Discover it Balance Transfer Card Review: Middling Introductory Period, but Solid Ongoing Rewards

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Discover it® Balance Transfer
Discover it® Balance Transfer
Editor’s Score: (N/A)
Discover it® Balance Transfer
Editor’s Score: (N/A)
  • Introductory balance transfer rate:
    0% for 18 months
  • Annual fee:
    $0
  • Regular APR:
    14.24% – 25.24% Variable
  • Recommended credit score:
    670-850 (Good to Excellent)
Rewards rate:

Earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations, select rideshares and online shopping, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate. Earn 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases – automatically.

NextAdvisor’s Take

Pros
  • Earn up to 5 percent back in rotating quarterly categories
  • Double all rewards earned in your first year
  • Introductory APR applies to purchases and balance transfers for 15 months
  • No annual fee
Cons
  • Bonus rewards are capped after $1,500 spent each quarter
  • Many balance transfer cards offer longer 0% APR periods
The Bottom Line
The Discover it Balance Transfer Card is a good balance transfer card option with no annual fee. It doesn’t have the longest intro period, but this card stands out among 0% APR cards for its 5 percent cash back rewards in rotating categories and first-year Cashback Match offer.

Additional Card Details

  • 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months, after which a variable APR of 14.24% to 25.24% applies
  • Earn 5% back on up to $1,500 spent in bonus categories upon activation every three months (then 1% back) and 1% back on all other purchases
  • Discover will double all rewards earned after the first year through its Cashback Match program
  • Identity protections like Social Security number alerts and credit monitoring
  • Freeze and unfreeze your card through the mobile app

Discover it Balance Transfer Card Full Review

Card Type

The Discover it Balance Transfer Card is both a cash back credit card and a balance transfer credit card. It offers 0% APR for a limited time, and you’ll also earn cash rewards for each dollar you spend.

Annual Fee

This card doesn’t charge an annual fee.

Welcome Offer

The Discover it Balance Transfer Card does not offer a standard cash welcome bonus. Instead, Discover will double all the rewards you have earned at the end of your first year through its Cashback Match program.

Introductory Offer

New cardholders can qualify for 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months, after which a variable APR of 14.24% to 25.24% applies. This 0% APR on both new purchases and balance transfers makes this card a good option for debt consolidation or for paying down large purchases.

Rewards

With Discover it Balance Transfer, you’ll earn 5% back on up to $1,500 spent in quarterly rotating bonus categories upon activation (then 1% back) and 1% back on all other purchases. The Discover cash back calendar changes each year, but bonus categories usually include everyday spending options like groceries, gas stations, restaurants, wholesale clubs, and more.

In 2022, Discover bonus categories include:

  • January to March (Q1): Grocery stores and fitness clubs or gym memberships
  • April to June (Q2): Gas stations and Target
  • July to September (Q3): Restaurants and PayPal
  • October to December (Q4): Amazon.com and digital wallet spending 

Fees

Discover cards are known for being light on fees, and the Discover it Balance Transfer Card is no exception. To start, there’s no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees.

If you transfer a balance to this card to pay down debt at 0% APR, you’ll pay a 3% balance transfer fee through May 10, 2022. After that, the balance transfer fee goes up to 5%. 

A 5% (minimum $10) cash advance fee can also apply. There’s no fee for your first late payment, but subsequent late payments and returned payments can result in a fee up to $41 each time. 

Other Benefits

The Discover it Balance Transfer Card doesn’t have a ton of perks beyond its rewards and intro period, but that’s relatively common among 0% APR cards. You can get free Social Security number alerts, access to a free credit monitoring service, your free FICO credit score, and the ability to freeze and unfreeze your card through Discover’s mobile app.

Benefits of Discover it Balance Transfer Card

If you want to earn rewards on new purchases over time, and you have a large upcoming purchase or debt to consolidate, the Discover it Balance Transfer Card should be on your radar. There’s also no annual fee, and the initial 3% balance transfer fee is on par with fees charged by other balance transfer cards.

Not many 0% APR cards also offer ongoing rewards, so if Discover’s rotating bonus categories fall within your regular spending, this card could make a great option for short-term interest savings and long-term value.

Drawbacks of Discover it Balance Transfer Card

The Discover it Balance Transfer Card has a few downsides that could lessen its value, both as a 0% APR card and a cash back card.

