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Discover it® Chrome Review [2024]: A Pretty Good Option for Drivers, Foodies, and Credit Card Newbies

The low quarterly cap puts a damper on this card’s earning ability, but its welcome offer and other features still makes it worth a look.

Updated July 11, 2024
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Discover it® Chrome

Discover it® Chrome
4.2

OUR VIEW

With the Discover it® Chrome(Rates and fees) card you can earn 2% cash back at Gas Stations and Restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter, automatically. Plus earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases. And for all other purchases it offers 1% cash back. The earning rate is decent, but the quarterly cap is significantly lower than the quarterly cap on similar cards.

So why choose this one? First, Discover will match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year. That doubles your earnings and makes the card more competitive. It also offers a solid balance transfer offer, so if you’re looking to transfer a balance to a card that still offers some value after you’ve paid down your balance, this could be worth considering.

And if you’re new to credit cards, it has some features, like no penalty APR, that serve as a safety net if you happen to forget a payment.

Overall, this card is most valuable during the first year. After that, its usefulness is more limited.

Pros

Excellent welcome offer
Elevated rates in common spending categories
Useful redemption options

Cons

Low quarterly earnings cap compared to other cards
Limited acceptance abroad
How we evaluate products

Card basics

Card type Cash Back
Credit card issuer Discover
Annual fee $0
Welcome offer Discover will match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year.
Intro APR 0% intro APR on purchases for 6 months (then 18.24% - 28.24% Variable)

0% intro APR on balance transfers for 18 months (then 18.24% - 28.24% Variable)

Reward rate Earn 2% cash back at Gas Stations and Restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter, automatically. Plus earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.
Recommended credit score Excellent, Good
Foreign transaction fee 0%

Who should get the Discover it® Chrome?

The Discover it Chrome will be most valuable to people with long driving commutes, frequent travelers, and those who dine out regularly. But even for those folks, the card has limitations. You only earn an elevated cash back rate on up to $1,000 of spend per quarter, which comes to $20 per quarter or $80 per year in earnings.

That value doubles to $160 for the first year since Discover will match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year. And while it’s not nothing, other cash back cards offer higher-value welcome bonuses.

But the first year bonus also doubles everything you earn at the base 1% cash back on all other purchases. So overall, the card offers decent value for the first year.

The Discover it Chrome is also a good fit for someone who is newer to credit. It offers one-time late fee forgiveness and no penalty APR, so there’s also some wiggle room if you run into challenges. It can take some time to learn exactly how credit cards work, so it’s nice that this card offers a bit of a safety net.

What to be aware of before applying

After the first year, it could become what credit card aficionados like to call a “sock-drawer credit card.” So, a card that you typically don’t use on a day-to-day basis as it has limited value after a certain time.

The reason for this is that even the elevated rate isn’t all that elevated. For example, the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card allows you to earn unlimited 2% cash rewards on purchases, regardless of category.

The Citi Double Cash® Card offers 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.

Other benefits and perks

There are pluses to this card other than the welcome offer.

Intro APR offers

The Discover it Chrome does offer a 0% intro APR on purchases for 6 months (then 18.24% - 28.24% Variable) and {cc_318.balance_transfer_intro_apr}} intro APR on balance transfers for 18 months (then 18.24% - 28.24% Variable). 3% intro balance transfer fee, up to 5% fee on future balance transfers (see terms)*. So if you have large purchases planned or an existing debt you’re paying high interest on, this card could be helpful.

You can find longer balance transfers on other cards, though. For example, the Wells Fargo Reflect® Card has a 0% intro APR for 21 months from account opening on qualifying balance transfers, then 18.24%, 24.74%, or 29.99% Variable APR. But it doesn't offer rewards like the Discover it Chrome, which is the trade-off between cash back rewards cards like this one and balance transfer cards like the Reflect.

$0 annual fee

There is a $0 annual fee with Discover it Chrome. So while it might become a sock drawer card, you don’t have to pay for keeping it there.

Finally, the Discover it Chrome comes with almost no travel perks other than charging no foreign transaction fees, so it’s not the ideal card to have and use if you travel extensively. It is well suited for dining and gas expenses in your local area.

Late fee forgiveness

With the Discover it Chrome, the first time you make a late payment, you don't have to pay a late payment fee. If you miss a subsequent payment, though, you'll pay a fee of None the first time you pay late. After that, up to $41.. This can be really helpful. When I’ve missed a credit card payment, it’s usually been because I was in a challenging financial situation, and not having to worry about a late fee on a one-time basis would have been really helpful.

No penalty APR

Discover it Chrome doesn’t charge a penalty APR if you’re late paying your bill. This is a rare perk, especially among rewards credit cards. If you’re in a tight financial situation, a penalty APR can make keeping up with credit card payments and paying off your card even more of a challenge. Your balance increases more quickly, which increases minimum payments as well.

Although in a perfect world, we would all pay our balances in full and on time, that’s not always realistic. Not having a penalty APR to worry about this card is definitely beneficial.

