Discover® Bank Review [2024]: Practical Credit Cards, Convenient Banking, and Versatile Loan Products

LOANS - SMALL BUSINESS LOANS
Whether you’re looking for credit card, banking, or loan services, Discover has a competitive product to meet your needs.
Updated May 3, 2024
Fact checked

We receive compensation from the products and services mentioned in this story, but the opinions are the author's own. Compensation may impact where offers appear. We have not included all available products or offers. Learn more about how we make money and our editorial policies.

Whether you are looking at a new credit card, a high-yield savings account, or how to get a loan, finding the right option is imperative. You want to work with a company you can trust that won’t nickel-and-dime you every step of the way.

Discover is one company we recommend considering. While this company may be best known for its credit cards, it also offers a variety of financial products and services geared toward saving you money and frustration. 

Keep reading to learn more about what Discover has to offer and if it’s the right bank for you.

Quick Summary

Rare checking account that offers cash back

  • Access 60,000+ fee-free ATMs and make cash deposits at Walmart stores nationwide
  • No minimum deposit, no minimum balance, and no account fees
  • Earn 1% cash back on up to $3,000 in debit card purchases each month1
In this Discover Bank review

Key takeaways

  • Discover offers a variety of financial products and services, including credit cards, banking, personal loans, home loans, and private student loans.
  • Discover's credit cards are known for their simple cash back redemptions but may not be the best option for those who plan to use points toward travel or need worldwide card acceptance.
  • Discover does not have brick-and-mortar banking locations but has more than 60,000 fee-free ATMs nationwide.
  • The Discover® Online Savings Account offers a 4.30% (as of Mar. 12, 2024) APY.2
  • Discover's personal loans offer flexible repayment terms and no processing or origination fees and can be a good option for consumers shopping around for quick, flexible loans.

Discover overview

Pros
  • No monthly fees on Discover accounts
  • Offers competitive interest rates on most accounts
  • Discover® Cashback Checking account provides 1% cash back on up to $3,000 in qualifying debit card transactions each month
Cons
  • Limited branch access
  • $30 fee on outgoing wire transfers

For many people, Discover is known for its credit cards, which were introduced in 1986 by Dean Witter Financial Services Group, a subsidiary of Sears, Roebuck, and Co. However, the company has evolved over its 38 years in business to become one of the most recognized financial services brands in the U.S.

Today, Discover Financial Services products include various credit cards, online banking and retirement accounts, as well as personal, student, and home loan options.

Credit cards from Discover

There are many different types of Discover cards to choose from, so you are likely to find a credit card that meets your needs. Discover offers the following cards: 

Typically, these cards are good choices for customers interested in everyday products with simple cash back redemption. If you plan to use points toward travel — especially if you enjoy transferring to partner airlines and hotels for better redemption rates — Discover might not be the best option.

Additionally, while the issuer’s travel product (Discover it® Miles) does offer some benefits for travelers, it’s important to note that Discover still isn’t accepted everywhere worldwide. So before you travel, ensure that your destination country will accept this issuer’s cards.

All Discover cards offer 100% U.S.-based customer service, fraud monitoring, and a free Credit Scorecard each month. Of course, there are certain eligibility criteria for each card, and these requirements vary from one product to the next. Typically, though, you will need to have a good-to-excellent credit score in order to qualify.

Who Discover credit cards are best suited for:
Everyday spenders who prefer fee-free cards with simple cash back redemptions, aren’t worried about worldwide card acceptance, and/or don’t plan to transfer earned points or miles to travel partners for redemption.

Banking with Discover

Discover Bank offers a variety of banking products. Here, you’ll find cash back checking accounts, high-yield savings accounts, money market accounts (MMAs), and flexible certificates of deposits (CDs), all with competitive terms and interest rates.

Discover’s banking products are a good option for customers who prefer (or at least don’t mind) banking online, as Discover does not have brick-and-mortar banking locations. Opening an account with Discover is easy, even though you can’t pop into a local branch to do so, and the process takes most customers only a few minutes to complete online.

You will have access to mobile check deposits, and there are over 60,000 in-network ATMs that you can use to withdraw funds without a fee. However, if you prefer stopping by your local branch with questions, depositing checks at the counter, or making cash withdrawals in person, you may not enjoy Discover Bank’s online-only presence.

