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Discover it Cash Back Review

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Earning Rewards

Approximate annual rewards value: $282
First-year bonus cash back value: $282
First-year rewards value: $564

Discover it Cash Back cardholders will earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 spent each quarter on rotating bonus categories like Amazon.com, grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations and when you pay using PayPal. To qualify for the bonus rate, you’ll need to activate the bonus each quarter. The card offers 1% cash back on everything else, and Discover matches all the cash back you earn during your first year.

This rewards structure is a bit complex but can be a good option if you can pair the card with another one that has a higher base rewards rate. Use Discover it Cash Back for its bonus categories and the second card for everything else.

Based on average spending data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and Discover it Cash Back’s list of bonus categories for 2019, you can earn an estimated $282 each year.

Expenditure Annual cost Cash back earning rate Annual cash back earned
Groceries $4,400 5% during one quarter; 1% the rest of the year $88
Dining $3,400 5% during one quarter; 1% the rest of the year $68
Apparel and services $1,800 1% $18
Flights and hotels $1,000 1% $10
Gas $2,000 5% during one quarter; 1% the rest of the year $40
Entertainment $3,000 1% $30
Personal care products and services $800 1% $8
All other expenditures $2,000 1% $20
Total annual cash back $282
Bonus cash back $282
Total first-year value $564

Values for each spending category are based on average data from the 2017 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Expenditure Survey. Each category is rounded to the nearest $100.

The card’s first-year cash back match will help you double your earnings at the end of the first year. Just make sure you activate your bonus every quarter through your online account to avoid missing out on bonus rewards.

Redeeming Rewards

Discover it Cash Back cardholders can redeem their rewards in four ways: cash back via direct deposit or a statement credit, charitable donations, shopping on Amazon.com, and gift cards.

Comparison to Other Cards

Annual fee: Neither card has an annual fee.

Rewards: Discover it Cash Back earns 5% cash back on up to $1,500 spent each quarter on rotating bonus categories and 1% cash back on all other purchases. Chase Freedom Flex earns 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter; 5% on travel purchased through Chase; 5% on Lyft rides through March 2022; 3% on dining, including takeout and delivery, and drugstores; and 1% on all other purchases.

Sign-up bonus: While Discover it Cash Back doesn’t have a typical sign-up bonus, Discover will match all the cash back you earn during the first year. Chase Freedom Flex rewards you with a $200 bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first three months from account opening.

Benefits: Discover it Cash Back comes with zero-liability fraud protection, free access to your FICO credit score and alerts if your Social Security number shows up on a risky website. If someone steals your credit card or you lose it, you can easily freeze your account, plus get free overnight delivery for your replacement card. Chase Freedom Flex comes with purchase protection for theft or damage of up to $500. The card also adds an extra year on your warranty when you use your card to buy an item with a manufacturer’s warranty of three years or less.

Annual fee: Neither card has an annual fee.

Rewards: Discover it Cash Back earns 5% cash back on up to $1,500 spent each quarter on rotating bonus categories and 1% cash back on all other purchases. The Bank of America Cash Rewards credit card earns 3% cash back in the category of your choice, 2% back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs (up to $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club quarterly purchases) and unlimited 1% on all other purchases.

Sign-up bonus: While Discover it Cash Back doesn’t have a typical sign-up bonus, Discover will match all the cash back you earn during the first year. The Bank of America Cash Rewards credit card comes with a $200 online cash rewards bonus after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening

Benefits: Discover it Cash Back comes with zero-liability fraud protection, free access to your FICO credit score and alerts if your Social Security number shows up on a risky website. If someone steals your credit card or you lose it, you can easily freeze your account, plus get free overnight delivery for your replacement card. The Bank of America Cash Rewards credit card offers contactless cards.

Questions About the Discover it Cash Back

Q: How much cash back do you get from Discover it Cash Back?
A: Discover it Cash Back earns 5% cash back on up to $1,500 each quarter in rotating bonus categories you activate, such as Amazon.com, grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations and when you pay using PayPal. All other purchases earn 1% cash back. At the end of your first year as a cardholder, Discover will match the cash back you’ve earned.

Q: Is Discover it Cash Back a good card?
A: Discover it Cash Back is a popular cash back card with rotating bonus categories. The card is a smart choice for many consumers, but not for everyone, especially if you want to maximize rewards.

Q: What is the Discover it Cash Back credit score requirement?
A: Discover it Cash Back requires good to excellent credit for approval. You should have at least a 670 FICO credit score to apply.

Should You Get Discover it Cash Back

  • Prefer a card that allows you to maximize rewards on certain purchases
  • Have another card with a better rewards rate you can use for nonbonus spending
  • Do not want to pay an annual fee

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