Discover it® Balance Transfer vs. BankAmericard® Credit Card: Which Should You Pick?

Lyle Daly is a personal finance writer specializing in credit cards, travel rewards programs, and banking. His work has also appeared on MSN Money, USA Today, and Yahoo! Finance.

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The Discover it® Balance Transfer and BankAmericard® credit card are two of the most popular balance transfer credit cards on the market due to their focus on long 0% intro APR offers and cutting fees. That’s why it’s no surprise both cards commonly land a spot in the wallets of cardholders getting rid of debt faster with balance transfer strategies. But which is the best balance transfer credit card for you? Answering that question is why we put together this in-depth, side-by-side comparison. Let’s dive in.

Side by side comparison

As of Nov. 18, 2019
Discover it® Balance Transfer BankAmericard® credit card
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5.0 stars
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Rating image, 4.5 out of 5 stars.
4.5 stars
ToolTip Icon for Star Rating. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor.
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On Discover's Secure Website.

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On Bank of America's Secure Website.

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Credit Rating Requirement: Good/Excellent Clickable tooltip icon for credit rating info.

Credit Rating Requirement: Good/Excellent Clickable tooltip icon for credit rating info.

Bonus: Double cash back in the first year Bonus: N/A
Rewards Program: Earn 5% cash back in rotating quarterly categories you activate ($1,500 quarterly spending cap), 1% back on all else Rewards Program: N/A
Intro APR: Purchases: 0%, 6 months Balance Transfers: 0%, 18 months Intro APR: Purchases: 0%, 18 billing cycles Balance Transfers: 0% Intro APR for 18 billing cycles for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days
Regular APR: 13.49% - 24.49% Variable Regular APR: 14.74% - 24.74% Variable
Annual Fee: $0 Annual Fee: $0

Highlights:

  • INTRO OFFER: Discover will match ALL the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically. There's no signing up. And no limit to how much is matched.
  • Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com and more up to the quarterly maximum, each time you activate. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - automatically.
  • Redeem cash back any amount, any time. 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.
  • Get an alert if we find your Social Security number on any of thousands of Dark Web sites.* Activate for free.
  • No annual fee.

Highlights:

  • 0% Introductory APR for 18 billing cycles for purchases, and for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days. After the intro APR offer ends, 14.74% - 24.74% Variable APR will apply. A 3% fee (min $10) applies to all balance transfers
  • No annual fee
  • No penalty APR. Paying late won't automatically raise your interest rate (APR). Other account pricing and terms apply
  • Access your FICO® Score for free within Online Banking or your Mobile Banking app

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On Discover's Secure Website.

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On Bank of America's Secure Website.

Discover it® Balance Transfer benefits at a glance

  • 0% intro APR for balance transfers -- 18 months
  • 0% intro APR for purchases -- 6 months
  • Balance transfer fee -- 3%, for transfers made within 90 of card opening. There is a 5% fee for all other transfers.

Note, the go-to variable rate applies once the 0% intro APR promo period ends.

BankAmericard® credit card benefits at a glance

  • 0% intro APR for balance transfers -- 18 billing cycles for transfers made within 60 days
  • 0% intro APR for purchases -- 18 billing cycles
  • Balance transfer fee -- 3% ($10 min.)

0% intro APR for balance transfers

Discover it® Balance Transfer includes a 0% intro APR spanning 18 months and BankAmericard® Credit Card includes an offer that lasts 18 billing cycles.

Paying attention to the calendar is crucial with both balance transfer credit cards. Discover it® Balance Transfer requires cardholders to transfer before a specific date, which kicks off the 18-month countdown until transfers get hit with interest charges.

BankAmericard® credit card transfers only receive the promo APR on amounts transferred within 60 days of account opening, which is also the starting point for 18-billing-cycle offer. After 60 days, any amounts transferred are charged your regular APR.

These minor differences are important for cardholders to keep in mind since BankAmericard® credit card's promo APR starts upon account approval whereas Discover it® Balance Transfer gives you a longer leash.

0% intro APR for balance transfers verdict: Win for Discover it® Balance Transfer.

Payment amount to avoid monthly interest charges

Picking the right card for you depends on your debt balance and amount you can afford to pay each month. Both cards incur a balance transfer fees. Since the cards have the same length balance transfer offer, you can likely save the same amount of interest charges with each card.

Pay off debt faster verdict: Tie.

0% intro APR for purchases

BankAmericard® Credit Card matches the 0% purchase APR with its balance transfer offer for 18 billing cycles. Discover it® Balance Transfer more than halves the length of its promo purchase APR to just 6 months.

0% intro APR for purchases verdict: Win for BankAmericard® credit card.

Cash rewards programs

We believe cardholders wanting to get out of debt faster should use credit cards first for balance transfer purposes. There’s no sense in taking advantage of a balance transfer APR offer only to rack up more debt that can incur interest charges at double-digit rates.

But that doesn’t necessarily mean cash rewards should be avoided at all costs. In fact, there’s an argument to be made for combining both a great balance transfer promo and cash rewards offer into one card. That way, cardholders can extend their credit history with one card that’s flexible enough to help pay off debt faster first, then earn rewards later when balances are paid off.

Average credit age is a factor that influences your credit score and holding one card for many needs (versus two for different needs) can improve your credit score with a longer average credit age and fewer inquiries.

Discover it® Balance Transfer may be a fit for cardholders taking that journey, whereas we see BankAmericard® credit card as a pure balance-transfer credit card only.

Discover it® Balance Transfer packs in a cash rewards program that earns 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com, or wholesale clubs up to the quarterly maximum ($1,500 of spending) each time you activate.

This card offers the flexibility of redeeming cash rewards for any amount at any time and redemptions options include statement credits, transfers to your bank, and gift cards ($20 min.). Cash rewards can also be used at checkout on Amazon.com.

Cash rewards program verdict: Win for Discover it® Balance Transfer

Credit score requirements

BankAmericard® credit card is marketed exclusively for cardholders with good to excellent credit (670-plus FICO® Score) and Discover it® Balance Transfer is geared toward good and excellent credit (670-plus FICO® Score).

Credit scores are an essential risk factor reviewed during the application process but reported income, current credit utilization, and other proprietary factors also inform an approval decision.

In fact, cardholders have reported approval for both cards with scores in the mid-600’s. That’s certainly not the norm but highlights the fact that more than just your credit score matters.

FICO® Scores for free

Keeping on the credit score theme, we love that both balance-transfer credit cards include a FICO® Score for free. This is a big value! Paying myFICO for a full rundown of your credit score profile costs upwards of $300 each year. So, take advantage of this valuable perk.

Which card should you pick?

Clearly, cardholders wanting a second chance to pay off credit card debt have a solid option with either offer and we think both are two of the best balance-transfer credit cards for good reason.

Discover it® Balance Transfer may be best for cardholders who value having one card to serve a life cycle of credit card needs when first paying off debt, then earning cash rewards later.

BankAmericard® credit card offers the same length balance transfer offer, but the 0% intro APR for purchases markedly beats out it competitor with among the longest 0% intro purchase APR offers on the market.

So, the decision really comes down to your main credit card need. If paying off debt faster is your goal then Discover it® Balance Transfer has the edge on BankAmericard® credit card, which is ideal for avoiding interest on purchases.

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