Discover it® chrome review: Straightforward bonus rewards, but low potential value

Woman on cellphone waiting for train, looking up Discover it Chrome card Image: Woman on cellphone waiting for train, looking up Discover it Chrome card

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This offer is no longer available on our site: Capital One® SavorOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Pros Cons

Bonus rewards in common spending categories

Quarterly spending cap limits bonus rewards potential

Cashback Match feature could be more valuable than a traditional sign-up bonus

Low rewards rate on most purchases limits potential value

No annual fee

Initial credit line could be quite low


4 things to know about Discover it® chrome

Bonus category earnings may be limited

Your opinion of the Discover it® chrome card will likely depend on what you think of its cash back bonus categories. Cardholders earn 2% cash back for every $1 spent on purchases at gas stations and restaurants on up to $1,000 in spending each quarter (then 1% after that). All other purchases earn 1% cash back.

There’s no annual fee to cut into your rewards, but the cash back rates this card offers don’t stand out compared to other cash back cards. If you hit the bonus spending cap of $1,000 every quarter, you’d earn a total of $80 in cash back each year. With just a 1% rewards rate on all other purchases, you’d have to spend an additional $8,000 every year for another $80 in cash back.

Compare that to the Capital One® SavorOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card, which offers an unlimited 3% back on dining and entertainment, 2% back at grocery stores and 1% back on all other purchases with no annual fee. Capital One indicates that this card requires excellent credit, but it’s still a useful example of how the Discover it® chrome lacks some of the rewards value of other cards.

‘Cashback Match’ feature adds to potential rewards value

On the other hand, the Discover it® chrome’s “Cashback Match” feature does help it stand out. (This match is offered on all of Discover’s rewards cards.) This means all the rewards you’ve earned during your first year of card membership will be matched, not just your account’s rewards balance at the end of that first year.

That means you can get additional rewards during the first year on top of what you earn from the card’s 2% cash back rate for purchases made at gas stations and restaurants. If you spent enough to earn $160 in rewards over the course of that first year, you’d get an extra $160 in value added to your balance after your account anniversary.

Depending on how much you spend, this feature could be worth more than a traditional sign-up bonus. Plus, not all cash back credit cards offer a sign-up bonus, so the Discover it® chrome might offer better cash back rewards than other cards you’re considering.

The flexible cash back rewards program gives you options

A cash back card may seem like a straightforward way to earn and use credit card rewards, but the rewards programs sometimes limit the ways you can redeem your cash back.

Thankfully, the Discover it® chrome gives you plenty of options for using your rewards. You can redeem your rewards for statement credit, deposits into any bank account, gift cards and even charitable donations. In some cases, you can also use your rewards to pay for purchases at select merchants, including Amazon.com. Plus, your rewards won’t expire and will be credited to your account if it’s closed.

A decent intro APR offer, but be careful

The Discover it® chrome offers an introductory 0% APR for purchases and for balance transfers — but we advise caution before moving forward with either offer.

The introductory 0% APR offer applies to purchases and balance transfers for 14 months, after which the regular purchase and balance transfer APR will be 11.99% - 22.99%, depending on your credit. Balance transfers must be made by Nov. 10, 2020, to earn the intro rate, and the 14-month period starts on the date of your first transfer. Transfers made by that date also come with a 3% balance transfer fee, although that might go as high as 5% if you make a transfer past the cutoff.

These are solid 0% APR offers, and we particularly like that the time periods are the same for both purchases and balance transfers. If you want to transfer a balance, we advise doing so as close to the date your account opens as possible because Discover notes that any new purchases made after a balance transfer will accrue interest with no grace period until the full transferred balance is paid off. The only way to avoid that scenario is by keeping your 0% purchase APR active while you pay off your transferred balance, and the easiest way to do that is by transferring the balance early.

Otherwise, we don’t advise carrying a purchase balance on your account if you can avoid it, but the intro purchase APR could come in handy during emergencies or if you have a big expense on the horizon.

We also don’t recommend using a balance transfer offer if you plan to put numerous new purchases on the card while you pay off your balance. In addition to the interest charge previously mentioned, paying off an existing balance can require a great deal of discipline and focus. Managing two sizable balances on the same account can cause headaches and may result in you paying far more in interest than you earn from your rewards.

More information about the Discover it® chrome

While the cash back offers help determine the value of the Discover it® chrome, several other features may influence whether you decide to apply.

  • The minimum credit limit is a relatively low $500. While you may receive a higher limit, you should be aware of this potentially low credit line if you plan to use this card often.
  • Prequalification is available. Discover offers the ability to apply for prequalification for its cards, so you can see if you’re likely to get approved for the Discover it® chrome before sending in an application that will trigger a hard inquiry on your credit. But keep in mind that prequalification is not a guarantee of eventual approval for the card.
  • Late payment fee waiver. If you miss your payment deadline, Discover will waive the late payment fee the first time. But you’ll be charged a fee of up to $40 after that.
  • Free FICO® score. Discover provides complimentary access to one of your FICO® credit scores to help you track your credit over time.

The Discover it® chrome card could be a good fit for people looking for a simple way to earn extra rewards on common purchases. It’s not the greatest card for maximizing rewards, though — and it may be best suited for people who spend hundreds a month on their commute or dining out.

If you’re looking for more rewards value, you might prefer a card that offers high rates in several bonus categories or a card that offers more than 1% back on all purchases. The Discover it® chrome is a fine option for those who are just getting into the rewards world, but it lacks the potential value of other cash back cards.

Not sure this is the card for you? Consider these alternatives.


About the author: Eric Freeman is a writer and editor at Credit Karma, specializing in credit cards and credit scores and reports. He strives to make personal finance relatable for readers and to ground c… Read more.