|Highlights||Credit Card Feature|
|Things We Like||Discover's Cashback Match bonus offer|
|Our Least Favorite||Discover isn't yet widely accepted outside of the United States|
|Our Verdict||Great card for balance transfers and cashback|
Discover it® Balance Transfer is Discover's take on a balance transfer credit card, and in many ways they have done a pretty good job. This card gives you everything you would expect from a Discover card, like high rates of cash back, no annual fee, and useful benefits. But this Discover it® Balance Transfer version is specially designed to help you escape high APRs by transferring your balance and enjoying a long, low intro APR period on balance transfers.
There are other credit cards that give you a longer introductory balance transfer period, and there are cards that give you similar cash back. But Discover it® Balance Transfer seems to magically combine the best of both worlds. In this Discover it® Balance Transfer review, we'll show you the main benefits and disadvantages of this cash back/balance transfer credit card, and compare it with other similar credit cards.
Things We Like About Discover it® Balance Transfer
0% intro APR for 18 months on balance transfers and 0% intro APR for 6 months on purchases. Since this version of the card was created for balance transfers, we've listed this benefit first. 18 months is a pretty long period of time, and if your goal is to pay off your balance transfer, that should give you ample opportunity to do it. After the 0% intro APR for 18 months on balance transfers and 0% intro APR for 6 months on purchases you get a regular 14.24% - 25.24% variable APR. Sadly, a 3% balance transfer fee applies to each transferred balance.
5% cash back in categories that change each quarter. This may be a balance transfer card, but it's cash back that makes this card shine. You earn 5% cash back in categories that change each quarter, up to the quarterly maximum. You will need to sign up for 5% cash back every quarter, but that's quick and easy to do (by phone or online).
1% cash back on all your other purchases. All the purchases you charge to this card will earn 1% cash back, so this is a rewarding card to use for your monthly spending.
Discover's Cashback Match bonus offer. If you are a new cardmember, Discover will match all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically. That means the cash back you earn during the first year is actually worth double. This bonus offer is a refreshing change from the typical credit card bonus offers which give you a set amount when you spend a minimum amount of money with your card. With this offer, you choose how much you spend and you get rewarded accordingly.
Redeem cash back in any amount, any time you want to. The cash back you earn in your Discover it® Balance Transfer account is recorded as a Cashback Bonus. You can redeem the Cashback Bonus you collect for cash in several ways:
- A direct deposit to your bank account (starting at 1 penny).
- Partner gift cards (start from $20 Cashback Bonus).
- A credit to your Discover Card account.
- Pay with Cashback Bonus directly at select online retailers (no minimum).
- Charity donation (options starting at 1 penny).
Most cards require that you collect a set amount of cash back rewards before you can actually redeem them for cash, but this card lets you choose when to redeem.
No annual fee. The cash back you earn with this card is actually a real bonus, because this card has no annual fee. You can use this card to earn cash back knowing that your rewards won't be negated by an annual fee.
Introductory low purchase APR period. You get a 0% intro APR on purchases for 6 months from the date of account opening. There are other cards that offer longer intro APR periods for purchases, but if you want to buy something right after getting this card and then pay off your balance before the ongoing 14.24% - 25.24% variable APR takes effect, you have the option.
FICO® Credit Scores. You can track your recent FICO® Credit Score for free as a Discover it® Balance Transfer cardholder. Your FICO® Credit Score appears in one easy-to-read chart on monthly statements & online. This is a big benefit, as you would normally have to pay a monthly fee to access your FICO® Credit Score. This score is one of the most widely used credit scores in the U.S. and it gives you a good idea of what your creditworthiness looks like.
