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Discover it Business Review: 1.5% on Everything, Matched in Year One

It can be a lucrative pick for businesses with a lot of first-year expenses, but other cards can offer better long-term value.
Dec. 20, 2018
Business Credit Cards, Cash Back Credit Cards, Credit Cards, Rewards Credit Cards
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If your business plans to shell out a lot over the course of a year, the Discover it® Business Card can help you hang on to some of those clams.

The card earns an unlimited 1.5% cash back on every dollar spent on all purchases, and like other eligible Discover cards, it offers a unique sign-up bonus that can effectively double that rate in the first year for new cardholders. If you’re expecting a lot of upfront expenses in the first several months — say, launching a business, making a major capital improvement or acquiring someone else’s company — this card might be a good fit for you.

But other small-business cards offer similar or better ongoing rewards, while also throwing in extras such as an upfront welcome bonus or a lengthier 0% intro APR offer that may provide a greater benefit to your bottom line. And if you’re OK with tracking bonus categories, you can do better than 1.5% back.

» MORE: NerdWallet’s best small-business credit cards

Discover it® Business Card: Basics and benefits

  • Annual fee: $0.
  • Sign-up bonus: For new cardholders, Discover will match all of the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year, automatically.
  • Rewards: 1.5% cash back on every dollar spent on all purchases.
  • Penalty APR: None.
  • Foreign transaction fee: None.
  • Other benefits: Free employee cards and free Social Security number alerts, among other perks. The card has an intro APR period as well.

Why you might want the Discover it® Business Card

Potentially lucrative sign-up bonus: You know what’s even better than earning 1.5% cash back on everything? Having those rewards doubled at the end of the first year. For a fledgling business with a plethora of startup costs, earning an effective 3% back on all purchases in Year One can be a huge boon.

No minimum redemption for cash back: Starting with as little as 1 cent in earnings, you can cash in for a statement credit to your card account, an electronic deposit to your bank account, or a donation to select charities. Once you hit $20 in rewards, you can also redeem for gift cards or instant eCertificates from Discover partners.

Little in the way of fees: The Discover it® Business Card has a $0 annual fee, doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees, offers free employee cards, and waives your first late fee. Even if you’re habitually late, there’s no penalty APR (although your credit scores could end up suffering).

0% intro APR offer on purchases: The Discover it® Business Card can offer you some extra time to pay off a big purchase, although you can find longer offers elsewhere.

» MORE: Discover credit cards mobile app review

Why you might want a different card

No upfront welcome offer: Although the Discover it® Business Card offers a possibly rich sign-up bonus, you still have a wait an entire year for that bonus. Other cards will give you a cache of cash (or points) if you meet a minimum spending requirement within the first few months.

Ongoing rewards are ho-hum: Earning 1.5% back on everything is a solid rate, but plenty of other small-business cards offer the same or better. If your business spends heavily in specific categories, you might fare better with a tiered rewards card like the SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express. It earns 5% cash back on the first $50,000 spent at wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and U.S. office supply stores. It also earns 3% cash back on the first $50,000 spent in the category of your choice from a list of eight, and 1% cash back on other purchases. Terms apply. The card’s annual fee is $0, and it offers a lengthy 0% intro APR: 0% on Purchases for 15 months, and then the ongoing APR of 14.49% - 21.49% Variable APR

Big spenders can do better: If your business spends more than $19,000 a year on a credit card, the Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business might be a better choice. It earns a flat 2% cash back on all spending. It does come with an annual fee of $0 for the first year, then $95. But if you’re putting tens of thousands worth of expenses on the card, you’ll still fare better thanks to its higher rewards rate.

No 0% intro APR offer on balance transfers: If you’re looking for a business card to help you shed debt, the Discover it® Business Card is not for you. The Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express might fit the bill for someone wanting a break from interest charges accruing on existing debt. It comes with the following intro offer: 0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 15 months, and then the ongoing APR of 13.49% - 21.49% Variable APR. Terms apply.

No travel perks: If you or your employees do a significant amount of travel for work, you could get more utility out of a card that offers extras like airport lounge access or enhanced value if you use your earnings for flights, hotels or rental cars. These kinds of cards typically charge hefty annual fees, but if you’ll use the perks, they can easily make that fee worth it. The American Express® Business Gold Card, for instance, allows you to get 25% of your points back after you use points for all or part of an eligible flight booked with Amex Travel (up to 250,000 points back per calendar year). The annual fee is $295, but you’ll also earn 4 Membership Rewards points per dollar spent in two bonus categories from a list of six where you spend the most each billing cycle (up to the first $150,000 in combined purchases per year; then 1 point back). Terms apply. 

To see how these cards stack up with competitors, see our best credit cards roundup.

Is the Discover it® Business Card right for you?

If you know you’ll have a lot of big expenses over the course of your first year, the Discover it® Business Card can be an appealing choice. But it pays to do the math. Many other cards can offer better value in the long term, especially if you’re willing to pay an annual fee or keep track of tiered bonus categories.

Information related to the Discover it® Business Card has been collected by NerdWallet and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card.

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