Why You Should Apply for a Discover Card Now

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What could be better than a big sign-up bonus? How about an even bigger bonus? If you have ever considered getting a Discover credit card, there is no better time than now as Discover’s Cashback Match will double any rewards you earn in the first calendar year.

This bonus applies to every Discover card, including their top cards and even their secured card. With rotating categories, you can turn 5 percent cash back into 10 percent back! You might be tempted by a big sign-up bonus from a competitor, but if you have a little patience, you can ultimate take home a lot more money with Discover. The only limit is how much you spend on the card.

Compare the Top Discover Credit Cards

Before we get into our tips and tricks for the Discover credit card application process, let’s take a look at some of the top Discover card offers. No matter what your credit score or what kinds of rewards you like to earn, there is a Discover card offer for you.

Discover credit cards are popular for a reason: they all come with no annual fee, generous earning potential, a great welcome offer, no foreign transaction fees, rewards that never expire and excellent security features.

Discover it® Miles

Discover it® Miles Card
How to apply
To apply for this offer please contact
Discover Bank
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INTRO APR on Purchases
0% (14 months)
INTRO apr on Balance Transfer
10.99% (14 months)
Regular APR
13.99% - 24.99% Variable
Annual Fee
$0
Rewards Program
Discover it® Miles Rewards
Bonuses & Rewards
  • + Earn unlimited 1.5x Miles for every dollar spent on all purchases all with no annual fee.
  • + No Blackout Dates - fly any airline, stay at any hotel.
  • + Redeem your Miles as a statement credit towards travel purchases.
  • + Freeze your account in seconds with an on/off switch either on the mobile app or website to prevent new purchases, cash advances, and balance transfers.
  • INTRO OFFER: Discover will match ALL the Miles you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically. For example, if you earn 30,000 Miles, you get 60,000 Miles. That's $600 towards travel!
  • Get your free Credit Scorecard with your FICO® Credit Score, number of recent inquiries and more.
  • Receive FREE Social Security number alerts-Discover will monitor thousands of risky websites when you sign up.
  • Click "APPLY NOW" to see rates, rewards, FICO® Credit Score terms, Discover Match™ details & other information.
  • No Annual Fee
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Discover it® Cash Back

Discover it® Miles Card
How to apply
To apply for this offer please contact
Discover Bank
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INTRO APR on Purchases
0% (14 months)
INTRO apr on Balance Transfer
0% (14 months)
Regular APR
13.99% - 24.99% Variable
Annual Fee
$0
Rewards Program
Cashback Bonus®
Bonuses & Rewards
  • + cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com and more up to the quarterly maximum, each time you activate.
  • + Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - automatically.
  • + Redeem cash back any amount, any time. Rewards never expire.
  • + Use your rewards at Amazon.com checkout.
  • INTRO OFFER: Discover will match ALL the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically. There's no signing up. And no limit to how much is matched.
  • Receive FREE Social Security number alerts-Discover will monitor thousands of risky websites when you sign up.
  • Click "APPLY NOW" to see rates, rewards, FICO® Credit Score terms, Cashback Match™ details & other information.
  • No annual fee.
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Discover it® Balance Transfer

Discover it® Miles Card
How to apply
To apply for this offer please contact
Discover Bank
Read Review
INTRO APR on Purchases
0% (6 months)
INTRO apr on Balance Transfer
0% (18 months)
Regular APR
13.99% - 24.99% Variable
Annual Fee
$0
Rewards Program
Cashback Bonus®
Bonuses & Rewards
  • + cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com and more up to the quarterly maximum, each time you activate. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - automatically.
  • + Redeem cash back any amount, any time. Rewards never expire.
  • + 100% U.S. based customer service.
  • + Get your free Credit Scorecard with your FICO® Credit Score, number of recent inquiries and more.
  • INTRO OFFER: Discover will match ALL the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically. There's no signing up. And no limit to how much is matched.
  • Receive FREE Social Security number alerts-Discover will monitor thousands of risky websites when you sign up.
  • No annual fee.
  • Click "APPLY NOW" to see rates, rewards, FICO® Credit Score terms, Cashback Match™ details & other information.
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If you have good or excellent credit, you should consider the Discover it Miles card or one of the Discover it cards. They all require credit scores of 690 or better.

The Discover it Miles card earns 1.5 miles on all purchases. There are no limits and no special categories to worry about. Miles can be redeemed toward travel purchases made on your Discover card.

Get Zero-Interest Financing

The Cashback Match card comes in two versions. Both of them have rotating categories better known as quarterly bonuses. That means you’ll earn 5 percent cash back for purchases that fall into certain categories that change every four months. They vary from year to year, but often include wholesale clubs, restaurants, grocery stores, gas stations, Amazon and more.

