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Last updated on March 11th, 2021
Discover it® Cash Back
Earn up to 5% Cash Back
- Regular Purchase APR 11.99% to 22.99% variable based on creditworthiness and Prime Rate
- Balance Transfer APR 11.99% to 22.99% variable based on creditworthiness and Prime Rate
- Cash Advance APR 24.99% variable based on the Prime Rate
- Annual Fee None
- Credit Needed Excellent , Good
- Intro Purchase APR 0% for 14 months from account opening
- Processing Network Discover
- 5% cash back in rotating categories - choose from grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations, select rideshares and online shopping
- 1% cash back on all other purchases
- Discover matches all of the cash back earned by the cardholder at the end of the first year automatically; there is no limit to how much cash back is matched
- Cash back rewards never expire, earn unlimited cash back
- Use rewards at Amazon checkout
- No annual fee
- Intro Purchase APR: 0% for 14 months from account opening
- Regular Purchase APR: 11.99% to 22.99% variable based on creditworthiness and Prime Rate
- Intro Balance Transfer APR: 0% for 14 months from date of first transfer
- Balance Transfer APR: 11.99% to 22.99% variable based on creditworthiness and Prime Rate
- Balance Transfer Transaction Fee: 3% of the amount of each transfer posted at the promotional rate. After that, 5% of the amount of each transfer
- Cash Advance APR: 24.99% variable based on the Prime Rate
- Cash Advance Transaction Fee: $10 or 5% of the amount of each cash advance, whichever is greater
- Late Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $40
- Return Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $40
At a Glance
The Discover It Cash Back Card is a cash back credit card that offers enhanced earning potential in a selection of rotating categories. Cardholders earn 5% back on purchases in categories that rotate each quarter, and 1% on all other purchases. The card also features 0% intro APR for the first 14 months on purchases and balance transfers, Discover’s 100% U.S.-based customer service, and no annual fee or foreign transaction fees.
Ideal for Those Who
- Want to earn 5% back on select categories each quarter, including restaurants, gas stations, select rideshares, and online shopping.
- Don’t want to pay an annual fee or foreign transaction fees
- Want 100% U.S.-based customer service
- Don’t mind the frustration of categories changing every three months
Discover It Cash Back Card Review
The Discover It Cash Back Card is a lucrative cash back credit card from Discover. The card earns 5% cash back on purchases in select categories that rotate quarterly, and 1% back on all other purchases. Discover matches the rewards earned for the first year with their Cashback Match, meaning they’ll double the total cash back – earn $500 back during the year, and Discover will make it $1,000 automatically.
How to Earn 5% Cash Back
The Discover It Cash Back is like the Chase Freedom Card and other 5% rewards cards in that it earns 5% back on a selection of categories that rotate every quarter, like grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations, and more.
Rotating categories are equal parts frustrating and exciting, in that they offer the chance to earn enhanced cash back on purchases in categories you love, but for only one quarter each year and up to the quarterly maximum of $2,500). For the rest of the year, you’ll only earn 1% cash back on everyday purchases.
Discover is great in that they espouse openness and honesty, meaning cardholders don’t have to wait to know what categories they’ll earn 5% cash back in. Discover has already released its comprehensive list of 5% cash back categories for 2021, which looks like this:
2021 Discover 5% Cashback Calendar
Grocery Stores, Walgreens, and CVS
Applies to the first $1,500 in purchases at stand-alone grocery stores, Walgreens, or CVS locations.
Official terms: Grocery Store purchases made at convenience stores, gas stations, warehouse clubs, discount stores, supercenters (or at grocery stores associated with supercenters or discount stores), including Walmart and Target are not eligible. Walgreens and CVS purchases include only purchases made in-store at Walgreens or CVS, online at Walgreens.com or CVS.com, or through the Walgreens or CVS app. Individual merchants and stand-alone stores within physical Walgreens or CVS locations (including health centers), or on Walgreens.com or CVS.com, may not be eligible in this category.
Gas Stations, Wholesale Clubs, Streaming Services
Applies to the first $1,500 in purchases at as=stand-alone gas stations, or with select streaming services.
