The Barclaycard CashForward™ World Mastercard® vs the Discover it® Card

Brendan Harkness

Brendan Harkness | Versus

May 07, 2016 | Updated Nov 01, 2018

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The Barclaycard CashForward™ World Mastercard® has been discontinued.

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.

Barclaycard CashForward™ World Mastercard®

For People with
Good Credit

  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Interest Rate: 15.99%, 20.99% or 23.99% 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 the first 15 months on purchases. Plus, you'll get a 0% introductory APR for 15 months on balance transfers for each balance transfer made within 45 days of account opening. After that a variable APR will apply, 15.99%, 20.99% or 23.99%, based on your creditworthiness. Please note, there is a fee for balance transfers
  • No annual fee
Discover it® Cash Back Credit Card
Apply Now

Discover it® Cash Back Credit Card

For People with
Good Credit

  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Interest Rate: 13.99%–24.99% Variable
Quick Card Facts
  • Double all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year automatically
  • 5% cash back in categories that change each quarter like gas, restaurants, Amazon.com and more - up to $1,500 in spending per quarter, then 1%.
  • 0% intro APR on purchases & balance transfers for 14 months — then a variable purchase APR applies, currently 13.99%–24.99%.
  • Free FICO® Credit Score on statements, online and by mobile app.
  • 100% U.S.-based service.
  • No annual fee. No over limit fee. No foreign transaction fee. No late fee on first late payment & paying late won't raise your APR.
  • Each Discover purchase is monitored for fraudulent activity, and you're never responsible for unauthorized purchases on your Discover card.

The Rewards

Barclaycard CashForward

  • 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

Discover it

  • 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

The 5% cash back calendar for the Discover it for 2019 is:

Quarter 5% Cash Back Category
January – March Grocery Stores
April – June Gas Stations, Uber, Lyft
July – September Restaurants
October – December Amazon.com

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 Verdict

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.

Insider Tip: Instead of using just one of these cards, you could get more out of them by using them together. Just use the Discover it wherever you’ll get 5% cash back, and use the CashForward for any other purchases. Don’t worry, having multiple credit cards isn’t bad for your credit score and can actually be very useful.

The Benefits

Here are some of the more interesting benefits offered by each card.

Barclaycard CashForward

Perks

  • Free FICO® Credit Score

    Keep track of your credit score easily, and get alerts if it changes.

Discover it

Perks

  • 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.

Account Management

  • 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.

Shopping

The Verdict

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 a few others that could come in useful. So it’s the obvious winner in this category.

Here’s a side-by-side comparison of the benefits offered by each card:

Barclaycard CashForward Discover it

Perks

  • Free FICO Credit Score

Account Management

  • Personalize Your Card
  • Pay Up Until Midnight
  • Temporarily Freeze Your Account
  • Card Replacement
  • Spend Analyzer Tool

Security

  • $0 Fraud Liability Guarantee
  • $0 Fraud Liability Guarantee

Shopping

  • Cash at Checkout

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) 15.99%, 20.99% or 23.99% Variable  15.99%, 20.99% or 23.99% Variable 26.24% Variable
Discover it $0 0% for 14 months 0% for 14 months 13.99%–24.99% Variable  13.99%–24.99% Variable 26.99% Variable
Card Balance Transfer Fee Cash Advance Fee Foreign Transaction Fee
CashForward 3%, Minimum $5 5%, Minimum $10 3%
Discover it  3% 5%, $10 minimum None
Card Penalty APR Late Fee Returned Payment Fee
CashForward See Terms Up to $37 Up to $37
Discover it None $0 the first time; up to $37 after that Up to $37

The Verdict

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.

If you use one of these credit cards, how do you like it? Leave your own review of the Barclaycard CashForward World Mastercard or the Discover it card, we’d love to hear from you!

Or learn more about Reward Credit Cards and see our picks for the best cards!
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