Discover it® Balance Transfer Review 2024: A Generous Extended Intro Offer

CREDIT CARDS - BALANCE TRANSFER CREDIT CARDS
The Discover it Balance Transfer card offers a long intro APR offer, but is it enough to make it a worthwhile addition to your wallet?
Updated Feb. 1, 2024
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Discover it® Balance Transfer card offers an introductory APR on balance transfers, which can help you handle credit card debt by getting some breathing room to pay your transferred balance over time.

When you place a balance transfer request, expect to pay a balance transfer fee of 3% intro balance transfer fee, up to 5% fee on future balance transfers (see terms)*. This is very much in line with introductory balance transfer fees that other credit card companies typically charge.

Let’s take a closer look at the Discover it® Balance Transfer to help you determine whether it’s right for you.

In this Discover it Balance Transfer credit card review

Key takeaways

  • The Discover it® Balance Transfer can help you lower your interest rate charges on existing debt when you take advantage of its intro APR offer on balance transfers.
  • This card has a balance transfer fee of 3% intro balance transfer fee, up to 5% fee on future balance transfers (see terms)*.
  • You can also benefit from an intro APR on new purchases.
  • On top of this, you can earn 5% cash back in quarterly rotating categories (up to quarterly maximum, once activated) and 1% cash back on all other purchases.

Who should get the Discover it® Balance Transfer?

The Discover it® Balance Transfer is geared toward individuals with existing credit card debt. Balance transfer cards are designed to help consumers pay off debt by transferring their balances over to a new credit card, helping them potentially save money on interest charges over the long term.

The Discover it® Balance Transfer could be a good option if you’re looking for a balance transfer card because it offers one of the longest intro APR offers you’ll find. That means you can move over existing credit card debt and pay it off over time without having to worry about high interest charges.

You can also use this credit card to earn 5% cash back in quarterly rotating categories (up to quarterly maximum, once activated) and 1% cash back on all other purchases. You can combine this with the card’s intro APR on purchases to extend your benefits.

The Discover it® Balance Transfer has a $0 annual fee and gives you complimentary access to your credit score. This makes it one of the best cash back credit cards that offer changing categories.

Card basics

Card type Balance transfer
Credit card issuer Discover
Annual fee $0
Intro bonus Get an unlimited dollar-for-dollar match of any cash back you've earned at the end of your first year
Reward rate 5% cash back in quarterly rotating categories (up to quarterly maximum, once activated) and 1% cash back on all other purchases
Recommended credit score Excellent, Good
Intro APR Refer to cardholder agreement
Foreign transaction fee None

We we like the Discover it® Balance Transfer: benefits and perks

  • Generous intro purchase and balance transfer APR offer: New cardholders can transfer over existing card balances and receive an intro APR on purchases and balance transfers.
  • High cashback rate: You can earn 5% cash back in quarterly rotating categories (up to quarterly maximum, once activated) and 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Discover Cashback Match™: You can get an unlimited dollar-for-dollar match of any cash back you've earned at the end of your first year.
  • Free credit score: The Discover it® Balance Transfer comes with free access to your FICO credit score online, through the mobile app, and on monthly statements.
  • No foreign transaction fees: The card carries no foreign transaction fees on purchases made outside of the U.S., which could make it a good card to use when traveling internationally.
  • $0 annual fee: Discover it® Balance Transfer has a $0 annual fee, so you don't need to worry about costs that cut into the card’s value.

What we don't like about the Discover it® Balance Transfer: drawbacks

  • Less acceptance: Discover has become more accepted by merchants but still has a ways to go to reach the widespread acceptance found with Visa, Mastercard, and even American Express — especially outside of the U.S.
  • Rotating spending categories: This card’s bonus categories change quarterly. If you don’t want to activate bonus categories every few months, a card that offers flat-rate cash back could be a better option.

Earning and redeeming cash back with Discover

Potential earnings in years one and two

Here's a look at how your cash back can add up with the Discover it® Balance Transfer.

Remember, this is an estimation. The actual value will be determined by how much you spend and in which categories you spend.

Year one earnings: $750

Year two earnings: $375

These values are based on the FinanceBuzz Credit Card Rewards Valuation Model, which looks at points earned via spending and the annual fee.

Best ways to earn

The Discover it® Balance Transfer earns 5% cash back on rotating categories (up to quarterly maximum) when you activate.

You can earn the most cash back by tracking bonus categories each quarter and using your card to maximize earnings in those categories. You’ll need to activate the bonus categories each quarter to be eligible to earn the elevated rate.

