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How Do You Choose the Right Discover Credit Card?

Published May 31, 2022
5 min read

Picking the right credit card can be difficult, particularly when there are so many credit card issuers and cards to choose from. Discover offers credit cards with different rewards rates and perks, but also ensures that every cardmember receives valuable benefits.

Which credit cards does Discover offer?

Discover has cash back and travel credit cards, including credit cards for students, and people who are looking to build their credit. The Discover it® credit cards are:

Each Discover card has specific features that will appeal to different people based on their needs or lifestyle. But every Discover card also comes with certain benefits.

Benefits that come with every Discover card

No matter which Discover card you choose, you’ll receive:

  • No annual feeDon’t worry about starting with a balance or having to decide if your card is worth keeping each year — none of Discover’s cards charge an annual fee.
  • No foreign transaction feeYou also won’t pay an additional foreign transaction fee when you use your card abroad or make purchases online in a foreign currency.
  • A sign-up bonus. All Discover credit cards come with an unlimited Cashback Match1 or Discover Match®.2 If you’re a new cardmember, Discover will automatically match all the cash back or miles you earned after the end of your first year.1
  • Redeem With Ease. Plus, your rewards never expire3, and redemptions start at one penny.
  • Easy reward redemptions. Choose among multiple redemptions options, including cash back, gift cards, charitable donations, or a statement credit.
  • Nationwide acceptance. Discover cards are accepted nationwide by 99% of the places across the country that take credit cards according to the 2022 Nilson report.

Additionally, Discover gives cardmembers security features and insights that can help cardmembers take steps to protect themselves. These include Freeze it®, which you can use to freeze your account if your card is misplaced to prevent new purchases, cash advances, and balance transfers.4 Discover also offers free Social Security number alerts if your Social Security number is detected on one of thousands of Dark Web sites.5 These alerts are free to activate.

What Discover credit cards give the best rewards?

While every Discover credit card offers unlimited rewards, the rewards rates can vary. There are three earning styles you can choose from:

  • Fixed-rate rewards. The Discover  Miles Card offers 1.5 Miles on each purchase.
  • Tiered rewards. The Gas & Restaurants Card, Student Chrome Card, and Secured Credit Card offer 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter.6 You earn 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Rotating rewards. The Cash Back Card, Student Cash Back Card, and NHL® Card offer 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter on up to $1,500 in purchases each quarter when you activate. You earn 1% cash back on other purchases.

A fixed-rate Discover rewards card might work best if you don’t want to think about bonus categories when you’re making a purchase, or if you tend to shop at different types of stores. But a card with tiered or quarterly bonus categories could help you earn more rewards if your purchases align with the bonus categories.

How do you choose the right Discover credit card?

Choosing the right card can depend on your circumstances and preferences. Consider which cards you’ll likely be able to get, how you want to use the card, and which type of rewards you want to earn. Here are a few general suggestions that could help you determine which card is best:

  • You’re a student. Students might want to try one of the two cash back student credit cards. These cards could start with a low credit limit, making it easier to get the hang of using a credit card responsibly.
  • You’re building or rebuilding your credit. The Discover it® Secured Credit Card is designed for people who are building or rebuilding their credit. Discover reports your account to all three major credit bureaus. It offers cash back rewards, a sign-up bonus, and you get your deposit back after six consecutive on-time payments and six months of good status on all your credit accounts.7
  • You want to maximize rewards. A card that offers bonus rewards on qualifying purchases in certain categories could help you earn the maximum rewards. You could also pair a fixed-rate and a rotating rewards card.
  • You want to travel. The Discover Miles  Card could be a good pick if you want to redeem your rewards Miles for a statement credit for travel purchases.8 You can also redeem your travel rewards Miles for cash if you’d prefer.

Find out which Discover cards you can qualify for

A credit card company will generally check your credit report and score when you apply for a new credit card. The credit check can result in a hard inquiry, which may hurt your credit score and stay in your credit history for up to two years.

However, using the Discover pre-approval tool, you can see which Discover cards you’re pre-approved for without impacting your credit score. You may already have an idea of which card you want. But you can compare the rewards styles, bonus categories, and intro APR offers of the cards you’re pre-approved for to see which card is going to be the best fit right now.

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