Best of

Best Discover Credit Cards of 2019

NerdWalletJuly 23, 2019

At NerdWallet, we strive to help you make financial decisions with confidence. To do this, many or all of the products featured here are from our partners. However, this doesn’t influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own.

NerdWallet's Best Discover Credit Cards of 2019

Our pick for

Everyday spending

Discover it® Cash Back

on Discover's website, or call (800) 347-0264

Rates & Fees

on Discover's website, or call (800) 347-0264

Rates & Fees
Annual Fee

$0

Regular APR

14.24% - 25.24% Variable APR

Intro APR

0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 14 months

Recommended Credit Score

Pros

You earn 5% cash back in rotating categories that you activate, on up to a quarterly maximum of $1,500, and 1% cash back on all other purchases. Activation each quarter is required.(See the current categories.) The annual fee is $0. The lengthy introductory 0% APR period gives you plenty of breathing room for a major purchase. And the unique bonus for new cardholders — Discover's signature "cash-back match" — gets more valuable the more you use the card.

Cons

Keeping track of the changing bonus categories — and remembering to activate them — can be a hassle. The categories themselves usually include common expenses, but they can still be hit-or-miss. If they don’t align with your spending, you'll get only limited value from the card.
  • INTRO OFFER: 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.
  • Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com and more up to the quarterly maximum, each time you activate.
  • Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - automatically.
  • Redeem cash back any amount, any time. Rewards never expire.
  • Use your rewards at Amazon.com checkout.
  • Get an alert if we find your Social Security number on any of thousands of Dark Web sites.* Activate for free.
  • No annual fee.
  • View Rates and Fees

Our pick for

Balance transfers

Discover it® Balance Transfer

on Discover's website, or call (800) 347-0264

Rates & Fees
Annual Fee

$0

Regular APR

14.24% - 25.24% Variable APR

Intro APR

0% on Purchases for 6 months and 0% on Balance Transfers for 18 months

Recommended Credit Score

Pros

The 0% intro APR period for transfers is one of the longest available at 18 months. Further, this is the rare balance transfer card that gives you a reason to hang on to it after the 0% period ends. It offers the same rewards program as the Discover it® Cash Back, outlined above — same rates, structure, categories, etc. The new cardmember bonus is the same, too.

Cons

The 3% intro balance transfer fee (then up to 5% on future balance transfers, see terms) is on the low end, but some cards charge no fee at all or waive it for a time. The 0% period for purchases is considerably shorter than for transfers. And the rewards have the same hassle factor as with the Discover it® Cash Back.
  • INTRO OFFER: 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.
  • Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com and more up to the quarterly maximum, each time you activate. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - automatically.
  • Redeem cash back any amount, any time. Rewards never expire.
  • 100% U.S. based customer service.
  • Get your free Credit Scorecard with your FICO® Credit Score, number of recent inquiries and more.
  • Get an alert if we find your Social Security number on any of thousands of Dark Web sites.* Activate for free.
  • No annual fee.
  • View Rates and Fees

Our pick for

Travel

Discover it® Miles

on Discover's website, or call (800) 347-0264

Rates & Fees

on Discover's website, or call (800) 347-0264

Rates & Fees
Annual Fee

$0

Regular APR

14.24% - 25.24% Variable APR

Intro APR

0% on Purchases for 14 months and 10.99% on Balance Transfers for 14 months

Recommended Credit Score

Pros

If you value simplicity, you’ll appreciate this card's easy-to-understand terms. You earn 1.5 miles per $1 spent on all purchases. Miles can be redeemed at a value of 1 cent apiece for statement credit against travel purchases. That means you can book however you want, then use miles to pay for it, without restrictions or blackout dates. You can also redeem miles for cash back at the same rate. And don't forget the new cardholder bonus: Discover will match ALL the Miles you’ve earned at the end of your first year, automatically. For example, if you earn 35,000 Miles, you get 70,000 Miles. That’s $700 towards travel! The more you earn, the more you get.

