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What Credit Score Do You Need to Apply for a Discover® Card?

Published June 21, 2024
4 min read

Key points about: qualifying for Discover cards

  1. You don't need a specific credit score to apply for Discover cards. However, your credit score is one important factor.

  2. With a higher credit score, you may qualify for credit cards with better rates and rewards.

  3. Some credit card companies, like Discover, offer pre-approval tools to help you determine whether you may qualify for a specific credit card.

You don't need a certain credit score to apply for Discover credit cards, but your credit score still matters. Discover, like most other credit card issuers, considers your credit score alongside factors like income and employment. A high score may show that you usually manage your credit cards responsibly. This could help you secure better rates and a higher credit limit. Read on for a deeper dive into your credit score’s impact on Discover credit card eligibility.

What's your credit score?

Before you begin applying for credit cards, you should know your credit score. Lenders report your activity to each major credit bureau as you use your credit card and manage loans. The credit bureaus use that information to build credit reports. Credit scoring agencies then develop three-digit credit scores based on your credit reports.


While several credit scoring models exist, 90% of top lenders use FICO® Credit Scores, including Discover.1 (Business credit cards may work a little differently.) The factors that determine your credit score include your payment history (35%), credit utilization ratio (30%), length of credit history (15%), credit mix (10%), and new credit (10%).


FICO® Credit Scores fall into the following credit ranges:


  • Exceptional credit: 800-850
  • Very good credit: 740-799
  • Good credit: 670-739
  • Fair credit: 580-669
  • Poor credit: 579 and below

You're entitled to at least one free credit report from each major credit bureau each year. Your reports provide valuable information about your credit history, including your payments and accounts. However, credit reports don’t always include credit scores. Fortunately, you may be able to check your credit score on your monthly credit card statement or through online services. If you have a Discover account, you can also view your score as needed using your free Credit Scorecard. You could better understand your options if you check your credit score before completing credit card applications.

What if you have a high credit score?

With a high credit score, you may have many potential credit cards to choose from. If you have a good credit score (670) or above, you likely qualify for many credit cards (as long as you meet income and employment requirements).


Access to more options means more flexibility to consider cards that align with your priorities. For example, if you tend to carry a balance, you might seek a card with a low introductory interest rate. Some credit card companies may require high credit scores for cards without annual fees. However, there's no annual fee for any Discover Card.

With a high credit score, you may also qualify for a wide range of rewards credit cards that allow you to earn cash back rewards or Miles as you shop. The best credit card rewards for you depend on your everyday purchases, like gas or groceries. Some rewards cards have rotating bonus categories. That means different types of eligible purchases may boost your rewards each quarter.

If you take a few trips a year, you may want a rewards card that offers miles or bonuses for travel purchases. With the Discover Miles Card, you earn unlimited 1.5x Miles on travel purchases and all your everyday purchases. The card also offers the flexibility to use your rewards however you want. Turn Miles into cash. Or redeem as a statement credit for your travel purchases like airfare, hotels, rideshares, gas stations, restaurants, and more.2

What if you have a low credit score?

If you have a low credit score or limited credit history, you could still have options. Factors like income, housing expenses, and employment could also help you get approved.


Applying for a credit card could temporarily hurt your credit score. Therefore, it's important not to apply for too many cards at once. If you’re unsure whether you qualify for a credit card, you may be able to use a card issuer's pre-approval tool to see if you're pre-approved without a hard credit inquiry.3


Some types of credit cards, like secured credit cards and student cards, may also help people with low credit scores build their credit history.

Did you know?

Discover offers several options if you have poor credit, are looking to rebuild your credit history,4 or with no credit history to apply.5 A secured credit card from Discover can help you build credit with responsible use.4 For students looking to start their credit journey, Discover offers student credit cards. All Discover credit cards let you earn rewards on eligible purchases.

