Best Discover Cards

Discover offers a wide variety of credit options designed to meet the changing needs of cardholders. Looking for a card that lets you maximize cash back each quarter with different bonus options? Discover has you covered. Need a card that delivers great travel bonuses, lets you build credit or helps students increase their credit score? With Discover, you’ve got options.

Here’s a list of the best Discover credit cards on the market.

Best Discover credit card for category cash back: Discover it® Cash Back Card

Why it’s the best

If you don’t mind tracking quarterly spending categories, the Discover it Cash Back Card is designed to deliver maximum cash back rewards. While you’ll earn 1% unlimited cash back on all purchases all the time, each quarter features a different set of spending categories that earn 5% cash back, up to a maximum of $1,500 per quarter. 

For example, the current quarterly category — which lasts until March 31, 2020 — includes purchases made at grocery stores, Walgreens and CVS (excluding Walmart and Target). You have until the last day of the quarter to activate your card through your Discovery account online, and once you’ve maxed out your bonus cash rewards, all other category spending will still earn 1%.

Bonus points:

  • Cashback match — At the end of your first year, Discover will match all the cash back you’ve earned, no matter the amount.
  • Redeem your cash on your terms — Discover cash back rewards don’t expire, and there’s no minimum amount for redemption. Redeem cash back in any amount at any time.

Best Discover credit card for travel rewards: Discover it® Miles Card

Why it’s the best

The Discover it Miles card makes it easy to earn reward miles with 1.5x Miles for every dollar spent, everywhere. From airfare to hotel bookings, grocery store trips and online shopping, every purchase you make gets you 1.5x travel Miles. There are also no blackout dates with this card since you’re not redeeming Miles through an online booking site — instead, you pay for travel purchases with your Discover it Miles card and then redeem Miles for statement credit at a value of one cent per mile. 

Bonus points:

  • Unlimited Miles matching — At the end of your first year, Discover will match all Miles earned. If you earn 25,000 over the year — worth $250 in travel credit — Discover will match the value with another 25,000 Miles, giving you $500 to redeem.
  • Redeem for what you want — Use your Miles as statement credit for travel purchases, or get them as cash. It’s your choice.

Best Discover credit card for streamlined cash back: Discover it® Chrome Gas and Restaurants Card

Why it’s the best

If you’re not interested in tracking quarterly category spending, consider the Discover it Chrome and Restaurants card. While you’ll still get 1% cash back on all purchases, you automatically earn 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants up to $1,000 in total spending per quarter. It’s worth noting, however, that gas or food purchases made at warehouse clubs or wholesale distributors do not earn 2% cash back. 

Bonus points:

  • First year matching — Whatever cash back you earn at the end of your first year, Discover will match, automatically. There’s no sign-up or activation necessary.
  • 0% Intro APR — For the first 14 months after account opening, you get 0% APR on both balance transfers and purchases. Get the most from this card by making big purchases in your first year, paying them off with 0% APR and then enjoying your large cash back bonus.

Best Discover credit card for building credit: Discover it® Secured Card

Why it’s the best

If you’re looking to build credit for the first time or rebuild it after a rough financial patch, the Discover it Secured card makes it easy. You choose the refundable security deposit amount, and Discover matches it with an approved credit line. Your credit activity is reported to all three major credit bureaus, while your security deposit provides a financial failsafe. If you ever upgrade to an unsecured Discover credit card, your deposit is refunded.

Bonus points:

  • Earn cash back — Unlike most secured cards, the Discover it Secured Card lets you earn 1% cash back on all purchases and get 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants up to $1,000 each quarter. Plus, Discover will match all cash back earned at the end of your first year.
  • See your credit score — Get free access to your FICO credit score on monthly statements, via your mobile device and online.

Best Discover credit card for students: Discover it® Student Cash Back Card

Why it’s the best

The Discover it Student Cash Back card helps college students boost their credit score and earn cash back at the same time. Just like the Discover it Cash Back card, students earn 5% cash back on category purchases each quarter up to $1,500 maximum and unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases. At the end of the first year, Discover will also match cash back earned. While this card does require some management from students to maximize available rewards, it’s worth the effort, especially as school costs stack up.

Bonus points:

  • Good grade rewards — Enjoy a $20 statement credit each year your GPA is 3.0 or higher in the first five years after account opening.
  • No annual fee — Cash-strapped students don’t need to worry about paying any annual fees for their Student Cash Back card.
  • Introductory APR — With 0% purchase APR for the first six months, this card can help cover larger spending amounts — like textbooks or meal plans for the semester — and provide time to pay off the balance without accruing interest.

Best Discover credit card for businesses: Discover it® Business Card

Why it’s the best

This card is designed to help small businesses maximize their cash back with unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day combined with dollar-for-dollar matching of all cash back earned in your first year. Add in a 0% introductory APR for the first 12 months, and this is a great card for upfront purchases to increase your cash back — while still giving you plenty of time to pay down your balance without accruing interest.

Bonus points:

  • U.S.-based customer service — Need help? Discover agents based in the U.S. can offer specific, relevant answers to common questions.
  • Business expense tracking — Transaction integration with Quicken, Quickbooks and Excel makes it easy to manage business expenses.
  • Free employee cards — Get cards for your employees at no extra cost and start earning extra cash back.

Doug Bonderud

An award-winning finance, technology and security writer, Doug has a knack for distilling complex concepts down into actionable, readable copy that generates interest and drives engagement