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The Discover it Chrome: Unique Welcome Bonus but Lackluster Rewards

This card is positioned as a restaurant and gas card -- but competitor cards can earn you higher rewards rates in the same categories.

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
CNET’S PICK
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.
Rewards Rate
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.

On the surface, the Discover it® Chrome* card seems like a great cash-back card with no annual fee for foodies and frequent commuters. Its long introductory APR offer also makes it a decent balance transfer card

But no credit card exists in a vacuum, and the Discover it Chrome falls short when stacked against competitors. Better no-annual-fee cash back cards offer either higher rewards rates on gas or restaurant purchases or offer comparable flat rates on all purchases. And while the balance transfer period is good, there are other cards with longer introductory periods. 

Should you get the Discover it Chrome over another comparable card?

Looking solely at rewards rates and balance transfer offers, the answer will most likely be no.

That said, the Discover it Chrome offers a few unique benefits that set it apart from competitors. Its welcome bonus takes the form of an unlimited 1:1 match of all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year, which is potentially more lucrative than some competitors’ lump sum welcome bonuses. The card carries no foreign transaction fees for purchases abroad, making it good for international travelers. And Discover will waive the late payment fee on your first late payment (up to $41 after that)– providing a small safety net, but one you shouldn’t get too comfortable with. 

All in all, the Discover it Chrome isn’t a bad choice for cash back or balance transfers -- but other cards do the same thing, better. However, if you can maximize the cash back match welcome offer or if you value the specific benefits this card offers, this card may be a worthwhile addition to your wallet.

Rewards and redemption 

The Discover it Chrome offers 2% cash back on gas station purchases and restaurants (up to $1,000 in combined purchases per quarter, then 1% after). 

Gas and restaurants are two strong rewards categories, especially for commuters and foodies. However, despite marketing itself as a dedicated restaurant and gas card, the Discover it Chrome earns less in those categories than its competitors -- including the Chase Freedom Unlimited® credit card (3% cash back on restaurants), the Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card* (3% cash back on dining) and the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express (3% back on U.S. gas stations, up to $6,000 per year, then 1%) -- all of which also have no annual fee. 

And, if you want to earn the same rewards rate in other categories, a flat 2% cash back card like the Citi Double Cash® Card (1% at the time of purchase and 1% when you pay for those purchases) or the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card (which earns cash rewards) might be a better addition to your wallet. These cards will let you earn an unlimited 2% back on purchases, instead of the Discover it Chrome’s paltry 1% on non-restaurant and gas purchases.

There’s no minimum redemption threshold to redeem your rewards and your rewards never expire. You can redeem your rewards for cash, gift cards or shop with points through Amazon and PayPal.

Welcome bonus

Instead of a typical welcome bonus where you earn a fixed amount after reaching a spending threshold, the Discover it Chrome offers a cash-back match welcome offer. At the end of your first year, Discover will match what you’ve earned in the first 12 months of card opening. That means if you earn $100 in your first year, you can get an additional $100 match from Discover, for a total of $200 cash back. 

But if you’re not expecting to spend much during your first year, this welcome offer may not be as valuable to you.

We don’t recommend spending more than you can afford to earn a welcome bonus. Even though the Discover it Chrome doesn’t have a minimum spending threshold to get the bonus like other cards, be careful not to spend more than you can afford to repay each month. 

Introductory APR

The Discover it Chrome offers a 0% introductory APR offer for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, then 17.24% to 28.24% variable APR afterwards. There’s also a 3% intro balance transfer fee and up to 5% fee on future balance transfers (see terms) -- pretty standard among balance transfer cards.

Introductory purchase APR offers can help you spread out a big purchase over time, while saving on interest. An introductory balance offer can help you transfer and pay off other credit card debt, while also saving on interest charges. While the Discover it Chrome’s 15-month 0% APR introductory period for balance transfers is decent, other balance transfer cards have longer 0% introductory periods up to 21 months.

Other perks

The Discover it Chrome does offer a few benefits competitors don’t. There are no foreign transaction fees, making this a good card for frequent international travelers. Discover will also waive the up to $41 late fee on your first late payment, providing a safety net in the case you forget a payment once. But you should always strive to pay your bill on time and in full to avoid interest charges and keep your credit score healthy.

