Credit Cards » Compare Credit Cards » Discover it Cash Back vs Discover it Chrome: Full Comparison
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Discover it Cash Back vs Discover it Chrome: Full Comparison

While the Discover it Cashback offers higher rewards on rotating categories, the Chrome card offers flat rate on gas & restaurants. Which is better? Here's our comparison.
Author: Lorraine Smithills
Lorraine Smithills

Writer, Contributor

Experience

Lorraine is a freelance finance writer with years of experience in the banking sector and after a successful career in one of the largest retail and commercial financial services providers. She has a passion for helping people with less financial confidence to get control of their money through budgeting, saving, and responsible credit practices.
Interest Rates Last Update: April 15, 2024
The banking product interest rates, including savings, CDs, and money market, are accurate as of this date.
Author: Lorraine Smithills
Lorraine Smithills

Writer, Contributor

Experience

Lorraine is a freelance finance writer with years of experience in the banking sector and after a successful career in one of the largest retail and commercial financial services providers. She has a passion for helping people with less financial confidence to get control of their money through budgeting, saving, and responsible credit practices.
Interest Rates Last Update: April 15, 2024

The banking product interest rates, including savings, CDs, and money market, are accurate as of this date.

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Table of Content

There are a lot of similarities that you will see when comparing the Discover it® Cash Back and Discover it® Chrome cards. This includes neither charging an annual fee, having good signup offers, as well as other great cash back rewards.

However, there are still some major differences that will be discussed during the course of this review. This will allow you to see if one of these cards is going to be well suited to your specific needs.

Side by Side

Discover it® Chrome Gas & Restaurants

Discover it® Cash Back
Discover it® Chrome
Annual Fee
$0
$0
Rewards
5% cashback on up to $1,500 in rotating category purchases each quarter when you activate the bonus category (then 1%), as well 1% percent cash back on all other purchases
2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter and 1% cash back on all your other purchases
Welcome bonus
All cash back earned at the end of the first 12 months is matched.
Cashback Match
0% Intro APR
15 months on purchases and balance transfers
15 months on purchases and balance transfers
Foreign Transaction Fee
$0
0%
Purchase APR
17.24% – 28.24% Variable
17.24% – 28.24% Variable
Read Review
Read Review

Simulation: Which Card Gives More Rewards?

To get a clear picture of the breakdown of rewards, it can be useful to conduct a worked-out example. This allows you to figure out where the strength and weaknesses of a card might like. Here is a look at a comparison for the two Discover it cards that are a part of this review.

As you can see, the signup offer really accelerates the cashback rewards. The Cash Back card has some great bonus categories that can really be beneficial if you spend a lot in a given category.

Overall, the Cash Back card seems to be more attractive. The Chrome card is a lot more consistent in terms of knowing where you will get your rewards each month. Do note that there is a cap each quarter on spending in the bonus categories, so the rewards will drop off thereafter. This quarterly cap is $1,500 worth of purchases for the Cash Back card.

Discover it® Chrome Gas & Restaurants

Spend Per Category
Discover it® Cash Back
Discover it® Chrome
$10,000 – U.S Supermarkets
$340
$100
$3,000 – Restaurants
$30
$30
$1,500 – Airline
$30
$15
$1,500 – Hotels
$15
$15
$4,000 – Gas
$40
$80
Estimated Annual Value
$455
$240

* The Discover it Cash Back offers higher cash back on rotating categories up to $6,000/year. We assume full utilization, calculating the total amount under "U.S Supermarkets" category.

Compare Welcome Bonus And Fees

Both of these cards allow you to get a signup bonus whereby your cashback rewards are doubled by Discover it during the first 12 months of having your account open.

Neither of these cards will charge any annual fees or foreign exchange charges. There is an intro 0% APR for both cards for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers . The APR rates then will be 17.24% – 28.24% Variable for these cards after that point. There is also no balance transfer fee for the first 14 months, rising to 5% thereafter.

Compare The Perks

There are a lot of aspects of these two cards that are similar. However, both options do have their own unique perks that need consideration. Here are some of the commonalities and differences you will come across:

  • No Minimum: There is no minimum amount that you need to meet in order to start receiving cashback.

  • Free Monthly FICO Credit Score: Each monthly statement will showcase your FICO credit score, which will be offered for free.

  • User Friendly: The Discover app is very good for managing your cards, including looking at your rewards and statements.

  • No Penalties: You will not have to pay any penalty APR or any late fees on your first late payment with this card.

The Discover it Cash Back offers some unique features:

  • Changing Rewards; there will be changing premium cashback offered on different types of purchases, with these categories changing every quarter. 

The Discover it Chrome offers some unique features:

  • Focus on Gas and Dining: The main area of focus for this card will be on gas and dining-related purchases.

  • Predictability: The cashback rewards remain the same, so they do not constantly change like other cards.

Compare The Drawbacks

There are no perfect financial products, so it is important to be aware of the potential drawbacks of a new credit card before you sign up.

Here we’ll highlight some of the possible negatives to help you make an informed decision.

