This card's appeal is limited by a fairly low maximum cash-back rate and a cap on the amount of spending eligible for bonus rewards.
No annual fee
Intro APR period
Low rewards rate
Spending caps on bonus rewards
Lower acceptance abroad
Compare to Other Cards
17.24%-28.24% Variable APR
19.24%-29.24% Variable APR
0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers
0% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months
Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score
Detailed review: Discover it® Chrome
When it comes to cash-back credit cards, Discover is best known for the 5% bonus categories it offers on products like the Discover it® Cash Back, the Discover it® Student Cash Back and the NHL® Discover it®. But the Discover it® Chrome offers a completely different rewards structure.
If you spend a lot on gas and restaurant dining, it's worth a look. But many consumers will probably be better off with another card.
Discover it® Chrome: Basics
Card type: Cash back.
Annual fee: $0.
Sign-up bonus: INTRO OFFER: Unlimited Cashback Match – only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year! There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. Just a dollar-for-dollar match.
Earn 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter.
Earn 1% cash back on all other purchases.
Redemption: You can redeem cash back in any amount, except in the case of gift certificates and eCertificates, which start at $5. Redemption options include:
Direct deposits into any account.
Statement credits on your credit card.
Donations to select charities.
Purchases made via PayPal.
Gift cards and eCertificates.
Foreign transaction fees: None.
Balance transfer fee: 3% intro balance transfer fee, up to 5% fee on future balance transfers (see terms).
Free access to FICO score.
Access to Discover's free Social Security number monitoring service.
Benefits and perks
Bonus categories that would benefit most people
With the Discover it® Chrome, you get 2% cash back on restaurant dining and gas purchases, on up to $1,000 in combined spending each quarter, and 1% after that. All other purchases earn 1% cash back. Unlike with Discover's 5% cards, you don't have to "activate" these bonus rewards. They're always "on."
Double your cash back in the first year
The Discover it® Chrome offers the same new-cardholder bonus as Discover's other cards: INTRO OFFER: Unlimited Cashback Match – only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year! There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. Just a dollar-for-dollar match.
A 0% introductory APR
If you're looking to make a major purchase or transfer a balance, you'll have an interest-free period available: 0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, and then the ongoing APR of 17.24%-28.24% Variable APR.
Drawbacks and considerations
The top rewards rate is weak
Getting 2% cash back on gas and restaurants is better than 1% — and certainly better than nothing! But if you're looking for rewards on gas and dining, you'll probably be better off looking elsewhere. The U.S. Bank Altitude® Go Visa Signature® Card also offers 2% back on gas, but it comes with a whopping 4% back on dining. All with no spending caps and an annual fee of $0.
If you're willing to look beyond the gas and dining rewards structure, several cards will give you 2% back on every purchase, without any spending cap. The Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card gives you an unlimited 2% back on all purchases, while the Citi® Double Cash Card pays 1% on every dollar you spend and 1% on every dollar you pay off. Both of these cards don't charge an annual fee.
Meanwhile, an array of cards pay 1.5% cash back on every purchase, which, depending on your spending, might well generate more in total rewards than the Discover it® Chrome. Consider the Chase Freedom Unlimited®, which gives you 1.5% cash back (plus between 3% and 5% back on select categories) has a $0 annual fee and also offers a sign-up bonus and a 0% intro APR period.
Bonus rewards are capped
If you drive a lot and eat out most nights, you could crash into the $1,000 quarterly ceiling on 2% rewards rather quickly. Most flat-rate cards, including those described above, don't place any limits on rewards.
An unconventional bonus
One great thing about Discover's new-cardmember bonus is that the more you spend, the bigger the bonus you ultimately get, meaning you're in control of your bonus. But you have to wait a year to get it.
Spotty international acceptance
This card isn't a good pick for international travel. You won't be charged foreign transaction fees, but Discover's acceptance outside the U.S. lags far behind that of Visa and Mastercard.
Discover vs. Discover: This card vs. the 5% cards
Discover's flagship card, the Discover it® Cash Back, offers 5% cash back in quarterly categories that you activate. You get 5% back on up to $1,500 in bonus category spending per quarter, and 1% on everything else. Here are Discover's current categories:
Discover bonus rewards categories for 2023
Q1 (Jan. 1–March 31)
Q2 (April 1–June 30)
Q3 (July 1–Sept. 30)
Q4 (Oct. 1–Dec. 31)
*The grocery stores category does not include grocery purchases at Walmart or Target or at other superstores or wholesale clubs.
Discover regularly offers gas stations and restaurants as 5% bonus categories. Say you spend $150 on gas and $150 on restaurants every month. With the Discover it® Chrome, you would get $72 in rewards from that spending in a year. With the Discover it® Cash Back you would get ... an identical $72 in rewards from that spending in a year. But you would also get two other quarters each year with opportunities to earn 5% in different categories.
Indeed, if you maxed out the bonus rewards available on each card, here's what you would earn:
With the Discover it® Chrome: An extra 1% on $4,000 per year in spending, or $40 plus 1% on all spending.
With the Discover it® Cash Back: An extra 4% on $6,000 per year in spending, or $240 plus 1% on all spending.
Mathematicians will tell you that $240 in bonus rewards is more valuable than $40. But what really matters is how you spend money, and whether you want the hassle of activating bonus categories every three months.
How to decide if it's right for you
The Discover it® Chrome isn't a bad choice if you're in need of a low-maintenance, no-fee card to pull out at gas stations and restaurants. But if you're looking for a card to use everywhere, every day, you'd probably be better served with a flat-rate cash-back card or one of Discover's 5% cards.
For options not limited to Discover, see NerdWallet's up-to-date list of the best credit card deals.