Updated January 2, 2018
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. An 18-month-long 0% APR for balance transfers is among the longest offers we've come across, which makes this balance-transfer credit card one leading option for indebted cardholders wanting to pay off balances faster.
- 0% intro APR
- 5% bonus cash-back
- Cash-back match
- $0 annual fee
- FICO® Score for free
- Balance transfer fee
|Bonus Offer||Cashback Match™ -- Discover will automatically match all the cash back you earn at the end of your first year. New cardmembers only.|
Intro: 0%, 6 months
Reg: 12.24% - 24.24% Variable
|Balance Transfer APR||
Intro: 0%, 18 months
Reg: 12.24% - 24.24% Variable
|Credit Requirement||Excellent, Good|
- INTRO OFFER: Discover will match ALL the cash back earned at the end of your first year, automatically.
- Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com, or wholesale clubs up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate. Plus, 1% cash back on all other purchases.
- Redeem your cash back for any amount, any time. Cash rewards never expire.
- 100% U.S. based customer service.
- Get your free Credit Scorecard with your FICO® Credit Score, number of recent inquiries and more.
- New! Receive FREE Social Security number alerts-Discover will monitor thousands of risky websites when you sign up.
- No annual fee.
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® - 18 Month Balance Transfer Offer
- 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.
An alternative balance-transfer card to avoid balance-transfer fees
BankAmericard® Credit Card waives balance-transfer fees for transfers made within 60 days of account opening. Cutting out-of-pocket costs can help some cardholders pay off debt faster. The tradeoff, compared to Discover it® - 18 Month Balance Transfer Offer, is a shorter 0% intro APR for 15 billing cycles for balance transfers made within 60 days. Read our full BankAmericard® Credit Card review to learn more.
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.