The original Discover it® Card was launched a few years ago and was a dramatic improvement over its predecessor, the Discover More Card. It’s a potentially lucrative cash-back card, and many hardcore reward seekers who routinely collect tons of airline and hotel points feel the Discover it is worth a place in their wallets.
Heading into Q3 2016, there are several ‘it’ cards on the market: The original ‘it’ card (which is what we’ll focus on in this review); the Discover it chrome card (with 2 percent back in certain non-rotating categories), the Discover it cards for Students and the Discover it Miles card.
- 5 percent cash back on categories – The “it” credit card gives 5 percent cash back in popular categories that change throughout the year, such as restaurants, home improvement stores, department stores and more. You earn the full 5 percent on spending up to the quarterly maximum (typically that’s $1,500 in bonus category spending per quarter). For the third quarter of 2016 (July 1 – September 30), the card is offering 5 percent cash back on up to $1,500 spent at home improvement stores and at Amazon.com.
- 1 percent cash back on all other eligible purchases.
- Extra discounts and cash-back bonuses through Discover Deals – Discover’s portal has the potential to be very lucrative. You can use your card online and in-store with retailers, restaurants and travel providers and earn instant savings, statement credit or an additional cash-back bonus.
- No more redemption minimums – Discover eliminated its minimum redemption thresholds for direct deposits and statement credits in November 2014. In the past, you had to wait until you had $50 accumulated before you could cash out. Now, you can redeem for any amount. Minimums for gift cards may still apply.
You also get these benefits…
- Almost no fees of any kind – No annual fee, no fee for first late payment, no over-limit fee, no fee for payments by phone and no foreign transaction fees. There are also no APR hikes for late payments.
- Free FICO® Score Every Month – You get your genuine TransUnion FICO credit score for free on your statement every month. Because almost every credit score website gives imitators, the ability to get your genuine FICO without paying is a great perk. FICO scores usually cost $20 each. To get your complete FICO picture, you’d still need to pay $20 each for your Experian and Equifax FICOs, but having your TransUnion FICO for free every month is a very useful snapshot.
- Flexibility – You can choose your own due date and you have until midnight EST to pay by phone or online.
- Unique design – The Discover it card prints all of the card information on the back.
- “Freeze It” feature – This acts like an on/off switch. If you’ve misplaced your card (and aren’t sure if it’s gone for good), you can freeze it and block any new purchases. If you find your card, you can unfreeze it. If you don’t, you can replace the card.
It’s worth pointing out that merchant acceptance of Discover is high in the U.S. You may be surprised to hear that they are now accepted at more than 8 million merchant locations nationwide and at 94 percent of the top 1,000 online retailers. Acceptance is improving abroad as well, with merchants in more than 185 countries taking discover.
Why we gave it 4 out of 5 stars
The Discover it’s rating is based on our standards for cash-back credit cards.
This card is one of the few remaining rotating-category cash-back cards cards – and if you like that type of card, you can consider the Discover it an excellent option. The lost a star for its enrollment requirement for the bonus categories and the fact that it caps bonus-category earnings. However, its unique perks and all-around value earned it four stars.
|Rewards-earning rate: This card meets our requirements for no-annual fee cash-back cards by offering above 3 percent in at least one bonus category. The Discover it card offers 1 percent on most purchases, but 5 percent in quarterly bonus categories.|
|Cash-back redemption value: The card meets our cash-back redemption value of 1 cent per point.|
|Rewards simplicity and transparency: We docked this card a star because cardholders must enroll in the bonus categories, and the bonus-category earnings are capped.|
|Bonus-earning opportunities: For new applicants, this card doubles the points earned in the first year. It’s also connected to Discover Deals, which allows cardholders to get bonus cash back and savings with a variety of retailers.|
|Unique perks: Discover it earns this star by offering free FICO-score access and Freeze It, which allows you to “turn off” your card via an app if you can’t find it.|
Updated August 2016