Discover it® Cashback Match™ – Card Review

If you’ve been looking for a no-fee credit card with plenty of perks, look no further than the Discover it® Cashback Match™ card. Not only does this card offer 5% cash back on categories that rotate each quarter, but it also offers other perks such as FICO® Credit Scores for free on statements and online, a Freeze It℠ on/off switch lets you prevent new purchases, cash advances & balance transfers on misplaced cards in seconds by mobile app & online, and no foreign transaction fees.

Even better,a current Discover it® promotion promises to match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year — automatically. That’s right; after 12 months of card ownership, your rewards will essentially double. It’s important to note that the double cash back promotion is only available to new customers, however. If you already have the card, you aren’t eligible.

A new FICO-tracking tool Discover announced this summer also adds to the overall value of this offer. As of late 2015, Discover launched a service that allows cardholders to track their FICO scores for up to a year for free. Further, this new feature provides key reasons from FICO behind each score in one easy-to-read chart on monthly statements and online, making it easier than ever to understand fluctuations in your score.

Here are some additional details and key stats:

Discover it® Cashback Match™

Card Highlights Provided by Discover:

  • You could turn $200 into $400 with Cashback Match™. Get a dollar-for-dollar match of all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year, automatically.
  • Earn 5% cash back in rotating categories each quarter like gas stations,, restaurants, wholesale clubs and more, up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate. Plus, 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Redeem your cash back for any amount, any time. Cash rewards never expire.
  • 100% U.S. based customer service.
  • Get your FICO® Credit Score for free on monthly statements, on mobile and online.
  • No annual fee.
  • Click "APPLY NOW" to see rates, rewards, FICO® Credit Score terms, Cashback Match™ details & other information.

Because the Discover it® Cashback Match™ charges no annual fee, it’s the perfect card for any type of consumer. Those who want to use credit for emergencies only will benefit from the fact that the card offers no ongoing fees for membership. Meanwhile, those who want to earn rewards can benefit from earning 5% cash back on rotating categories and 1% cash back on everything else. Even people who travel for work or leisure can benefit from the Discover it® Cashback Match™ card since it doesn’t charge fees on foreign transactions.

Tips for Using Discover it® Cashback Match™

Take advantage of the 5% cash-back categories that rotate each quarter: Taking advantage of Discover’s rotating 5% cash-back categories is a great way to maximize rewards for purchases you planned to make anyway.

Pay attention to category spending limits: Discover limits the 5% cash-back bonus up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate. However, you can earn 1% cash back on all purchases.

Earn double rewards at the end of the year: Using your card for all purchases and paying it off each month is a great way to grow your point balance throughout the year. Thanks to Discover’s current promotion, those rewards will be matched at the end of your first 12 months of card ownership.

Redeem your rewards as needed: With the Discover it® Cashback Match™ card, you can redeem rewards as it suits you. Exchange some or all of your cash back for statement credits or gift cards.

Who This Card Is Best For:

  • Casual credit card users who don’t want to pay an annual fee
  • Anyone who travels overseas and doesn’t want to pay foreign transaction fees on their purchases abroad
  • Those who want to take advantage of bonus 5% cash-back categories that rotate throughout the year, in addition to 1% cash-back rewards on all purchases

Who This Card Isn’t Good For:

  • People who want to earn credit card rewards but don’t want to keep track of rotating categories
  • Big spenders who might benefit more from one of the top rewards cards
  • Anyone who wants to earn rewards for a specific airline or hotel loyalty program

Discover it® Cashback Match™ Details: How It Works

Although the card offers 1% cash back on all purchases year-round, it also offers 5% cash back on categories that rotate each quarter. Although they may change from year to year, most categories from the current year and past years have been popular ones that are easy to take advantage of. For example, the 2016 bonus categories were:

  • January – March 2016: Gas & Ground Transportation
  • April – June 2016: Restaurants & Movies
  • July – September 2016: Home improvement &
  • October – December 2016: & More

Although 5% cash back is very generous, it’s important to note that a) you have to opt in each quarter, and b) you can only earn that amount up to the quarterly maximum. For example, let’s say you upgraded your home’s appliances at a home improvement store in July for a total of $3,000. Due to the cap, you would earn 5% up to the quarterly maximum, and 1% on the rest of your spending.

