Discover credit card offers
The best Discover credit cards of 2019
In a Nutshell
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This offer is no longer available on our site: Chase Slate®
Best for cash back: Discover it® Cash Back
Many cash back credit cards offer the same flat cash back rate on all purchases, or consistently higher rates on purchases in certain categories — but the Discover it ® credit card works a little differently.
This card offers a whopping 5% cash back on purchases in certain categories, up to a quarterly maximum amount of $1,500, then 1%. But there’s a catch: These categories change each quarter, and you have to log in to your Discover account to find out what these categories are — and you have to activate them. Otherwise, you’ll only earn a standard cash back rate of 1% on all purchases.
When considering this card, make sure you’re likely to take advantage of these cash back offers, especially within the first year so that you can also take advantage of Cashback Match. With Cashback Match, Discover will match all of the cash back rewards you’ve earned — after the first 12 consecutive billing periods that your new account is open — and apply them to your account within the following one or two billing periods. For example, if you earned $200 in cash back rewards over the course of the first year your account is open, you’d get another $200 cash back bonus.
You can redeem your cash back rewards at any time as statement credit, a bank deposit, a donation to select charities, or payment with Cashback Bonus at Amazon.com. Once you have at least a $20 cash back balance, you can redeem your rewards for a gift certificate at certain merchants that partner with Discover, too.
Best for balance transfers: Discover it ® Chrome Gas & Restaurants
Here’s why: You can get just over a year — 14 months from the transfer date, to be exact — to pay off your credit card debt interest-free by transferring your existing credit card balance to the Discover it ® Chrome Gas & Restaurants card.
The Discover it® Chrome Gas & Restaurants card offers an introductory 0% APR on balance transfers for 14 months from the date of the first transfer and on purchases for 14 months from account opening. The intro offer comes with …
- A 14.24% to 25.24% regular variable APR on both balance transfers and purchases after the introductory period is up
- A 3% balance transfer fee, regardless of when the balance transfer is made
But here’s why we recommend the Discover it ® Chrome Gas & Restaurants credit card over the others: The 2% cash back rate applies only to purchases made at gas stations and restaurants (on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter), then 1%. This lower cash back rate means you might be a little less tempted to use your card for new purchases while you’re paying off the balance. After all, a good balance transfer card only really does its job if it can help you chip away at the debt, not add to it.
Once your balance transfer is paid off, the card still offers good value thanks to that 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants, and you’ll earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases. The Discover it ® Chrome Gas & Restaurants credit card also offers Cashback Match, so Discover will match all of the cash back you earn at the end of your first year with this card. This could come in handy if you manage to pay off your balance within the introductory time frame.
Best for travel: Discover it ® Miles
Every time you make a purchase with the Discover it ® Miles card, you’ll earn 1.5 miles for every $1 you spend on purchases. You can redeem miles for cash as a deposit to your bank account or as statement credit for travel purchases made within the previous 180 days. There’s no expiration date on those miles as long as you keep the card open, so you can save up as many miles as you want before choosing to redeem.
Once you’re ready to book a trip, simply use your Discover it ® Miles credit card to pay for it. Then, once the charge is applied to your credit card, you can log into your account and redeem your miles as a travel credit.
Best for students: Discover it ® Student Cash Back
There are two Discover credit cards directed at students: The Discover it ® Student Cash Back card, and the Discover it ® Chrome for Students card. While the Discover it ® Chrome for Students card offers 2% cash back on your first $1,000 in combined gas stations and restaurant purchases each quarter (then 1%), the offer may be unattractive to students without a car or on a student meal plan.
That’s why we recommend the Discover it ® Student Cash Back — it offers 5% cash back on more-useful categories on up to a quarterly maximum of $1,500, then 1% after that. These bonus categories change quarterly so you’ll need to remember to activate them each quarter, but they provide impressive rewards potential.
For 2019, categories include useful options like Amazon.com purchases (good for textbooks), Uber and Lyft purchases (for catching a ride when you’re late for class) and grocery store purchases (for when you want to skip cafeteria food once in a while).
The Discover it ® Student Cash Back card also comes with two other great ways to maximize your rewards. First, you’ll get Cashback Match at the end of your first year, just like with the standard Discover it ® Cash Back card. Second, and for students specifically, you can get a $20 statement credit each school year (for up to five consecutive years) if you maintain at least a 3.0 GPA.
Best for business: Discover it ® Business
Here’s why: You might be able to run your business more easily with this credit card, which offers employee cards for no additional charge, cash back rewards, and an easy way to track business expenses.
The Discover it ® Business card offers cost-effective rewards with no annual fee, employee cards for no additional charge, and an intro 0% APR on purchases for the first 12 months the card is open. After that, you’ll pay a variable APR of 15.24% to 23.24% on purchases. The card also has a 5% balance transfer fee should you need one.
The Discover it ® Business card also comes with plenty of other business-friendly features, including an unlimited 1.5% cash back per $1 spent on purchases, and the ability to sync your expenses with certain business accounting software, such as Quicken, QuickBooks and Excel.
How we picked these cards
Discover aims their credit cards at a wide range of consumers, so we tried to pick categories that match the needs of as many people as possible. We hope there’s a card on this list that you’ll find useful.
After choosing our categories, we looked at what features each Discover credit card offers. Each of the credit cards we looked at have no annual fee but differ slightly, and we took these differences into consideration when choosing which is best in each category. For example, we looked at which Discover credit cards offer the best perks that could serve more students, not just the card that offers the best possible rewards.
How to make the most of Discover credit cards
Discover credit cards could be a great choice for people looking to minimize fees while still earning rewards. That’s because each of these cards comes with no annual fee, no late fees on your first late payment, no penalty APRs for late payments and no foreign transaction fees. You could also get great value from Discover’s first-year Cashback Match feature, and the free FICO ® score available on your monthly statements — which can help you to keep track of your credit.
But don’t forget that Discover isn’t yet widely accepted around the world. In some countries, such as Chile, France and Indonesia, Discover cards are rarely accepted or not accepted at all. It’s a good idea to check with Discover before you travel to see if merchants in your destination will accept the card — but you should probably still carry alternative forms of payment when traveling abroad.
So while these Discover cards might be right for those looking for a great value at home, consider opting for another card if you’re traveling overseas. Other credit card networks, such as Visa and Mastercard, are more widely accepted abroad and feature plenty of options with no foreign transaction fees.