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Discover Bank Review: Checking, Savings and CDs

Banking, Banks & Credit Unions, CDs, Checking Accounts, Savings Accounts
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Discover Bank
NerdWallet’s rating: 4.5 / 5.0

Discover
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at Discover
Wish you got some money back every time you used your debit card? Discover Bank gives it to you: 1% each time you make a purchase, on up to $3,000 a month.

The online bank also has high-yield savings and CDs as well as free access to a broad ATM network. Although it only has one physical branch, the bank’s services might make up for it.

The bottom line

  • Some of the best savings rates around
  • Cashback Checking comes with a rewards program
  • Only one branch location
Our Ratings
Checking
Savings
Certificates of deposit (CDs)
Bank experience
Overdraft fees
Overall

Checking


4.5 / 5.0

Free checking is hard to come by and rewards checking even more so. Discover’s Cashback Checking is both. You’ll receive 1% cashback on debit card purchases, on up to $3,000 a month. Add in an extensive ATM network and this account almost earns a perfect 5 stars.

As is standard among online banks, Discover doesn’t let you deposit cash; the one exception is at its single branch location, in Delaware.

ProsCons
  • No monthly maintenance fee or minimum balance requirement
  • Free access to more than 60,000 ATMs
  • 1% cashback on debit card purchases up to $3,000 a month
  • Doesn't handle cash deposits nationally
  • Doesn't earn interest
  • Has only one physical branch
Account reviewed for rating: Discover Cashback Checking

» Take a look at NerdWallet’s best online checking accounts

Savings


5.0 / 5.0
Discover’s savings account has a competitive annual percentage yield, and because it has no monthly fee and no minimum opening deposit requirement, it’s a simple and stress-free account to use. Another perk: If you have a chunk of money to deposit, you can qualify for a bonus.

ProsCons
  • 1.40% APY
  • No monthly fee, balance requirement or minimum opening deposit
  • Bonus available. Read the details
  • $15 fee for each withdrawal in excess of six per month
Account reviewed for rating: Discover Savings Account

How Discover compares to other savings accounts











APY

1.40%





Monthly fees

$0





Bonus Features

Solid CD options



APY

1.45%





Monthly fees

$0





Bonus Features

Large ATM network



APY

1.35%





Monthly fees

$0





Bonus Features

24/7 customer service



See more high-yield savings accounts

Certificates of deposit


5.0 / 5.0

Discover’s CD rates are highly competitive, but they require a higher opening deposit than some other banks. Term lengths vary from three months to 10 years, and you stand to earn more money on longer terms. You can compare Discover’s CDs with others based on multiple factors using our tool.

ProsCons
  • 2-year CD: 1.85% APY.
  • 3-year CD: 1.90% APY
  • 5-year CD: 2.35% APY
  • $2,500 minimum opening deposit
Account reviewed for rating: Discover CD

» Find the highest rates on CDs with NerdWallet’s best CD rates

Bank experience


4.0 / 5.0

The bank’s website shows rates and fees clearly, and the mobile app on iOS and Android phones receives high ratings. If you need help, you can reach a representative 24 hours a day by phone, as well as by mail, by Twitter, or by secure message within the app.

Discover’s main downside is a standard one among online banks: There’s no network of physical locations.

Overdraft fees


3.0 / 5.0

Discover Bank charges a $30 fee for nonsufficient funds if you try to make a transaction without enough funds in your account. But only one fee is charged per day, regardless of the number of transactions. At other institutions, an overdraft fee might be charged multiple times in a single day, potentially adding up to hundreds of dollars.

You can avoid a fee altogether with free automatic transfers from a linked savings or money market account. However, if you can’t cover the overdraft with the linked account either, you’ll still be charged the $30 fee. These transfers don’t apply to ATM withdrawals or debit card purchases, which would be declined without a fee charged.

Money in your pocket

Discover Bank’s free ATMs and fee-free services mean you keep more money in your pocket. And the monthly cash-back rewards are a rare perk.

All of these make Discover a good option, but if checking account rewards are what you’re after, shop around to ensure that you’re getting the best deal based on your spending habits.

Melissa Lambarena is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: mlambarena@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @LissaLambarena. NerdWallet writer Spencer Tierney contributed to this report.

Updated December 20, 2017.


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.