Using the Discover it® Credit Card

FT Contributor  | 

The Discover it credit card is a card that offers rewards through usage, also known as a cash back credit card. Unlike Visas and MasterCards, which are issued through banks, Discover is it’s own issuer and network, much like American Express.

Discover’s history dates back to 1985 when they were owned by the Sears company. Their first card was rolled out in September of 1985. The card went national in 1986 with an ad during SuperBowl XX.

Considered by some to be an innovator in the industry, Discover introduced consumers to tools such as Spend Analyzer, which allows members to see where they’re spending their money. The company introduced the Discover it card in 2016.

Types and Benefits of the Discover it Card

The Discover it credit card is available to consumers in five different varieties.

Regardless of which card you choose, each Discover it credit card comes with benefits, including no annual fee, no foreign transaction fee, and unlimited cash-back match on purchases made in the first year. The cash back earned never expires and customers can redeem their cash back in a variety of ways.

In addition, Discover offers 24/7 credit monitoring with every purchase and the ability to contact customer service whenever you need to.

Along with those benefits, each type of Discover it card comes with its own particular benefits. Discover also provides monthly FICO credit reports to its customers.

The Flagship Cash Back Card

In addition to the benefits that come with every Discover it card, the flagship card offers 5% back each quarter at different types of retailers such as gas stations, grocers, restaurants, and Amazon. You also earn 1% cashback on all other purchases made with this card.

The Chrome Card for Students

This credit card offers students 2% cash back on the first $1,000 they spend at gas stations and restaurants each quarter. In addition, students can earn 1% cashback on all other purchases. Discover also offers varying bonuses throughout the year, like a $20 statement credit each school year a student’s GPA is 3.0 or higher.

As an introductory offer, students can receive the Discover it credit card with 0% APR financing during the first six months of opening an account. Plus, no credit history is required to apply.

The Miles Card

Customers with the Discover it miles card can earn 1.5 miles for every dollar they spend. As with all Discover cards, the rewards never expire. The miles you earn can even be used to pay off future Discover purchases.

Another benefit of the miles card is that you can earn unlimited bonus miles during your first year. Additionally, there are no blackout dates limiting when you can travel.

The Secured Card

Consumers with no credit history can build one with the Discover it secured card. You decide your credit limit based on what you deposit into your secured credit card account. This security deposit is refundable, but enables you to treat it like a credit card and helps you establish a credit history with minimal risk.

Like many of the other cards Discover offers, you can earn 2% cashback on purchases at gas stations and restaurants up to $1,000, and an unlimited 1% cashback on all other purchases.

The Business Card

If you already make purchases on behalf of your business, the Discover it business card allows you to earn rewards. In addition to the benefits that come with every credit card, the Discover it business card offers unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase you make. During the first year, Discover will match that cashback dollar for dollar.

Discover it Cashback Match

Discover rewards its customers for using their credit card. Depending on the Discover it card you have, you can be rewarded 1 to 5% on qualifying purchases. New cardmembers are rewarded with cashback matches during their first year. This means that if you earn $100 in rewards, Discover will match that $100, leaving you with $200 cash back to spend elsewhere. You can redeem your rewards for gift cards, Amazon purchases, or cash back towards future Discover purchases.

Discover it Minimum Credit Score

Typically, you need a good credit score to obtain a credit card. Discover has a range of requirements, depending on the Discover it card you want to apply for:

  1. No minimum score is needed for the Secured Card or the Chrome Card for Students.
  2. You need decent credit (700 and above) to get the Flagship, Miles, and Business cards.  

Discover it Credit Limit

Your credit score is a major determinant in the credit limit you are granted. Other factors that affect your credit limit include your spending habits, annual income, personal expenses, and payment history.

Using the Discover it Card as Part of Your Credit Strategy

The Discover it credit card may be an excellent addition to your financial plan. In general, if you’re going to use credit cards, cash back rewards cards are a smart choice. Like other secured credit cards, the Discover it secured card allows you to establish a credit history. The other Discover it options allow you to earn a high credit score if you pay off your balances on time. The cash back is an added bonus and a free FICO credit score every month doesn’t hurt, either.

Review the terms and conditions for the Discover it card and compare them to other rewards cards to decide if this is the right card for you. Like any other credit card, how you use your Discover it card is entirely up to you. Make sure you use it responsibly.


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This post was updated December 3, 2019. It was originally published December 3, 2019.