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Discover Bank Review: Checking, Savings and CDs

Oct. 8, 2019
Banking, Banks & Credit Unions, CDs, Checking Accounts, Savings Accounts
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NerdWallet rating: 4.5/5.0

Where Discover shines:

  • No fees.
  • $150 and $200 bonus for savings.
  • 1% cash-back rewards checking account.
  • Competitive savings rates.
  • Large ATM network.

Where Discover falls short:

  • Only one physical branch location.

Where Discover shines:

  • No fees.
  • $150 and $200 bonus for savings.
  • 1% cash-back rewards checking account.
  • Competitive savings rates.
  • Large ATM network.

Where Discover falls short:

  • Only one physical branch location.

Where Discover shines:

  • No fees.
  • $150 and $200 bonus for savings.
  • 1% cash-back rewards checking account.
  • Competitive savings rates.
  • Large ATM network.

Where Discover falls short:

  • Only one physical branch location.

The bottom line

Discover

at Discover,

Member, FDIC

Discover Bank checking lets you earn cash back on qualifying debit card purchases each month and offers free access to a broad ATM network. The online bank also has a high-yield savings account that offers a $150 and $200 bonus for folks who meet certain requirements. But customers who prefer to bank in person won’t like that Discover has only one physical branch. 

Best if: You’re looking for rewards checking and a high-yield savings account with no fees attached.


Read on for details on Discover Bank’s checking, savings, CDs, bank experience and fees.

Checking: 5.0/5.0

Discover’s Cashback Debit is a rewards checking account that lets you earn 1% cash back for certain debit card transactions, on up to $3,000 in purchases each month.

More upsides:

No monthly fee: It’s rare to find a rewards checking account with no monthly service charge. Discover Cashback Debit offers this benefit, along with no monthly balance requirement.

Large ATM network: The account offers access to over 60,000 fee-free ATMs.

There is a downside for those unwilling to let go of face-to-face banking:

One physical branch:  Unless you live near Greenwood, Delaware — where Discover Bank has its only branch — you’ll need to do your banking online.


How does Discover compare?

Discover

Cashback Debit

NerdWallet Rating

at Discover,

Member, FDIC

APY

N/A

Monthly Fees

$0

Bonus features

No Monthly Fee

10,000+ ATMs

Live help 24/7

Radius Bank

Rewards Checking

NerdWallet Rating

at Radius Bank,

Member, FDIC

APY

1.00%

Monthly Fees

$0

Bonus features

No Monthly Fee

Chime

Spending Account

NerdWallet Rating

at Chime,

Member, FDIC

APY

N/A

Monthly Fees

$0

Bonus features

No Monthly Fee

No overdraft/NSF fees

10,000+ ATMs

Not for you? Read more bank reviews

Savings: 5.0/5.0

The Discover online savings account earns an attractive 1.85% annual percentage yield, one of the best rates around.

More upsides:

No monthly fee: You won’t have to pay maintenance charges for this account. There are also no minimum balance requirements to earn interest.

Bonus: First-time savings customers are eligible for a bonus of $150 or $200.

Here’s a drawback:

Required deposit: To be eligible for the $150 or $200 bonus, the deposit requirement is a fairly hefty $15,000 or $25,000, respectively.


CDs 4.0/5.0

The upside:

High rates:  Discover Bank offers competitive terms on CDs, including 2.25% APY on three-year CDs and 2.30% APY on five-year CDs.

A downside:

High minimum: You’ll need at least $2,500 to open a CD. Many other banks with competitive rates have lower minimums.

» Want to compare rates? See our list of best CDs this month

Overdraft fees: 4.5/5.0

Discover Bank doesn’t charge a fee for overdrafts. If you don’t have enough money in your account to cover a purchase, and you’ve enabled overdraft protection, Discover will pull the money from your designated funding account. If you don’t have enough in your funding account or you haven’t enabled overdraft protection, the transaction will be declined, and you won’t be charged a fee.

The upsides:

No overdraft fee: The largest U.S, banks charge an average overdraft fee of $35, according to a recent NerdWallet analysis — sometimes multiple times per day. If you don’t have enough money to make a purchase, Discover won’t penalize you for it.

Free overdraft protection: Transfers from a linked account that cover your overdrafts are free. Other banks may charge for this service.

A downside:

No option to have an overdraft covered for a fee: Now and then, you might prefer to pay an overdraft fee in exchange for having an important transaction covered. Discover doesn’t offer this option.

Bank experience: 4.5/5.0

The upsides:

Solid apps: Discover’s mobile banking apps receive high ratings from customers.

24/7 live customer service: Representatives are available by phone every day. You also can reach the bank through mail and social media.

The downside:

One branch: Discover’s only branch location is in Greenwood, Delaware.

Discover

at Discover,

Member, FDIC

Money in your pocket

» Ready to take the next step? Discover Bank’s rewards checking and high savings rates mean you can keep and grow more of your own cash. The large ATM network is also a nice perk. If you don’t need to drive to a branch on a regular basis, this bank is worth a look.


Ratings methodology

NerdWallet’s overall ratings for banks and credit unions are weighted averages of several categories: checking, savings, certificates of deposit or credit union share certificates, customer experience and overdraft fees.

Factors we consider, depending on the category, include rates and fees, ATM and branch access, account features and limits, user-facing technology, customer service and innovation.

The stars represent ratings from poor (one star) to excellent (five stars). Ratings are rounded to the nearest half-star.