Best Discover Credit Cards

Find the right Discover credit card for you

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Discover, like American Express, is both a credit card network and an issuer of credit cards. (Visa and Mastercard are strictly card networks and don't issue cards directly to the public.) Discover is the newest of the four major card networks in the U.S. and has grown to become the sixth-largest card issuer based on cards in circulation and balances outstanding. We have researched the most popular Discover cards to select the best in categories including cash-back rewards, travel miles, balance transfer, student, and secured cards.

Best Discover Credit Cards for October 2021

Best Overall/Best for Travel : Discover it® Miles


Rating as a Discover Card
4.8
Discover it® Miles
Current Offer

Discover will match all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically.

Recommended Credit
Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 11.99% - 22.99% variable
Annual Fee $0
Rewards Earning Rate Earn unlimited 1.5 miles for every dollar spent.
INTRO PURCHASE APR 0% for 14 Months
INTRO BALANCE TRANSFER APR 10.99% for 14 Months
Balance Transfer Fee 5% of the amount of each transfer
Foreign transaction fee (%) 0%
  • Why We Chose This Card:
  • Pros & Cons:
Why We Chose This Card:

The Discover it Miles card is our pick for the best overall Discover card and best travel rewards option due to its earning potential over the course of a year, outpacing all the other consumer cards in Discover's lineup. Its generous miles earning structure across all spending categories can deliver significant value with normal spending. Redemption can take the form of statement credits for travel expenses or simply cash back.

Pros & Cons:
Pros
  • First-year points earned are matched

  • Flexible rewards redemption options

  • Decent 0% introductory offer on purchases

Cons
  • No bonus categories on spending

  • Does not offer travel benefits or transfer partners

  • Mediocre introductory APR offer on balance transfers

Read the full Discover it® Miles credit card review

Best for Business : Discover it® Business


Rating as a Discover Card
4.4
Discover it® Business Card
Current Offer

Discover will match all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically.

Recommended Credit
Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 12.99% - 20.99% variable
Annual Fee $0
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 1.5% cash back on every dollar spent on all purchases.
INTRO PURCHASE APR 0% for 12 Months
Balance Transfer Fee 5% of the amount of each transfer
Cash Advance APR (%) 24.99%
Cash Advance Fee Either $10 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
  • Why We Chose This Card:
  • Pros & Cons:
Why We Chose This Card:

We chose the Discover it Business card as the best business card because of its flat cash-back earning structure on all business expenditures, which delivers solid value to small businesses. Discover's business card offers the same cash back match as its consumer cards, enabling business owners to double their cash back in the first year. Also, like Discover's consumer cards, there is no annual fee for the Discover it Business card.

Pros & Cons:
Pros
  • Flat cash-back rewards

  • Introductory APR offer

  • First-year cash-back match bonus

Cons
  • Limited benefits

  • High balance transfer fee

Read the full Discover it® Business credit card review

Best Cash Back : Discover it® Cash Back


Rating as a Discover Card
4.4
Discover it® Cash Back
Current Offer

Discover will match all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically.

Recommended Credit
Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 11.99% - 22.99% variable
Annual Fee $0
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 5% cash back on rotating categories each quarter each time you activate. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.
INTRO PURCHASE APR 0% for 14 Months
INTRO BALANCE TRANSFER APR 0% for 14 Months
Balance Transfer Fee 5% of the amount of each transfer
Foreign transaction fee (%) 0%
  • Why We Chose This Card:
  • Pros & Cons:
Why We Chose This Card:

The Discover it Cash Back card is Investopedia's choice for best cash-back card due to its generous 5% cash-back earning structure on spending categories that rotate each quarter, with a base rate of 1% cash back on all other spending. There is a cap of $1,500 on eligible spending in the bonus categories each quarter, but the earnings can add up since they cover popular types of spending such as gasoline and restaurants and large online merchants like Amazon. For cardholders willing to stay on top of the bonus opportunities, the potential earnings can be significant.

