Discover it® Cash Back Card Review

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For credit card users looking to get the most out of their rewards, the Discover it® Cash Back credit card should catch your eye. It offers unlimited cash-back match after the first year and bonus rotating categories. The Discover it® Cash Back is the perfect step up from a basic rewards card, and beneficial for savvy cardholders willing to put in a little work to maximize their return on investment.

Card Annual Fee Intro Bonus Credit Needed Key features
Discover it® Cash Back See Terms Automatic unlimited cash-back match by Discover after the end of the first year Good to excellent Cash back

What we like about the Discover it® Cash Back

At the end of your first year, Discover will automatically match the cash back you earned, dollar for dollar, over those initial 12 months. There’s no cap on how much Discover matches, and you don’t need to sign up to receive this introductory offer.

The rewards structure is based around rotating quarterly spending categories where cardholders can receive 5% cash back up to the maximum spending limit for expenses like grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations, select rideshares and online shopping, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate. You also earn 1% cash back automatically on all other purchases with no cap.

Things to consider

Not a fan of keeping track of rewards or managing which rewards category is active? The Discover it® Cash Back may not be for you if that’s the case. To maximize this card, it’s essential to monitor and activate the bonus rewards categories where you can get the biggest bang for your cash-back buck.  Spending limits do apply, but when you go over the limit, you still keep earning at a rate of 1%.

Another note to keep in mind: Discover is not as widely accepted compared to Visa or Mastercard, so you may be more limited in terms of where you can use it. You’ll likely need a backup card in case a restaurant or other establishment doesn’t accept it.

Discover it® Cash Back cash back details

With the Discover it® Cash Back, cardholders earn 5% cash back in quarterly bonus categories on up to $1,500 in purchases at different places each quarter like grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations, select rideshares and online shopping, up to the quarterly maximum. But in order to receive that cash back, you’ll need to activate those the spending bonuses. After surpassing the $1,500 limit, you’ll still earn 1% cash back for that category and 1% back on all other purchases.

Cardholders have several options for cash-back redemption and rewards can be redeemed in any amount — except if you choose gift certificate redemption, which has a $20 minimum. Other redemption options include direct deposit, statement credits, donations to specific charities and even, where you can apply your cash back during checkout.

How does it compare to other cash back cards?

If you prefer a more straightforward rewards structure, a flat-rate cash-back card you don’t have to monitor might be a better choice. Credit card users who don’t want to worry about changing rewards categories may want to consider an alternative like the Citi® Double Cash Card.

For every purchase you make, you’ll earn 1% at the time of sale and 1% when you pay your credit card bill. There’s no cash-back limit and no bonus categories to track. However, the main drawback of this card is the lack of sign-on bonus.

The Chase Freedom® is another cash-back card offering consumers rotating rewards categories at an identical rate to the Discover it® Cash Back card. There’s also an intro offer of $200 cash when you spend $500 on purchases within three months of account activation. This is a good option if you’re looking for a faster cash-back reward instead of waiting until your first year is over to get Discover’s cash-back match.

The bottom line

The Discover it® Cash Back card is ideal for the strategic spender who wants to maximize rewards and takes the legwork to earn them in stride. The cash back rotating bonus structure make this an excellent card to keep in your wallet longterm.

Please Note: Information about the Discover it® Cash Back and Chase Freedom® have been collected independently by The issuer did not provide the details, nor is it responsible for their accuracy.

Editorial Note: Compensation does not influence our recommendations. However, we may earn a commission on sales from the companies featured in this post. To view a list of partners, click here. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by our advertisers. Reasonable efforts are made to present accurate info, however all information is presented without warranty. Consult our advertiser's page for terms & conditions.

Michelle Wilson
Michelle Wilson
Contributing Writer

Michelle Wilson is a San Diego-based writer specializing in the topics of personal finance, technology and culture. You can find her writing on sites such as HP Tech Takes and San Diego Magazine. In her spare time, she enjoys finding new cats to follow on Instagram.