Updated Feb 18, 2021 | Published Oct 07, 2020 • 11 min read
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The Discover it chrome offers excellent first-year rewards on gas and dining thanks to its Cashback Match, along with nice intro rates. But the card isn’t too competitive after that first year.
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Our Rating: 4 Out of 5 Stars
We give the Discover it® chrome card 4 out of 5 Stars because it’s a good offer for no annual fee. But your cash back and benefits will be a bit limited compared to some other reward cards out there.
Why We Like It
2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants, on up to $1,000 spent per quarter (then 1%)
Double cash back in your first year
Introductory APR for purchases and balance transfers (See Terms for See Terms then See Terms)
Free FICO Score 8 from TransUnion
No foreign transaction fee
No annual fee
Why It Could Be Better
After the first year the rewards aren’t too impressive
Card benefits aren’t very valuable
Discover it® chrome
Min. credit levelGood
Regular APRSee Terms
The Discover it chrome is a fairly good offer, with no annual fee and 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants on up to $1,000 in spending per quarter.
Best of all, Discover will double the total amount of cash back earned in the first year of card use. And that can make this quite a rewarding deal.
The other benefits include some basic shopping and travel protections, along with the ability to monitor your FICO Score 8 from TransUnion for free. There are no charges for foreign transactions.
Use it for gas and dining out (or ordering in): This is a rewards card designed to be used at gas stations and restaurants. If you’re looking for a card for those kind of purchases, this one might fit the bill.
Mind the spending limit: You’ll only earn the 2% cash back for gas and at restaurants on the first $1,000 you spend on those purchases each quarter. So if you plan to spend more than that, you should consider some alternatives instead.
Get more in your first year: Discover’s Cashback Match will double the rewards new cardholders earn in the first year of use. So be sure to top off your tank and have a nice meal at the end of that year.
Redeem for gift cards, statement credits, or direct deposit: Redeem your cash back rewards for gift cards when you can, because you’ll get a bonus of at least $5 when you do. Statement credits and direct deposits are good options too.
Get extra cash when you need it: Use the Cash at Checkout feature to get cash with your card when you make purchases at participating merchants. This will count as a purchase instead of a cash advance, so Discover won’t charge extra interest and fees. However, the merchant may impose a limit and fee on this service.
Pay off purchases and transferred balances over time: This card comes with See Terms APR for purchases and balance transfers, followed by a regular rate of See Terms. Use that to pay off some big expenses or balances over time at no interest.
Monitor your credit: You can use this card to keep track of your FICO Score 8 from TransUnion. This is a great feature for anyone working to build or improve his or her credit.
You’ll get the most out of this card if you use it as often as possible during your first year, considering Discover will double the rewards you earn during that time. That means instead of the usual 2% you’ll get on gas and dining and 1% everywhere else, you’ll earn 4% and 2% respectively. Taking full advantage of that, you could earn some serious cash back during those initial 12 months.
2% cash back on up to $1,000 spent per quarter (then 1%) at:
1% cash back on all other purchases
Introductory Bonus Offer
Cashback Match: Get double cash back for the first year, provided at the end of the first year
No matter which redemption method you choose, you’ll be able to get at least $1 for every $1 in cash back that you’ve earned. The gift card option actually provides more than $1 back for every $1 you’ve earned, making it the most potentially rewarding method.
You’ll have five different options for redeeming your cash back:
As a statement credit to reduce your balance
Directly into a bank account of your choice
For gift cards
As a charitable donation
Pay with rewards at select retailers, like Amazon.com
As you can see you’ll have a few different options when you want to redeem your cash back. We recommend using one of the first four options above.
The easiest way to redeem your cash back is with a statement credit or direct deposit. Statement credits are used to lower your balance, and direct deposits will simply wind up in your bank account.
Gift cards are the most rewarding way to redeem because you’ll get at least $5 added to the gift card value. But this method is a bit limiting because gift cards can only be used with their associated merchants.
FICO Credit Scorecard: Access your FICO Score 8 whenever you’d like for free, based on your TransUnion credit report.
