Discover It Card Review: Improved, 5% Cash Back Categories, Free FICO Score

discover2014q2(2nd Quarter activation open. I just logged on and noticed that you can now register to get 5% cashback on up to $1,500 in purchases in Home Improvement Stores, Furniture Stores, and Bed Bath & Beyond from April to June 2014. 5% rewards start only after activation each quarter and are not retroactive, so sign up now by logging into your account online.)

Scrappy little Discover is trying something bold. They’ve chucked everything and started fresh with only one card – the new Discover it® Card. (Yes, lowercase, don’t ask me why.) No longer promoted are the Discover More, Motiva, Open Road, Escape, and Miles cards.

In fact, you may want to convert your old Discover card to this one. The new card is a definite improvement over the old products, with many positive changes in direct response to the competition. Here are the highlights:

  • 5% cash back on rotating categories. My favorite feature. As with the Discover More card, you’ll get 5% cash back from select categories each quarter. From April to June 2014, get 5% cashback on up to $1,500 in purchases in Home Improvement Stores, Furniture Stores, and Bed Bath & Beyond.
  • 1% flat cashback on all other purchases. Previous cash back cards had an initial tier that only gave you 0.25% cash back on the first $3,000 in purchases, and then 1% after that. They’ve finally matched competitors and went for 1% flat.
  • Free FICO score every month. You get a free official FICO score, updated every month, shown on your billing statement.
  • Late payment forgiveness. There is no late fee for your first late payment, and your APR won’t automatically increase either. You can also pay-by-phone for free, up to midnight Eastern on your due date. We all make mistakes, so this is a nice addition.
  • Human. 100% U.S.-based customer service available any time. Guides a free, personalized online tour to help you get the most rewards for how you use your card. Instead of an intentionally-complicated robot phone tree, you can now select at any time to go straight to a human. I’m a little bummed that this has to be touted as a feature, but sadly it is…
  • No annual fee, no fee for going over your limit.
  • 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
  • 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.
  • No foreign transaction fee. Discover is not accepted very widely in Europe, although it works anywhere you see the Diners Club International Logo. However, it is one of the best cards for Asia, especially China and Japan. You can use your Discover anywhere you see a China Union Pay, JCB, or Diners Club International logo.
  • Silly things. Things that shouldn’t matter, but still might. The card arrives via UPS/FedEx mail in a sleek-looking box. The card front is made to look like brushed stainless steel with no raised embossing – your name and card number are only on the back. I wonder where they got that idea?

Is it really a game-changer? Well, no. It’s not quite “one card to rule them all”, but it does combine the good bits from several other popular cards (Chase Sapphire, Chase Freedom, Citi Simplicity) to create a competitive offering. I like the 5% categories that are usually pretty broad and useful.

Discover is still the underdog to American Express/Visa/Mastercard, but it has its own perks. There are bonuses above cash back value for certain gift card redemptions. Their ShopDiscover cashback portal also often has the highest percentages for online shopping merchants, like 10% at Sears, better than eBates and such. Finally, Discover card has a lot of consumer features like return protection and an extended warranty that extends the manufacturer’s warranty for up to an extra year.

Basically, this Discover card is certainly improved and a worthwhile addition to your wallet, although rewards geeks like myself probably won’t it the only card in our wallets. ;)

Existing cardholders. I have not gotten any communication from Discover that my existing cards will be converted to an “it” card automatically. Readers report that if you call them up, they will convert you to the new card manually for free. You get to keep your same card number and thus credit history. Certain people with annual fee miles-type cards or those doing a 0% balance transfer promotion may prefer to stay, but again I think this card is definitely better than the plain Discover and Discover More cards.

“Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by the issuer. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the issuer. This site may be compensated through the issuer’s Affiliate Program.  “The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.”

Comments

  1. I applied for the discover more card with $100 offer last year in Oct and called them to switch it over to Discover It. They also kept the $100 bonus offer on the new card. Same card number and everything’s pretty awesome so far!

  2. Don’t you have to pay royalties to Frequent Miler for using the phrase ‘One Card to Rule them All’?

  3. I have the original Discover card (member since 1986, so I’m talkin’ Original Original), and I called to ask if I would be automatically transferred to the new card or get the same terms. Apparently not, because they hooked me up with the new card team who is issuing the new card to us. Like Frank, same card number and all.

