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Cash back credit cards come in a variety of types, good for different kinds of purchases. Here are two which offer very different rewards: the Barclaycard CashForward World MasterCard and the Discover it card.
The CashForward is a relatively new card offering a set amount of cash back for every purchase you make, while the Discover it has reward categories that change every 3 months.
These cards have no annual fees, and they both offer an introductory 0% interest rate for a year. Read our review to see if one of these cards, or maybe even both, might be a good fit for your wallet.
For People with
- Annual Fee: $0
- Interest Rate: 15.74%, 20.74% or 25.74% Variable
Quick Card Facts
- Get a $200 cash rewards bonus after you spend $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days after account opening
- Earn unlimited 1.5% cash rewards on every purchase
- Every time you redeem, get a 5% cash rewards redemption bonus to use toward your next redemption
- Redeem your cash rewards for a deposit into a U.S. checking or savings account, a statement credit or gift cards. Redemptions start at $50
- Cash rewards do not expire as long as your account is open, active and in good standing
- Enjoy a 0% introductory APR for 15 months on Balance Transfers made within 45 days of account opening. After that, a variable APR will apply, 15.74%, 20.74% or 25.74%, based on your creditworthiness
- Please note, there is a fee for balance transfers
- No annual fee
For People with
- Annual Fee: $0
- Interest Rate: 11.24% – 23.24% *Variable
Quick Card Facts
- Double all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year automatically - only for new cardmembers*
- 5% cash back in categories that change each quarter like gas, restaurants, Amazon.com and more - up to the quarterly maximum when you sign up.* 1% cash back on all other purchases.
- 0% intro APR on purchases & balance transfers for 12 months-then a variable purchase APR applies, currently 10.99% - 22.99%. A 3% fee applies to each transferred balance.
- New Freeze ItSM on/off switch lets you prevent new purchases, cash advances & balance transfers on misplaced cards in seconds by mobile app & online.*
- Free FICO® Credit Score on statements, online & by mobile app.* And 100% U.S.-based service any time.
- No annual fee. No overlimit fee. No foreign transaction fee. No late fee on first late payment & paying late won't raise your APR.*
- Each Discover purchase is monitored. If it's unusual, you're alerted by e-mail, phone or text and never responsible for unauthorized purchases on your Discover card.
- *See rates, rewards, free FICO® Credit Score terms & other info by clicking “Apply.”
- 1.5% cash back for every purchase
- 5% cash rewards redemption bonus every time you redeem your cash back
- $100 signup bonus for spending $500 in the first 90 days
- 5% cash back in categories that rotate throughout the year (see calendar below)
- 1% cash back on all other purchases
- Double the cash back you earn after one year
- 5 – 20% cash back at a variety of retailers through the Discover Deals shopping portal
The cash back calendar for 2016 is:
|Quarter||5% Cash Back Category|
|January – March||Gas Stations & Ground Transportation|
|April – June||Restaurants & Movies|
|July – September||Home Improvement Stores, Department
Stores, and Amazon.com
|October – December||Amazon.com & More|
You can redeem your points as a statement credit, which is the typical way, or you can use them to pay for purchases directly through Amazon.
The CashForward provides the same 1.5% cash back for every purchase you make, no matter where you are. No categories to worry about.
How much does that come to, when you count in the 5% redemption bonus? Well, if you spend $1,000 with this card, you’ll get $15 in cash back. Then you’ll get 5% of that cash back when you redeem it, which is $0.75. So that comes to a total of $15.75 cash back for spending $1,000.
The Discover it offers 5% cash back, but only in the current category (10% after it’s doubled!).
So take a look at the categories offered by the Discover it – do you spend a lot of money at those kinds of stores? If so, that 10% cash back will add up to a pretty significant discount after your first year is up. And after the first year is over, getting 5% cash back will be pretty good too. Take note that Amazon.com is included for 6 months out of the year. If those categories don’t look too appealing to you, this card may not be the best choice.
Here are some of the more interesting benefits offered by each card.