The difference between the cards is in the interest-free periods for purchases and balance transfers. The Cashback Match card has zero interest on purchases and balance transfers for 14 months, whereas the Discover it – 18-month balance transfer offer card has 0% APR on purchases for six months, but also 0% on balance transfers for 18 months.

And if you’re a hockey fan, you might consider the NHL Discover card, which has the same rotating categories, cashback match and 0% APR offer, but also comes with deal that gives you 10 percent off at Shop.NHL.com.

For Students

If you are a student, you can qualify for a Discover it Student card with just an average credit score of 630 to 689. There are two versions of the Discover card for students, each earning different rewards.

Discover it® for Students

Discover it® Miles Card
How to apply
To apply for this offer please contact
Discover Bank
INTRO APR on Purchases
0% intro APR for 6 months from date of account opening
INTRO apr on Balance Transfer
10.99% intro APR for 6 months from date of first transfer, for transfers under this offer that post to your account by August 10, 2018
Regular APR
14.49% to 23.49% Variable±
Annual Fee
$0
Rewards Program
Cashback Bonus®
Bonuses & Rewards
  • % 5% in rotating categories each quarter like Gas, Dining, Amazon.com, Wholesale Clubs and more
  • % 1% on Travel
  • % 1% on Groceries
  • % 1% on All Other Purchases
  • Up to 5% cash back offer
  • Get a dollar-for-dollar match of all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically
  • No Foreign Transaction Fee
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Discover it® Student chrome

Discover it® Miles Card
How to apply
To apply for this offer please contact
Discover Bank
INTRO APR on Purchases
0% (6 months)
INTRO apr on Balance Transfer
10.99% (6 months)
Regular APR
14.99% - 23.99% Variable
Annual Fee
$0
Rewards Program
Cashback Bonus®
Bonuses & Rewards
  • + 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases every quarter - no sign-ups needed. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - automatically.
  • + No annual fee. No late fee on first late payment. No APR change for paying late.
  • + Receive FREE Social Security number alerts-Discover will monitor thousands of risky websites when you sign up.
  • INTRO OFFER: Discover will match ALL the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically. There's no signing up. And no limit to how much is matched.
  • Good Grades Rewards: $20 statement credit each school year your GPA is 3.0 or higher for up to the next 5 years.
  • Get 100% U.S. based customer service & get your free Credit Scorecard with your FICO® Credit Score, number of recent inquiries and more.
  • Freeze It® on/off switch for your account that prevents new purchases, cash advances & balance transfers in seconds.
  • + 0% intro APR on purchases for 6 months, then the standard variable purchase APR of 14.99% - 23.99%.
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The Discover it for Students has the same 5 percent quarterly bonus categories as the standard Discover it card. There is also the Discover it Chrome for Students, which offers 2 percent back at restaurants and gas stations. All other purchases on both card receive 1 percent back.

Both of these cards also offer an additional bonus of a $20 statement credit each school year for up to five years as long as you have a GPA of 3.0 or higher. You must be at least 18 years old to apply for the student cards. The Discover line of cards does not accept co-applicants or co-signers on applications, so you must have income to apply.

If You Have Bad or No Credit

If you have bad or no credit (a score below 630), there’s still a Discover credit card offer for you. You can even earn Discover card rewards while building your credit by applying for the Discover it Secured card. There aren’t a lot of secured cards that let you do that, making this a great deal.

Discover it® Secured Credit Card

Discover it® Miles Card
How to apply
To apply for this offer please contact
Discover Bank
INTRO APR on Purchases
N/A
INTRO apr on Balance Transfer
10.99% (6 months)
Regular APR
24.99% Variable
Annual Fee
$0
Rewards Program
Cashback Bonus®
Bonuses & Rewards
  • + No Annual Fee, earn cash back, and build your credit with responsible use.
  • + It’s a real credit card. You can build a credit history with the three major credit bureaus. Generally, debit and prepaid cards can't help you build a credit history.
  • + We automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year.
  • + Receive FREE Social Security number alerts-Discover will monitor thousands of risky websites when you sign up.
  • 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases every quarter, automatically. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Establish your credit line by providing a refundable security deposit from $200-$2500 after being approved. Bank information must be provided when submitting your deposit.
  • Automatic reviews starting at 8 months to see if we can transition you to an unsecured line of credit and return your deposit.
  • Get 100% U.S. based customer service & get your free Credit Scorecard with your FICO® Credit Score
  • + Click "APPLY NOW" to see rates, rewards, FICO® Credit Score terms, Cashback Match™ details & other information.
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This card requires a $200 deposit but allows you to earn 2 percent back at restaurants and gas stations. And yes, fast food establishments qualify as restaurants.