Discover doesn’t require a specific credit score. However, a high score expands your options. If your credit score isn’t as high as you’d like it to be, you may still qualify for student and secured credit cards. While these cards may not offer as high of a credit limit, they could help you build credit history4 and eventually help you get the card you want.

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  1. FICO® Credit Score Terms: Your FICO® Credit Score, key factors and other credit information are based on data from TransUnion® and may be different from other credit scores and other credit information provided by different bureaus. This information is intended for and only provided to Primary account holders who have an available score. See Discover.com/FICO about the availability of your score. Your score, key factors and other credit information are available on Discover.com and cardmembers are also provided a score on statements. Customers will see up to a year of recent scores online. Discover and other lenders may use different inputs, such as FICO® Credit Scores, other credit scores and more information in credit decisions. This benefit may change or end in the future. FICO is a registered trademark of Fair Isaac Corporation in the United States and other countries.

    Discover Financial Services and Fair Isaac are not credit repair organizations as defined under federal law or state law, including the Credit Repair Organizations Act. Discover Financial Services and Fair Isaac do not provide “credit repair” services or assistance regarding “rebuilding” or “improving” your credit record, credit history or credit rating.

  2. Redeem Miles: Starting at 1 Mile, you can redeem your Miles as a credit to your account to pay for all or part of your bill, for cash as an electronic deposit to your bank account, or for a credit for Travel Purchases made on your statement within the last 180 days. Each Mile is equal to $0.01. Miles cannot be redeemed directly with a specific airline carrier. Travel Purchases include airline tickets, hotel rooms, car rentals, travel agents, online travel sites, commuter transportation, restaurants and gas stations. Restaurant purchases include those made at merchants classified as full-service restaurants, cafes, cafeterias, fast-food locations, and restaurant delivery services. Gas Station purchases include those made at merchants classified as places that sell automotive gasoline that can be bought at the pump or inside the station. Gas Stations affiliated with supermarkets, supercenters, and wholesale clubs may not be eligible. Even if a travel purchase on your statement appears to fit in a Travel Purchase category, the merchant may not have a merchant category code (MCC) in a Travel Purchase category. Merchants and payment processors are assigned an MCC based on their typical products and services. Discover Card does not assign MCCs to merchants. Certain third-party payment accounts and digital wallet transactions may not be eligible for credit redemption if the technology does not provide sufficient transaction details or a qualifying MCC. See Terms and Conditions for more information.

  3. There is no hard inquiry to your credit report to check if you’re pre-approved. If you’re pre-approved, and you move forward with submitting an application for the credit card, it will result in a hard inquiry which may impact your credit score. Receiving a pre-approval offer does not guarantee approval. Applicants applying without a social security number are not eligible to receive pre-approval offers. Card applicants cannot be pre-approved for the NHL Discover Card.

  4. Build/Rebuild Credit with responsible use: Discover reports your credit history to the three major credit bureaus so it can help build/rebuild your credit if used responsibly. Late payments, delinquencies or other derogatory activity with your credit card accounts and loans may adversely impact your ability to build/rebuild credit.

  5. Secured Card: No Credit Score Required Based on 2022 Discover it Secured credit card application data, applicants without a credit score may qualify. You must meet other applicable underwriting criteria. When we evaluate your creditworthiness, we consider all the information you provide on your application, your credit report, and other information. If you have a credit score, we may use that in our evaluation. 

    Student - No credit score required to apply: Based on the preceding 12 months of Discover Student credit card application data, applicants without a credit score may qualify. You must meet other applicable underwriting criteria. When we evaluate your creditworthiness, we consider all the information you provide on your application, your credit report, and other information. If you have a credit score, we may use that in our evaluation.

  • Legal Disclaimer: This site is for educational purposes and is not a substitute for professional advice. The material on this site is not intended to provide legal, investment, or financial advice and does not indicate the availability of any Discover product or service. It does not guarantee that Discover offers or endorses a product or service. For specific advice about your unique circumstances, you may wish to consult a qualified professional.