Pros & Cons:
Pros
  • Outstanding cash-back rewards on select categories

  • First-year cash-back rewards are matched

  • Decent 0% introductory offer on purchases and eligible balance transfers


Cons
  • Bonus categories are capped each quarter

  • Categories must be activated before making purchases

  • Relatively few benefits

Read the full Discover it® Cash Back credit card review

Best for Balance Transfer : Discover it® Balance Transfer


Rating as a Discover Card
4.4
Discover it® Balance Transfer
Current Offer

Discover will match all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically.

Recommended Credit
Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 11.99% - 22.99% variable
Annual Fee $0
INTRO BALANCE TRANSFER APR 0% for 18 Months
INTRO PURCHASE APR 0% for 6 Months
Balance Transfer Fee 5% of the amount of each transfer
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 5% cash back on rotating categories each quarter each time you activate. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Why We Chose This Card:
  • Pros & Cons:
Why We Chose This Card:

Although many Discover credit cards include promotional rates, none can match the 0% APR promo for 18 months on balance transfers that the Discover it Balance Transfer card offers. It even includes a 6-month 0% APR promo on purchases. Beyond the introductory rate, this card is a keeper with 5% rotating quarterly bonus categories and 1% cash back on everything else. To receive the bonus cash back, simply register each quarter before you start spending. At the end of the first year, all of the cash back you have earned is doubled. This card is currently not accepting new applications.

Pros & Cons:
Pros
  • Competitive 0% APR offer on balance transfers

  • Valuable first-year cash-back match bonus for new cardholders

  • Great rewards-earning rate for quarterly bonus categories

Cons
  • Longer 0% APR balance transfer deals are available

  • Earning limits in bonus reward categories

  • Must enroll in quarterly bonus reward categories to earn the extra cash back

Read the full Discover it® Balance Transfer credit card review

Best for Hockey Fans : NHL® Discover it®


Rating as a Discover Card
3.6
NHL® Discover it®
Current Offer

Discover will match all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically.

Recommended Credit
Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 11.99% - 22.99% variable
Annual Fee $0
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 5% cash back on rotating quarterly categories, each time you activate. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases — automatically.
INTRO PURCHASE APR 0% for 14 Months
INTRO BALANCE TRANSFER APR 0% for 14 Months
Balance Transfer Fee Intro fee of 3% of the amount of each transfer for transfers that post to your account by April 10, 2021 with the 0% intro APR balance transfer offer described above. After that, 5% of the amount of each transfer.
Foreign transaction fee (%) 0%
  • Why We Chose This Card:
  • Pros & Cons:
Why We Chose This Card:

Hockey fans can represent their favorite NHL team with the team's logo on the NHL Discover it credit card. After registering your card, you'll earn 5% cash back on the first $1,500 you spend each quarter on rotating bonus categories. All other purchases earn 1% cash back. Although it doesn't offer a traditional signup bonus, all of the cash back earned is doubled by Discover at the end of the first year. With your card, you'll also receive exclusive discounts on select NHL purchases.

Pros & Cons:
Pros
  • Outstanding cash-back rewards on select categories

  • First-year cash-back rewards are matched

  • Decent 0% introductory offer on purchases and eligible balance transfers

  • Discounts on select NHL purchases

Cons
  • Nothing special about this card beyond the card design option—same as a regular Discover Card

  • Limited options for high-rate rewards

  • 5% bonus categories must be activated online

  • Relatively few benefits

Best for Gas and Dining : Discover it® Chrome Gas & Restaurants


Rating as a Discover Card
4.4
Discover it® Chrome Gas & Restaurants
Current Offer

Discover will match all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically.

Recommended Credit
Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 11.99% - 22.99% variable
Annual Fee $0
Rewards Earning Rate 2% at gas stations and restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter, 1% on all other purchases.
INTRO PURCHASE APR 0% for 14 Months
INTRO BALANCE TRANSFER APR 0% for 14 Months
Balance Transfer Fee 5% of the amount of each transfer
Foreign transaction fee (%) 0%
  • Why We Chose This Card:
  • Pros & Cons:
Why We Chose This Card:

The Discover it Chrome card is the obvious choice for the Discover card that offers the best rewards earnings for gasoline and restaurant spending since its reward structure is purpose-built to favor those popular spending categories. Discover's cash-back match on first-year earnings further sweetens the deal on this no-annual-fee card meant for foodies and frequent drivers.