Bonus categories can change from year to year. Discover does a good job of including bonus categories that make sense for most consumers.

Here’s a look at the card’s 2024 cashback calendar:

2024 dates Cashback bonus categories
January 1 through March 31 Restaurants and drugstores
April 1 through June 30 To be announced
July 1 through September 30 To be announced
October 1 through December 31 To be announced

Here’s a look at past categories from 2023:

2023 dates Cashback bonus categories
January 1 through March 31 Grocery stores, drugstores, and select streaming services
April 1 through June 30 Restaurants and wholesale clubs
July 1 through September 30 Gas stations and digital wallets
October 1 through December 31 Amazon.com and Target

The card earns 1% cash back on all other purchases. Keep in mind, though, that you can get an unlimited dollar-for-dollar match of any cash back you've earned at the end of your first year.

Categories Rewards rate
Rotating categories (up to quarterly maximum) when you activate 5%
All other purchases 1%

Maximizing your redemptions

Some cashback cards offer rewards only via statement credits, but the Discover it Balance Transfer card offers several redemption options. You can redeem your cashback rewards for:

  • Statement credits
  • Electronic deposits to your bank account
  • Pay for purchases at select merchants
  • Gift cards

Cardholders can also donate their cashback rewards to charity through Discover. Most redemptions start at just 1 cent, so there are no minimums you need to earn before cashing in on your rewards. There’s also no expiration date on rewards as long as your account is open and in good standing, so you can build up your rewards as long as you like, too.

Discover it® Balance Transfer FAQ

Is the Discover it Balance Transfer card worth it?

The Discover it Balance Transfer card features an intro APR on balance transfers and purchases. If you’re in the market for a card to help you pay off other card debt, few cards are more helpful than Discover it Balance Transfer.

What credit score do you need for the Discover it Balance Transfer?

You’ll likely need good to excellent credit to get approved for the Discover it Balance Transfer card. A good to excellent FICO score is 670 or higher.

What is the balance transfer fee with the Discover it Balance Transfer?

The Discover it Balance Transfer has an intro balance transfer fee of 3% intro balance transfer fee, up to 5% fee on future balance transfers (see terms)*.

How long does it take to transfer a balance with Discover?

For new cardholders, balance transfers through Discover are typically initiated after 14 days of card membership. After that, it generally takes about four days to process a transfer. For existing cardholders, transfers are generally processed in about four days.

What is the best balance transfer card?

Several balance transfer cards are available that offer extended introductory APR periods with zero interest. Check out our list of the best balance transfer credit cards to find one that works for you.

Other cards to consider

The Discover it® Balance Transfer is a solid option if you are interested in a card with lengthy intro APR periods. But if it doesn’t sound quite right, the Citi Double Cash® Card and the Citi Simplicity® Card may also be worth considering.

The Citi Double Cash® Card offers a 0% introductory APR on balance transfers for 18 months (then 19.24% - 29.24% (Variable)). It’s also a top cash back credit card. Instead of rotating spending categories, cardholders can earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases; plus, for a limited time, earn 5% total cash back on hotel, car rentals and attractions booked on the Citi Travel℠ portal through 12/31/24. If you hate the thought of having to track your spending to maximize rewards, Citi Double Cash might be a better choice with its simple rewards structure.

With the Citi Simplicity® Card, you get a 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 21 months (then 19.24% - 29.99% (Variable)). That gives you plenty of time to pay off your debt without worrying about interest charges.

Discover it® Balance Transfer: bottom line

The Discover it® Balance Transfer can be a great credit card for balance transfers while benefiting at the same time from its high cashback rate on rotating categories and intro APR offer on purchases.

These benefits make the Discover it® Balance Transfer a versatile credit card that can fit people with various needs. The $0 annual fee further adds to its value and ease of using it for years to come.

Author Details

Yahia Barakah, CEPF Yahia Barakah, CEPF, is a Senior Editor at FinanceBuzz and has created finance-focused content since 2011. As a Certified Educator of Personal Finance, he has a background in institutional investment and asset management, as well as a deep passion for financial literacy.
Kevin Payne Kevin Payne is a freelance writer specializing in student loans, credit cards, personal finance, and travel. He is a regular contributor to Club Thrifty, Millennial Money, and Student Loan Planner. As the budget and family travel expert behind FamilyMoneyAdventure.com, Kevin recently turned his writing side hustle into his full-time career. He lives in Cleveland, Ohio, with his wife and four kids.

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