How to Maximize Your Quarterly Bonuses and Cashback Match

If you apply for the Discover card, we can help you get more out of the quarterly bonuses. There is an annual limit to each quarterly bonus of $1,500. After you hit that max, you’ll earn just 1 percent back instead of 5 percent.

Maximize Your Quarterly Bonuses and Cashback Match

The timing of your Discover credit card application, though, may give you a chance to double dip in that category. The rotating categories are not set in stone, but for the past several years gas has been in the first quarter. If this holds true and you apply for the card in February, you may get a chance to earn 5 percent back on up to $3,000 worth of gas purchases (instead of the standard $1,500) in the first year.

If you don’t drive you may want to apply at a different time depending on the quarterly bonus you think you will be able to make the most of. Whichever category you decide to optimize, your first-year earnings will be doubled, meaning that this strategy could really pay off.

Don’t Forget to Activate

Also remember to activate your quarterly bonuses. The easiest way to do this is to login online at the account center. You can also call customer service. However, you must do this every quarter. You also want to activate them as soon as possible to get the most out of your rotating categories.

What to Know When Applying for a Discover Credit Card

Discover only gives out a maximum of two credit cards at a time. However, you won’t be eligible for a second Discover card until you have had your first car for at least a year. If you want to apply for a new Discover card but already have two, you will need to close one of those accounts first. You should also give it a little time between closing the old account and opening a new one.

The Best Way to Apply for a Discover it Credit Card

You can pre-qualify (or be pre-approved) for a Discover card without affecting your credit score. This is a great idea because it will tell you if Discover thinks you will qualify for the card. You won’t be subject to a hard pull (just a soft pull), so there’s no risk to you.

Apply for Discover It credit Card
Image via discover.com

This is a good place to start if you are not sure where you stand with the issuer or with your credit score. Afterwards, you will know which cards you may qualify for.

If you haven’t received an invitation to apply or pre-approval by mail from Discover, just go to the Discover pre-approval website and fill out the info. If you have received a mailer invitation, simply follow the directions on the card.

You Still Need to Apply

While you should get pre-approved for a Discover card before actually applying, it is no guarantee that you will get the card. Pre-qualification is just a process to tell you if Discover thinks you’re a good candidate for the card. Think of it as a way to improve your odds when you actually apply.

While getting pre-approved will not affect your credit score, an actual application will. Discover will do a hard pull on your credit report, meaning that your score will take a minor hit. Don’t let this worry you too much because you can easily improve your score just by using your new card responsibly. Plus, there’s no way around it.

You can apply by phone, mail or online. Completing a Discover credit card application online is the quickest and easiest way to apply and can help you get the fastest decision possible. While Discover does not offer instant approval, the pre-qualification tool is quick and a good barometer of if you will get a card.

How to Check Your Discover Credit Card Application Status

You can check your Discover application status online at anytime by simply entering your Social Security number and zip code to login. Your status can be approved, denied or pending.

check your discover card application status

If you already have one Discover card, you may get a pending notice as your application status. You might then receive a letter asking you to call or a notification after you login to your existing account. Discover will likely ask you if you want to close your old account and open a new one or carry two cards.

Generally, most applicants will receive a decision relatively quickly. However, it can take up to 30 days. You can also call 1-800-DISCOVER. To get to the point, just press # then 4.

If You’re Denied

If your Discover application status is denied, there’s still hope. The first thing you should do is ask Discover why you were denied. They are required to tell you. If the reason is legitimate, you will at least know what you have to improve.

However, be sure to always check your credit report personally. There can be mistakes, like credit lines and loans that you have not opened and missed payments that you’ve actually made. If this happens, contact the credit bureau immediately and get the errors corrected as quickly as possible.

You should also call the Discover reconsideration line at 800-695-5171. This is your chance to explain to a human why you should get the card. Have an argument ready and a good reason for getting the card. It can’t hurt to try.

Another Reason to Apply for a Discover Credit Card

There was once a time when it was hard to find merchants that accept Discover credit cards. That’s no longer the case. Discover has been working hard to increase its payment network, and has recently surpassed Amex.

According to the most recent stats, Discover is now accepted by about 9.3 million merchants domestically, compared to about 9.5 million for Visa and MasterCard and just 6.9 million for American Express. That means it’s just about as easy to find someone who will take your Discover card as your Visa or MasterCard.

International Travelers Beware

While Discover never charges foreign transaction fees, it can be hard to find vendors outside of the U.S. who will accept the card. They’re trying hard to expand that network, but it’s not there yet. So, like Amex, if you have a Discover card and you travel internationally, you should also carry a Visa or MasterCard as a backup.

Start Earning Discover Card Rewards

Discover has a lot of great rewards cards on the market. Whatever your circumstances, spending habits and rewards goals, there’s a Discover card for you. We’ve given you the tips for applying, so now’s the time to start earning rewards with a new Discover card.