Cons

Like all of Discover's offerings, this card charges no foreign transaction fees — but Discover cards have limited international acceptance. You’ll want to pack a backup payment option if you'e heading abroad.
  • UNLIMITED BONUS: Discover will match ALL the Miles you’ve earned at the end of your first year, automatically. For example, if you earn 35,000 Miles, you get 70,000 Miles. That’s $700 towards travel! The more you earn, the more you get.
  • Earn unlimited 1.5x Miles for every dollar spent on all purchases all with no annual fee.
  • No Blackout Dates. Simply pay for travel purchases like airlines, hotels, rental cars, and more with your Discover it® Miles card.
  • Miles Pay You Back. Easily redeem Miles as a statement credit for travel purchases. Or get cash.
  • Freeze your account in seconds with an on/off switch either on the mobile app or website to prevent new purchases, cash advances, and balance transfers.
  • Get your free Credit Scorecard with your FICO® Credit Score, number of recent inquiries and more.
  • Get an alert if we find your Social Security number on any of thousands of Dark Web sites.* Activate for free.
  • View Rates and Fees

Our pick for

College students

Discover it® Student Cash Back

on Discover's website, or call (800) 347-0264

Rates & Fees
Annual Fee

$0

Regular APR

15.24% - 24.24% Variable APR

Intro APR

0% on Purchases for 6 months and 10.99% on Balance Transfers for 6 months

Recommended Credit Score

Pros

This card offers the same cash-back rewards program and the same new-cardmember bonus as the Discover it® Cash Back and Discover it® Balance Transfer. You get an introductory 0% APR period for purchases and even an incentive to keep your grades up — a $20 statement credit each school year your GPA is 3.0 or higher for up to five years. The annual fee is $0, and the card waives the late fee the first time you're late with a payment.

Cons

College students may be less able than other cardholders to capitalize on certain bonus categories, such as grocery stores. Activating and tracking bonus categories can be a hassle. For students planning to study abroad, Discover’s limited international acceptance is also not ideal.
  • INTRO OFFER: 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.
  • Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com and more up to the quarterly maximum, each time you activate. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - automatically.
  • Good Grades Rewards: $20 statement credit each school year your GPA is 3.0 or higher for up to the next 5 years.
  • No annual fee. No late fee on first late payment. No APR change for paying late.
  • Get 100% U.S. based customer service & get your free Credit Scorecard with your FICO® Credit Score, number of recent inquiries and more.
  • Freeze It® on/off switch for your account that prevents new purchases, cash advances & balance transfers in seconds.
  • Get an alert if we find your Social Security number on any of thousands of Dark Web sites.* Activate for free.
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 6 months, then the standard variable purchase APR of 15.24% - 24.24%.
  • View Rates and Fees

Our pick for

Building or rebuilding credit

Discover it® Secured

on Discover's website, or call (800) 347-0264

Rates & Fees

on Discover's website, or call (800) 347-0264

Rates & Fees
Annual Fee

$0

Regular APR

25.24% Variable APR

Intro APR

10.99% on Balance Transfers for 6 months

Recommended Credit Score

Pros

Cardholders earn 2% cash back on up to $1,000 in spending per quarter on gas and restaurant purchases, and an unlimited 1% back on all other purchases. Plus, Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year. Your payment activity is reported to all three credit bureaus — essential for building credit. After eight months, the issuer begins reviewing your account for possible upgrade to an unsecured card that doesn’t require a security deposit.

Cons

Since this is a secured card, you have to put down a security deposit equal to your credit line. You can get this money back when you close or upgrade your account, but pulling together the $200 minimum deposit and keeping the money tied up can be a challenge for some.
  • No Annual Fee, earn cash back, and build your credit with responsible use.
  • It's a real credit card. You can build a credit history with the three major credit bureaus. Generally, debit and prepaid cards can't help you build a credit history.
  • Establish your credit line by providing a refundable security deposit of at least $200 after being approved. Bank information must be provided when submitting your deposit.
  • Automatic reviews starting at 8 months to see if we can transition you to an unsecured line of credit and return your deposit.
  • 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases every quarter, automatically. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Get 100% U.S. based customer service & get your free Credit Scorecard with your FICO® Credit Score
  • INTRO OFFER: We automatically match all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year.
  • Get an alert if we find your Social Security number on any of thousands of Dark Web sites.* Activate for free.
  • View Rates and Fees

Last updated on July 23, 2019

Methodology

NerdWallet's credit cards team selects the best cards in each category based on overall consumer value. Factors in our evaluation include fees, promotional and ongoing APRs, and sign-up bonuses; for rewards cards, we consider earning and redemption rates, redemption options and redemption difficulty. A single card is eligible to be chosen in multiple categories.