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

March 2, 2017
Balance Transfer Credit Cards, Credit Cards
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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, Discover extended the 0% period on its balance transfer card, now known as the Discover it® Balance Transfer. 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 – 21 Month Balance Transfer Offer 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.

Now the 21-month bubble has popped, and Discover is back at 18 months. In January 2018, Citi dropped the 21-month period for one of those cards, the Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever.

» MORE: NerdWallet’s best balance transfer credit cards

Even with the shorter introductory annual percentage rate period, the Discover it® Balance Transfer 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 13.74% - 24.74% 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% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 14 months, and then the ongoing APR of 13.74% - 24.74% 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.

Both cards charge a 3% balance transfer fee. For a look at balance transfer cards that don’t charge a fee to move your balance, check out our recommendations.

Virginia C. McGuire is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: virginia@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @vcmcguire.