Discover it® Cash Back

Every quarter the premium cashback categories will change, so you have to keep up with these changes and will not have as much predictability.

Every category needs to be activated before you can start accumulating the rewards.

There are not too many additional perks associated with this card. This includes car rental insurance, travel insurance, and warranty extended protection.

Discover it® Chrome

Discover it® Chrome Gas & Restaurants

There are quarterly caps in place on how many rewards you can earn in a given quarter.

here are not too many additional perks associated with this card. This includes car rental insurance, travel insurance, and warranty extended protection.

Compare Redemption Options

The Discover it Cash Back has revolving bonus categories that allow you to get 5% cashback. These change every quarter and often will cover different supermarket chains or other types of purchases. You will then get 1% cashback on other purchases. For the chrome card, you will get 2% back for gas station purchases, as well as dining purchases. All other expenses will earn you 1% cashback.

For both of these cards, you will be able to get the cashback in the form of account credit. This means you can withdraw this money to your bank account or use it as statement credit.

These points can also be used for making payments directly through certain retailers and never expire. Even if you do not use your account for 18 months, you will get the cashback bonus credited to your account.

How to Maximize Cards Benefits?

If you want to make the best use of your Discover it Cash Back, there are some tips to help you:

  • Maximize the Bonus Categories: Each quarter it is a good idea to max out the bonus cashback offerings as much as possible, up to the $1,500 cap on purchases for the quarter.

  • Avail of the Signup Bonus: The signup offer sees your rewards getting doubled in the first 12 months, something which should be maximized.

  • Plan Ahead of Time: as the bonus categories change, you can try to plan your future purchases to fit into a time period whereby you will be making the purchase while that purchase will fall into the 5% bonus category.

If you want to make the best use of your Discover it Chrome, there are some tips to help you:

  • Avail of the Signup Bonus: The signup offer sees your rewards getting doubled in the first 12 months, something which should be maximized.

  • Maximize the Bonus categories: Each quarter it is a good idea to max out the bonus cashback offerings as much as possible, up to the $1,000 cap on purchases for the quarter. This covers your dining and gas purchases.

  • Be aware of the Limits: You can make purchases worth $1,000 and get the 2% rate for gas and dining purchases. Thereafter, you will just earn 1%. Be sure to know when you meet this threshold, as you might get better than 1% on these purchases by using another card.

Discover it® Chrome Gas & Restaurants

Customer Reviews: Which Card Wins?

There are thousands of reviews for both of these cards. For the Discover it Cash Back card, it has a 4.8/5 rating out of more than 30,000 reviews. Therefore, it is clear that people enjoy the advantages of using this card.

Most positive reviews talk about the great bonus offer that allows you to double your rewards in the first year, as well as the exciting revolving bonus categories. The negative reviews say that the offering is a bit confusing and the interest rates can be a bit high.

For the chrome card, it has a 4.6/5 rating following 2,000+ reviews. Positive reviews talk about good customer service, as well as being simple to understand. Those who do not like the card give out about the relatively low cashback rates and the quarterly cap.

When You Might Want the Discover it® Cash Back?

The Discover it Cash Back is a great option that could be good you're looking for:

  • Can Make Use of Bonus Categories: If you are spending a lot on the types of bonus categories that tend to crop up for this card, then it will suit you well.

  • Enjoy Signup Offers: This card has one of the better signup offers around, allowing you to double your rewards in your first year.

  • Handsome Rewards: The 5% rewards that you can get for the bonus categories are among the best rewards rates out there today.

When You Might Want the Discover it® Chrome Card?

The Discover it Chrome Card is a solid choice if you're looking for:

  • Can Make Use of Bonus Categories: If you are spending a lot on the types of bonus categories that tend to crop up for this card, then it will suit you well.

  • Enjoy Signup Offers: This card has one of the better signup offers around, allowing you to double your rewards in your first year.

Bottom Line

Both of these cards have their advantages, but the Discover it Cash Back card tends to stand out as the better option. This is because you can get much better cashback rates when the bonus categories fall right for you.

You can get back significantly more for the same period, especially with the higher quarterly caps that are in place for the bonus categories.

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Picture of Lorraine Smithills

Lorraine Smithills

Lorraine is a freelance finance writer with years of experience in the banking sector and after a successful career in one of the largest retail and commercial financial services providers. She has a passion for helping people with less financial confidence to get control of their money through budgeting, saving, and responsible credit practices.
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Editorial Note: Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.

Credit Card Reviews Methodology

In order to determine the best possible credit cards, we look at things like fees, interest rates and rewards. We do this with companies that are associated with us as partners as well as other offerings. From there, we make a decision about what the best card is related to different categories and needs. We focus on interest rate cost & fees, especially the cost of carrying a balance, rewards – cards accumulate rewards in different currencies—points, miles, cash back—and their values vary widely usability – cards that accept a wide range of credit profiles and offer simple solutions for things like checking your credit score or contacting. We also consider customer reviews.

We look at cards related to good or excellent credit ratings that will then provide a range of different benefits and improvements for someone who has these scores. We also look at low fees when it comes to those who have lower credit scores.