Discover it® Balance Transfer Review

The Discover it® Balance Transfer is an excellent option for anyone looking to pay down debt that’s currently sitting on a high-interest card. With a balance transfer, you can apply to have the amount you owe to another company paid off by Discover and added to the Discover it® Balance Transfer. Why would you bother doing this? Because of Discover’s fantastic — and long — introductory period of zero interest for 18 months with a variable go-to APR of 13.49%- 24.49% after that. That means your money could go straight toward your debt rather than toward interest. Additionally, once you do start incurring interest after the introductory period, the APR rate is reasonable compared to much of the competition. Plus, the rewards on new purchases make this a card worth using for more than debt repayment.

The Essentials of the Discover it® Balance Transfer Credit Card

  • APR:13.49% – 24.49% variable
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Primary Feature:0% intro APR for 18 months on balance transfers with a 3% intro balance transfer fee, up to 5% fee on future balance transfers (see terms)
  • Introductory Bonus Offer: Cashback match at the end of your first year

What’s Interesting about the Discover it® Balance Transfer Credit Card

The 18-month introductory offer of zero interest on balance transfers is fantastic. Additionally, there’s a 0% intro purchase APR for anything you buy on the card for the first six months. Once that six months is up, Discover will charge you between 13.49% – 24.49% variable interest on purchases. It’s best to pay your balance off in full before you rack up interest. However, if you can’t manage, Discover’s APR is lower than many of its competitors.

How does a balance transfer with Discover work? It takes at least 14 days after opening an account for the balance to be paid on your other card. You’ll have a limit to how much you can transfer to your Discover card, and this amount may be less than your standard credit line.

Balance transfers don’t earn rewards, but you will earn rewards on new purchases made with the card. And the rewards are great — you can receive up to 5% cash back up to $1,500 per quarter, (then 1%) at revolving locations such as gas stations, restaurants, and after signing up each quarter.

Furthermore, Discover provides you with your free FICO credit score available to view at all times.

Things to Consider

There are a few minor things to consider before choosing this card. First, Discover doesn’t list its Balance Transfer Credit Card among its other cards, so the application page can be challenging to find. Also, if you transfer your balance within the introductory period, Discover will charge a 3% intro balance transfer fee. Future balance transfers may be subject to up to 5% fee (see terms).

Another consideration is the convenience of a Discover card. Although over 44 million locations accept Discover, it’s not as widely used as Visa or Mastercard. If you would rely on using this card for new purchases, Discover may not be the route you want to go, especially if you travel overseas. Also, Discover charges a late fee up to $39 — but there’s no fee on the first late payment.

How to Get the Most from this Card

To get the most bang for your buck, transfer as much of your high-interest debt to your Discover it® Balance Transfer Credit Card as your limit allows. Then, you would have to work to pay off your debt before the intro 18-month 0% APR expires. After that, there is a go-to APR of 13.49%- 24.49% variable. This way, you maximize how much of your payments go toward the principal rather than the interest.

Furthermore, consider taking advantage of the 5% cashback rewards up to $1,500 per quarter, (then 1%) at revolving locations such as gas stations, restaurants, and after signing up each quarter. However, it’s best if you can pay new expenses off in full each month to avoid adding to your debt.

Other Card Options that Might Interest You

Want to shop around for balance transfer cards? We have two others that are worth looking into. First is the American Express EveryDay® Credit Card. This card offers a 0% intro APR for 15 months for any balance transfers made within the first 120 days of account opening.

The card also charges no balance transfer fee, so that will save you between 3% and 5% of your debt amount. After the first 15 months, the APR rises to between 14.49% – 25.49% variable, which is only slightly higher than Discover. The AmEx EveryDay® card also charges no annual fee.

The next balance transfer card worth looking into is the Wells Fargo Platinum Card. Wells Fargo offers the same 18-month introductory period with 0% APR on qualifying balance transfers, but it’s a Visa card, so it can be easier to use on new purchases than Discover. However, the APR is higher than Discover’s, falling between 16.99% – 26.49% variable.

Furthermore, you have to make the balance transfer within the first 120 days to receive the introductory offer, and you’ll have to pay the greater of $5 or 3% of the balance transfer. After the first 120 days, Wells Fargo charges the greater of either $5 or up to 5% balance transfer fee. There is no annual fee on this card, either.

The Final Word

A customer looking to lighten their current debt more efficiently while also qualifying for a card with high rewards would do well with Discover. The introductory period is among the longest on the market, and the cashback rewards rank among the best. This card could help you pay off your debt quickly but also be worth keeping around for future cashback rewards. However, anyone looking for a card they can use overseas might not want a Discover card because of limited acceptance internationally.

Tiffany Verbeck

Personal Finance Contributor

Tiffany Verbeck is a personal finance expert. She uses her storytelling skills gained from a master’s degree in writing to run a freelancing business focused on helping people make and manage their money.