Alternative cards

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

With the Chase Freedom Unlimited, you can earn 5% on travel booked through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, 3% on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants and 1.5% cash back on everything else. These rates are higher than the Discover it Chrome, and there’s also no annual fee.

Both cards have similar introductory offers --  0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 15 months (20.49% to 29.24% variable APR for the Chase Freedom Unlimited afterward).

Check out our full review of the Chase Freedom Unlimited card.

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

This no-annual-fee (see rates and fees) Amex card lets you earn 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets, U.S. online retail purchases and U.S. gas stations (up to $6,000 in purchases per category each year, then 1%) and 1% back on other purchases -- a higher rewards rate than the Discover it Chrome card. With the Blue Cash Everyday, cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit. And like the Discover it Chrome, there’s also a 0% introductory APR for the first 15 months on purchases and balance transfers (19.24% to 29.99% variable APR for the Amex card afterwards; see rates and fees). 

This card’s welcome offer will likely be a tad less rewarding than the Discover card’s, depending on your spending. But cardholders can earn a welcome offer of a $200 statement credit after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new card within the first six months.

Check out our full review of the Amex Blue Cash Everyday card.

Citi Double Cash® Card

The Citi Double Cash card earns you 2% cash back on every purchase -- 1% when you make the purchase, and another 1% when you pay off your balance. One benefit of this rewards structure is that it encourages you to regularly pay off your balance in full, helping you build good credit habits. This flat rate will generally earn you more in rewards than the Discover it Chrome -- although you could potentially earn more with the Discover card in your first year, due to its cash-back match.  

There is no earnings cap or annual fee for the Double Cash card, and you get a 0% introductory APR balance transfer offer for 18 months (19.24% to 29.24% variable APR afterward; balance transfers must be completed within four months of account opening). However, this card currently does not offer an introductory APR period for new purchases like the Discover it Chrome.

Check out our full review of the Citi Double Cash card.

How Discover it® Chrome compares to other cards

CNET’S PICK
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.
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
Apply Now

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

5.5/10 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
See Rates & Fees Terms apply
Intro Offer
Earn $200 Earn a $200 statement credit after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 6 months.
Annual fee
$0
APR
19.24% – 29.99% Variable
Intro Purchase APR
0% on purchases for 15 months
Rewards rate
1% – 3% 3% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%.; 3% Cash Back on U.S. online retail purchases, on up to $6,000 per year, then 1%.; 3% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations, on up to $6,000 per year, then 1%.; 1% Cash Back on other purchases.
Apply Now
On American Express’s secure website
Citi Double Cash® Card
Apply Now

Citi Double Cash® Card

8/10 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 cash back Earn $200 cash back after you spend $1,500 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
N/A
Rewards rate
1% – 5% Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases. To earn cash back, pay at least the minimum due on time.; Plus, for a limited time, earn 5% total cash back on hotel, car rentals and attractions booked on the Citi Travel℠ portal through 12/31/24.
Apply Now
On Citi’s secure website

FAQs

If you spend a lot at restaurants and gas stations, the Discover it Chrome may be a good cash back card for you. If not, consider another tiered rewards credit card that earns an elevated rate in your highest spending category -- whether that’s groceriesentertainmenttravel or something else -- or a flat-rate rewards card that earns 2% back on all purchases.

The Discover it Chrome is good for consumers who want to earn more cash back on restaurant and gas station purchases without paying an annual fee, and can spend enough in their first year to make Discover’s cash back match offer worthwhile. But it’s not the best cash back credit card on the market compared to other cards with higher rewards rates in the same categories or better welcome bonuses.

A good cash back credit card is one that maximizes the rewards on your everyday spending. If you spend a lot in a certain category, such as dining or travel, try to find a card that earns an elevated rewards rate in that category. You should also consider whether a card has a sign-up bonus, what fees the card charges and the card’s other perks and benefits.

*All information about the Discover it Chrome and the Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card has been collected independently by CNET and has not been reviewed by the issuer.

For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express, click here.

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.

Dori Zinn loves helping people learn and understand money. She's been covering personal finance for a decade and her writing has appeared in Wirecutter, Credit Karma, Huffington Post and more.