Free FICO® Credit Score
Keep track of your credit score easily, and get alerts if it changes.
Free FICO® Credit Score
View your FICO score any time you’d like at no cost and without hurting your credit score. Based on your TransUnion credit report.
Personalize Your Card
Choose from a number of different designs to personalize your card, including several chrome colors, a variety of designs, and a wide selection of NHL team logos.
Temporarily Freeze Your Account
Freeze your account when you lose your card, and unfreeze it when you find it. Use the Freeze button on the Discover website or mobile app, or call customer service.
Spend Analyzer Financial Tool
Use the Spend Analyzer tool to view your purchases by category and get insights into your spending habits.
Provides coverage against damage or theft, up to $500 per eligible item.
If you find an item you bought being advertised for a lesser price within 90 days of purchase, you can be reimbursed for the difference.
Extended Product Warranty
Adds up to 1 year to a manufacturer’s warranty of 3 years or less.
Items can be returned even if the manufacturer won’t take them back, up to $500 and for up to 90 days after the date of purchase.
Cash At Checkout
When shopping at participating locations, you can get cash back immediately by charging an additional amount over your purchase.
The CashForward only has the single interesting benefit, but it’s a pretty good one. Being able to see your credit score at any time is a great feature if you’re building or rebuilding your credit, or if you just like to keep a close eye on your finances.
The Discover it has that same benefit, however, along with quite a few others that could come in very useful, potentially saving you money when things go wrong. So it’s the obvious winner in this category.
Insider Tip: Want to see the full set of benefits for each card?
Here’s a side-by-side comparison of the benefits offered by each card:
|Barclaycard CashForward||Discover it|
The Costs & Fees
|Card||Annual Fee||Intro Purchase APR||Intro Balance Transfer APR||Regular Purchase APR||Regular Balance Transfer APR||Cash Advance APR|
|CashForward||$0||0% for 15 months||0% for 15 months (on balance transfers made within 45 days of account opening)||15.74%, 20.74% or 25.74% Variable||See Terms||See Terms|
|Discover it||$0||0% for 12 Months||0% for 12 Months||11.24% – 23.24% *Variable||11.24% – 23.24% *Variable||25.24% *Variable|
|Card||Balance Transfer Fee||Cash Advance Fee||Foreign Transaction Fee|
|CashForward||See Terms||See Terms||See Terms|
|Discover it||3%||5%, Min: $10||0%|
|Card||Penalty APR||Late Fee||Returned Payment Fee|
|CashForward||See Terms||See Terms||Up to $38|
|Discover it||None||$0 the first time; up to $35 after that||Up to $35|
These cards have almost the exact same costs and fees, with 0% intro APR’s for the same amount of time. There are just a couple important differences to note.
You won’t pay a fee for foreign transactions with the Discover it, but you probably will with the CashForward. So if you’re planning to use one of these cards for purchases outside the country, you won’t want to use the CashForward.
Also, the Discover it has no penalty APR, but you might get one with the CashForward (this is a higher interest rate that could be applied if you make a late or returned payment). Check your card terms for these details.
The Bottom Line
The Barclaycard CashForward World MasterCard and the Discover it are both some of the better cash back credit cards, offering different amounts of cash back for different kinds of purchases. Since the costs and fees of these cards are nearly the same, pay more attention to the rewards and benefits (that’s what these cards are for, after all).
When you look at the Discover it categories, if you think “oh, I shop there all the time!” this is probably a great card for you. That 10% discount is pretty significant, just remember to activate your categories and pay attention to which one you’re in. You’ll also be able to access the variety of benefits offered by Discover. But if you don’t make those kinds of purchases, this probably shouldn’t be your first choice.
Or, if you’d rather get the same amount of cash back for every purchase you make, without needing to worry about which category you’re in, the CashForward lets you do that. You’ll also get a nice signup bonus of $100.
You could even own and use both cards, grabbing your Discover card whenever you’re shopping at a retailer in your current category, and the CashForward for every other purchase you make. This strategy would let you get both sets of rewards and benefits, while letting you keep a lower balance on each card.