  4. Meh. Pass.

  5. I called Discover once I found out about the new card and asked that my current More and Open Road cards be converted to the new card, and the CSR immediately connected me to a Discover it specialist. I asked if Discover had planned to eventually automatically convert current cards to the new program, and the specialist responded that they weren’t planning to do so. According to her, they did not want to force something on their customers…instead, they preferred to have people call in and request that their accounts be changed over to the new program. As it turns out, once you call in, they cannot immediately convert the card over. Instead, you have to wait until the next billing cycle for it to take effect. I was told that my new cards would be FedExed to me.

  6. Thanks to your article I called Discover and converter both of our Discover More cards into Discover its. Took less than 7 mins each. Very easy.
    Thanks Frank for giving me the idea!

  7. All I care about is cash back. 6% grocery on my Blue Cash Preferred Amex, 5% gas on my PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa, 4% on resturants and all amazon.com on my Citi Forward Visa, 2% all on my Fidelity Amex and 2% all on my Priceline.com Visa.

    I hate rotating categories. There are no excuses for having late payments. I have never had a problem getting to a human for support. So there is nothing really in there for me.

  8. I am already getting the same 5% cash back categories with the same limits on my “original” Discover card so I don’t see a compelling reason to ask for the new card. My guess is that if I needed any of the other benefits they would do it if I asked by phone. At the current time I don’t use Discover for anything except the 5% categories and the occasional “Shop Discover”. (15% on Groupon is nice!)

  9. Like Warren, I see no real need to update my original Discover card. I normally get 3% back at restaurants through my Costco AmEx card, but this month I’ve asked at every restaurant if they take Discover, and only one of four has (Five Guys). I remember that from last time their promotional rate included restaurants.. that it’s almost worthless because most restaurants don’t take Discover.

  10. Aren’t you making a commission by promoting this card?

  11. Thanks for the post. I called this morning and switched my cards over. Previously earned cash back rewards carry over. The change to no-tier 1% is worth the switch.

  12. Since one can still use the cash back on Amazon purchases with “Discover it” and the cash back is now 1% starting with dollar one, think I will convert. Don’t use Discover except when the 5% categories are worthwhile or “Shop Discover”. If you have a Discover More card already appears you might as well switch in any case.

  13. Now, all they have to do is get their card accepted everywhere like MC/Visa.

  14. Thank you! Very informative. May I know your recommendation on “credit usage %” in order to maintain excellent credit? Thank you!

  15. They don’t run a credit check when switching to a new card do they?

  16. Is there even a single merchant outside of the U.S. that will accept a Discover card?

  17. Seems to be missing one major perk .. signup bonus. No game changer! :)

  18. I have this card. I took a 0% APR on free balance transfer to do some arbitrage. 2nd Discover I did that with in as many years.

  19. Does anyone know what the minimum is for cash back? Is it $20 like Chase Ultimate Rewards?

  20. I converted my Discover More to it. Figured earning 1% on those occasional accidental non-category purchases that previously were only earning 0.25% won’t hurt.

    @Kevin – Nope, I asked that specifically, no hard pull when you switch.

    @ Mike – until sometime in 2012 the minimum was $25 to ACH cashback to your bank account, but then they switched it to $50. However, you can redeem smaller amounts for some gift cards, and you can redeem any amount as cash toward Amazon purchases.

  21. Speaking of Discover card overseas: obviously no one here has traveled to China. But if you plan to, make sure to bring your Discover credit card.

    Discover is accepted everywhere in China, from big department stores, to the street corner noodle shop, with zero transaction fees and using the favorable US$ exchange rate (in case you don’t know, there are two rates, the ones for cash $ exchange is worse). This is because in China there’s only one card system called UnionPay and its everywhere. You’ll find Visa/Mastercard/AMEX adoption to be fairly disappointing in comparison. However Discover has had an agreement with UnionPay that treats Discover cards as UnionPay with zero fees.

    It’s one of my favorite hidden perks of the Discover card.

  22. You can also convert to the new it card quickly and easily by logging in to your account and doing a chat session with a representative. Took me about 3 minutes to convert, pretty sweet!