Who Discover bank accounts are best suited for:
Customers who prefer an online-only bank that offers cash back rewards, competitive interest rates, and no fees.

Discover® Online Savings Account

Annual percentage yield (APY) 4.30% (as of Mar. 12, 2024)
Minimum deposit requirement $0
Monthly maintenance fees $0
ATM access No
FDIC insured Yes

Discover offers a high-yield savings account with no monthly fee or minimum opening deposit. The account earns a 4.30% (as of Mar. 12, 2024) APY, which is competitive with other banks in the market. There are also no fees for insufficient funds on the Discover savings account, and overdraft protection is available.

It doesn’t appear that ATM access is available with the Discover Online Savings Account. To withdraw funds from the account, you’ll instead have to transfer the money to an external bank or other Discover bank account, request a bank check, or do a wire transfer. Outgoing wire transfers cost $30.

Other Discover banking products

Account APY Minimum deposit requirement Monthly maintenance fees ATM access FDIC insured
Discover® Money Market Account 4.20%-4.25% (as of Jan. 30, 2024), depending on your balance $2,500 $0 Yes Yes
Discover® CDs 2.00%-5.00% (as of Jan. 30, 2024) depending on the term $2,500 $0 No Yes
Discover® Cashback Checking 1.00% cash back on up to $3,000 in qualifying debit card transactions each month $0 $0 Yes Yes

Discover also offers interest-bearing money market accounts and CDs to help you grow your money. If you need to have ATM access to your money, you may consider a Discover money market account over its savings account, which doesn’t provide ATM access. However, you will need a minimum deposit of $2,500 to open a Discover money market account.

You can open a Discover CD with terms ranging from three months to 10 years, with APYs ranging from 2.00%-5.00% (as of Jan. 30, 2024). The sweet spot is in a 12-month term CD, which earns the highest APY of 5.00% (as of Jan. 30, 2024).

Although Discover’s checking account isn’t interest-bearing, it does enable you to earn 1% cash back on up to $3,000 in qualifying debit card purchases every month. So that’s $30 in your pocket just for spending money on things you usually buy.

Personal loans from Discover

Discover also offers personal loans, which can be used to cover a variety of expenses, from emergency home repairs and unexpected medical bills to consolidating high-interest credit card debt.

Regardless of how you plan to use a personal loan, Discover is there to offer the funding that meets your needs. Here is what you can expect when taking out a Discover personal loan:

  • Loans up to $40,000
  • No processing or origination fees
  • Flexible repayment terms between 36-84 months
  • Fixed interest rates ranging from 7.99%-24.99% (as of Nov. 15, 2023) APR

You’ll enjoy customer service that is entirely based in the U.S. in case you ever have questions about your loan or need help managing your account. Discover also offers same-day decisions on personal loans in many cases, helping you get the funding you need fast.

Plus, if you change your mind about your personal loan, you have the option to return the funds within 30 days — and you won’t be subject to any interest charges.

In order to qualify for a Discover personal loan, you’ll need to be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, have a physical address, be at least 18 years old, and have a household income of $25,000 or more. Your interest rate and approved loan amount will be determined according to factors such as your creditworthiness and ability to repay.

Who Discover personal loans are best suited for:
Consumers who are shopping around for personal loans that are quick, origination fee-free, and offer flexible repayment terms would be wise to give Discover a look.

Private student loans from Discover

Discover offers private student loans to cover your undergraduate, graduate, MBA, law, health professions, residency, or even bar exam costs. Additionally, you can use a Discover student loan to consolidate your existing private and federal student debt, making repayment easier (if not cheaper and faster).

It’s important to note that anytime you refinance federal student debt into a private loan, you will forfeit certain financial benefits. These may include deferment or forbearance options, income-driven repayment plans, and federal student loan forgiveness programs. Be sure to weigh your options before you decide to refinance your federal loans.

Discover student loans have no fees and offer either deferred or in-school repayment options. Variable interest rates range from 6.62%-17.49% (as of Nov. 15, 2023). Fixed APRs range from 5.24%-15.99% (as of Nov. 15, 2023), and there are zero fees. Your application can take as little as 15 minutes to complete, and if you do not qualify on your own or want to snag a better interest rate, Discover does accept cosigners on student loans.

