Discover it® - Cashback Match™
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Pros

  • 5% bonus cash-back
  • Cash-back match 
  • $0 annual fee
  • 0% intro APR
  • FICO® Score for free

Cons

  • Low base-rate 1% cash back

Updated November 1, 2017.

The Discover it® - Cashback Match™ is a prime example of how Discover packs its cards with tons of valuable features cardholders prefer. Perks include a $0 annual fee, a 0% intro APR, and flexible cash-back rewards up to 5% on purchases. 

What we like about Discover it® - Cashback Match™

  • Up to 5% cash back - Discover it® - Cashback Match™ pays 1% cash-back on regular purchases, and 5% in rotating bonus categories you activate such as gas, restaurants, Amazon, and others, up to $1,500 in combined purchases each quarter (worth $75 in bonus rewards each quarter). The base rate is standard among bonus-category cash-back credit cards, but Discover’s innovative Cashback Match™ feature can help dish out more rewards.
  • Cashback Match™ – Discover will match all the cash-back earned during the first year for new cardholders. Cardholders who max out bonus categories quarterly can expect a total of $600 cash-back in the first year. For the number crunchers out there, that’s $1,500 of quarterly spending in bonus categories ($6,000 per year), which earns cash back at a 5% rate. Add Discover’s match on top, and you’ll receive $300, plus another $300 for the match in your first year. Importantly, we excluded spending that earns at a 1% rate, but Discover matches that, too.
  • $0 annual fee - Credit cards packed with valuable features tend to charge high fees or APRs. Discover it® - Cashback Match™ balances this relationship well and doesn’t charge an annual fee, making it a fit for cardholders with modest credit needs, who won’t see their rewards get wiped out by an annual fee.
  • 0% intro APR - The card includes a 0% intro APR for 14 billing cycles for purchases and balance transfers. Note, the promo period extends for 14 billing cycles since the first transfer, not from account opening, as is common for balance-transfer credit cards. Cardholders must execute the transfer by a specific date to qualify, but starting the clock from the date of the first transfer does increase the versatility of this card.
  • No foreign transaction fee – Foreign transaction fees can quickly add up when whipping out credit cards for purchases abroad. Besides, we’re all a bit looser with our wallets while on vacation. Fortunately, the card has nixed the typical 3% foreign transaction fee many card issuers charge. That’s a savings of $60 on $2,000 worth of international spending!

What could be improved for Discover it® - Cashback Match™

  • 0% intro APR – The 0% APR balance-transfer window is a treasured feature we’d prefer to see extended beyond 14 billing cycles.  

How to best use Discover it® - Cashback Match™

  • Cash-back cardholders will generally be better off paying balances by the due date every month to avoid interest charges. It’s a losing strategy to rack up debt to earn rewards at single-digit rates only to watch as they get eaten up by far higher double-digit interest charges.
  • Be sure to activate bonus cash-back categories to qualify for 5% rewards. Redeeming rewards doesn’t require jumping through any additional hoops, however. The card doesn’t require meeting certain minimums (usually $25 for other cards) to redeem your rewards.
  • Consider placing bonus-category purchases on Discover it® - Cashback Match™ while applying for a separate card that earns rewards at a higher base-rate than 1% cash back for all other purchases. This two-card strategy can make your credit purchases work harder for you and yield more rewards. See our picks for the best cash-back credit cards for a few suggestions.
  • Transfer high-interest credit card debt to chip away at debt balances faster. We Fools always encourage smart use of debt and transferring balances to a 0% intro APR card can help avoid costly interest charges. In fact, paying down a $5,000 balance over 14 months will cost a whopping $399 in interest charges at an 18% APR.
  • Leverage access to your FICO® Score for free. Discover provides free access to your FICO® Score and this perk is a huge value! In fact, myFICO charges upwards of $350 per year to receive, track, and monitor your comprehensive credit history.

Earn up to 5.25% cash back and a $150 sign-up bonus

Bank of America® Cash Rewards dishes out a lucrative $150 cash rewards bonus offer after spending at least $500 on purchases in the first 90 days. Tons of other perks are available as well, including bonus-category cash back of 3% on gas and 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs (on the first $2,500 quarterly in combined bonus category purchases), 1% on all other purchases, and access to your FICO® Score for free. What's more, Bank of America Preferred Rewards banking clients can increase rewards by 25% to 75%, working out to a fully-baked cash-back rate of up to 5.25% on gas (albeit capped). For these reasons, we think it’s one of the best credit cards of 2017. Read our full Bank of America® Cash Rewards review to learn more.

The convenience of flat cash back

Many cardholders want to avoid opting in to rotating bonus categories or optimizing their spending for rewards. Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card is a popular flat cash back for such cardholders. Importantly, the card earns unlimited 1.5% cash back, rewards can be redeemed for any amount at any time, and it offers a $150 bonus after spending just $500 on purchases within three months of account opening. Few flat cash-back cards we've come across offer this slate of perks, and more. Read our full Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card review to learn more.

Final take

The best label to slap on the Discover it® - Cashback Match™ is value-packed. The card nicely balances costs with benefits, delivering a credit card that users may find worthy of a prime spot in their wallets, especially those who can maximize 5% bonus rewards categories without changing their spending habits.

Apply Now On Discover's Secure Website

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