Official terms: Purchases made at Gas Stations include only merchants in the category that sell automotive gasoline that can be paid for either at the pump or inside the station. Gas Stations affiliated with supermarkets and supercenters may not be eligible. Check with your Wholesale Clubs to make sure your Discover card is accepted. Purchases of affiliated Wholesale Club services, such as travel and cell phone purchases, may not be eligible in this category. Streaming service purchases include only the following select U.S. streaming subscriptions: Apple Music, Apple TV+, AT&T TV Now, BET+, CBS All Access, DAZN, Disney +, ESPN+, Fubo TV, Google Play Movies & TV, HBO Max, Hulu, Netflix, Pandora, Philo, Peacock TV, Showtime, Sirius XM, Starz, Sling, Spotify, Vudu, YouTube TV. If your subscription is bundled with another product or service, billed by a third party (such as a digital platform, a cable or satellite provider, telecommunications, internet provider or a car manufacturer), the purchase may not be eligible in this category. Add-ons associated with Select Streaming Services may not qualify for this promotion if they are not listed, billed in a bundle, separately or through a third party. Listed merchants are in no way sponsoring or affiliated with this program.
Restaurants and PayPal
Applies to the first $1,500 in purchases at restaurants classified as full-services restaurants, or on PayPal purchases.
Official terms: Restaurant purchases include only those made at merchants classified as full-service restaurants, cafes, cafeterias and fast food locations. PayPal qualifying purchases are those made through the PayPal wallet online, when you send money to Friends and Family via PayPal using your Discover Card, and point-of-sale transactions using PayPal Here. Payments made through the Xoom transfer service are not eligible for 5%. Any restaurant purchase made using PayPal will only be awarded a total of 5% Cashback Bonus.
Amazon.com, Target.com, and Walmart.com
Offer applies to the first $1,500 in purchases at Amazon, Walmart, or Target websites.
Official terms: Amazon.com purchases include those made through the Amazon.com checkout, including digital downloads, Amazon.com gift cards, Amazon Fresh orders, Amazon Local Deals, Amazon Prime subscriptions and items sold by third party merchants through Amazon.com’s marketplace. Purchases also include those made in-store at Amazon Go, Amazon Bookstore, and Amazon 4-Star. Walmart.com purchases include only those made at Walmart.com and when shopping through the Walmart app (including Grocery Pick Up and Instore Pick Up). Purchases made through affiliates of Walmart.com are not part of this promotion. Target.com purchases include only purchases made online at Target.com or through the Target app. Purchases made through affiliates of Target.com are not part of this promotion, including, but not limited to, targetoptical.com and targetphoto.com.
While the 5% calendar above applies for 2021, it should be noted that Discover is fairly consistent with their cash back calendar. The fourth quarter of 2020, for example, was the same as the fourth quarter of 2019, meaning cardholders can plan their future spending accordingly. Thanks to Q4 savings with Target, Walmart, and Amazon, Discover Cashback is an excellent option for those who want versatile rewards with no annual fee.
How to Redeem Cash Back
As with other discover It credit cards, the Discover it Cash Back offers an easy and straightforward way to redeem the cash back you earn. Cardholders can claim their cash back through statement credits to help pay down balances on their Discover credit cards, or as a deposit into a checking or savings account that they link to their Discover account.
Should You Apply for the Discover It Cash Back Card?
The Discover It Cash Back Card sounds enticing. After all, who doesn’t want to earn 5% cash back when shopping with Amazon or the combination of streaming service subscriptions that many tend to have? Like the Chase Freedom, however, the card is both a blessing and a curse.
5% back is great, but having to wait for months on end until your preferred categories enter the 5% window can be frustrating. Fortunately, however, Discover has a nice selection of categories designed to work with everyone’s wants and needs. Online purchases earning 5% around Christmas and the holidays is great, as is %% at pharmacies and drug stores in the dead of winter when cold and flu season hits hard. Unfortunately, however, these categories earn 1% for the rest of the year.
Discover has a whole family of cards that work together, though the company limits each individual to just two cards. The Chrome Card earns 2% back on restaurant and gas station purchases all year, making it a solid option if you plan on using your card for these expenses all year. Additionally, if you want to earn 1.5% on everything, the Discover It Miles Card is another solid option.
Ultimately, however, the Cash Back Card is probably the preferred Discover credit card, as the categories on offer are excellent. While 5% may be fleeting, if you budget and plan your spending ahead of time, you can easily maximize your cash back savings, which is doubled in the first year.