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Discover it Cash Back vs. Discover it Chrome: Which Card Is Better?

While many features are comparable, one card is clearly superior when it comes to rewards.

CNET'S PICK
Discover it® Cash Back
Learn More

Discover it® Cash Back

7.5/10 CNET Rating CNET rates credit cards by comparing their offers to those of their categorical competitors. Each card is individually evaluated through a formula which reflects the standards and expectations of the contemporary market. Credit card issuers have no say or influence in our ratings. How we rate credit cards
Intro Offer
Cashback Match™ Intro Offer: Unlimited Cashback Match - only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year! There's no minimum spending or maximum rewards. You could turn $150 cash back into $300.
Annual fee
$0
APR
17.24% - 28.24% Variable APR
Rewards rate
1% - 5% Earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places you shop each quarter like grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations, and more, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate.; Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - automatically.
Annual Fee
Rewards
Welcome offer
Introductory APR
5%
Earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places you shop each quarter like grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations, and more, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate.
1%
Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - automatically.
Best for
Annual Fee
Rewards
Welcome offer
Introductory APR
Discover it® Chrome
Learn More

Discover it® Chrome

4.5/10 CNET Rating CNET rates credit cards by comparing their offers to those of their categorical competitors. Each card is individually evaluated through a formula which reflects the standards and expectations of the contemporary market. Credit card issuers have no say or influence in our ratings. How we rate credit cards
Intro Offer
Cashback Match™ Intro Offer: Unlimited Cashback Match - only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year! There's no minimum spending or maximum rewards. Just a dollar-for-dollar match.
Annual fee
$0
APR
17.24% to 28.24% Variable APR
Rewards rate
1% - 2% Earn cash back on your next road trip with 2% cash back at Gas Stations and Restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter.; Earn 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases – automatically.
Annual Fee
Welcome offer
Introductory APR
2%
Earn cash back on your next road trip with 2% cash back at Gas Stations and Restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter.
1%
Earn 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases – automatically.
Best for
Annual Fee
Welcome offer
Introductory APR

The Discover it® Cash Back* and Discover it® Chrome* have many superficial similarities -- no annual fees, no foreign transactions fees, an Unlimited Cashback Match™ welcome bonus, the same introductory APR -- but entirely different rewards structures. 

For most people, the Discover it Cash Back will offer greater rewards than the Discover it Chrome because of the Discover it Cash Back’s flagship rotating rewards category. That noted, the Discover it Chrome may be the better choice for a specific audience -- commuters looking for consistent reward rates on gas stations and restaurants, and those might prefer more simplicity and predictability. 

Annual fee

Winner: Tie

You’ll pay the same annual fee for both cards: $0. And both offer benefits comparable to the best credit cards with no annual fee -- a competitive rewards program, welcome bonus and introductory APR that will mitigate interest charges on purchases or balance transfers.

Rewards

Winner: Discover it Cash Back

The Discover it Cash Back will earn you 5% cash back on everyday purchases via the quarterly rotating category on up to $1,500 in spending per quarter (then 1%). This makes rewards a bit unpredictable -- though they typically include basics such as grocery stores and purchases from popular retailers. Through June 2024, you’ll earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 of spending at gas stations, electric vehicle (EV) charging stations, home improvement stores and for public transit. Otherwise, you earn 1% on all other purchases.

The drawback to the Discover it Cash Back rewards program is that you have to manually activate the rewards category each quarter. Not a dealbreaker -- Discover will send you an email reminder -- but another thing to keep track of. 

The Discover it Chrome’s rewards program isn’t as competitive: It offers 2% cash back on gas stations and restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases per quarter (then 1%), and 1% on all other purchases. The best restaurant credit cards and best gas credit cards offer up to 5% back, and not all will cap your earnings.

Welcome bonus

Winner: Tie

Though both cards offer the same potential welcome bonus in a vacuum, it’s ultimately best for whichever card’s rewards program fits your budget.

All Discover cards feature an Unlimited Cashback Match as a welcome bonus (referred to as the Discover Match® “Unlimited Bonus” with the Discover it® Miles* card). Essentially, Discover matches all of the cash back earned during your first year -- but you’ll need to wait a full year to collect it. Still, it’s one of the best welcome bonuses available in light of its unlimited potential. 

Introductory APR

Winner: Tie

Both cards offer the same introductory APR, like the welcome bonus. You’ll get 15 months of 0% introductory interest on purchases and balance transfers, with a variable APR of 17.24% to 28.24% thereafter. This can help you finance a large purchasefinance an emergency expense or avoid interest while you pay down existing credit card debt.