Pros & Cons:
Pros
  • Above-the-norm rewards at gas stations and restaurants

  • Valuable cash-back match offer for the first year

  • 0% APR for 14 months on new purchases and balance transfers

  • No penalty APR

Cons
  • Cash-back rewards are capped each quarter

  • Limited benefits beyond rewards

Read the full Discover it® Chrome Gas & Restaurants credit card review

Best Student : Discover it® Student Cash Back


Rating as a Discover Card
4.3
Discover it® Student Cash Back
Current Offer

Discover will match all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically.

Recommended Credit
Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Fair - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 12.99% - 21.99% variable
Annual Fee $0
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 5% cash back on rotating quarterly categories, each time you activate. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases — automatically.
INTRO PURCHASE APR 0% for 6 Months
INTRO BALANCE TRANSFER APR 10.99% for 6 Months
Balance Transfer Fee 5% of the amount of each transfer.
Foreign transaction fee (%) 0%
  • Why We Chose This Card:
  • Pros & Cons:
Why We Chose This Card:

The Discover it Student Cash Back card is our pick for best student option from Discover because of its enhanced cash back on the same popular rotating spending categories as the standard consumer version of the card (with the same $1,500 cap on eligible spending), and then a base rate of 1% cash back on all other spending. The cash-back match then doubles all the cash back earned in the first year, making this a great reward value for students. The lack of an annual fee also makes this a student-friendly option.

Pros & Cons:
Pros
  • High rewards on rotating spending categories, such as groceries and restaurants

  • Potential for a large bonus the first year with cash back match

  • Introductory 0% APR for six months on purchases

  • Reward for maintaining good grades

Cons
  • Rotating-category rate requires quarterly registration

  • No 0% APR offer on balance transfers

Read the full Discover it® Student Cash Back credit card review

Best for No Credit : Discover it® Secured


Rating as a Discover Card
4.0
Discover it® Secured
Current Offer

Discover will match all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically.

Recommended Credit
Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Poor - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 22.99% variable
Annual Fee $0
Minimum Deposit to Activate $200
Pay deposit in installments No
Allows upgrade to unsecured card Yes
INTRO BALANCE TRANSFER APR 10.99% for 6 Months
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants on up to $1,000 in purchases each quarter. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Why We Chose This Card:
  • Pros & Cons:
Why We Chose This Card:

We selected the Discover it Secured card as the best card option from Discover for consumers with no credit or bad credit, as it considers applicants with those credit profiles and its security deposit requirement starts as low as $200. With on-time payments, Discover will automatically review accounts for eligibility to graduate to a non-secured card in as little as eight months.

Pros & Cons:
Pros
  • Outstanding rewards for a secured credit card

  • Cash-back is matched at the end of the first year

  • Discover reviews your account after a period of responsible usage to determine eligibility for transition to an unsecured card

  • No annual or foreign transaction fees

Cons
  • Discover cards not as widely accepted outside the U.S. as Visa and Mastercard

Read the full Discover it® Secured credit card review

Final Verdict

Discover offers a variety of rewards credit cards to meet a customer's needs throughout their financial life. Whether you are just starting your credit journey, are enrolled in school, or have excellent credit, Discover has a card for you. While Discover typically does not offer a traditional one-time bonus, all of the cash back that you earn the first year is doubled. For customers who maximize their spending, this benefit can be huge. Our choice for the best Discover credit card is the Discover it Miles because of its unlimited earning potential, flexible rewards redemption, and 0% APR on purchases for 14 months.

