One of my first credit cards was a Discover Card. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was likely approved for the card because Discover was in the infancy of trying to grow their acceptance with merchants and users.
Twenty years later things are much different. Discover is now accepted (at over 8 million merchants says Nielsen) just as much as Visa/MasterCard, and their cards (now card) is on par with the major bank cards. For the last several years I’ve viewed the Discover More card as the not-quite-equal twin of the Chase Freedom card (the one I use for daily spending).
Again, things have changed. Discover is scraping their Discover More card, and other cards, replacing them with just one card, the Discover it card. Which is looking like a card on-par or surpassing the best offer from Chase.
You’ve no doubt seen the advertising for the new Discover it® card. I happen to think customer service is the last of my concerns when it comes to credit cards, but apparently some people are on the phone with their card issuer a lot. I can certainly attest to, in-general, liking a U.S. based customer service call vs international. However, what I’d rather focus on is how Discover has improved their cash back rewards offering with this new card.
First, the card will have the familiar 5% cash back on quarterly rotating categories. These 5% rewards are capped at different levels each quarter. The categories are as follows:
- January through March (Up to $1,500 in purchases on restaurants & movies)
- April through June (Up to $1,500 in Home Improvement Stores, Furniture Stores, plus Bed Bath & Beyond)
- July through September (Announced May 1, 2014)
- October through December (Announced August 1, 2014)
The card also comes with 1% unlimited cash back on all other spending. This is the major difference between the Discover More card and the new program under the Discover it card. If you remember, the Discover More card, you had to spend a minimum amount of money ($3,000) before the 1% would kick in. Now there is no waiting. The first dollar you spend on the Discover it card earns a minimum of 1% cash back.
Beyond those basics (that make it one of the best reward cards today), the Discover it® card is coming with some extra features:
- Fair. No annual fee. No overlimit fee. No foreign transaction fee. Pay up to midnight ET online or by phone on your due date without a fee. Plus, paying late won’t raise your APR.*
- Generous. 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in Home Improvement Stores, Furniture Stores, plus Bed Bath & Beyond® from April through June 2014 with free and easy sign-up. And 1% cash back on all other purchases.*
- Human. 100% U.S.-based customer service available any time.
- Looks out for you-since each Discover purchase is monitored. If it’s unusual, you’re alerted by e-mail, phone or text-and never responsible for unauthorized Discover card purchases.
- Plus, free FICO® Credit Score on your monthly statement to help you stay on top of your credit.*
- 0% Intro APR* on purchases and balance transfers for 14 months. Then the variable purchase APR applies, currently 10.99% – 22.99%. A fee of 3% applies for each balance transferred.
- *Click “Apply” to see rates, rewards, and free FICO® Credit Score terms and other information.
I like the late fee forgiveness feature as we all slip up occasionally. I also really like that they are eliminating the foreign transaction fee. That’s huge for those who need a card to carry while traveling.
In addition to these features, the card comes with a promotional 0% offer for 14 months on balance transfer and purchases (w/ a 3% balance transfer fee), then the variable purchase APR applies, currently 10.99% – 22.99%. The only thing that would have made this card better is an upfront cash bonus. But hey, you can’t have everything.
Kudos to the team at Discover for rolling out the Discover it® card. It’s a much better offering than their previous line up, and should be viewed as a strong option (if not the best) for an everyday-spending-no-annual-fee-having-cash-back credit card.