Both cards also offer the same terms on balance transfers. You can take advantage of the introductory balance transfer fee of 3% (see terms) -- the standard rate on most balance transfer credit cards. After that, the balance transfer fee increases to an exorbitant 5% (see terms).

Personalization

Winner: Discover it Cash Back

It’s a small thing but very few credit cards allow you to choose a design, and when they do, there are only a handful of tepid designs. But the Discover it Cash Back offers imagery of popular hobbies and symbols, picturesque landscapes and your initials -- or you can opt for a plain design in a color of your choice. The Discover it Chrome doesn’t offer any design options.

How Discover it® Cash Back and Discover it® Chrome compare to other cards

CNET’S PICK
Discover it® Cash Back
Learn More

Discover it® Cash Back

7.5/10 CNET Rating CNET rates credit cards by comparing their offers to those of their categorical competitors. Each card is individually evaluated through a formula which reflects the standards and expectations of the contemporary market. Credit card issuers have no say or influence in our ratings. How we rate credit cards
Intro Offer
Cashback Match™ Intro Offer: Unlimited Cashback Match – only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year! There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. You could turn $150 cash back into $300.
Annual fee
$0
APR
17.24% – 28.24% Variable APR
Intro Purchase APR
0% for 15 months
Rewards rate
1% – 5% Earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places you shop each quarter like grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations, and more, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate.; Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – automatically.
Discover it® Chrome
Learn More

Discover it® Chrome

4.5/10 CNET Rating CNET rates credit cards by comparing their offers to those of their categorical competitors. Each card is individually evaluated through a formula which reflects the standards and expectations of the contemporary market. Credit card issuers have no say or influence in our ratings. How we rate credit cards
Intro Offer
Cashback Match™ Intro Offer: Unlimited Cashback Match – only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year! There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. Just a dollar-for-dollar match.
Annual fee
$0
APR
17.24% to 28.24% Variable APR
Intro Purchase APR
0% for 15 months
Rewards rate
1% – 2% Earn cash back on your next road trip with 2% cash back at Gas Stations and Restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter.; Earn 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases – automatically.
Citi Custom Cash® Card
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Citi Custom Cash® Card

7.5/10 CNET Rating CNET rates credit cards by comparing their offers to those of their categorical competitors. Each card is individually evaluated through a formula which reflects the standards and expectations of the contemporary market. Credit card issuers have no say or influence in our ratings. How we rate credit cards
Intro Offer
$200 Earn $200 in cash back after you spend $1500 on purchases in the first 6 months of account opening. This bonus offer will be fulfilled as 20,000 ThankYou® points, which can be redeemed for $200 cash back.
Annual fee
$0
APR
19.24% – 29.24% (Variable)
Intro Purchase APR
0% for 15 months on purchases
Rewards rate
1% – 5% Earn 5% cash back on purchases in your top eligible spend category each billing cycle, up to the first $500 spent, 1% cash back thereafter.; Special Travel Offer: Earn an additional 4% cash back on hotels, car rentals, and attractions booked on Citi Travel℠ portal through 6/30/2025.; Earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.

The bottom line

The Discover it Cash Back is a better choice for most people -- it has the Discover it Chrome beat in rewards. While Discover it Chrome is a little simpler because you don’t have to manually activate any rewards offers, the low rewards rates on gas stations and restaurants paired with the spending cap leave something to be desired.

FAQs

Foreign transaction fees occur when you make purchases abroad with a credit card that makes you cover the costs of the currency exchanges. Usually, it’s 3% per transaction. A lot of travel credit cards -- as well as some everyday credit cards -- offer no foreign transaction fees, which can save you a ton of money. No Discover credit cards or Capital One credit cards have foreign transaction fees, either.

The credit cards with the best rewards rates on restaurants include the Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card*, Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card*, Citi Custom Cash Card and the U.S. Bank Altitude® Go Visa Signature® Card.

The credit cards with the best rewards rates for gas and gas stations include the Citi Premier® CardCiti Custom Cash Card, the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express* and the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express*.

*All information about the Discover it Cash Back, Citi Custom Cash Card, Discover it Chrome, Discover it Miles, Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card, Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express, Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express and Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card has been collected independently by CNET and has not been reviewed by the issuer.

The editorial content on this page is based solely on objective, independent assessments by our writers and is not influenced by advertising or partnerships. It has not been provided or commissioned by any third party. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products or services offered by our partners.

Jaclyn is a CNET Money editor who relishes the sweet spot between numbers and words. With responsibility for overseeing CNET's credit card coverage, she writes and edits news, reviews and advice. She has experience covering business, personal finance and economics, and previously managed contracts and investments as a real estate agent. Her tech interests include Tesla, SpaceX, The Boring Company and Neuralink.