Discover it® Review – 5% Cash Back In Rotating Categories

[This page does not contain any affiliate links. We post unbiased information regardless of our financial relationship with card issuers. We appreciate you using our links when they are available.]

There are currently two versions of the card. One version gives you $150 cash back when you spend $750 within three months, the other version gives you a 0% intro APR for 14 months on all purchases and balance transfers (balance transfer fee of 3%). Apart from these differences, the cards are identical. Choosing the best card will depend on your situation, but unless you’re planning on carrying a balance the $150 card will be your best bet due to savings interest rates being so low currently.

It’s important to make sure you apply for the right version of the card, if you apply for the wrong sign up bonus then Discover will not convert it.

Overview

discover it reviewAPRs:

  • APR: 10.99%-22.99% based upon your credit worthiness
  • Introductory APR: 0% for 14 months from the date of account opening (only if you choose the version with the 0% introductory APR)
  • Cash advance APR: 24.99%
  • Penalty APRs:  None
  • Grace period: 25 days
  • Minimum interest charge: $0.5

Note all APRs may vary based on the prime market rate.

Fees:

  • Annual fee:  None
  • Balance transfer fee: 3%
  • Cash advance fee: $10 or 5%, whichever is higher
  • Foreign transaction fee: None
  • Late payment fee: None for your first late payment, after that up to $35
  • Overlimit fee: None
  • Returned payment: $35

Card Benefits

Card Negatives

  • Discover has limited acceptance overseas (although it is the major payment processor in a lot of Asian countries)
  • Low 1% cash back on purchases not in the 5% rotating categories

Application Information

What Credit Score Is Required For The Discover it

Credit Boards Credit Karma
Lowest approved score 617 676
Average approved score 681.5 711

People seem to struggle to get approved for this card if their credit score is sub 660, Discover has started selectively offering a secured version of this card for those with lower credit scores. We’d recommend not applying for this card unless you have a score above 660, or would be ok accepting the secured version (which would require a security deposit of at least $200).

Find out your credit score for free

apply now big

Common Reasons For Denial:

  • Self employed, Discover seems to have an issue with those who are self employed unless they do their taxes through a registered tax accountant
  • Credit score too low. People seem to start running into issues with a score below 660, although some people are still approved the success rate drops off quickly
  • Bankruptcy on file. Discover will almost always instantly deny you if you still have a bankruptcy on your credit report. You’ll also need to wait a period of two years after a bankruptcy is discharged to get approved.
Make sure you call the reconsideration line if you’re denied.

Discover will often approve people who are denied if they call the reconsideration line and answer a few questions. Click here to find out the best reconsideration number for Discover or click here to read our tips for your reconsideration calls.

What Credit Bureau Does Discover Pull For The It Card?

Discover will almost always pull your Equifax credit report when you apply for the it card. Very occasionally they will pull your Experian or TransUnion report.

What Credit Limit Will I Receive?

Minimum Credit Limit Highest Reported Credit Limit Average Credit Limit
$1,000 $25,000 $3670.93

An average limit of $3,670.93 might seem quite low but it’s important to remember that a lot of people with low credit apply for these cards. If you look at people who have a credit score of 700+ the average credit limit jumps to $5,858.82. It’s also possible to request a credit limit increase which will only be a soft credit pull as long as you follow some basic rules.

Rewards Program

Discover it offers a cash back rewards program, you can opt to receive this

Earning Rewards

This card earns a flat 1% cash back on all purchases. They also offering rotating 5% cash back categories (similar to Chase Freedom & other 5% cash back cards).

Discover often mis-categorizes your spend.

A lot of people report issues with Discover not categorizing spend into the correct 5% category, meaning you only earn 1%. This is fixed by calling them to complain, but it means you need to keep an eye on your report to ensure they are categorizing your spend correctly.

You must enroll in these categories, otherwise you will not earn 5% cash back for that quarter. There is also a limit of $1,500 in spend ($75 in rewards) per quarter. Here are the previous, current and future cash back categories:

Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4
2015 Gas & Ground
Transportation
Restaurants
and Movies
Home Improvement Stores, Department Stores, and Amazon.com Holiday Shopping
& More
2014 Restaurants & movies Home improvement stores Gas stations Holiday shopping
2013 Restaurants & movies Home improvement stores Gas stations Online shopping
2012 Gas, Museums, Movies Restaurants & Movies Gas, movies & theme parks Department stores, electronic stores & toy stores
2011* Airlines, Hotels, Restaurants, Car Rentals & Cruises Home improvement stores, Department Stores & Clothing stores Gas Stations, Hotels, Movies & Theme Parks Gas & Hotels

*2011 had a limit of $800 in spend per quarter rather than the $1,500 currently offered.

