Discover it® Cash Back Is The Highest Cash Back Card On The Market

Matt is a Certified Financial Planner® and investment advisor based in Columbia, South Carolina. He writes personal finance and investment advice, and in 2017 he received the SABEW Best in Business Award.

Our summary:

  • As valuable as credit cards come, this card offers the highest cash-back rate we've come across with double cash back in the first year!
  • Take action! Balance transfers must post to the account by the deadline to qualify for the 0% intro APR for this current offer.
  • You can submit an application and get a decision in UNDER TWO MINUTES.
  • Cardholders can secure $1,148 of value from this card with NO ANNUAL FEE! $909 of that alone comes from the first-year bonus and premium cash back.
Discover it® Cash Back

Discover it® Cash Back

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On Discover's Secure Website.

  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Regular APR: 11.99% - 22.99% Variable
  • Intro APR: Purchases: 0%, 14 months Balance Transfers: 0%, 14 months
  • 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 on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations, select rideshares and online shopping, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate.
  • Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - automatically.
  • Redeem cash back any amount, any time. Rewards never expire.
  • Use your rewards at checkout.
  • Get an alert if we find your Social Security number on any of thousands of Dark Web sites.* Activate for free.
  • No annual fee.
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Rates & Fees

7 essential Discover it® Cash Back perks

5% bonus cash back -- Discover it® Cash Back pays 1% cash-back on regular purchases, and 5% cash back at different places each quarter like grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations, select rideshares, and online shopping up to the quarterly maximum ($1,500 of spending) each time you activate.

Double cash back in the first year -- Discover will match all the cash back earned during the first year for new cardholders, making it the highest cash back rate we've come across. 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 -- that works out to 10% cash back.

$0 annual fee -- Credit cards packed with valuable features tend to charge high fees or APRs. Discover it® Cash Back balances this relationship well and doesn’t charge an annual fee, making it a great fit for cardholders with modest credit spending needs, who won’t see their rewards get wiped out by an annual fee.

0% intro APR for purchases -- The card includes a 0% intro APR for 14 months for purchases, after which the go-to variable rate applies.

0% intro APR for balance transfers -- The same length 0% intro APR applies for balance transfers, as does the go-to variable rate. Note, the promo period extends for 14 months from 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 fees -- Foreign transaction fees can quickly add up when whipping out credit cards for purchases abroad. Fortunately, the card has nixed the typical 3% foreign transaction fee many card issuers charge.

FICO® Score for free -- This is a valuable, often overlooked perk that can help you keep track of your credit building efforts. Accessing your full FICO® Score profile through myFICO costs upwards of $359 each year, yet you get access to your Transunion FICO® Score for free.

Suggested credit score

When you apply for Discover it® Cash Back you should have a high likelihood for approval with good to excellent credit and a FICO® Score of at least 670. The higher your score the more likely to secure approval. Carrying a lower score can potentially earn you approval but it's a roll of the dice.

Improve your credit score in one month?

Using the cards 0% APR for balance transfers can help you avoid interest charges and even improve your credit score fast. That's because your credit utilization (your debt divided by available credit) counts for 30% of your FICO® Score. Paying down debt can improve your score fast since those debt balances are reported monthly to determine your credit utilization and score.

How to secure $1,148 of value

You'll be hard pressed to find a no-annual-fee cash-back card that offers as much value as this card. That's because of the combination of the cards lucrative 5% cash rewards program, double cash back in the first year, long list of secondary perks, and cutting fees. Here's how the value adds up:

  • $909 worth of bonuses and cash back -- Here's how you get there. You can receive $600 cash back in the first year maxing out 5% categories -- many cardholders won't have a problem maxing out the $1,500 spending cap each quarter for 5% categories. You'll earn $300 in this case, plus $300 from Discover for your double cash back in the first year. You can also earn $309 cash back in the first year in 1% categories -- the average American budget* would result in earning $154.88 cash back each year in 1% categories. Recall that Discover will double this amount in the first year for a total haul of $309.
  • Save $239 with the FICO® Score for free -- A single-bureau FICO® Score profile through myFICO costs $239 each year, whereas this card includes a Transunion FICO® Score for free.

These three categories alone tally to $1,148 worth of value. Keep in mind that the value for many cardholders could be far higher, given the card doesn't include an annual fee, doesn't charge a foreign transaction fee, and you can avoid interest charges for 14 months on purchases and balance transfers.

Live richly -- not risky

Credit cards with rewards and 0% APR offers should be a tool to reward you for purchases you'd be making already. Remember The Ascent mantra 1.) Pay off your card in full each month. 2.) Choose a card whose rewards are a good fit for you. 3.) Don't spend more than you already would. Follow this and you'll be richer and making your money work overtime for you.

Final take

Simply put, this card is among the best cash-back cards we've come across. The card nicely balances costs with benefits, delivering a credit card that you may find worthy of a prime spot in your wallet, especially if you can maximize 5% bonus rewards categories while avoiding common credit card nuisance fees.