Best Ways to Use the Discover it® Cashback Match™

Although there is no “wrong way” to use your Discover it® Cashback Match™ card — except for not paying off your bill each month and racking up debt, of course — certain strategies will help you get the most out of it. Here are a few tips that can help you maximize the card’s rewards and perks with minimal hassle and expense on your part:

Use your card for everyday purchases: Earning a steady 1% cash back on all purchases can lead to a healthy sum of money by the end of the year. This is especially true since Discover is currently doubling your cash-back reward at the end of your first 12 months of card ownership.

Pay your card in full each month: In order to maximize rewards, you should always pay your balance in full each month. Log in and pay your bill multiple times per month if you have to. Remember, your rewards will be severely diminished or completely negated if you end up paying interest on your purchases.

Get the Discover it® as a secondary card: If you want to use a premium rewards cards for your everyday spending, the Discover it® card is a great secondary card to use just for purchases in those rotating 5% categories.

Use your Discover it® card for a balance transfer or a large purchase: Upon signing up for the Discover it® card, you’ll qualify for 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfer for the first 12 months. You can use the 0% intro APR promotional period to pay off a large purchase over time or pay down debt. *A balance transfer fee of 3% applies.

Use your free FICO score to monitor your credit over time: Since the Discover it® card offers a free FICO score on your monthly statement and online, you can use that information to track changes and improvements in your credit score.

Redeem your cash back for gift cards you know you’ll use: You can redeem the cash back you’ve earned for a statement credit at any time, but you can stretch it a bit farther by exchanging it for gift cards. For example, $45 in rewards cash will get you a $50 gift card at places you might shop at regularly, such as CVS Pharmacy or Lowe’s — a 10% bonus. Other retailers offer even more generous redemption rates: $40 in cash-back rewards can score you $50 in gift cards at back-to-school standbys such as Bed, Bath, and Beyond or Old Navy.

Put it all together: Let’s look at how much cash back you could earn in a year by taking advantage the available offers and rotating 5% cash-back categories. If you use your card to buy $600 in gas from January through March ($200 a month), spend $750 at restaurants from April to June ($250 a month), buy a $1,400 washer/dryer combo at Home Depot between July and September, and spend $1,250 on holiday gifts in November and December, you’d earn $200 in cash back rewards on about $4,000 in spending.

With Discover’s current promotion, that amount gets doubled after your first 12 months, good for a total of $400 in cash back — essentially a 10% rebate.

Discover it® Cashback Match™ Overview

The bottom line is this: the Discover it® Cashback Match™ card is a versatile rewards card that could benefit anyone who needs a credit card for emergencies, plans to travel overseas, needs to transfer a balance, or hopes to earn rewards. The best part is, all of this comes without any type of annual fee. According to a recent Discover it® card press release, the card also promises to be:

  • Fair: No annual fee, over-the-limit fee, pay-by-phone fee, or foreign transaction fee. And no fee for your first late payment. Plus Discover won’t raise a cardmember’s APR for paying late.*
  • Safe: Discover ranks among the industry’s best in identity fraud resolution, according to the Javelin Strategy & Research Eighth Annual Card Issuer’s Safety Scorecard Report (June 2012). Plus, Discover’s $0 Fraud Liability Guarantee means cardmembers are never responsible for unauthorized charges on their account.
  • Generous: Cardmembers can earn a 5% cash-back bonus in relevant categories that change throughout the year, up to a quarterly maximum, when they sign up for each 5% program. Cardmembers automatically earn 1% cash back on all other purchases, not points.
  • Flexible: Cardmembers can choose their own due dates and pay until midnight (ET) online or by phone. Free online management tools, mobile apps and email reminders keep cardmembers on top of their accounts.
  • Human: Cardmembers have the option of immediately being connected to a live, U.S. based customer service representative to discuss their accounts at any time. If cardmembers lose their jobs, Discover will find a way to help.

Other Choices to Consider

Although the Discover it® Cashback Match™ card offers many attractive features, there are a slew of other excellent rewards cards to consider — it never hurts to compare some of the other rewards cards out there as well. If you’ve got your mind set on a Discover card in particular, you can research other Discover options like the Discover it® Miles card and Discover it® chrome.

Since Discover is not as widely accepted as Visa or MasterCard, it might also be wise to have at least one excellent rewards cards from each issuer. That way, your bases are covered no matter what.

If you want to compare the Discover it® Cashback Match™ to other cash-back cards, this directory can help:

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