You can also earn extra cash back by using the shop discover portal which can net you anywhere from 5-20%, which you get in addition to the flat 1% cash back they usually offer. This is one of the best cash back portals on the internet, they regularly have offers with major retailers such as:

  •  Groupon 15% cash back
  • Walmart 5% cash back
  • Tigerdirect 5% cash back

Another advantage is that you can use a credit card other than the Discover it through this portal, you just need to have an account with them to log in to get the cash back (HT: Travel With Grant).

They also sometimes have targeted offers where you can earn a bonus for spending a set amount in the allocated time (e.g $100 free when you make 5 purchases of $250 or more in the next four months).

Sign Up Bonus

As we’ve mentioned, this card currently has two different sign up bonus. Make sure you apply for the right version, as it’s not possible to change after the fact.

Current Sign Up Bonus
Sign Up Bonus History
  • December 1st – December 3rd, 2013: $100 when you spend $500 within three months (people were able to successfully upgrade to the $150 offer which is now currently available)
  • December 1st, 2012 – Unknown: $200 when you spend $1,500 within three months of account opening

Targeted offers

  • $250 when you spend $2,000 within three months of account opening. Was sent out to some people back in 2012.

Redeeming Your Rewards

Our Verdict

As always, it might be worth seeing if you have any personalized offers from discover before applying for this card.

You can find out how to do this and see personalized offers from other credit issuers by clicking here.

The Discover it card is an attractive card due to it’s 5% cash back rotating categories, it’s basically impossible to get more than 5% cash back with any other card. We wouldn’t recommend using it for purchases that don’t fall into one of these 5% categorizes  as it only earns the 1% cash back, when other cards on the market will earn 2%+.

That said, if you max out these 5% categories each quarter you’re looking at a healthy $300 per year, combine this with the $150 sign up bonus and you’ll receive a total of $450 in your first year and then $300 per year thereafter. Combine this with the shopdiscover portal and you could be making a huge saving on a lot of your regular purchases.

The major benefit to this card is the free FICO score, but more and more card issuers are offering this (Barclays being the main other competitor). It also doesn’t have an annual fee which means you can keep it open to improve your credit history length, which improve your FICO score.

One of the best things about this card is that you need a reasonably low credit score to get approved (we recommend 660+) and even if you get denied you’ll be offered the secured version of the card (which is probably the best secured card on the market).

apply now big

We Recommend This Card For:

  • People with a low credit score
  • People who regularly purchase from stores participating in the 5%-20% cash back offers through shop discover
  • People that purchase from categories that appear in the 5% rotating categories
  • People that want access to a free FICO score
  • People that want a no annual fee credit card

We Don’t Recommend This Card For:

  • People that only want to earn miles or points and not cash back
  • People that don’t use their card in the bonused categories normally

Alternatives To This Card

 

  • American Express Fidelity: This is card is better for purchases not falling in the 5% categories as it gives you a flat 2% cash back on all purchases, with no annual fee.

 

  • Barclay Arrival: This card will give you 2.22% cash back on all purchases if you redeem it for statement credit against travel expenses. It does come with an annual fee of $95, but this is waived for the first year. It also comes with a sign up bonus of $440 and access to your free FICO score..

F.A.Q’s & Tips

You can get $60 cash without it counting as a cash advance.

At some locations you’ll have the option to get $60 in cash with your purchases, this usually doesn’t count as a cash advance. You will not earn cash back on this cash portion though. For example, if you purchase $50 worth of goods and get $60 cash. You’ll receive $0.05 in cash back instead of $0.11. As always, your mileage may vary so don’t do this unless you’re willing to possibly front the cash advance fees. Here is a list of stores that offers this.

Is it possible to get more than one of these cards?

Some people have had success getting more than one (sources: 1, 2), although most people who have multiple cards originally had a Discover More card, applied for the it and then converted their existing more card to another it card. The maximum seems to be two cards, although we’ve heard reports of 3+ cards.

Need to wait a minimum of 45 days in between applications: 1

I have a Discover more card, I want an it card, what can I do?

You basically have two options:

  • Convert your existing more card to the it card. This is a soft pull and you’ll keep the age on your account.
  • Open a new it card. You’ll then have both it & more cards, you can then convert the existing more card or close it. We only suggest opening a new it card if you’re planning on also converting it to and “it” card – otherwise you will be loosing the account age for no reason.

Where can I find other discussions on this card?

I don’t like the design on my card, can I change it?

Yes, you can. Log into your account then click manage account, then “new card design”. You’ll be able to select from a list of designs It’ll have the same account details so you’ll be able to continue both the existing card the new card. A new card will take about six business days to arrive. We’ve shown you the Garnet design below.

discover it garnet