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Discover it® Cash Back review

Earn a potentially big signup bonus if you spend enough in your first year.’s rating: 4.8 / 5


  • Get this card if you don’t mind planning your spending to maximize your cash back throughout the year and boost your signup bonus.
  • Pick something else if you want a card that earns loyalty points in a rewards program.
  • Apply with a good to excellent credit score of 670 or higher.

Up to 5%

Cash back


Annual fee


Intro purchase APR

for the first 15 months (then 12.74% to 23.74% variable)


Intro balance transfer

for the first 15 months (then 12.74% to 23.74% variable)


Annual fee$0
Welcome offerDiscover will match cash back earned at the end of your first card year
Rewards5% back in rotating categories up to $1,500 combined each activated quarter, then 1% after that and on all other purchases
Purchase APR0% intro for the first 15 months (then 12.74% to 23.74% variable)
Balance transfer APR0% intro for the first 15 months (then 12.74% to 23.74% variable)
Minimum Credit Score670

Review by

Steven Dashiell is Senior Writer, Personal Finance at Finder specializing in all things credit cards. With more than 300 articles under his belt, he aims to help readers embrace credit cards and maximize their rewards. Steve is studying to become a Certified Educator in Personal Finance, and is a frequent face on Finder’s YouTube channel, offering the latest in credit card hacks and advice. His expertise has been featured on numerous outlets, including U.S. News & World Report, NASDAQ, Time, CBS, Fox Business, Lifehacker, Martha Stewart Living and more.

Expert review

The Discover it® Cash Back is a traditional 5% cashback card with a non-traditional welcome offer. It offers 5% back on up to $1,500 select categories that rotate out each quarter, then 1% after that on all other purchases. It carries no annual fee and comes with a 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 14 months reverting to a 11.99% to 22.99% variable APR. Finally, Capital One will also match all cash back you earn during your first year.

The card’s relative simplicity puts it on the back foot in today’s rewards card market. With cards like the Chase Freedom Flex offering unlimited earning categories in addition to rotating categories, the Discover it® Cash Back feels a little bare bones, especially considering this card doesn’t offer the robust flexibility of a rewards program.

But for cardholders looking for something a little simpler, this card still packs a lot of punch, particularly in the cash match signup bonus. If you spend enough during your first year, you can cultivate a signup bonus worth much more than you’d find on a typical cashback card. In fact, simply maxing out the bonus on your quarterly categories during your first year will result in a signup bonus payout of $600. This card further differentiates itself by allowing you to view the entire year’s earning categories at the beginning of the year. For competing cards, you won’t know what your bonus categories will be until the start of the quarter.

If you like planning ahead and prefer the simplicity of cash back over rewards points, the Discover it® Cash Back is a good choice with a rewarding signup bonus. If you’re chasing the most value however, there are currently stronger 5% cards on the market.

Best of 2021
Finder experts pick Discover it® Cash Back as a 2021 best product for credit cards.

How to apply for the Discover it® Cash Back card

  1. Go to Discover’s website. From the list of credit cards, select Discover it® Cash Back, then click Apply now.
  2. Complete the application with your personal details.
  3. Review your application and submit it.

What should I know before I apply?

To apply for the card, you must be at least 18 years old and a US resident.

As with any credit card, there are some personal details you’ll need to provide, such as:

  • Your full name and contact information
  • Your residential status
  • Your annual income, education level and employment information
  • Your Social Security number

At this stage, you can choose your credit card design color.

What credit score do I need?

You have a better chance of application approval with a credit score of 670 or higher. With a better credit history, you’ll get a higher credit limit and a lower APR.

How long will it take to get my Discover it® Cash Back card?

You’ll likely receive a decision almost immediately after you apply. If there are issues with your application, you may have to wait a few business days up to a few weeks for a decision.

Once approved, expect to receive the card by mail within seven to 10 days.

Discover it® Cash Back benefits

  • Cash back. Get 5% cash back on categories that rotate every three months. For example, you could get 5% back on purchases at gas stations and wholesale clubs during one quarter, groceries during the second quarter, restaurants during the third quarter and during the last quarter. All quarters have a limit of up to $1,500 made in purchases at the $5 rate. After that, 1% cash back applies. For all other purchases, you earn 1% cash back.
  • Intro APR period. Get a 0% intro APR period for balance transfers and purchases during the first 15 months months following your account opening. After that, a variable APR of 12.74% to 23.74% applies. This could be useful if you want to make a large purchase and carry your balance for a year. It could also help if you want to make a balance transfer from another account where you’re stuck with a higher rate.
  • No annual fee. The card comes with no annual fee.
  • Free FICO® credit score. It’s easy to keep track of your credit score with monthly updates on your statement or online at any time. You’ll see your updated FICO score on each of your monthly statements. Or you can log in to your online account for up-to-the-minute details.
  • Cashback match. At the end of your first card year, Discover will match the cash rewards you’ve earned. That’s especially valuable if you regularly take advantage of the 5% cash back.
  • Late payment leniency. You won’t suffer fees for your first late payment, and the card has no penalty APR.
  • Card freeze. You have an on/off switch to freeze your account in case you lose or misplace your card.
  • Pick your card design. When you apply, you can choose one of nine available card colors. Alternatively, pick one of the 100+ card designs when you log in to your account to further personalize your plastic.

Discover it® Cash Back drawbacks

  • Balance transfer limitations. You can use the intro APR period only for balance transfers that post to your account by a rolling deadline. For each transfer, you’ll pay a 3% fee. Keep in mind that you can only make balance transfers that don’t exceed your credit limit.