Cash at Checkout: At eligible retailers you can get cash at checkout, a handy way to get some money without going to an ATM. The extra cash will be counted as part of your purchase.
Refer a Friend bonus: Earn a $50 statement credit bonus for every friend you refer who’s approved, up to 10 friends per year. If your friend makes a purchase within three months of opening the account, he or she will earn a $50 bonus too.
$0 Fraud Liability Guarantee: If your card is lost or stolen, you are not liable for any fraudulent charges made to your account. Contact customer support immediately if you suspect fraud.
Fraud Protection: Discover monitors your account around the clock for suspicious or unusual activity.
Free Social Security number alerts: Discover searches for your Social Security number on thousands of risky sites and will alert you if your information was compromised.
New account alerts: Get notified of credit inquiries and new accounts on your Experian credit report
The Terms & Fees
Balance Transfer APR
Cash Advance APR
See Terms for See Terms, then See Terms
See Terms for See Terms, then See Terms
Foreign Transaction Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Cash Advance Fee
Returned Payment Fee
This card can potentially be completely free to use because it has no annual fee. So as long as you avoid interest and fees by paying off your balance in full each month, you’ll be able to earn rewards without paying a penny (other than the purchases you make, of course).
There’s a solid See Terms introductory APR for both purchases and balance transfers, offering a competitive amount of time compared to other reward cards.
Like all Discover cards you won’t be charged a fee for foreign transactions. This card is pretty forgiving if you mess up: There is no penalty APR, and your first late fee will be waived. Those are nice features to have, especially for people who are new to credit cards.
The Bottom Line
The Discover it® chrome is a reward card designed for use at gas stations and restaurants, but it doesn’t have much use outside of that. If you do want a card to earn rewards on those purchases, however, this one comes with some pretty good terms overall.
You won’t have to worry about an annual fee, and the intro rate will give you some time to pay off large expenses. You’ll also get double rewards in your first year, a nice bonus that applies to all the cash back you earn.
Discover’s customer service is there to help, and they do a pretty good job at it compared to most credit card issuers. You can get in touch with their representatives by phone, email, or live online chat.
This is a pretty simple card overall — if you buy gas and meals at restaurants often and you don’t have a card for purchases like these yet, it could be just what you’re missing.
How Do I Apply for the Discover it chrome?
You can apply now for the Discover it chrome securely on Discover’s website, by following the link below.
They’ll check your credit reports from the major credit bureaus and a few other factors, but typically you should hear back quickly regarding whether you’ve been approved or denied.
What Credit Scores Do You Need to Qualify for the Discover it chrome?
It’s recommended that you have good credit before applying for the Discover it chrome.
In order to qualify for good credit, your credits scores would need to fall within the ranges of 670–739 for FICO and 700–749 for VantageScore.
Keep in mind credit card issuers will consider other factors as well. They’ll look at your income, source of income, and monthly rent or mortgage payments while determining your creditworthiness. These extra bits of information could potentially lead to your approval, even if your scores are lower than what’s recommended.
However, that also means you have a chance of being denied even if your scores are equal to, or higher than, those ranges.
Qualifications and Requirements
Must be 18 to apply
Personal information: Name, date of birth, Social Security number, U.S. citizenship status
Address and contact information: Home address, phone number, email address
Financial information: Total annual income, monthly mortgage or rent payment
Discover it® chrome
Min. credit levelGood
Regular APRSee Terms
Frequently Asked Questions
What’s the difference between the Discover it chrome and Discover it Cash Back?
The only difference between the Discover it chrome and the Discover it® Cash Back (Review) are the rewards. The Discover it Cash Back features 5% cash back in bonus categories that change quarterly (up to $1,500 spent per quarter, then 1%; activation required).
Other than that, both cards will be issued with the same set of benefits.
What benefits does the Discover it chrome have?
You’ll be able to monitor your FICO Score 8 based on your TransUnion credit report, and thanks to Discover’s Cashback Match, your rewards will be doubled for the first year.
If you like the features of the Discover it Chrome but aren’t so keen on the rewards, you might like the original Discover it® Cash Back (Review).
