Discover it Cash Back Review: Big Rewards and a Generous Cashback Match

You can earn 5% back on specific spending categories, plus a cashback match in your first year.
Last updated Oct 17, 2019 | By Christy Rakoczy

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When it comes to credit card cashback rewards programs, you can't beat a card that gives 5% back. And that's exactly what's on offer with the Discover it Cash Back Credit Card. There is a catch though: The 5% cash back spending category changes quarterly, and you have to remember to activate the bonus category each quarter.

Because you have to sign into your account and activate your bonus to get the maximum cash back, this card is best for people willing to do a bit of added legwork to maximize their credit card rewards. But with a $0 annual fee and a generous welcome offer, this extra effort is well worth it. Read on to learn more about the Discover it Cash Back Credit Card and its benefits.

5% Cash Back

Discover it Cash Back

Discover it Cash Back

Discover it Cash Back

Benefits

  • Up to 5% cash back
  • 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers
  • Cash back match your first year
  • No foreign transaction fees


Who should get this card?

The Discover it Cash Back is a great credit card if you want to earn cash back on purchases, rather than earning points or miles. The card is best for you if you spend within the categories where you can earn bonus cash back — and if you're willing to pay attention to rotating categories.

People looking for the simplest credit card rewards program or who want the highest cash back on all purchases should consider a different cashback card. The Discover it Cash Back requires a little more work to maximize rewards because you need to activate bonus categories and time your spending. But if you don't mind making the effort, you'll be generously rewarded — especially in your first year as a cardmember when you can earn a cashback match from Discover.

Card basics

Annual Fee $0
Intro Bonus Automatically get an unlimited dollar-for-dollar match of any cash back you've earned at the end of your first year
Recommended Credit Score Excellent, Good
Intro APR 0% APR for 14 months
Foreign Transaction Fee None

Top card benefits

  • Generous welcome offer: You will automatically get an unlimited dollar-for-dollar match of any cash back you've earned at the end of your first year.
  • 0% APR for 14 months on purchases: You will pay 0% APR (annual percentage rate) within the first 14 months as a cardmember.
  • up to 5% cash back: You can earn up to 5% cash back cash back on specific categories of spending, which change quarterly. This is one of the highest cashback rates available.
  • Free FICO Score: Monitor your credit easily so you can see how your borrowing behavior affects your credit score over time.
  • No fees: There's a $0 annual fee and no foreign transaction fee.

How to earn and redeem with your Discover it Cash Back Card

Best ways to earn

The best way to earn the maximum cash back with your Discover it Cash Back Card is to shop within the bonus category each quarter. You can earn 5% cash back after you've activated your bonus. For 2019, the bonus categories include:

  • Grocery stores (January to March)
  • Gas stations, Uber, and Lyft (April to June)
  • Restaurants and PayPal transactions (July to September)
  • Purchases at Amazon.com, Walmart.com, and Target (October to December)

Check Discover's bonus cash back calendar each year to see what the bonus categories are. Then log into your account to activate the bonus — or ensure the activation was done properly — so you can earn your extra rewards.

You also get 1% on all other purchases. And you automatically get an unlimited dollar-for-dollar match of any cash back you've earned at the end of your first year. Try to sign up for the card at a time when you know you'll be charging a lot in order to maximize your cash back.

Maximizing your redemptions

While the Discover it Cash Back Card requires a bit of extra effort to earn bonus rewards, the redemption process is simple. That's because you earn cash back on spending rather than earning points or miles that you have to figure out the value of.

Since you're getting a flat percentage of cash back, you can simply redeem your rewards anytime you feel like it. There’s no minimum amount required to redeem cash back, and your rewards never expire. Just log into your account whenever you're ready and request your money.

Common questions about the Discover it Cash Back Card

Is the Discover it Cash Back a good credit card?

Discover it Cash Back is a good credit card. Just make sure you activate the 5% cash back each quarter and shop in the appropriate categories where you can earn the bonus. You also Automatically get an unlimited dollar-for-dollar match of any cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, which makes this card a great option.

If you don't remember to activate the bonus categories and aren't earning a cashback match, you should be able to find a card — like a 3% cashback card — that offers better rewards than the standard 1% back Discover offers on non-bonus purchases.

Is there a limit on cash back with Discover?

There’s a limit on bonus cash back you can earn. You can earn 5% back within the bonus category each quarter, up to the quarterly maximum. Plus, you’ll still score 1% back on other purchases — and there’s no limit on the total cash back you can earn each year.

Additionally, you Automatically get an unlimited dollar-for-dollar match of any cash back you've earned at the end of your first year.

Does Discover match my cash back every year?

Discover matches your cash back .

Do Discover it Cash Back rewards expire?

Discover it Cash Back rewards don’t expire.

Other cards to consider

Not convinced the Discover it Cash Back Credit Card is right for you? Check out these other great cashback cards:

  • Chase Freedom Unlimited Card: This card also charges a $0 annual fee and offers 0% APR for 15 months. While the Chase Freedom Unlimited doesn't have bonus spending categories, it has an unlimited cashback rate of 1.5% compared to the 1% back from Discover on non-bonus categories. You'll also earn a $150 cash back bonus after spending $500 in the first 3 months — but there's no cashback match, unlike with Discover.
  • Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card: Like the Chase Freedom Unlimited, this card offers 1.5% cash back as its standard cashback rate. It also offers a $0 annual fee, and it comes with a generous welcome offer — you can earn $150 cash back after spending $500 in the first 3 months as a cardmember. The 0% APR for 15 months is comparable to the Chase Freedom Unlimited and better than Discover's offer.

5% Cash Back

Discover it Cash Back

Discover it Cash Back

Discover it Cash Back

Special Offer

Automatically 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:

Chase Freedom Unlimited
Chase Freedom Unlimited
  • $150 sign-up bonus
  • No annual fee
  • 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers
  • 5% cash back on Lyft rides
  • 1.5% cash back on all other purchases
Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card
Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card
  • $150 early spend bonus
  • No annual fee
  • 0% intro APR on purchases and transfers for 15 months
  • 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day