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Discover Bank Review: Checking, Savings and CDs

December 20, 2017
Banking, Banks & Credit Unions, CDs, Checking Accounts, Savings Accounts
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Discover Bank
NerdWallet’s rating: 4.5 / 5.0

Discover

at Discover,

Member, FDIC

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 qualifying 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
  • Checking comes with a rewards program
  • Only one branch location

Checking

4.5 / 5.0

Free checking is hard to come by and rewards checking even more so. Discover’s Cashback Checking1 is both. You’ll receive 1% cash back on qualifying 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 qualifying 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.

ProsCons
  • 1.65% APY
  • No monthly fee, balance requirement or minimum opening deposit
  • $15 fee for each withdrawal in excess of six per month
Account reviewed for rating: Discover Savings Account

How does Discover compare?

Discover

Online Savings

NerdWallet Rating

at Discover,

Member, FDIC

APY

1.65%

Monthly Fees

$0

Bonus features

No Monthly Fee

Competitive APY

Live help 24/7

Goldman Sachs Bank USA

Online Savings

NerdWallet Rating

at Goldman Sachs Bank USA,

Member, FDIC

APY

1.7%

Monthly Fees

$0

Bonus features

No Monthly Fee

Competitive APY

Barclays

Online Savings Account

NerdWallet Rating

at Barclays,

Member, FDIC

APY

1.65%

Monthly Fees

$0

Bonus features

No Monthly Fee

Competitive APY

Not for you? Read more bank reviews

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
  • 1-year CD: 2.25% APY
  • 3-year CD: 2.45% APY
  • 5-year CD: 2.75% 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 insufficient 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, this type of 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 do that 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.