How Many Discover Cards Can You Have?

Update 9/24/19: Reader JB points to two more recent data points (1, 2) indicating it’s possible to get a second Discover card in less than a year from the first, so this year-wait rule may have changed. (One of those data points is a preapproval which may be different.)

Update: Here is the official response from Discover:

A cardmember can be the primary cardholder on two Discover accounts, and can only be considered for a second account once they have had the first account for at least a year (Mod edit: based on twelve billing cycles according to reader Randy)

Two Discover Cards

With the launch of the new Dicover IT Miles card, many people are wondering: how many Discover cards can someone have? If you have the Discover IT Cash Back card, can you get the new Miles card as well?

I called Discover twice and both representatives said the exact same reply: you can have more than one Discover card, but only if it’s been 12 months from when you got the previous card. Thus, anyone who only recently got the Discover Cash Back card will not be able to get approved for the new Discover Miles card.

Similarly, someone who doesn’t yet have either Discover card will now have to choose which card they want to get; they couldn’t just apply for both. For this reason it’s important to weigh various factors such as the signup bonus and category bonus that Discover Cash Back comes with, versus the higher rate of rewards on ordinary purchases that Discover Miles comes with. We wrote a full analysis on this earlier today, see Discover it Vs Discover it Miles – Which Card Makes More Sense?

[Read: Discover it Miles Full Review]

Recent Reports

Here are two reports regarding the new Discover Miles card.

  • One Flyertalk member applied online and the system told him to call in. Seems that those who have an existing Discover account will automatically be prompted to call in and verify if they want to open a second account or if they want to close the old one and open the new one. We’ll have to wait and see more reports on whether everyone has this experience or if it was an isolated experience. (I’m putting my money on this being the case for everyone.)
  • Two reports indicate that Discover is not yet allowing doing a product change from the Cash Back card to the miles card (1, 2). [We’re not discussing the wisdom of doing such a product change, just whether it’s possible.] You need to apply for a new account, at which time they may ask you if you want to close down the old account or just open a second one. But there’s currently no way to save the hard-pull on your credit by doing a product change.

Same-Card Multiples

On my second phone call to Discover,  I asked them a different question: can I have two of the same version of a Discover card? I made it very clear that I wanted to know if I could have, for example, two Discover Cash Back cards. The representative replied, “sure, so long as your previous card is more than one year old, you can apply for a second card”.

Just to be sure, I called Discover again. This time I didn’t ask about the Miles card at all, I just said that I’m a Discover Cash Back card member and I want a second card to separate certain expenses. The representative said the exact same reply that so long as your previous card is one year old it’s no problem at all.

This is a big news for a few reasons. First, the Discover Cash Back card comes with a signup bonus, sometimes as high as $150. Based on this, we may be able to get that bonus more than once, even without cancelling the first card. Now, it’s possible that they won’t give the signup bonus more than once (see List of Churnable Credit Cards), but I’d give it a decent chance that they don’t have such a thing coded, since not many people apply for multiples of Discover cards.

Second, this means that we can double our Discover quarterly category capacity by having two cards. Again, we can only get one card per year, so if you’ll apply soon for the Miles card, you won’t be able to get the second Cash Back card for another year.

Third, let’s see how this can affect the new Miles card. As we know, the Miles card earns the equivalent of 3% back, but only for the first year. Now, we don’t know yet if this year is ‘churnable’ – if we cancel the card after one year and apply later for another one, will we get the 3x again for another year. Again, I’m optimistic that this is churnable but I obviously don’t know. If it is churnable, then we wouldn’t even have to cancel the card and re-apply. Instead, we could just apply for a second card after a year.

The major problem here is that it will take a full year to verify whether your card is earning 3x or not – since the extra rewards only come at years end – and it’s impossible for us to have any data points for two full years from now. (I’ll have to mark down on my calendar to check Flyertalk in February 2017 to see if there’s any reports on this.) But even if we would get a positive report from Discover themselves, it would be hard to justify putting real spend on the card for an entire year, based on faith in the system that the 3x bonus is churnable. (Update: it’s clear in the login if you are earning 3%.)

Additionally I’ll note that – as mentioned – it sounds like Discover won’t issue an instant approval for existing cardholders, you’ll likely have to call in and get manually approved. They may even ask you to explain why you want two of the same card. It shouldn’t be a big deal, but the fact that it’s not instant makes it less appealing.

In any case, I think this news opens up a new front of possibilities, especially in regard to the Cash Back card category bonus; the main question being how Discover will react to attempts at numerous cards.

Conclusion

To recap:

  • You can have more than one Discover card, but when you apply you probably won’t get an instant approval.
  • You can not apply for a second Discover card within one year of getting the first card.
  • You can not yet product change a Discover Cash Back card into a Discover Miles card. [This will likely be available in the future, but we don’t know if the 3x rewards benefit will apply.]
  • You can apply for more than one of the same product, so long as a year has passed.
  • We don’t know if the signup bonus or the rewards bonus is ‘churnable’ and will apply the second time you get the same card product.

I had been considering applying for a second Discover card for some time now. Since Discover pulled Transunion for me when I applied for my first Discover card, I figured it was worth the risk to see if I can get a second card. Now it’s clear that it is possible to have more than one, I just have to decide whether to go for the Miles card or a second Cash Back card. I’m leaning toward the Cash Back card in hopes of earning a second signup bonus, but only if the signup bonus goes back up to $150 some time soon.

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Paula Johnson
Paula Johnson

I’ve had my Discover It cash back card for 2 years now. No credit line increase whatsoever. I gave asked a couple times and was denied. I make my payments on time without fail and pay much more than the minimum. Any suggestions?

Innov8v
Innov8v

Got my 2x points bonus yesterday. Applied for my 2nd card today. Instant approval. No call-in.

DANIEL HOWARD
DANIEL HOWARD

I started with discover secured card graduated n 8 mths with max credit limit now on January 1st for shits and Giggles I went to discover website to see if I would be approved for a new Discover It Card and lo and behold I got approved I love discover it’s the 5% cash back rotating with balance transfer I have had no problems with discover in my entire time of dealing with them they are very professional in all my dealings with them I love discover

Odelia
Odelia

It appears that student cards may behave differently.
https://www.reddit.com/r/CreditCards/comments/d8eu6b/2_discover_cards/

TBoston
TBoston

If only they would let you have a true miles card that transfers to airlines…

Dubya
Dubya

”The major problem here is that it will take a full year to verify whether your card is earning 3x or not – since the extra rewards only come at years end – and it’s impossible for us to have any data points for two full years from now.“

Not true. Discover gives you a running total of the year end cash back, gives you a breakdown of which $ are in which % bucket and tells what date next year it will post

YoniPDX

An oft overlooked opportunity is the “Discover it® Business Card
Simple. Smart. Built for your business” for 1.5 %CB that is doubled like personal card to 3% first year.

As well as 12 months at APR 0% -. Saw this card on my Nav dot com account.

Not sure how biz cards are impacted by 12 month rule.

SERGEY
SERGEY

Are there any current sign up intensives for Discover?

hora
hora

I have 3 discover cards. I had them for more than 10 years though. Converted all of them to discover IT cards

Ryan
Ryan

I wish I could split my current credit limit with a new card and avoid a hard pull. Discover keeps upping my limit way past anything I need.

Amy
Amy

You can tell them to freeze your limit: I’ve had one Discover card with a set amount that’s never changed since I first got it and asked to keep the limit at a specified amount.