Review: Discover Credit Cards

discover-credit-card225Discover offers a number of different credit cards intended for various types of customers and with various reward program options. Below is a list of credit cards issued by Discover, with a brief overview / review of each:

  • Discover It Card – The flagship Discover Card offers a 1% rebate on all purchases, and you can earn a 5% rebate on purchases in certain spending categories each quarter. (You get double these rewards for the first year as a new cardholder.) Also offers an introductory 0% rate on purchases and balance transfers for 14 months. Note that in order to get the added rebate in the 5% spending categories you must sign up each quarter or you will only get 1% cash back in those categories.  The Discover It Card is a much better deal than previous Discover Card offerings in terms of the cash back offered, but you might also want to visit our Cash Back Credit Cards page to compare Discover It to competitor cards.

  • discover-miles-smallDiscover It Miles Card – The newest Discover Card is also our favorite. While its name suggests a travel credit card, it is in reality a generous cash back card with some extra travel benefits. You get 1.5 “miles” for every dollar spent with the card, and you can convert these miles to cash back (1 mile = 1 cent) or use them to offset travel purchases you’ve made with the card. In short, this means you are getting the equivalent of a 1.5% rebate on all of your card purchases. And, you get double the reward for the first year — 3% on all your purchases, hard to beat.
  • Discover It Chrome – Offers an alternate cash back rewards program focused on gas & restaurant purchases — you get 2% cash back on restaurant and/or gas purchases, and 1% cash back on everything else. Note that the 2% cash back on gas and restaurant purchases is for the first $1000 on those combined purchases each quarter. After that, you’ll get 1% back on those purchases, too. For example, if you spent $600 on gas in a calendar quarter and $550 in restaurant purchases (for $1150 in such purchases total), only the first $1000 of those purchases would earn 2% cash back, and the remaining $150 would earn a 1% rebate.
  • Discover It NHL Card – Basically the same rewards as the standard Discover It Card described above, except you get the logo of your favorite National Hockey League team on the front of the card and get 10% off of merchandise from the store.
  • Discover It Secured Credit Card – Despite sharing the “Discover It” branding, this card is a very different animal, targeted to those with bad credit or those with no credit history. With this card, you must make a security deposit and you then get a credit line equal to what you’ve deposited. Otherwise, it works just like any other credit card — you make your purchases and pay your balance each month. Your bills are NOT paid from the security deposit unless you fail to pay. Over time, making your payments faithfully should improve your credit score enough to get a standard credit card that doesn’t require a deposit. (Discover will consider giving you your deposit back after one year with this card, depending on your payment history and other factors.) No annual fee but a high 23.74% interest rate, so try to keep that balance at zero. Unlike most secured cards, this one offers a rewards program the same as the Discover It Chrome card described above. Overall, a good secured card if you need to build credit.
  • Discover It for Students – Basically the same as the standard It Card reviewed above, but you’ll only get a 0% rate for 6 months, and your interest rate after that will likely be higher than with the standard Discover It. You also get a $20 bonus each school year if you keep your Grade Point Average above a 3.0. As far as student credit cards go, this one is a decent deal. Compare this card to others on our Credit Cards for College Students page.
  • Discover It Chrome for Students – Same as the Chrome card for non-students described above, but a slightly higher interest rate and less-generous balance transfer offer. Also has the $20 GPA bonus offer each school year.