Discover’s 0% Balance Transfer Offer Drops Back to 18 Months

Although the monthlong experiment at 21 months has ended, Discover's balance transfer card is still a solid deal, considering its cash-back rewards.

Virginia C. McGuireMarch 2, 2017
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After experimenting with a 21-month 0% APR period on balance transfers, Discover has returned to its original terms.

In early February 2017, Discover extended the 0% period on its balance transfer card, now known as the Discover it® Balance Transfer (No longer in market). The new 21-month period put Discover's offer in direct competition with a pair of Citi products that, at the time, had equally long 0% periods for balance transfers: the Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card and the Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever. Discover came out looking pretty appealing compared with those cards, because it offers cash-back rewards in addition to the 0% period for transfers.

(Update: In January 2018, Citi dropped the 21-month period for transfers on the Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever, then restored it nine months later in October 2018.)

Now the 21-month bubble has popped, and Discover is back at 18 months.

Even with the shorter introductory annual percentage rate period, the Discover it® Balance Transfer (No longer in market) has a lot to recommend it. You still get 0% on Purchases for 6 months and 0% on Balance Transfers for 18 months, and then the ongoing APR of 11.99% - 22.99% Variable APR. The card gives you 5% cash back in rotating quarterly categories that you activate, on up to $1,500 in spending per quarter, and 1% back on all other purchases. There's a bonus for new cardholders, too: Discover will match ALL the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically. There's no signing up. And no limit to how much is matched. The card has an annual fee of $0.

For people don't need a super-long interest-free offer, the Discover it® Cash Back gives you a shorter 0% APR period on balance transfers but a longer one on purchases. The introductory APR is 0% intro APR for 14 months on purchases and balance transfers, and then the ongoing APR of 11.99% - 22.99% Variable APR. This card has the same cash-back rewards, same new card member bonus and same annual fee as the Discover it® Balance Transfer (No longer in market).

Both cards charge a balance transfer fee, which Discover describes as "3% intro balance transfer fee, up to 5% fee on future balance transfers (see terms)*." For a look at balance transfer cards that don't charge a fee to move your balance, check out our recommendations.

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