The only difference between the two cards are the rewards. Rather than earning 2% cash back on gas and dining, with the Discover it Cash Back you’ll get 5% cash back in categories that rotate annually, on up to $1,500 spent per quarter (then 1%; activation required). Head over to the Rewards tab to check out the 2020 rewards calendar.
If you’re more likely to make purchases from those categories, the Discover it Cash Back will probably be the more profitable choice for you.
All the other benefits and terms are basically identical. So if you like the rewards on both, you might consider using them in tandem. Use the Discover it Cash Back where you’ll earn 5% cash back, and the Discover it Chrome for your gas and restaurant purchases. Just be sure to keep an eye out for when you’ll earn 5% back on gas or dining with the Discover it Cash Back to get the most out of your cards.
Although you won’t earn cash back on dining like you would with the Discover it Chrome, with the Blue Cash Preferred you’ll get 6% back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 spent per year). That potentially makes it the best credit card on the market for grocery shopping.
There’s also a version of the Blue Cash Preferred with no annual fee, which provides 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 spent per year) and 2% cash back at gas stations and select U.S. department stores: the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express (Review) (Rates & Fees). This could be a better option if you don’t spend enough on groceries and gas to make the Blue Cash Preferred worth it.
Amex Offers: Access a selection of discounts and extra cash back opportunities from a wide variety of vendors.
Lowest Hotel Rates Guarantee: If you book an eligible prepaid hotel room through Amex Travel and then find the same room being advertised online for a lower price, you can be refunded for the difference.
Entertainment Access: Purchase pre-sale tickets made exclusively available to American Express cardholders.
Return Protection: Get refunded on eligible purchases within 90 days when the merchant won’t take them back.
Purchase APR: 0% on purchases for 12 months, then 13.99% - 23.99% Variable
Annual fee: $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95
Earn a $300 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 6 months.
$0 introductory annual fee for one year, then $95.
6% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%).
6% Cash Back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions.
3% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations and on transit (including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more).
1% Cash Back on other purchases.
Plan It® gives the option to select purchases of $100 or more to split up into monthly payments with a fixed fee.
Cash Back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit.
American Express is a Credit Card Insider advertiser.
That flat rate is the main attraction. It makes the card more flexible than the Discover it Chrome, which only provides 2% back at gas stations and restaurants. The Double Cash provides 1% cash back when you make a purchase, and another 1% when you pay off that purchase — different than most cards, which provide the full cash back amount when you make the purchase.
Your first year with the Discover it Chrome can be more rewarding than the Double Cash. However, once that year ends and the original reward rates kick in, the Double Cash has the potential to be more rewarding than the Discover it Chrome.
These cards are similar, but the Double Cash has more reward potential after that first year. So you must ask yourself: Would you rather get rewards more quickly with the Discover card, or go for long-term gains with the Double Cash?
2% cash back for every purchase you make (must pay at least the minimum due on time)
1% back when you make a purchase
1% back when you pay for that purchase
The Double Cash’s rewards can be converted to ThankYou points, where they could potentially be worth more than 1 cent each through transfers to airline partners. If you can manage to get 2 cents per point, for example, you’d be earning a 4% cash back equivalent with every purchase, which is pretty great.
You’ll get just as much cash back on gas and nearly as much at restaurants as you would during your first year the the Discover it Chrome, but unlike the Chrome, it won’t diminish. However, there is no 0% APR offer like there is with the Chrome.
The Costco card is quite rewarding, and easily beats out the regular reward rates of the Chrome. There’s no annual fee for the Costco card but you will need to be a Costco member to use it. The lowest membership tier costs $60 per year, so if you’re already paying this fee, then getting the Costco card should be a no brainer.
The Costco Anywhere Visa is clearly designed for Costco members. If that’s you, then it could be a valuable addition to your spending habits. But if you’re not a Costco member and don’t ever plan on becoming one, you should look elsewhere.
Brendan has been writing about personal finance for over eight years, and is now taking on the challenge of bringing high quality credit education to the masses. He makes sure that Credit Card Insider is covering the most important credit topics transparently and precisely, and that we have up-to-date reviews of credit cards so you can find cards that are right for you.
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