Discover it® Chrome vs. Discover it® Cash Back [2024]: Why We Prefer the Discover it Cash Back

CREDIT CARDS - CASH BACK CREDIT CARDS
We recommend the Discover it Cash Back for most people because it provides a high cashback rewards rate.
Updated April 22, 2024
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We like the Discover it® Cash Back because it has a high rewards rate for earning cash back. We think this card can provide more cashback potential compared to the Discover it® Chrome.

However, if you prefer a simple card that doesn’t require quarterly activation of elevated cashback categories, the Discover it Chrome would be a better fit.

Let’s explore our Discover it Chrome versus Discover it Cash Back comparison to see which one makes the most sense for you.

In this Discover it Chrome versus Discover it Cash Back comparison

Key takeaways

  • The Discover it Chrome and Discover it Cash Back are similar cards with several shared features and benefits. The primary difference between these two cards is that they have different cashback rates.
  • With the Discover it Chrome, 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.
  • With the Discover it Cash Back, you can 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.

Discover it Chrome vs. Discover it Cash Back comparison

Discover it® Chrome

Discover it® Chrome

4.2

Discover it® Cash Back

Discover it® Cash Back

4.7

Card type Cash back Cash back
Annual fee $0 $0
Welcome offer Discover will match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year. Discover will match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year.
Earning 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. 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.
Redemption methods
  • Statement credits
  • Deposits to eligible checking or savings accounts
  • Gift cards
  • Charitable donations
  • Pay with Cashback Bonus at select merchants (Amazon and PayPal)
  • Statement credits
  • Deposits to eligible checking or savings accounts
  • Gift cards
  • Charitable donations
  • Pay with Cashback Bonus at select merchants (Amazon and PayPal)
Intro APR
  • 0% intro APR for 6 months on purchases (then 17.24% - 28.24% Variable)
  • 0% intro APR for 18 months on balance transfers (then 17.24% - 28.24% Variable)
  • 0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases (then 17.24% - 28.24% Variable)
  • 0% intro APR for 15 months on balance transfers (then 17.24% - 28.24% Variable)
Foreign transaction fee 0% 0%
Credit needed Excellent, Good Excellent, Good
Learn more in our full review Learn more in our full review

Our verdict

We recommend the Discover it Cash Back over the Discover it Chrome because there’s more earning potential with its rewards rate. However, you may prefer the Discover it Chrome if you want a straightforward credit card that doesn’t require quarterly activation of elevated cashback categories.

Discover it Chrome benefits and drawbacks

Pros
  • $0 annual fee
  • Useful bonus categories
  • Long intro APR offer on balance transfers
  • No foreign transaction fees
Cons
  • Earning rate on bonus categories has a quarterly spending cap

Cashback Match® welcome offer: Discover will match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year.

The Discover it Chrome has a $0 annual fee and charges 0% foreign transaction fees. Cardholders 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.

You can also take advantage of introductory APR offers:

  • Intro APR on purchases: 0% intro APR for 6 months on purchases (then 17.24% - 28.24% Variable)
  • Intro APR on balance transfers: 0% intro APR for 18 months on balance transfers (then 17.24% - 28.24% Variable)

Learn more in our Discover it Chrome review.

Discover it Cash Back benefits and drawbacks

Pros
  • $0 annual fee
  • High earning rate
  • Long intro APR offers
  • No foreign transaction fees
Cons
  • Rotating spending categories might not align with everyday expenses

Cashback Match® welcome offer: Discover will match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year.

The Discover it Cash Back has a $0 annual fee and 0% foreign transaction fees. You can 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 card also comes with two introductory APR offers:

  • Intro APR on purchases: 0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases (then 17.24% - 28.24% Variable)
  • Intro APR on balance transfers: 0% intro APR for 15 months on balance transfers (then 17.24% - 28.24% Variable)

Learn more in our Discover it Cash Back review.