Compare the Best Discover Credit Cards

Credit Card Intro Offer Rewards Annual Fee Regular APR Minimum Credit Score
Discover it® Miles
Best Overall/Best for Travel
Cash back doubled first year; 0% APR on purchases for 14 months Unlimited 1.5x rewards $0 11.99% to 22.99% 670
Discover it® Business
Best for Business
Cash back doubled first year; 0% APR on purchases for 12 months Unlimited 1.5% cash back $0 12.99% to 20.99% 670
Discover it® Cash Back
Best Cash Back
Cash back doubled first year; 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for 14 months 5% cash back on quarterly rotating categories; 1% all else $0 11.99% to 22.99% 670
NHL® Discover it®
Best for Hockey Fans
Cash back doubled first year; 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for 14 months 5% cash back on quarterly rotating categories; 1% all else; Discounts on select NHL purchases $0 11.99% to 22.99% 670
Discover it® Chrome Gas & Restaurants
Best for Gas and Dining
Cash back doubled first year; 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for 14 months 2% cash back on gas and dining (up to $1,000 per quarter); 1% all else $0 11.99% to 22.99% 670
Discover it® Student Cash Back
Best Student
Cash back doubled first year; 0% APR on purchases for 6 months 5% cash back on quarterly rotating categories; 1% all else; $20 per year based on grades $0 12.99% to 21.99% 350
Discover it® Secured
Best for No Credit
Cash back doubled first year; 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for 14 months 2% cash back on gas and dining (up to $1,000 per quarter); 1% all else $0 22.99% 350

Editorial Picks for the Best Discover Credit Cards

Discover it® Miles

Best Overall/Best for Travel

Earn unlimited 1.5x miles that can be redeemed for travel, cash back, and more. Use the 14-month 0% APR promotion on purchases to give yourself extra time to pay off your transactions.

Read the full Discover it® Miles Review.

Discover it® Business Card

Best for Business

Business owners can turn their expenses into cash with unlimited 1.5% cash back on all spending. All of the cash back earned in the first 12 months is doubled at the end of the year.

Read the full Discover it® Business Card Review.

Discover it® Cash Back

Best Cash Back

Offers rotating 5% cash back categories for merchants that consumers frequently use, such as grocery stores, gas stations, restaurants, and select online retailers. You can earn up to 10% cash back the first year when Discover doubles all of your rewards.

Read the full Discover it® Cash Back Review.

Discover it® Balance Transfer

Best for Balance Transfer

Use the longest balance transfer promotion that Discover offers to pay off your high-interest debt. Keep the card for its 5% quarterly bonus categories and unlimited 1% cash back.

Read the full Discover it® Balance Transfer Review.

Discover it® Chrome Gas & Restaurants

Best for Gas and Dining

Get rewarded for your gas and dining purchases with double the standard cash back rates. New cardholders get their cash back doubled after the first year with no caps on how much you can earn.

Read the full Discover it® Chrome Gas & Restaurants Review.

Discover it® Student Cash Back

Best Student

Students receive a $20 cash back bonus for up to five years when they maintain good grades. All the earning power of the Discover it card, but designed for students who are just starting to build their credit.

Read the full Discover it® Student Cash Back Review.

NHL Discover it®

Best for Hockey Fans

Get the logo of your favorite NHL team on your Discover card. Earn up to 5% each quarter on your purchases in categories that change every three months.

Discover it® Secured

Best for No Credit

Open an account starting with just $200 and no application fees, no annual fees, and no monthly fees. Use your card wisely to become eligible for an upgrade.

Read the full Discover it® Secured Review.

Types of Discover Credit Cards

Discover offers numerous credit cards to fit your needs and financial goals. These cards generally line up in these categories:

  • Cash-back credit cards
  • Rewards cards
  • Student cards
  • Small business cards
  • Secured credit cards

Discover issues cards exclusively on its network-branded platform and doesn't issue Visa, Mastercard, or American Express network-branded cards. Discover primarily issues cash-back rewards cards to consumers, students, and small business owners. It also offers a secured card product for those with lower credit scores or no credit history.

How Discover's Cashback Rewards Program Works

Discover offers cards that primarily earn cash back but also one that offers generic airline miles (Discover it Miles). Discover's Cashback rewards program provides a percentage back on all purchases, with 5% cash back on rotating spending categories and merchants on eligible spending up to $1,500 each quarter and 1% on all other spending.

The following Discover cards earn those Cashback rewards:

  • Discover it Cash Back
  • Discover it Student Cash Back
  • NHL Discover it

Several other Discover cards have a different cash-back rewards structure. The Discover it Chrome, Chrome Student card, and Secured Credit Card offer 2% cash back on restaurant and gas purchases and 1% on other spending. The Discover it Business card offers unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases.