If you want to consolidate and pay down debt with no annual fee, other balance transfer credit cards let you skip interest for up to 21 months from account opening (for example, the Wells Fargo Reflect® Card). This card has a 0% intro APR for 18 months from account opening on purchases and qualifying balance transfers, with an APR extension for 3 months with on-time minimum payments during the intro period, then 15.24% to 27.24% variable APR. You will likely give up rewards in order to get a 0% intro APR for much longer than 15 months, but this can be a smart move anyway if debt payoff is your primary goal. 

And while 5% cash back is a great perk, the spending caps can limit your value. You’ll only be able to earn a maximum of $75 in bonus rewards each quarter before that 5% reverts to 1% back on every purchase. It’s also important to make sure your spending aligns with bonus categories — if you don’t typically spend money in upcoming rotating quarterly categories, you won’t get much value from your rewards.

How to Use Discover it Balance Transfer Card

You can make best use of the Discover it Balance Transfer Card if you have a plan for how you’ll use it before you apply. 

If your goal is paying down debt or paying off a large upcoming purchase over the 0% APR introductory period, have a budget in place that ensures you’ll pay your balances in full within 15 months of account opening. Otherwise, you’ll wind up paying off debt at the regular variable rate of 14.24% to 25.24%.

Pro Tip

If you plan to use the Discover it Balance Transfer Card for debt consolidation, make sure to transfer balances by May 10, 2022 to secure the 3% balance transfer fee. The fee goes up to 5% for transfers after this date.

One other thing to keep in mind is how taking advantage of the balance transfer offer may limit your Cashback Match bonus. If you have debt to pay down, it’s best practice to avoid charging more to your card while you pay off debt. However, because the match applies only to rewards you earn in your first year, you may forgo some rewards value in favor of debt consolidation. In the long run, your balance transfer savings will likely outweigh the lost value in rewards — and you shouldn’t prolong debt payoff to earn a welcome bonus — but this is still a detail to consider.

To maximize your rewards long-term, remember to track your bonus categories each quarter and “activate” your 5% categories. You can do this by logging into your online account management page, but you must do it manually each time. And after you activate, remember to use your card each time you shop at an eligible 5% back category — at least until you hit the $1,500 bonus category spending limit that applies every three months.

Discover it Balance Transfer Card Compared to Other Cards

Our Choice
Discover it® Balance Transfer

Discover it® Balance Transfer

Editor’s Score: (N/A)
  • Intro offer:
    N/A
  • Annual fee:
    $0
  • Regular APR:
    14.24% – 25.24% Variable
  • Recommended credit:
    670-850 (Good to Excellent)
Learn More externa link icon
Wells Fargo Reflect® Card

Wells Fargo Reflect® Card

Editor’s Score: (4.2/5)
Learn More externa link icon
Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Editor’s Score: (4.7/5)
  • Intro offer:
    Earn an Additional 1.5% Cash Back
  • Annual fee:
    $0
  • Regular APR:
    17.24% – 25.99% Variable
  • Recommended credit:
    670-850 (Good to Excellent)
  • Apply Now externa link icon At Chase’s secure site

Is the Discover it Balance Transfer Card Right for You?

The Discover it Balance Transfer Card doesn’t have the longest introductory 0% APR offer on the market, so if a long intro period is your main goal, other cards we consider among the best for balance transfers or 0% APR on new purchases may be better for you. However, unlike many other 0% APR options, this card does offer cash back for your spending in addition to the intro offer, which can add long-term rewards value. 

Before you apply, consider whether you can realistically pay off your balance within the 15-month intro period. If that’s not a problem, the Discover it Balance Transfer may be the best of both worlds when it comes to debt payoff and ongoing rewards value. Otherwise, there are other cards with longer intro periods that can help you reach your short-term goals more easily. 

All information about the Discover it Balance Transfer has been collected independently by NextAdvisor and has not been reviewed by the issuer.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Does the Discover it Balance Transfer Card charge foreign transaction fees?

The Discover it Balance Transfer Card does not charge foreign transaction fees.

How much is the balance transfer fee on the Discover it Balance Transfer Card?

The Discover it Balance Transfer Card charges a balance transfer fee of 3% for balances transferred through May 10, 2022. After that, the fee goes up to 5%.

What credit score do you need for the Discover it Balance Transfer Card?

The Discover it Balance Transfer Card requires good or excellent credit for appoval.

How can you redeem rewards from the Discover it Balance Transfer Card?

Redeem the rewards you earn with the Discover it Balance Transfer Card for cash back, statement credits, gift cards or purchases made through Amazon.com or PayPal.