Discover More: A 5% Cash Back Credit Card That's Still Not Worth It - NerdWallet
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Discover More: A 5% Cash Back Credit Card That’s Still Not Worth It

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Move over, Discover More! Instead of the More, Discover is now offering the brand-new Discover It – the same card, but with better rewards. Check it out!

But despite recent improvements, we still can’t call it king. That title is reserved for its archrival and longtime adversary, the Chase Freedom®. We’ll walk you through the perks and rates of the Discover More, tell you why it’s a good card and demonstrate why it can’t quite catch the Chase Freedom®.

Intro APR

Let’s begin with the basics. The More comes bearing a 15-month introductory APR on both purchases and transfers. Cardholders have over a year to spend without accumulating further interest—ideal if you’re anticipating large purchases in the near future or could use some time to pay down debt. After the intro period, the ongoing APR kicks in at a standard variable rate—nothing extraordinary there.

Rewards battle

The More does not charge an annual fee, which means reward earnings are pure profit right from the get-go. Cash back accumulates at a 5% rate in rotating calendar categories. For example, you earn 5% on restaurants and movies April through June and 5% on gas stations, movies and theme parks July through September. Keep in mind, while these categories are fairly consistent year-to-year, they do change annually. Category earnings are generally capped at $1,500 spent quarterly, a bonus earning potential of $75 per quarter or $300 per year.

All purchases that do not qualify for 5% rewards earn cash back at a .25% rate for the first $3,000 charged. After $3,000, the base rate is bumped up to an unlimited 1%. This is a good place to begin our comparison with the Chase Freedom®. Like the More, the Chase Freedom® charges an annual fee of $0 and offers 5% back in bonus categories up to $1,500 spent quarterly. But rather than starting with a .25% base rate, the Chase Freedom® offers a solid 1% right off the bat—the crucial difference between these foes. The first $3,000 spent with the Freedom will earn $30, whereas the first $3,000 spent with the More will earn a mere $7.50. The initial base rate is a particularly important factor if you don’t plan to charge much more than $3,000 a year.

The Chase Freedom® also comes with a signup bonus: Earn a $100 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. The More currently offers nothing of the sort. In truth, there’s only one reason you might choose the More over the Chase Freedom®: The More’s rotating 5% categories are more closely aligned with your personal spending habits. The More and Chase Freedom® have similar rewards calendars, but there are a number of differences that may sway your decision either way. Here’s a side-by-side comparison of 2012 bonus categories.

Discover More and Chase Freedom® 2012 bonus categories

5% Cash Back Months Discover More Chase Freedom®
January – March

Gas Stations / Movies /Museums

Gas Stations /

April – June

Restaurants / Movies

Grocery Stores / Movie Theaters

July – September

Gas Stations / Movies / Theme Parks

Gas Stations / Restaurants

October – December

Department Stores / Electronics / Toy Stores

Hotels / Airlines / Best Buy & Kohl’s


5% cash back quiz: Which card is best for me?

Juggling the multifarious cash back categories can get confusing. Here’s a quick quiz to simplify your choice. Answer the four questions and add up the corresponding numbers.

Where will you spend more money through the end of March?

               1 Movies and Museums

Where will you spend more money April through June?

               1 Restaurants
               2 Grocery Stores

Where will you spend more money July through Septmeber?

               1 Movies and Theme Parks
               2 Restaurants

Where will you spend more money October through December?

               1 Department Stores, Electronics and Toy Stores
               2 Hotels, Airlines, Best Buy and Kohl’s

Add up your total. If you scored a 4 or 5, consider the Discover More. If you scored a 6, 7 or 8, the Chase Freedom® will serve you best. If you scored less than 4 or more than 8, don’t get discouraged. Access the calculator function on your computer or phone and try again.

Discover More Vs. U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card

Another no-fee, cash back option is the U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card. Unlike the Discover More’s initial base rate of 0.25% on the first $3,000 spent, the U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card’s base rate is the standard 1% – significantly better than the More’s already.

Also, the U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card’s accelerated rewards are customizable to suit your spending habits. Choose two 5% back bonus categories from a quarterly selection, and get 2% back on gas, groceries or drug store purchases, and 1% cash back on all other spending. That gives the card a lot of flexibility.

The More is the king of APR promotions, however, with its six-month 0% purchase APR and 18-month 0% transfer APR. The U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card has no intro purchase APR promotion and 0% transfer APR for only 9 months. If you’re willing to sacrifice a little rewards for a little reprieve from interest, you may prefer the More.

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