Is a Discover Credit Card Right for Me?

Yes, because Discover's credit cards earn rewards in a variety of purchase categories, you can find one that works best for the way that you spend. The credit cards either offer a fixed rewards program or one that offers rotating bonus cash-back categories.

Many people favor the predictable nature of fixed reward categories, like the Discover it Miles, which offers unlimited 1.5x miles on every purchase. However, others like to maximize their cash back with 5% bonus categories that change every three months with cards like the Discover it Cash Back.

Discover Credit Card Benefits

You'll receive a variety of benefits based on which card you select, but there are some benefits that are available on all Discover cards, such as:

  • Unlimited cash back matched the first year
  • 0% APR promo on purchases, balance transfers, or both (except Secured card)
  • Turn your account on/off with Freeze It
  • $0 fraud liability for unauthorized purchases
  • 100% U.S.-based customer service
  • FICO score for free

Fees on Discover Credit Cards

None of the credit cards offered by Discover charges an annual fee. That means all of the cash back that you earn is yours to keep.

Discover waives your late fee on the first incident. After that, you'll be charged up to $40. If you have a payment returned by your bank, the fee is up to $40.

Interest Rates for Discover Credit Cards

Interest rates vary per card and based on your creditworthiness. Discover card's interest rates are variable and are in the range of 12% to 23%. The secured card has a variable interest rate of 22.99%.

Are Discover Cards Accepted Everywhere?

According to the February 2021 Nilson Report, Discover credit cards are accepted at 99% of the places that accept credit cards in the United States. This means that you should be able to use your Discover card at virtually any store you choose in America.

What Credit Score Do You Need for a Discover Credit Card?

Discover offers credit cards for people with all ranges of credit scores. For most of its credit cards, a good credit score of 670 or higher is all that is needed to be considered for approval. Its student credit card is well-suited for people who are in school and are just starting their credit journey. The secured card is designed for people with no credit or damaged credit who are ready to work toward building their credit.

How Good Is Discover's Customer Service?

Discover receives high marks for customer service. In 2020, it ranked second in the J.D. Power U.S. Credit Card Satisfaction Study. Discover had a strong score and missed first place by just one point.

What Is the History of Discover?

Discover was launched in 1985 and made its public debut in a Super Bowl commercial in early 1986. It is both a card network and a direct issuer of cards to consumers through Discover Bank, formerly Greenwood Trust Company. The Discover network ranks fourth in terms of dollar volume of processing and merchant acceptance, behind Visa, Mastercard, and American Express, and sixth in terms of cards issued. Discover was originally owned by Sears, Roebuck and Company (the largest retailer in the world at that time) and was part of the Sears Financial Network that also included Dean Witter Reynolds and Coldwell Banker as its brokerage and real-estate arms. Discover disrupted the card industry by issuing no-annual-fee cards and offering higher-than-normal credit lines. It later introduced its innovative Cashback rewards program, which was novel for its time.

Methodology

To find the best Discover credit cards, we evaluated every credit card offered by Discover. Each card's fees, rewards, interest rates, promotions, and benefits were analyzed and assigned a score. These scores were ranked to determine the best card for each type of customer. We continuously monitor Discover's credit card portfolio for new offerings and changes in terms so that we can update our rankings and provide our recommendations to you.

MEET OUR CREDIT CARDS EXPERT

Ben Woolsey is Investopedia's Senior Editor for Credit Cards. He has more than 30 years of experience in the financial services industry, including marketing for banking and financial institutions such as Associates First Capital and Bank One. Prior to Investopedia, he managed credit card content for CreditCards.com and Bankrate.com.

Article Sources

Investopedia requires writers to use primary sources to support their work. These include white papers, government data, original reporting, and interviews with industry experts. We also reference original research from other reputable publishers where appropriate. You can learn more about the standards we follow in producing accurate, unbiased content in our editorial policy.
  1. Discover. "FAQs." Accessed April 25, 2021. 

  2. J.D. Power. "Customers Losing Faith in Credit Card Issuers as COVID-19 Pandemic Lingers, J.D. Power Finds." Accessed Feb. 28, 2021.