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A few years ago I needed to do a balance transfer from a high-interest credit card to save money and, because Discover sent me an offer of 0% for 12 months, I took the offer. I never carried the card and had no intention of using it for ordinary purchases, but I did keep the account open and active. I didn’t start using the card until after I saw an advertisement about Discover’s special discounts offered through their online shopping mall. I decided to use Discover to pay for an online purchase, so I logged on to my account, went to the shopping area, and accessed one my favorite stores through that link. I shopped just as I normally would, except when I paid with my Discover Card I received a significant discount on my purchase. That was free money, and I am a huge fan of getting cash without having to work for it.
Rediscovering the Value of Discover
My first experience with Discover’s online shopping mall opened my eyes up to all sorts of new opportunities to save a dollar here and dollar there by reaching for Discover – and that is how I rediscovered the card that I had previously undervalued and overlooked. Now I use my Discover Card all the time – which led to another realization; Discover cards are much more widely accepted than they used to be. You can even use Discover overseas, with no foreign transaction fees. That’s important since many cards tack on a foreign transaction fee of 3% or more on every oversea purchase.
Cash Back Opportunities
Discover rewards those who bring them business by giving you a $50 credit for referring new customers. As a cardholder, you can earn Discover cashback as high as 5% back in special revolving categories. Right now, for example, those categories are for purchases made at restaurants and movies. Those include movie theaters, video rental stores, and online movie tickets and movie rental services. Restaurant purchases are those made at merchants classified as full-service restaurants, cafes, cafeterias, and fast food locations. During springtime – just in time for spring cleaning and home maintenance projects – the categories shift to home improvement stores, furniture stores, and Bed Bath & Beyond. Meanwhile, card members will earn 1% back on all other purchases.
Budgeting and Credit Monitoring Tools
Discover is always striving to be first. Just last year, Discover started including cardmember’s FICO credit score for free with each billing statement. Cardholders can also access seven years’ worth of credit card statements online, any time, which can be convenient for budget analysis, tax purposes, or for tracking a missing receipt.
Discover makes managing your accounts easier by going online or by using their free downloadable smart phone app. All cardholders can enjoy a menu of benefits that include:
- Spend Analyzer tool to help you organize your budget
- Purchase and price protection
- Extended warranty and a merchandise return guarantee
- 24/7 travel assistance
- Travel perks like flight accident insurance, baggage delay insurance, and auto rental insurance
Those perks apply whether you have a personal card or a business card, and Discover offers a full product line including student cards and gift cards.
Gift Card Savings
The Discover gift card program is a good deal because when you buy gift cards using your Discover cash back credit card, you pay less than face value. You can redeem $20 in cash back rewards to receive a $40 gift card from Enterprise or Alamo Rent-A-Car, for instance, or redeem $40 in credit for $50 worth of buying power at stores like Banana Republic, American Eagle Outfitters and Brooks Brothers. At several cruise lines -including Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, and Princess- the math works in your favor too, so that $60 gets you $120 worth. You get the point; Discover rocks! Check them out to see where else you can save money.
Other Convenient Features
Discover Cardmembers can earn rewards for donating to their favorite charities by using the Discover Giving feature. Easily find and donate to the charities of your choice all in one secure place. There are over 1.5 million charities to choose from and you can earn rewards on those transactions.
Discover is also a full-service financial institution, something that most consumers don’t realize. Through its various departments, Discover offers online checking and money market savings accounts, personal loans, home mortgages, student loans, small business loans, interest-bearing IRA products, and certificates of deposit.
There may be times when you may prefer cold hard cash in your pocket, though, and to help with that, Discover lets you ask for cash at checkout above your purchase amount when completing a buying transaction at dozens of different major chain stores. You are not charged a special cash advance fee, either, but just pay your normal interest rate. You can withdraw up to $120 per day using this option, with no monthly cap on how many times you use that feature.
*Editorial Note: This content is not provided by American Express. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by American Express
*The content in this article is accurate at the publishing date, and may be subject to changes per the card issuer.