What both cards excel at

  • Generous welcome offers: You can take advantage of welcome offers on both credit cards.
  • Cashback rewards: Both the Discover it Chrome and Discover it Cash Back provide ways to earn cash rewards on eligible new purchases.
  • Annual fees: The Discover it Chrome has a $0 annual fee, while the Discover it Cash Back also has a $0 annual fee.
  • No foreign transaction fees: You don’t have to pay foreign transaction fees on applicable purchases with either card. We like that many Discover credit cards provide this benefit.
  • Redemption options: Both cards provide the same rewards program redemption options, including using your rewards for statement credits, bank deposits, gift cards, and certain online purchases.
  • Discover card network: Both cards are issued by Discover and use the Discover network to process card transactions. Overall, Discover is a well-established financial institution that provides multiple products and services. Learn more in our Discover review.
  • Intro APR offers: You can take advantage of an intro balance transfer APR and intro purchase APR with both cards.
  • Creditworthiness: Both cards are best for people with average to excellent credit scores — that’s a 670 or higher FICO score.

Keep in mind
When assessing your eligibility for credit, banks and credit card companies usually take into account a range of factors in addition to your credit score.

An important difference between Discover it Chrome and Discover Cash Back

Rewards rates

Here are how the rewards structure for earning cash back compares on both cards:

  • Discover it Chrome: 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.
  • Discover it Cash Back: 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.

We prefer the Discover it Cash Back rewards rate because it’s higher and would likely provide more earning potential for people who keep track and activate its quarterly categories.

Winner: The Discover it Cash Back because it provides more earning potential. However, the amount of cash back you could earn with either card depends on your everyday expenses and habits.

Which credit card should you choose?

When you should choose Discover it Chrome

  • You want to earn cash back.
  • You want a long intro APR offer on balance transfers.
  • Your everyday spending aligns with its bonus categories.
  • You prefer a credit card with a simple rewards rate.

When you should choose Discover it Cash Back

  • You want to earn cash back.
  • You want long intro APR offers.
  • You want high earning potential with rotating bonus categories.
  • You don’t mind activating the bonus categories every quarter.

What factors to consider before choosing

The Discover it Chrome and Discover it Cash Back share several features, benefits, and perks.

The one main difference is how each of these rewards credit cards earns cash back. The Discover it Chrome has a simple cashback rate without quarterly rotating categories, while the Discover it Cash Back has an elevated cashback rate on quarterly rotating categories that require activation.

Depending on your spending habits, one card might make more sense than the other because of its rewards categories.

For more options from the same credit card issuer, check out Discover cash back credit cards.

FAQ

Is Discover it Cash Back or Discover it Chrome better?

Both cards share several benefits and perks, but we recommend the Discover it Cash Back because we like its high earning potential. You can 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.

Does Discover cash back ever go away?

The cash back you earn using a Discover credit card never expires. If your account is closed or you haven’t used it in 18 months, Discover will send you a check with your rewards balance or credit the balance to your account.

Is Discover it Cash Back good for beginners?

The Discover it Cash Back can be a great credit card to have in your wallet because it has a $0 annual fee and no foreign transaction fees. This card is best for people with average to excellent credit scores, which equates to a 670 or higher FICO score.

Any cash back you earn with the card can be redeemed through your online account for statement credits, bank deposits, or gift cards. You can also use cash back with certain online retailers, such as PayPal and Amazon.

Discover it Chrome vs. Discover it Cash Back: bottom line

We recommend the Discover it Cash Back over the Discover it Chrome because it can provide a higher earning potential. But if you would rather not deal with rotating categories that require quarterly activation, consider the Discover it Chrome.

For more of our top recommendations, compare credit cards and find the right credit card offer for you.

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

Ben Walker, CEPF, CFEI® Ben Walker, CEPF, CFEI®, is a Senior Credit Cards Writer at FinanceBuzz. For over a decade, he's leveraged credit card points and miles to travel the world. His expertise extends to other areas of personal finance — including loans, insurance, investing, and real estate — and you can find his insights on The Washington Post, Debt.com, Yahoo! Finance, and Fox Business.

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