Discover it® - 18 Month Balance Transfer Offer
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Pros

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

Cons

  • Balance transfer fee

Updated 9/5/17

The Discover it® - 18 Month Balance Transfer Offer credit card 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® - 18 Month Balance Transfer Offer 

  • 0% intro APR - The card includes a 0% intro APR for 18 months for balance transfers and 6 months for purchases. Note, the promo period extends for 18 months 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.
  • Up to 5% cash back - The card 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® - 18 Month Balance Transfer Offer 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.
  • 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® - 18 Month Balance Transfer Offer

  • Balance transfer fee – Balance transfers incur a 3% transaction fee. While this is standard among many competing credit cards, we can always wish for all the best perks in a single card.

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.
  • 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 18 months will cost a whopping $703 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.

Discover it® - 18 Month Balance Transfer Offer vs. Discover it® - Cashback Match™: Which is best?

Discover it® - 18 Month Balance Transfer Offer's close cousin, Discover it® - Cashback Match™, is practically the same credit card from a features standpoint, save for the 0% intro APR offer. Discover it® - Cashback Match™ may be the better option for cardholders wanting a longer 0% intro APR for purchases. The Cashback Match™ version offers a 0% intro APR for 14 months for purchases and balance transfers whereas Discover it® - 18 Month Balance Transfer Offer includes the intro APR for 6 months for purchases and 18 months for balance transfers. Deciding between the two cards mainly comes down to cardholder preference, either wanting to float purchases for a longer period or securing a longer balance transfer offer to pay off debt. Read our full Discover it® - Cashback Match™ review to learn more.

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.

Final take

The best label to slap on the Discover it® - 18 Month Balance Transfer Offer 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 take advantage of the leading 0% intro APR offer while maximizing 5% bonus rewards categories without changing their spending habits.

Apply Now On Discover's Secure Website

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