  23. You guys can check the acceptance website.
    https://www.discover.com/credit-cards/help-center/account/international-use.html

    You can use it without foreign transaction fee at Japan and China and many others.

  24. Christine says:

    I did the online chat, thanks for the suggestion Matt!

  25. Kevin and Andrew – thanks for the posst. this is the most useful information. I was debating if I should close my Chase Sapphire since I wanted to keep a credit card with 0 international transaction fee…now I know the answer :)

  26. Discover is great in China btw…

  27. Thanks for the reminder, I forgot to update that part. Discover is accepted any place that takes one of the following (UnionPay is huge in China, and JCB is big in Japan):

    China Union Pay
    JCB
    Diners Club International

  28. Found this on FT: Here is an instruction sheet from Discover that you can hand to merchants in China if they are unsure how to process your card:

    https://www.discover.com/credit-cards/help-center/faqs/assets/DN_CUP_Wallet_Card.pdf

  29. I tried to product change from More to IT via secure message, will report back if it works or not.

  30. Apparently secure message does not work.

  31. The fine print for 5% online shopping says: “* Earn 5% Cashback Bonus for online purchases from 10/1/13 (or the date on which you signed up, whichever is later) through 12/31/13, subject to a cap of $1500 in purchases. Offer does not apply to government products or services, education providers, utilities, or travel. Amounts that are not charged to your card during your online purchase will not qualify. These purchases must be made by 12/31/13. Purchases made using Near Field Communication (NFC), virtual wallets, or similar technology may not be eligible. If a purchase is coded for a category other than listed above, it will not qualify. Rewards are added to your Cashback Bonus account within 2 billing periods. See Cashback Bonus Program Terms and Conditions for further detail.”

    Would buying gift cards from giftcardmall.com work? Would paying a single annual insurance premium online work?

  32. I recommend checking if 5% cash back was posted correctly. I am constantly have a problem receiving correct cash amount.

  33. Thanks for the Q4 reminder. I should actually use that one.

    $25 for $20 on Vudu is something I’ll use. I’d load it up heavy if the T&C’s didn’t say the balance would expire after a year. I use VUDU for rentals several times a year.

  34. Jonathan,
    Wal-mart or Sam’s Club gift cards are no longer available to redeem.

  35. Awesome card when it comes to receiving your 5% (rotating categories) and 1% (flat) cashback. My main gripe with this card is receiving your Marketplace cash back. From April 1 through August 1 2013 I booked several hotel reservations using the ShopDiscover website (links to Hotels.com) and it wasn’t until several phone calls, and billing cycles, plus an ultimatum that I received my cashback. I don’t know if this merely an issue with HOTELS.COM or if its commonplace when ordering through ShopDiscover.

  36. I was able to convert my Discover Open Road card to the Discover It card with no problems today. CSR transferred me to an account specialist and she told me it wouldn’t be a hard pull, affect my credit line or age of accounts in any way. I keep the same account number and everything. Good deal!

  37. Does anyone have experience using it in Taiwan?

    I know a lot of places in Taiwan accept JCB and UnionPay but going to their site, it seems like in Taiwan it’s only accepted at places that use Diners Club.

  38. Cannot remember what forum I saw it on but starting as early as Nov 19th Discover It will give you a true FICO score on your monthly statement. Not sure what credit bureau(s) they pull from. BarclayCard is already doing this via TransUnion but you just have to go in and retrieve the FICO score.

  39. ING (Now Capitalone360) had a similar card design without embossed letters for a while.

  40. Do you get 1% on all your spending (not just up to $3000)? I hate having to sign up for rotating categories. Why do they make you do that?
    What do you think about the Costco AMEX card?

    • Yes, you get 1% flat on all spending. No tiers with this Discover it card. Agree that signing up for 5% is a pain, but they only want people who are incentivized by the 5% to get the extra cash back, not the people who would spend X amount at restaurants or whatever anyway. Think of it this way, if they didn’t require activation, they probably couldn’t afford to give out 5% cash back. 5% is a loss leader.

      Costco Amex card is a good card for those desiring simplicity, nothing spectacular though,

  41. You keep saying you do not know why “it” is lowercase. Just read the sentence: “Discover it”. Get it? Discover the card.