Freeze It® on/off switch. This Discover perk can save you a lot of headaches by letting you freeze or unfreeze your credit card account in minutes right on your phone or online. If you misplace or lose your card, or if you think your card or credit card information may have been stolen, you can simply freeze your account until the situation is resolved. Freezing your account does not affect any recurring transfers or other important charges that you have agreed to, so your important bills will still be paid. But it does prevent anyone from using your account to make purchases or get cash advances. Most other credit card companies require that you submit a request to freeze your account by phone or mail, and then freeze your account for a set amount of time, normally a week. During that time you would have to go without your credit card, which isn't very practical. Discover's Freeze It® on/off switch makes keeping a tight thumb on your account a whole lot easier.
No foreign transaction fee. Most credit cards charge a fee equal to 3% of the amount you pay for any transaction in a foreign currency. But this card doesn't charge you a foreign transaction fee. So when you buy that must-have curio or pay for your hotel while on vacation outside of the U.S., you won't pay an extra foreign transaction fee if you charge it to Discover it® Balance Transfer.
No late fee on your first late payment. If some disaster prevents you from making your credit card payment on time, you won't have to pay a late fee the first time you pay late. That's a nice perk, but the real benefit is that your APR won't be bumped up to a penalty APR when you pay late, like it would with most other credit cards. Still, you should avoid paying late like the plague, as it will affect your credit score. A good way to avoid late credit card payments is to set up a recurring transfer directly from your checking account to your credit card company. If you pay late more then once a late payment fee of up to $37 will apply.
All transactions are monitored by Discover. If a purchase or cash advance made with your card looks suspicious, you will be alerted by phone, text or mail. You can then confirm the transaction or take steps to prevent fraudulent use of your card.
You are never responsible for unauthorized purchases. If someone uses your credit card to make purchases without your authorization, for example if your card is stolen, you will not be held liable to pay for those purchases. That perk gives you a lot of peace of mind.
Redeem Cashback Bonus for purchases on Amazon.com. When you shop on Amazon.com, you can use your Cashback Bonus to pay directly at checkout. That's a nice option if you use Amazon.com to buy stuff.
100% U.S. based customer service. If you are tired of fighting to be understood by customer service representatives that should be helping you, then the U.S. based customer service you get with this card 24/7 will be a breath of fresh air. Discover has received the highest ratings for customer service out of all major U.S. credit card companies.
Our Least Favorite Things About Discover it® Balance Transfer
Not widely accepted internationally. Discover it® Balance Transfer is an excellent cash back credit card and does a good job as a balance transfer card as well, but don't expect to find a lot of merchants that accept this card outside of the United States. However, Discover has been expanding its network and is now more widely accepted than it used to be. Besides merchants in the Discover Global Network and Pulse ATMs, you can also use your Discover card at these locations:
- Merchants and ATMs that accept Diners Club International
- Merchants and ATMs that accept China Union Pay (widely used in China)
- Merchants that accept JCB (widely accepted in Japan)
- Link ATMs (in the United Kingdom)
How Other Cards Compare With Discover it® Balance Transfer
|Intro APR:||0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers|
|Regular APR:||17.24%-25.99% Variable|
|Intro APR:||0% Introductory APR for 12 billing cycles for purchases and for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days|
|Regular APR:||16.24% - 26.24% Variable APR|
|Intro APR:||0% Introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 12 months from account opening|
|Regular APR:||Variable APR of 15.24%, 19.24% or 25.24% will be applied|
|See Rates & Fees|
Discover it® Balance Transfer strikes a good balance as both a cash back credit card and a balance transfer credit card.
Discover it® Balance Transfer will suit you best if you want to earn great cash back, and also happen to have a balance that you would like to transfer and pay off. Because you pay a 3% balance transfer fee of each transferred balance, this may not be the best balance transfer card to use if you have a very large balance to transfer. In that case you may be better off getting a specialized balance transfer card just to consolidate your debts.
But coming across a card that gives you this kind of cash back (consider what you can save) and a long 0% intro APR for 18 months on balance transfers and 0% intro APR for 6 months on purchases followed by a reasonable 14.24% - 25.24% variable APR isn't something that's so common and is a niche which Discover it® Balance Transfer fills nicely.
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