currently building your credit, getting approved for the Discover it® Chrome card may be difficult.

HOW DISCOVER IT® CHROME COMPARES TO OTHER CREDIT CARDS

Discover it® Chrome vs. Discover it® Cash Back

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If you are looking for a no-annual-fee card with more cash back earning potential, the Discover it® Cash Back card is a great alternative to the Discover it® Chrome card. The Discover it® Cash Back earns 5% cash back in rotating categories (such as gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, and online shopping) each quarter (up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate) as well as 1% cash back on all other purchases. This is much higher than the Chrome card’s 2% cash back earned at gas stations and restaurants (on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter), and 1% cash back on all other purchases.

Like the Discover it® Chrome card, the Cash Back card matches all cash back earned in the first year by new cardholders. At the end of your first year, Discover matches the 5% earned in select categories– meaning you essentially earn 10% cash back in those categories in the first year. Both cards also have flexible redemption options and no foreign transaction fees.

Discover it® Chrome vs. Discover it® Student Chrome

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The Discover it® Student chrome shares many similarities with the Discover it® Chrome card. Both cards have no annual fee, no foreign transaction fees, and cash back earned on every purchase. The cards earn cash back at the same rate of 2% earned at gas stations and restaurants (on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter), and 1% cash back on all other purchases. Both cards are offering the same introductory bonus where all cash back earned during the first year will be matched, dollar-for-dollar, by Discover, at the end of your first year as a cardholder. That means $200 in cash back actually turns out to be a $400 cash back bonus.

Where the cards differ is that the Discover it® Chrome card is for individuals with more established credit and includes unique perks. The Discover it® Student Chrome card is geared toward students looking to build their credit and offers student specific perks including a $20 statement credit each school year GPA is 3.0 or higher for up to five years.

Discover it® Chrome vs. Capital One® Quicksilver®

For straightforward cash back earning on all purchases and a solid new cardholder bonus, the Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card is worth your consideration. The Quicksilver® card earns 1.5% cash back on every purchase, so you won’t have to worry about opting in to rotating quarterly categories or having to keep track of tiered earnings. While this is lower compared to the Discover it® Chrome’s tiered earning of 2% on gas and restaurants, the Quicksilver card doesn’t have caps on cash back earnings. The Chrome card only earns 2% on up to $1,000 in combined gas and restaurant purchases each quarter, after which you will only earn 1% cash back.

The no-annual-fee Quicksilver® card also has a welcome offer for new cardholders of $150 after spending $500 on purchases during the first three months of card membership, and 0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months, then 15.49% - 25.49% (Variable).

IS DISCOVER IT® CHROME A GOOD CREDIT CARD?

With many benefits and few downsides, yes, the Discover it® chrome card is a good credit card. The Chrome card comes with no annual fee, no foreign transaction fees, bonus cash back earned in frequent spending categories, and all cash back matched in the first year. The Chrome card is a great card for even the occasional credit card user, but may not be an ideal fit for someone who spends excessively in the gas and restaurant categories since there is a quarterly cap on the 2% earning rate.

Discover it® chrome Compared to Other Cash back Cards

Cash Back on Gas
1-2% 
Cash Back on Gas
1.5% 
Cash Back on Gas
1% when you buy plus 1% as you pay 
Cash Back on Gas
Qualified applicants will receive exclusive benefits such as 1% cash back rewards on all purchases 
Cash Back on Groceries
1% 
Cash Back on Groceries
5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target(R) or Walmart(R) purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year. 
Cash Back on Groceries
1% when you buy plus 1% as you pay 
Cash Back on Groceries
Qualified applicants will receive exclusive benefits such as 1% cash back rewards on all purchases 
Cash Back on other
1% 
Cash Back on other
1.5% 
Cash Back on other
1% when you buy plus 1% as you pay 
Cash Back on other
Qualified applicants will receive exclusive benefits such as 1% cash back rewards on all purchases 

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