    • I suppose, but it’s not like “discover it” is a popular phrase or anything. I never go around saying “let’s discover it!” It makes it hard to brand. “Discover Coca-Cola” seems just as natural to say, and you can actually trademark Coca-Cola.

      • Art in LA says:

        I think it’s a challenge for you to live a bigger life (i.e., spend more money) … go forth and “Discover it”.

  42. Several people above have complained about not getting the right cash back (or any at all) from ShopDiscover and I would agree. It is terrible. Not only is there no way to track your “clicks” like Ebates, but you cannot inquire online about missing cashback. It is a total pain to have to call and complain. I am a credit card reward geek like all of us, but even I have better things to do with my time than contact Discover. Give me Ebates, Mr. Rebates, etc any day over ShopDiscover. Sure the cashback payout is lower, but some guaranteed cash is better than no cash, right? Thanks for letting me vent, Jonathan!

  43. Never had trouble getting the ShopDiscover cash back rewards. In fact, one time I went to a website thru the ShopDiscover portal, and then forgot to use the actual Discover card, but I received the credit anyway. What a surprise!

    ShopDiscover and the rotating 5% reward categories are pretty much the only things I use Discover for.

  44. If you have a joint account with, only the primary account owner gets the monthly FICO score. Pretty lame if you were planning on using it to monitor two peoples credit scores. Also if it’s a joint account they have to mail the score… Idk why they can’t just only send it electronically.

    PS the minimum to redeem cash back is 20$. Unless you’re using it to pay at amazon, then there’s no minimum I’ve came across

  45. A disclaimer that you earn a commission from everyone who signs using your referral link would be the right think to do I think…

    • Yes at this time I earn a referral commission for this card if you sign up using my link. Whenever there is a referral link available for a deal that I post, I will use it. If there isn’t, then I don’t. Been this way since about a year or two since I started blogging. All opinions are my own. There is a disclaimer at the bottom of every page. Thanks to all for supporting my site.

  46. FYI – the FICO score is being rolled out to all Discover card holders regardless of card. I have had it on my Discover Miles statement and online account view since Feb, 2014.

    I think it only gets updated if you use the card that month (not sure as it’s so new to me).

  47. Go away from this. It’s not a trustful place to put your credit it. I received the invitation about signing up discover ID credit card with $150 bonus if $750 was spent in the first 3 months. After my fulfillment of payment and keeping good pace with my credit card, they told me that the original offer is not valid any more, because 5% cash back shopping online was added to your account. Hey, man. Is this the cash back that everybody gets? Take a look at the response from the discover customer service,
    —-
    Thanks for your message. I appreciate you taking the time to contact us today.

    I am happy to provide you with some additional information about the offer for which you were approved.

    In reviewing your new account information I noticed that we were unable to approve you for the original offer for which you applied which was the offer that included the extra Cashback bonus, your account was approved for a new offer, which did not include the additional Cashback Bonus in the original offer. Our records show that we disclosed the terms of this new offer to you, and you accepted the new offer.

    However you do still have some great options for earning Cashback bonus on your account.

    In particular, when you sign up for our 5% Cashback Bonus programs, you can earn 5% Cashback Bonus on category purchases up to the dollar amount specified in each program. Category purchases in excess of the specified amounts will automatically earn the standard Cashback Bonus. You can find more information about these programs HERE.

    We also offer promotions through ShopDiscover, which give you the opportunity to receive a Cashback Bonus from 5% to 20% on your purchases. To qualify for the additional Cashback Bonus, simply link to the merchant’s website through ShopDiscover, and make the purchase with your Discover card.

    For more details about the features available on your account, please select Cashback Bonus at the top of the Account Home page.

    I appreciate your business and the time you have taken to contact me today. Thank you for choosing to use Discover.

    Sincerely,

    Jason

    We appreciate your feedback. Please Click Here to complete a short survey on your customer service experience today.

    DISCOVER, CASHBACK BONUS and the other trademarks, logos and service marks used in this e-mail are the trademarks of Discover Financial Services or their respective third-party owners.

    —–

    Please save your time and energy, go for a freedom which is much better and trustful.

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