If you make good grades, Discover will also reward you with a cashback bonus. You can request a one-time cash reward — for 1% of each new loan’s value — as long as you maintain a 3.0 GPA or equivalent.

Lastly, Discover makes it easy to fund your entire education with its multi-year funding option. Rather than repeating your entire loan application each school year, you can remain pre-qualified for future years and avoid the hassle. There won’t be any impact on your credit when it comes time to fund your future semesters as long as you attend the same school, keep the same cosigner, and work toward the same academic degree.

Who Discover student loans are best suited for:
Student or parent borrowers who want fee-free loans with flexible repayment, quick decisions, and the option for cashback rewards.

Home equity loans from Discover

If you own your house (with or without a mortgage), your best borrowing option might be to tap into that home’s equity through a home equity loan. This not only allows for potentially lower interest rates, but any interest you pay on your home equity loan might be tax-deductible.

These loans are perfect for a variety of needs, such as:

  • Home improvement projects
  • Debt consolidation
  • Educational expenses
  • Major life events, such as weddings

Home equity loans through Discover are available from $35,000 all the way up to $300,000, though you will be limited based on the available equity in your home at the time of application. There are no application, origination, or home valuation fees charged by Discover, though, and no cash will be required at closing.

Interest rates are currently between 8.49%-13.99% (as of Nov. 15, 2023) APR fixed, and terms are available in 10-, 15-, 20-, and 30-year flavors with fixed monthly payments.

In order to qualify for a Discover home equity loan, you’ll need to have a credit score of 620 or higher, currently live in said home, have verifiable income and employment, and be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. And, of course, as we mentioned, you’ll need to have equity built up in your home before you can take out a home equity loan.

Who Discover home equity loans are best suited for:
Borrowers who want to utilize their home’s existing equity for various funding purposes without worrying about low loan limits, fees, or closing costs.

What we like about Discover

Almost fee-free banking

Discover doesn’t charge monthly fees on any of its accounts, whether it is a savings account, checking account, money market, or CD. Most Discover accounts also don’t charge fees for insufficient funds, overdrafts, or excessive withdrawals. The only fee you may encounter with Discover is for outgoing wire transfers, which will cost you a $30 fee.

Overdraft protection

When you have a Discover checking, savings, or money market account, you can opt-in for overdraft protection to cover expenses when your account is short on funds. The way Discover’s overdraft protection works is that you set up a separate funding account that can be used to cover overdraft transactions.

Discover doesn’t charge any fees for its overdraft protection services. In the case you don’t have enough money in your funding account to cover an overdraft, Discover won’t pay the charge, but it also won’t charge you a fee for insufficient funds.

What Discover could improve

ATM accessibility for savings accounts

The biggest drawback to Discover’s savings account is its limitations on how you can access your money in the account. While Discover provides ATM access for its checking and money market accounts, ATM access isn’t available with its savings account.

To withdraw money from a Discover savings account, you must either do an online transfer to another Discover account or external bank account or request a bank check. You can also do a wire transfer, but that will cost you a $30 fee.

A high minimum deposit is required for money market accounts and CDs

At $2,500, the minimum deposit required to open a Discover CD or money market account is a bit steep. Many competitors require between $0 to $1,000.

How to get started with Discover

Opening an account with Discover is relatively simple because there is no minimum deposit required or fees charged. Here are the steps you’ll need to take to get started:

  1. Sign up with Discover. If you aren’t currently a Discover customer, you’ll have to sign up and provide some basic information, such as your name, Social Security number, date of birth, mother’s maiden name, address, phone number, and email address. 

discover bank sign up page

  1. Provide additional information. Discover will ask for your annual household income, where your deposit will come from (income or inheritance), and if you plan to use the account to send and receive money internationally.
  2. Approve disclosures. You’ll be asked to certify and approve four disclosures, including an IRS W-9 form, Social Security account authorization, and additional agreements.

IRS disclosure for Discover bank sign up

  1. Submit security code - In the last step, Discover will either text you or call you with a security code you must submit to verify your identity.
  2. Verify your account - After opening your account, you’ll log into your Discover account and reenter your Social Security number to verify the account. Once that is done, your account is ready for you to transfer money into.

Alternatives to Discover: SoFi Checking and Savings and Chase Bank

Before you decide to bank with Discover, it's a good idea to explore other options to see if they are a better fit for your needs. SoFi and Chase Bank are two other options you may want to consider.