    Once the intro APR period passes, you’ll be charged interest on your remaining balance. To avoid this, you need to pay all of your balances in full.

  • Low starting credit line. Your credit line will be at least $500, depending on your credit score and other information.
  • Potentially high APR. The card’s variable APR spans from 12.74% to 23.74%. A weaker credit history could mean having to settle for an interest rate toward the higher end of that range. An APR of 23.74% variable is high, considering the average is around 16%.

Compare similar cashback credit cards

For a side-by-side look at similar cashback cards on the market, select up to 4 credit cards and click Compare. You can also browse the best no annual fee cashback cards if you’re looking for something similar in cost to the Discover it® Cash Back.

1 - 3 of 26
Name Product Filter values Rewards Purchase APR Annual fee
Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card
Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day and % cash back on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel (terms apply)
0% intro for the first 15 months (then 16.49% - 26.49% variable)
More than an unlimited 1.5% cash back card: you'll also earn % cash back on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel (terms apply).
Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card
3% cash back on dining, entertainment, popular streaming services and at grocery stores, 1% on all other purchases. Plus, earn % cash back on Capital One Entertainment purchases and tickets at Vivid Seats, and % cash back on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel (terms apply)
0% intro for the first 15 months (then 16.49% to 26.49% variable)
Earn unlimited 3% cash back on dining, entertainment, popular streaming services and at grocery stores (excluding superstores like Walmart® and Target®), plus 1% on all other purchases. Plus, earn 8% cash back on Capital One Entertainment purchases and tickets at Vivid Seats.
Venmo Credit Card
3% cash back on your eligible top spend category, 2% back on your second top spend category and 1% on the rest
15.49%, 21.49% or 24.49% variable
A cashback credit card that lets you auto-purchase the crypto of your choice from your Venmo account.

Compare up to 4 providers

How much cashback rewards can I earn with the Discover it® Cash Back card?

Here’s an example of spending over an entire year based on some common categories you’ll find on the Discover it® Cash Back. With $2,000 in spending on an eligible category, $1,500 of that spending will earn the 5% back, reaching the maximum cap for the quarter, and the remaining $500 will earn just 1% back. Annual spending similar to our example would earn at least $390 per year, starting from the second year. With the Discover it® Cash Back Match, you would get $780 in cash back for the first year. This beats most signup bonuses offered by a similar card.

These numbers are based on our calculations at the time of writing. And of course, any spending you perform on past the earning cap or on categories not eligible for 5% back will continue to earn 1% back.

Where you spend:The amount you spend:Cash back earned:
Wholesale clubs$2,000$80
Everything else$6,000$60

Discover it® Cash Back reviews and complaints

Discover has been accredited with the Better Business Bureau since 1989 and as of September 2021 earns an A+ rating from the bureau. Of the 1,062 customer complaints, all have been closed to satisfaction.

Discover hasn’t claimed its TrustPilot account and thus doesn’t interact with the site or address complaints through the site. Current customer complaints are over poor customer support and communication.

I got the card. Now what?

  • Download the Discover Mobile app. Use the Discover Mobile app to make payments, check your FICO® score, find ATMs and more.
  • Set up autopay. Discover waives your first late payment fee. Subsequent late payments come with fees of up to $41. Setting up auto pay can help you avoid these missed payment fees.
  • Look at the reward calendar. Unlike several other providers, Discover lays out its entire reward calendar at the beginning of the year. Taking a look at this calendar can help you plan out how you should use your card throughout the year to maximize your cash back.

Bottom line

While not the strongest 5% cashback card on the market, the Discover it® Cash Back still offers plenty of value for someone looking for a simpler 5% cashback card. If you’re curious to see how this card stacks up within the market, browse available cashback credit cards for a better sense of what card might fit your needs best.

Credit card ratings

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Our team evaluates credit cards to determine their value against similar cards on the market.

We rank card types — travel, cash back, business — on a set of factors that are most relevant to that type of card. We create these rankings to help you narrow down a credit card that best suits your spending and budget.

Learn the details of our methodology and scoring.

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  1. Default Gravatar
    July 3, 2019

    I know the credit limit is based off of one’s credit score and history, but based off a credit score in the 740 range which company usually offers the highest credit limit for a balance transfer card?

    • Default Gravatar
      July 3, 2019

      Hi Junior,

      Thanks for getting in touch!

      You are correct, a credit limit is based on one’s credit score and history. Aside from your credit score, the bank uses other pertinent information to approve a credit limit for you which is not disclosed to anyone. Given this, any bank can give a high credit limit for as long as you match their eligibility requirements.

      Hope this helps! For any further questions, feel free to reach out to us again, we’re here to help.


      , however, a credit card company looks at how you match their eligibility requirements of the card so make sure you check those carefully. e other factors that goes into their approval of your application and the credit limit they give. It is

  2. Default Gravatar
    September 19, 2017

    can i transfer card debt for a family member onto my discover card?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      September 19, 2017

      Hey Donna,

      Thank you for reaching out to us.

      It may be possible to have the credit card debt of a family member balance transferred onto your discover card.
      However, you need to meet the eligibility criteria before you’re approved for the balance transfer.

      You may want to read about it on this page on Balance Transfers for Someone Else’s Debt.

      As Finder is a financial comparison website providing general information, we do not represent Discover or any of the companies that we feature on our pages.

      It would be best to confirm this information directly with them.

      I hope this helps.


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