Discover it Balance Transfer Review 2021: A Generous Extended Intro Offer

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?
Last updated May 18, 2021 | By Kevin Payne | Edited By Jess Ullrich

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If you have significant credit card debt, balance transfers could be a great way to get some much-needed breathing room to pay it off over time. Instead of watching interest charges pile up, a good balance transfer card will let you pay off the debt interest free, often for periods as long as 12 to 24 months.

Discover It Balance Transfer Card offers a 0% introductory APR for 14 months. It’s one of the best intro offers around and could be the key to successfully paying off your credit card debt. Here’s a closer look at the Discover it Balance Transfer to help you determine whether it’s right for you.

Earn up to 5% cash back

Discover it Balance Transfer

Discover it Balance Transfer

Discover it Balance Transfer

Annual Fee

$0

Rewards Rate

up to 5% cash back

Benefits and Drawbacks

Benefits

  • 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for 14 months
  • Up to 5% cash back on eligible purchases
  • Cash back match at the end of your first year as cardmember
  • No annual fee

Drawbacks

  • Rotating bonus categories to track
Card Details
  • Get an unlimited dollar-for-dollar match of any cash back you've earned at the end of your first year
  • 5% cash back in quarterly rotating categories and 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • Intro purchase 0% offer: 0% for 14 months then 11.99% to 22.99% (variable)
  • Intro balance transfer 0% offer: 0% for 14 months then 11.99% to 22.99% (variable)

In this Discover it Balance Transfer review:

Who should get the Discover it Balance Transfer Card?

The Discover it Balance Transfer card 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 offers you’ll find — 0% intro APR for 14 months. That means you can move over existing credit card debt and pay it off interest-free for over a year.

The card has a $0 annual fee, earns cash back, and gives you free unlimited access to your credit score. Beyond that, though, the Discover it Balance Transfer doesn’t offer much value. The 5% cash back rate on rotating categories (up to quarterly maximum) is nice, but you might not be able to take advantage of it because you’ll be paying off your balance transfer. If you’re interested in earning cashback rewards, there are likely better cashback credit cards than this Discover card.

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 and 1% cash back on all other purchases
Recommended credit score Excellent, Good
Intro APR 0% intro APR on new purchases for 14 months

0% intro APR on balance transfers for 14 months

Foreign transaction fee None

Discover it Balance Transfer Card benefits and perks

  • Generous intro APR offer: New cardholders can transfer over existing card balances and receive a 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 14 months.
  • Discover cashback match: Discover automatically matches all cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year of card ownership.
  • Free credit score: 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.
  • No annual fee: The Discover it Balance Transfer has a $0 annual fee, so you don't need to worry about an annual cost that cuts into the card’s value.

Drawbacks to the Discover it Balance Transfer Card

  • No extra benefits: This Discover card is strictly a balance transfer card with few additional benefits and no travel perks.
  • 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.
  • Complicated 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 Card.

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: $670

Year two earnings: $335

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

Discover it Balance Transfer offers 5% cashback rewards on rotating categories (up to quarterly maximum). You’ll earn the most cash back by tracking bonus categories each quarter and using your Discover it 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. Unfortunately, it’s an extra, necessary step if you want to enjoy bonus cash back.

Bonus categories can change from year to year, so there’s no guarantee the bonus categories will fit your spending habits. Discover does a good job, though, of including bonus categories that make sense for most consumers. To give you an idea of what categories might earn 5% cash back, here’s a look at the card’s 2021 cashback calendar:

  • January - March: Grocery stores, Walgreens, and CVS
  • April - June: Gas Stations, wholesale clubs, and select streaming services
  • July - September: Restaurants and PayPal
  • October - December: Amazon.com, Walmart.com, and Target.com

The card earns only 1% cash back on all other purchases, which isn’t great. Keep in mind, though, that Discover will match all of your first-year cash back earnings dollar for dollar.

With Discover’s match, your best chance to earn big cashback rewards occurs during the first year of card ownership. The downside is that you probably signed up for the card to transfer over existing credit card debt and pay it off over time. Your best shot at paying off debt during the intro offer time frame might be to avoid new spending. If that’s the case, you might not be able to capitalize on Discover’s match as much as you would like.

Categories Rewards rate
rotating categories (up to quarterly maximum) 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 Card FAQs

Is the Discover it Balance Transfer card worth it?

The Discover it Balance Transfer card features a 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 14 months. 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% for balances transferred by November 10, 2021 and 5% after that.

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

The Citi Double Cash offers a 0% introductory APR on balance transfers for 18 months. It’s also a top cashback credit card. Instead of rotating spending categories, cardholders can earn up to 2% cash back on all purchases: 1% as you buy and 1% as you pay. 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, you get a 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 21 months. That gives you plenty of time to pay off your debt without worrying about interest charges.  

Earn up to 5% cash back

Discover it Balance Transfer

Discover it Balance Transfer

Discover it Balance Transfer

Special Offer

Get an unlimited dollar-for-dollar match of any cash back you've earned at the end of your first year

See how these cards compare:

Citi Double Cash Card
Citi Double Cash Card
  • 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 18 months
  • 2% cash back on all purchases - 1% when you buy and 1% when you pay
  • No annual fee
Citi Simplicity Card
Citi Simplicity Card
  • 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 21 months
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months
  • FICO Credit Score monitoring
  • No late, penalty, or annual fees

Author Details

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.