Cash-Back Battle: Discover it® Cash Back vs. Chase Freedom®

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If you love the idea of earning cash back for each dollar you spend, any of the top cash-back credit cards are worth considering. Still, two cards – the Chase Freedom® and the Discover it® Cash Back – tend to remain incredibly popular despite other competing offers.

While a lot of cash-back cards offer 1% to 2% back, the Chase Freedom® and the Discover it® Cash Back work similarly. Both cards offer the standard 1% cash back on all purchases. With the Chase Freedom® and the Discover it® Cash Back you’ll earn 5% up to the quarterly maximum in bonus categories that change every three months (when activated).

Chase Freedom® vs. Discover it® Cash Back

Which card should you choose? At the end of the day, these two rewards cards have more similarities than differences. Still, one card could leave you better off; it all depends on your personal spending habits and preferences.

Before we go any further, check out this chart to see how both offers stack up:

 Chase Freedom® Discover it® Cash Back
Annual Fee$0$0
Earnings Structure5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Plus, unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.5% cash back at different places each quarter like grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations, select rideshares and online shopping, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases –automatically.
Foreign Transaction Fee3%0%
Redemption OptionsCash back, statement credits, gift cards, travel, or merchandiseCash back, gift cards, and purchases made through Amazon.com
Signup Bonus$150 after you spend $500 on your card within three months of account openingNo
Ongoing Bonus?NoDiscover will match your cash back earned the first 12 months

When you compare benefits side-by-side, it’s easy to see why both offers are popular. Both cards make it easy to earn cash back, and both let you redeem your points in more than one way.

If you want a signup bonus, for example, the Chase Freedom® is the clear winner. If you don’t mind waiting to earn extra rewards, on the other hand, the dollar-for-dollar cash back match offer that comes with the Discover it® Cash Back is a huge benefit.

Here are a few signs you might be better off with either card:

You should get the Discover it® Cash Back if…

  • You want to earn double rewards your first year. With Discover’s cash match promotion, they will match your cash back at the end of your first year.
  • You love earning cash back. Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations, select rideshares and online shopping, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate. Plus, 1% unlimited cash back automatically on all other purchases.
  • You want to use your cash back for gift cards, and purchases made through Amazon.com. Discover lets you redeem your cash back for Amazon.com purchases, and gift cards. If you love these options, this card will leave you in good shape when it comes to actually redeeming your rewards.

You should get the Chase Freedom® if…

  • You want to earn a signup bonus. The Chase Freedom® offers a $150 bonus after you use your card to make just $500 in purchases during the first three months of card ownership.
  • You want flexible options when it comes to redeeming your points. This card makes it easy to redeem points for cash back, gift cards, purchases made through Amazon.com, and travel.
  • You don’t plan to use your card for purchases made overseas. This card is a good option if you don’t plan to travel overseas, or if you have another credit card that doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees to use when you travel.
  • You have a premier Chase travel credit card. If you travel often and carry a premier Chase card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, the Chase Freedom® might be a better option. With both cards, you can pool points in your Preferred account and score optimal travel redemption options.

Other Benefits to Consider

Beyond the obvious, there are other benefits to consider with both cards. If you shop online often, for example, you’ll be happy to know that both cards offer a shopping portal that lets you earn additional points.

With the Chase Freedom®, you can earn additional points just by clicking through the Ultimate Rewards shopping mall before you buy something online or book travel.

Chase Freedom®’s consumer protections also give it a leg up. By signing up for this card, you’ll score purchase protection, extended warranty protection, auto rental collision damage waiver, roadside assistance, trip cancellation/interruption insurance, lost luggage reimbursement, and travel accident insurance.

Discover does offer your free FICO score when you check your account online, which is a huge perk if you’re watching your credit closely.

Final Thoughts

The Chase Freedom® and Discover it® Cash Back are solid rewards cards that many consumers rely on. With plenty of ways to earn extra rewards, and a slew of consumer protections, it’s no wonder people sign up for these cards in droves.

If you’re trying to decide between the two, it really boils down to your spending habits and goals. While you can’t go wrong with either card, it’s possible one card would leave you with more rewards over time. Which one? Only you can decide.

Do you have either of these cards? How did you pick?

Please Note: Information about the Discover it® Cash Back and Chase Freedom® have been collected independently by TheSimpleDollar.com. 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.

Holly Johnson
Contributing editor

Holly Johnson is a frugality expert and award-winning writer who is obsessed with personal finance and getting the most out of life. A lifelong resident of Indiana, she enjoys gardening, reading, and traveling the world with her husband and two children. In addition to serving as Contributing Editor for The Simple Dollar, Holly writes for well-known publications such as U.S. News & World Report Travel, PolicyGenius, Travel Pulse, and Frugal Travel Guy. Holly also owns Club Thrifty.