Free access to credit score

Discover it Chrome comes with access to your free FICO score online, through the mobile app, and on your monthly statements. Not every card comes with FICO score access, so while this isn’t a reason to apply for the card on its own, I would definitely take advantage of it.

Other drawbacks

The low quarterly rewards cap is the primary drawback to this card, but there are a couple of others to consider.

  • Limited perks: The Discover it Chrome doesn’t offer many extra benefits or perks outside of earning rewards. If you’re after travel benefits or statement credits from vendors, then this card won’t be the right fit for you. In fairness, most cashback cards offer limited benefits besides, well, cash back.
  • Not as accepted outside of the U.S.: Discover isn’t as widely accepted by international vendors as Visa or Mastercard, though it does beat out American Express. So even though this card has no foreign transaction fees, it’s not the best to take outside the U.S.

Earning & redeeming cash back

Potential earnings in years one and two

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

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: $830

Year two earnings: $415

These values are based on the FinanceBuzz Credit Card Rewards Valuation Model, which takes a look at points earned via spending, the sign-up bonus, and the annual fee. The more you spend with this card, the more potential you have to receive a larger cashback bonus at the end of year one, so you could see even higher earnings depending on your personal budget.

Best ways to earn

The best way to earn cash back is to use your Discover it Chrome card every time you fill up your gas tank or dine out (or get takeout) at a restaurant. All other purchases only earn 1% cash back, which isn’t great on its own but better in the context of Discover’s welcome offer.

So be sure to maximize card use in your first year of card ownership. The Cashback Match™ occurs automatically after your first card anniversary, so there’s nothing you need to do except use your card for purchases. So if you earn $200 during your first year of spending, you’ll earn another $200 at that point.

Categories Rewards rate
Gas stations and restaurants (up to $1,000 in purchases each quarter) 2%
All other purchases 1%

Maximizing your redemptions

Discover it Chrome lets you redeem your cashback rewards in multiple ways. As with most cashback cards, you can redeem for statement credits, with redemptions starting at just one penny.

You can also redeem your cashback rewards in the following ways:

  • Electronic deposits to your bank account
  • Purchases at select merchants such as Amazon.com and PayPal
  • Gift cards
  • Donations to select charities

Cashback rewards from Discover have no minimums and no expiration date, so you can use them as quickly as you want or build them up for a large redemption later.

Alternatives

The Discover it Chrome has some drawbacks. If you like the welcome offer but don’t love the categories associated with the Discover it Chrome, the Discover it® Cash Back could be a better fit.

With the Discover it® Cash Back you earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places you shop each quarter like grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations, and more, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases—automatically. This limit is currently $1,500 per quarter ($500 higher than the spending limit on the Discover it Chrome.)

As with the Discover it Chrome, Discover will match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year..

The downside? Discover chooses the quarterly categories, not you, so they may have limited usefulness depending on your spending habits.

Read our Discover it Cash Back review.

If dealing with categories doesn’t sound appealing, another cash rewards credit card that might be more appealing is the Citi Double Cash® Card.

This card has no caps on how much cash back you can earn in any spending category. Instead, the card earns 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.

Use your card for purchases, pay your monthly bill, and watch the rewards pile up.

Read our Citi Double Cash Card review.

FAQ

Is the Discover it Chrome a good credit card?

Discover it Chrome is a good card during your first year as a cardholder if you frequently spend money on gas and dining out at restaurants. Those earnings are limited by the quarterly cap, however.

So it’s not ideal if you spend considerable money in different bonus categories than it features, and its benefits aren’t as competitive after the first year.

Is the Discover it Chrome unsecured?

Discover it Chrome is an unsecured credit card. It is not a secured credit card, which requires a security deposit. Approval for an unsecured card is typically based on a credit check and other factors such as your income and credit utilization.

What credit score do you need for a Discover it Chrome card?

Like most credit card issuers, Discover doesn’t publish its credit requirements for card approval. Credit card applications are evaluated on a number of aspects beyond just creditworthiness.

That said, the Discover it Chrome card is appropriate for people who have good-to-excellent credit. A good to excellent FICO credit score is a score of 670 or higher.

Bottom line

The Discover it Chrome has some definite downsides, and its usefulness drops significantly after the first year of being a cardholder. That might be enough value for you, though. And it has some appealing features if you’re newer to credit cards and how they work.

Or you might prefer a card that has a long-term place in your wallet, like the Wells Fargo Active Cash, which allows you to earn unlimited 2% cash rewards on purchases

Earn Easy Cash Back on Gas & Restaurants

4.2

Discover it® Chrome

Current Offer

Discover will match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year.

Annual Fee

$0

Rewards Rate

Earn 2% cash back at Gas Stations and Restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter, automatically. Plus earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.

Benefits and Drawbacks
Card Details

Author Details

Melinda Sineriz, ABFP™

Melinda Sineriz is a Lead Editor at FinanceBuzz and an Accredited Behavioral Finance Professional™ designee. Melinda has a B.A. in English from Miami University and a master’s degree from Bard College. Before focusing on personal finance content, she worked in insurance for six years, educating clients on Medicare supplements, life insurance, long-term care, and annuities.

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.