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Discover credit cards are some of the least talked-about credit cards. One reason why is that Discover doesn’t offer premium travel rewards credit cards or co-brand airline and hotel credit cards. However, the best Discover credit cards earn up to 5% back on purchases. And you never pay an annual fee.

Best Discover credit cards
What are some of the best Discover credit cards? Photo by DreamLens Production from Pexels

You can earn cash or travel rewards with Discover. Whether you have excellent credit or bad credit, Discover has a card for you.

Discover it Cash Back Card – Best for Cash Rewards

The Discover it® Cash Back is the most popular of the Discover credit cards. Its popularity is mostly because it earns up to 5% back on purchases. Like the Chase Freedom, you get 5% back on the first $1,500 in quarterly bonus spending. All non-bonus purchases earn an unlimited 1% back.

The Discover it quarterly bonus categories are similar to Chase Freedom. However, the timing is different and you can earn bonus points at different retailers like Amazon instead of department stores. For example, grocery stores earned 5% with the Discover it in 1st quarter 2019 but in the 2nd quarter of 2019 with the Chase Freedom.

Discover also has an exciting signup bonus. They offer an unlimited cashback match for the first 12 months. Whether you earn $50 or $500 in cash rewards, Discover matches the entire amount the first year.

Like most cash rewards credit cards, your cash rewards are redeemable in any amount.

Discover it Miles – Best for Travel Rewards

The Discover it® Miles is Discover’s only travel rewards credit card. You can earn unlimited 1.5 miles for every $1 spent. Your rewards miles are redeemable for travel statement credits, booking upcoming travel, or cash rewards.

Discover matches every mile you earn for the first 12 months.

You won’t pay an annual fee or foreign transaction fee which makes this a possibility for international travel. Keep in mind, that Discover’s international merchants can be hit-or-miss. Because of this, you may also want to bring a Visa or Mastercard which has near-universal acceptance.

Consider this: You can earn unlimited 2x miles (instead of 1.5x miles) with the Capital One Venture Rewards Card.

Discover it Balance Transfer – Best for Balance Transfers

Get up to 0% APR on balance transfers for the first 18 months with the Discover it® Balance Transfer.

You also earn up to 5% back on the first $1,500 in rotating quarterly bonus categories. All remaining purchases earn 1% back. Discover also matches every reward you earn for the first 12 months. Although you primarily want to use this card for the balance transfer offer, the 5% cashback match can be another incentive to use this card.

One tradeoff for the 18-month transfer offer is that new purchases only have a 0% APR for the first 6 months. This card doesn’t have an annual fee. For good approval odds, make sure your credit score is at least 670.

Discover it Secured – Best for Building Credit

The Discover it® Secured is one of the best credit cards to build a credit score. Two reasons why are because this card has no annual fee and earns cash back on every purchase. This is a good option if you have no credit history or a credit score in the 500s.

Get 2% back on the first $1,000 spent each quarter at gas stations and restaurants. Your other purchases earn an unlimited 1% back. Discover even matches your cash rewards for the first 12 months.

Like other secured cards, you will pay a refundable security deposit that is equal to your card’s spending limit. Your monthly payments report to all three credit bureaus to build your credit history. Discover waives the late payment fee on your first missed payment.

After the first 8 months, Discover reviews your credit score to see if you can upgrade to an unsecured credit card. That means you might be able to get one of the other cards on this list. You won’t have to front a security deposit and you can have a higher credit score.

Discover it Student Cash Back – Best Student Credit Card

The Discover it® Student Cash Back is the student version of the Discover it Cash Back. It has the same 5% quarterly bonus categories and Discover matches your cash rewards for the first 12 months.

Having a minimum 3.0 grade point average for the school year means you get an annual $20 statement credit (up to 5 years).

Your rewards points are redeemable for cash rewards or Amazon.com shopping credit. With either option, each point is worth 1 cent each. This is good as other credit cards devalue points when using them for store credit.

Alternate card: The Discover it® Student chrome earns 2% back at gas stations and grocery stores (on the first $1,000 quarterly) and 1% back on everything else. Either card can be one of the best travel credit cards for students.

Discover it Business – Best for Business Purchases

Discover offers one business credit card. The Discover it® Business Card earns unlimited 1.5% back on every purchase. Like the personal credit cards, Discover matches your purchase rewards for the first 12 months. Rewards points are redeemable for cash in any amount.

There is no annual fee or foreign transaction fee.

Want a business card with travel rewards? Consider one of these best business credit cards with no annual fee.

Discover Credit Card Additional Benefits

All of the Discover credit cards offer the same extra card benefits listed below:

  • Late payment fee waived on the first missed payment
  • FICO credit score monitoring
  • Social Security number alerts
  • Unlimited cashback match for the first 12 months
  • No annual fee
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Free overnight shipping card replacement to any U.S. street address
  • 100% U.S. based customer service

While you won’t get exciting perks like dining vouchers or airport lounge access, these fringe benefits can save you money while you build credit. The free monitoring tools also provide extra peace of mind.

Summary

The best Discover credit cards are a good option if you want to earn competitive cash rewards. If you spend at places that accept Discover, you can earn a larger-than-usual signup bonus thanks to the unlimited 12-month match, some of the best credit card sign up bonuses. Not having to pay an annual fee, foreign transaction fee, or first missed payment fee also provides financial relief.

Josh Patoka

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The Best Discover Credit Cards: No Annual Fees, Earn Cash Back, & More
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