A close cousin (you might even say twin) of the Discover it® card is the Discover it® Balance Transfer, an equivalent card in every way except for the introductory APR offer. If you’re looking for a cash back card that offers the opportunity of high-rate rewards in rotating categories, both cards are a solid option, but it’s worth choosing the introductory offer that best fits your current financial picture.
This review will cover some benefits and drawbacks of the Discover it® Balance Transfer card.
At a glance
Discover it® Balance Transfer
- INTRO OFFER: Discover will match ALL the cash back earned at the end of your first year, automatically.
- Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com, or wholesale clubs 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.
- Receive FREE Social Security number alerts-Discover will monitor thousands of risky websites when you sign up.
- No annual fee.
Balance Transfer Fee
Balance Transfer Intro APR
Intro Balance Transfer Period
Discover it® Balance Transfer deep dive
With two different offers for essentially the same card, it can be confusing to choose which Discover it® is right for you. Suffice it to say they only differ in terms of introductory APR offers, so the best fit really depends on whether an interest-free balance transfer or large purchase is more in line with your financial goals (the normal Discover it® offers 0% APR for 14 months for both balance transfers and for purchases; This promotion offers 0 interest for 6 months on purchases and 18 months on balance transfers).
Get it: If you’re looking to transfer a high-interest balance to a card that will also earn you cash back rewards
With a year and a half of no interest charges on balance transfers, this Discover it® Balance Transfer card can be a great way to catch a break from high-interest debt, giving you enough time to get your finances in order.
In addition to the introductory APR offer, the Discover it® Balance Transfer card offers the opportunity to earn easy cash back rewards, making it hard to go wrong if a balance transfer card is what you’re in the market for.
Some benefits of this card include:Discover it® Balance Transfer
Skip it: If you need a card to finance a large purchase with, or can’t be bothered to keep track of rotating rewards categories
While the Discover it® Balance Transfer card is a great option for those in need of a balance transfer, it comes with a shorter introductory APR for purchases, meaning it’ll be less beneficial for someone who needs a long period of time to pay off a purchase.
In addition, the rotating cash back categories on the Discover it® Balance Transfer card offer a great way of earning high cash back rates but may be a burden for those who would rather not keep track of rewards categories or remember to activate them.
Consider these drawbacks:
- Elevated rewards aren’t unlimited: While you can earn unlimited 1% cash back on the Discover it® Balance Transfer card, the 5% rewards rate for rotating categories can only be earned on your first $1,500 of purchases in the category (equivalent to $75 in cash back per quarter). That said, the potential of up to $300 per year in cash back isn’t a bad deal for a no-fee card—not to mention the cash back match for year one
- You’ll have to plan your spending accordingly to maximize cash back: Rotating rewards categories are a great way to achieve high cash back rates but may require advance planning. For example, you may want to stock up on items from wholesale clubs when the quarterly category includes these stores, but skip the wholesale shopping when a different category rolls around. In addition, you’ll have to activate your 5% rewards each quarter, which may be a hassle if you’d rather have a card you can spend and earn rewards on without having to think about it
- Shorter purchase APR offer: If you’re looking for a card to use for a large purchase and would like to extend the amount of time you have to pay it off, the normal Discover it® card is likely a better fit, as it offers 14 months of zero APR for balance transfers as opposed to just 6 months
- Not for poor credit: The Discover it® Balance Transfer card is available to those with average or excellent credit, which Discover defines as a score of at least 670. If you’re still working to build your credit or to recover from a financial hardship, it’s worth waiting to apply until you reach the minimum cutoff
If you’re looking for an escape from high-interest debt coupled with an ongoing opportunity to earn cash back on your purchases, the Discover it® Balance Transfer card may be just what you’re looking for. But if being restricted to rotating categories for bonus rewards sounds like a headache, a cash back card that offers flat rewards rates may be a better fit.