Discover Card Services
Discover Card appeared in 1985 as a financial service of Sears. Since then, Discover has become its own entity, breaking away from MorganStanleyDeanWitter in 2007. The Discover Card competed with the two credit giants in America (VISA and MasterCard) where other credit card programs failed.
The Discover Card Difference
Discover Card was popular for a variety of reasons: for starters, unlike VISA and MasterCard, the Discover Card had no annual fee, the first national credit card to offer that feature. Discover Cards had slightly higher credit limits than its two main competitors, and Discover customers were the first in the nation to be offered a “Cashback Bonus.” Retailers were quick to accept the Discover Card because it offered much lower fees than VISA or MasterCard, meaning that people could use their Discover Card pretty much anywhere they could use their other credit cards.
Discover Card Application
To fill out a Discover Card application, head to the Discover website. Choose one of ten different Discover products, ranging from student cards and “miles cards” to their flagship Discover products, and fill out the application. You’ll need a few pieces of information to fill out your Discover Card application:
- Personal details (name, address, telephone number)
- Employment details (name, address, and phone number of employer)
- Social security number
- Date of birth
- Mother’s maiden name
Applying for a Discover Card is even easier now that they have a large number of pre-approved offers you can look up with your name, social security number, and credit score. Plug the information in and cards for which you are pre-approved pop up. Select your card design and start using your Discover card right away.
Discover Card Benefits
Depending on which Discover credit product you choose, your benefits can be anything from free travel, cash rewards, and even discounts on retail goods through the Discover Shop. There’s a huge array of Discover Card benefits available depending on your credit situation, the kind of credit card user you are, and how much you use your Discover Card.
The flagship Discover Card has a 0% introductory APR on all balance transfers. That means for the first fifteen months of your Discover membership, you pay no interest on transferred credit balances. That makes it easy to transfer from a high-interest card and save cash. Be aware that after those fifteen months, the interest jumps to between 11.99% and 20.99%, depending on your credit.
I used this option of the flagship Discover Card to pay off a store credit card that had just inexplicably jumped from 12% APR to 19.99%. I wasn’t about to pay off a high dollar credit card at that interest rate, so I transferred the balance to my new Discover product and paid the card off in fourteen months, just enough time to avoid paying interest on the total altogether.
That 0% introductory APR also works on all purchases made with your Discover Card for the first 15 months of membership. After that time period expires, the traditional APR of between 11 and 20% kicks in. This is one of the longest 0% introductory offers of any credit card in America. This makes Discover the perfect card for making a single large purchase, like a big-screen TV, and paying it off within 15 months.
As a victim of identity theft, I was pleased to find out about Discover’s $0 Fraud Liability Guarantee. Discover promises that if there are any unauthorized transactions on your card, you aren’t liable for those expenses. This service comes with Fraud Alerts–sign up for Fraud Alerts and get phone calls, emails, or text messages whenever there is suspicious activity with your credit card.
Other Discover Card benefits include Business Card benefits like spending tracking and expense management, the ability to create employee cards with set spending limits and monthly reporting, and quarterly and annual financial statements from Discover to help with your business bookkeeping.
Discover Card Rewards
The Discover Card Rewards program is built on a number of different special offers for Discover members.
Earn Cashback Bonus rewards with every purchase–be sure to read the fine print, as lots of special restrictions apply to this reward. The main Discover Card offers 5% cashback on certain purchases; you can take the cash or you can redeem your cashback bonus for retail goods or gift cards from partner businesses, like Bed, Bath, and Beyond, the Apple store, and other big name retailers.
The special ShopDiscover section of Discover’s website offers 5% to 20% cashback rewards when you shop at select online retailers that have a partnership with Discover.
Discover also offers their customers a cash bonus when they pay on time for a few months in a row, a bonus that can be exchanged for gifts or other rewards. These cash rewards are also available for customers who demonstrate “good credit management” (as determined by the customer service department).
Be sure to pay attention to the categories of goods that are valid for the cashback rewards. Check out the latest Discover Card rewards cashback schedule so you can make purchases in the right categories and earn money back. Cashback is available in categories like gas, travel, restaurants, and grocery stores. Cashback is only paid on amounts spent over $3,000, so if you’re not a big credit spender, you may not be able to take advantage of this deal.
Discover Card is sometimes seen as the redheaded stepchild of credit card companies, mostly because it doesn’t carry the exclusivity of American Express or the name recognition of MasterCard and VISA. Now that Discover card is offering branded bank cards through their acquisition of Pulse and with their excellent rewards and bonuses, expect Discover Card to become a bigger player in the American credit scene. If you’re looking to transfer a high balance or spend more than $3-4,000 a year on your credit card, opening a Discover Card can be a very lucrative credit decision.
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