As the name suggests, Discover it® Cash Back is a cashback credit card that allows you to earn 5% cashback on rotating quarterly categories. With no annual fee, the card can be an attractive option for those looking to earn cashback rewards. Bonus: At the end of the year, you’ll also get double all of your first year cash through the Discover Cashback Match program.
In this article, we’ll look at when the Discover it Cash Back card is worth it, and when you can consider alternatives.
When is Discover it Cash Back worth it?
When you want to receive 5% cashback for purchases
One of the biggest benefits of the Discover it Cash Back credit card is the ability to receive a 5 percent cash back on rotating quarterly categories. Every quarter, Discover has a different set of bonus categories that the issuer releases all at once.
For example, in the second quarter of 2022, Discover’s 5 percent bonus categories were gas stations and Target stores, and in the third quarter, restaurants and PayPal. Please note that you need to manually activate the purchase categories in order to earn 5 percent.
You can earn 5% cashback on your first $1,500 on purchases in bonus tiers every quarter; after reaching the limit, you will earn 1 percent. For other purchases outside of the rotating categories, you will always receive 1 percent.
If you maximize your bonus categories every quarter, you can earn $300 in rewards per year. And after the first year (when all of your cashback is doubled as the initial signup bonus), you can earn up to $600 in rewards on spending alone in the quarterly bonus categories. This is a hefty reward from the card with no annual fee.
When You Can Use the APR Introductory Offer
The Discover it Cash Back card has many rewards and benefits, and one of the most popular is its introductory 0 percent APR offer. You can get 15 months of 0 percent APR on both new purchases and balance transfers (from 13.49 to 24.49 percent thereafter).
If you’re not sure if you can pay off your debt within 15 months, use our Balance Transfer Calculator to see if you should transfer your balance. As for the introductory APR on new purchases (be it a new washing machine or blender), be sure to make regular payments before your APR offer expires.
When is Discover it Cash Back not worth it?
When you want to get a higher return on everyday shopping
5% cashback on rotating quarterly bonus tiers is a great return if it matches your spending, but 1% on all other purchases is not the best option. And there are many other credit cards that offer a higher rate of reward for day-to-day expenses.
For example, the Citi® Double Cash Card gives you unlimited 2 percent cash back – 1 percent on regular purchases and then 1 percent on those purchases. This may be the best option if your spending doesn’t really match the changing Discover it Cash Back categories and if you pay your card regularly every month.
Another option is to pair the Discover it cashback with a Double Cash card or a card similar to Double Cash. If you’re already using flat-rate credit cards, this could be beneficial for you. You can use the Discover card for bonus categories, and then once you hit the $1,500 quarterly limit, start using the card, which gives you over 1 percent on all other purchases.
When you prefer travel rewards and perks
Discover it Cash Back is a good card, but its redemption options are limited to cash back and similar alternatives such as gift cards, donations, and statements. Cash is everything and can be used to book travel or anything else you want, but if you travel frequently and want to maximize your travel purchases, you should buy a travel credit card. If you’re looking for free checked baggage or elite status perks, you can look for an airline or hotel credit card.
The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card is a good hotel credit card that delivers high value in every way thanks to its high reward rates, three free nights after you spend $3,000 in three months, and an annual bonus of one free nights (worth up to 35,000 points). .
For an airline card, the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card provides points in select daily categories and convenient travel perks such as two free checked bags, baggage delay insurance and the chance to earn a Companion Pass.
Is it worth getting a Discover it Cash Back card?
The Discover it Cash Back credit card is a great option for people looking to increase their cash rewards. Being able to earn 5% cashback on purchases up to $1,500 every quarter is a great ROI. If you play your cards right, you’ll earn up to $600 cash in your first year with Discover’s Cashback Match.
The card is best suited for cashback enthusiasts who don’t mind activating categories every quarter and would like to spend extra time developing a shopping strategy in line with the category rotation schedule.
However, if you don’t mind having multiple cards in your wallet, Discover it cashback works best in combination with another card that you can use for non-reward spending. Since its 1% cashback on other purchases is below average, we recommend adding a flat rate cashback card or another cashback card with bonus categories in trusted, everyday categories like groceries or gas.
The Discover it Cash Back Card is a secure card with no annual fees that provides up to 5% cash back on all purchases. It also offers a wide range of benefits, including free access to your FICO score and a 15-month introductory 0 percent APR offer. If you like cashback in various categories and don’t mind putting in some effort to maximize the card, this might be perfect for you.