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Pros and Cons of Discover Credit Cards

Discover is one of the major credit card companies in United States. It offers customers a combination of reasonable rates and nice rewards. Originally it was founded by the largest US retailer Sears. Now Discover credit cards are issued by Discover Bank and the processing goes through Discover Network, Discover Debit cards are processed through Pulse payment system. There are some good reasons why clients in US love Discover cards and often prefer them to VISA and Master Card issued by other banks.

Discover Cards pros

  • All Discover cards are instant approval so you don’t have to wait for weeks to get the answer. Discover tries to approve you in 30 seconds. But in complicated cases it can take up to 30 days to process application.
  • Discover cards’ variable APR is between 10.99% and 20.99%. With Discover More, Discover Open Road cards you get 0% intro APR for the first 15 month. With Moles card you get 0% APR only for the first 6 month.  The same 0% interest applies to balance transfer also. Read about  zero interest options in our article. Balance transfer cards are reviewed in another study.
  • Discover More credit card is one of the best cash back offers that give you 5% cash back on selected categories and up to 20% for online shopping in selected stores. There is no limits how much reward you can earn and it never expires.
  • Discover Miles card give you 12 000 miles sign up bonus and then 1 mile for each dollar you spend without annual fee.
  • Discover Escape gives you 25 000 miles for sign up and then 1000 miles each month (for the first 25 months), you also get 2 miles per dollar. $60 annual fee seems more than fair for such a generous offer.
  • Annual fees are the best part of Discover Cards because most of them just don’t have one. Those with annual fees offer really outstanding rewards and the annual fee is easily paid off. Discover cards also don’t have any rewards redemption fee or monthly processing fee.
  • Convenient internet and mobile banking features helps you to control your spending and rewards, 24/7 life customer service makes it even easier.
  • Option to build your own card in the Discover Card Builder allows you to choose rewards type (interest back when paying on-time, double miles, 5% cashback on selected categories or 2% on gas and restaurants), choose the design and then play with balancing regular APR, intro APR period and welcome bonus to customize the credit card for your particular needs.
  • Discover clients are really happy with their cards, that means that the banks is doing everything correctly and is not cheating on the clients. Customer satisfaction index of Discover cardholders is highest among US banks.

Discover Cards Cons

  • You are normally required to have an excellent credit score be approved for a card. Only for student card offers credit score is not important.  Discover doesn’t offer cards for people with less than good credit score or damaged credit history.
  • Another disadvantage is based on the fact that Discover Network is not as big as international payment systems like VISA or Master Card.  Discover Cards are not widely accepted in some countries. You will not have any problems with your card in US, but you may face some difficulties outside the country.
  • The revolving 5% cashback categories on the More card is not the most convenient because you have to chose and to enroll in the new 5% category every quarter – that make you to  adjust your spending habits to the current 5% category to maximize your cashback.
  • Be aware of the 3% balance transfer fee if you want to transfer a balance to Discover card.

Overall Discover cards offer the best combination of rewards (especially), no annual fee and introductory zero interest on both balance transfer and purchases. The only real drawback is that it is not world wide accepted, but if you stay in US it works fine everywhere.  You should have an excellent credit to enjoy Discover cards, so it is not the option for those who is building a credit yet.


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