SoFi Checking and Savings

If you want an interest-bearing checking account, SoFi is a good option. While Discover’s checking account doesn’t earn interest, SoFi offers 0.50% (as of Jan. 30, 2024) APY with direct deposit on its checking accounts, which is well above the national average. SoFi’s savings accounts also earn an impressive 4.60% APY (with direct deposit).

Visit SoFi

…or read our full SoFi Checking and Savings review.

Chase Bank

Chase Bank may be an option if you need a savings account with ATM access. Both Chase Savings and Premier Savings accounts offer access through Chase’s network of more than 15,000 ATMs nationwide. Chase also offers interest-bearing checking accounts. However, the APY on these accounts is pretty low compared to other competitors.

Visit Chase Bank

…or read our full Chase Bank review.

What Discover customers are saying

If there’s one thing that’s clear about Discover, it’s that its customers are generally pretty happy. JD Power & Associates have ranked Discover as either number one or two in credit card customer satisfaction for nearly ten years. Discover Financial Services also currently has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and has been accredited since 1989.

Of course, some consumer rating sites paint a slightly different picture. It’s important to remember that consumers aren’t as quick to post online when they are happy with their financial establishments, so online reviews are often disproportionately negative.

With that said, their customer-submitted rating is only 1.18 stars out of 5 on BBB.org. Common complaints include things like accounts closed unexpectedly due to inactivity, issues with aggressive fraud monitoring, concerns about disputed charges, and misunderstandings regarding certain banking fees (such as those for cash advances).

FAQs about Discover

Which Discover card is best?

The best Discover card for you will depend on many personal factors, such as where you typically spend the most money, how you plan to use your earned rewards, and what your current credit score will allow you to qualify for. With a variety of card options, however, you’re sure to find the product that suits your needs.

Is a Discover loan a good option?

A Discover loan is a great option if you’re looking for a loan that doesn’t charge origination fees, has flexible repayment options, and can offer a same-day decision for most applicants. Additionally, you’ll enjoy U.S.-based customer service and can even return your loan within 30 days and pay no interest if needed.

Can I pay off a Discover loan early?

Yes. There are no penalties or fees involved with paying off your Discover personal loan early. If you want to contribute a little extra to your principal balance or simply pay off the entire loan ahead of schedule, you can do so without worry.

What credit score do you need for a Discover personal loan?

There is no specified minimum credit score that you will need to qualify for a personal loan through Discover. However, your credit history and score will be considered when determining eligibility. Additionally, you must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, have a minimum household income of $25,000, and be at least 18 years old.

How long does it take to get a Discover student loan?

You can be approved for your Discover private student loan in as little as 15 minutes, but funding can take a bit longer. 

Discover recommends applying a few weeks before you need the money: 45 to 60 days for undergraduate, graduate, residency, or bar exam loans and 30 to 45 days for consolidation loans.

Discover review: Bottom line

While Discover is primarily known for its credit card and banking divisions, the financial services company has an even wider range of products and services to suit most consumers. Discover offers competitive loans with fee-free options, quick approvals, and flexible repayment terms. Whether you're looking for a personal, student, or home equity loan, you're sure to find a funding solution that meets your needs. 

Before committing to a bank, it is important to thoroughly research the available account options. Make sure you have a clear understanding of the fees, disclosures, and requirements associated with each account.

Up To 5% Cash Back

4.7

Discover it® Cash Back

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 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.

Benefits and Drawbacks
Card Details

Author Details

Stephanie Colestock Stephanie Colestock is a credit card expert, travel rewards aficionado, and writer who enjoys teaching people how to be financially independent and confident about their money choices. If it has to do with credit, credit cards, or traveling the world on points, you'll find Stephanie writing about it. She also enjoys teaching people how to reach financial independence, regardless of obstacles in their path (such as the crippling student loan debt she once held). Stephanie graduated from Baylor University, and is currently working toward her CFP certification. Her work can be seen on sites such as Forbes, Dough Roller, and Johnny Jet, among many others.

Want to learn how to make an extra $200?

Get proven ways to earn extra cash from your phone, computer, & more with Extra.

You will receive emails from FinanceBuzz.com. Unsubscribe at any time. Privacy Policy

  • Vetted side hustles
  • Exclusive offers to save money daily
  • Expert tips to help manage and escape debt