Discover Bank Review
Thinking of using Discover for you banking needs? We researched every aspect of the company so that you can decide if they're a good for you.
If you love collecting rewards points while using your card every day, then Discover is for you
If you're the kind of modern-day consumer who prefers to use plastic for everyday purchases, you'll love Discover Bank.
And while the company is mainly known for its highly-rated credit cards, we're also taking a look at Discover Bank's suite of online banking options.
Its cash back checking account rewards those who routinely use their debit cards, while its fee-free personal savings account lets you do more with the money you do decide to save.
However, Discover's lack of physical branches and cash-deposit options may turn off those who prefer the traditional banking ways and options.
Why You Should Consider Discover
If you're a frequent spender, you'll love Discover
Despite being one of the largest credit card issuers in the world, Discover has a relatively short history.
The Discover card was first introduced by Sears, which was the largest retailer at the time in 1985.
Discover was then part of Dean Witter and Morgan Stanley until it finally became its own independent company only a decade ago.
Its quick rise to fame is partly due to its marketing efforts: from 1998 to 2007, Discover card owned a billboard in Times Square in New York, just above the flagpole where the ball drops every year.
Over the last few years, Discover Bank diversified its product portfolio and started offering personal banking options, including savings, checking, CDs, and more.
If you're considering Discover, ask yourself the following questions:
- Do you use your debit and/or credit card for everyday purchases?
- Are you comfortable with online-only banking services?
- Are you sick of high fees associated with your banking and credit accounts?
If you answered yes, then Discover is a great option for you.
Why People Love Discover
Discover offers a lot of low-fee, high-earning banking and credit options
Discover Bank is often raved about by both customers and experts alike, especially due to its low-fee, high-earning account options.
Earn money for your debit purchases. Discover will give you 1% cash back on up to $3,000 in debit card purchases each month.
That's an earning potential of up to $30 each month if you use your debit card often enough.
Avoid paying fees on your accounts. If earning cash back on your debit purchases wasn't enough, Discover's checking options come with no monthly maintenance fee or minimum balance requirement.
Also, if you're someone who tends to overdraft, Discover only charges $30 per day on any overdrafts.
Grow your savings with higher interest rates. Discover offers one of the most enticing savings accounts around.
Not only will your money earn 1.30% APY, but the account has no monthly fee, balance requirement, or minimum opening deposit.
Comparing that to average bank accounts which earn a measly .06% APY, and your earnings potential becomes clear.
For instance, a deposit of $2,000 in your Discover account would earn $26 in the first year, while the same money would earn just $1.20 when saved in a typical account.
Get one of the highest rated credit cards. The Discover it is one of the most loved cards by consumers.
That's because it comes with 5% cash back in rotating categories on up to $1,500 per quarter and 1% cash back on all other purchases.
This 5% is higher than most other cash back cards, which average just 1%.
Shop on Discover's online portal. The company's online shopping portal, Discover Deals, offers customers extra savings and cash back on everyday purchases with more than 100 brands.
Categories run the gamut from dining, to travel, to electronics.
Biggest Consumer Complaints
Discover customers complain about the length of time to deposit funds and somewhat unhelpful customer service
The biggest complaints arise in two areas:
Deposits take too long to come through. Multiple customers have complained about the length of time it takes for the funds to appear in their accounts after making a deposit.
"I have three online savings accounts to keep my money FDIC insured. My other accounts transfer the same day if I make the request on a weekday. Discover Bank, however, takes up to 7 days," wrote one customer on mybanktracker.com.
Interest rates can fluctuate. There have been customers who were not pleased with a sort of a bait-and-switch issue with Discover.
Their problem typically arises as follows:
You apply for an account that's marketed at 1.30% APY in November.
You get accepted in December, and in the time between applying and getting approved the rate has changed to 1.15%.
Now you'll receive that lower APY instead of the higher one that was advertised.
Discover competes with other big-name online banking institutions, such as American Express and Capital One
A lot of big-name financial institutions operate in the growing online banking sphere, like American Express and Capital One.
Get more earning potential with Capital One checking. Capital One's 360 Checking account earns users interest each month, from .30-1% APY.
If you don't use your debit card too often, then Capital One may be a more attractive option for you than Discover.
Earn similar interest in savings with AMEX. AMEX Personal Savings, which is also fee-free and has no minimum balance requirement, has an appealing 1.25% APY.
Choose more business options with Capital One. Whereas Discover offers no business banking options, Capital One offers businesses both checking and savings options.
If you like Discover, then here are three other competitive banking and credit options to consider
A big-bank alternative in Barclays. Another big-name bank, Barclays, offers similarly competitive, high-yield savings options with 1.30% APY.
Better loan rates with SoFi. Although a smaller name in the space, SoFi offers more competitive loan rates, ranging from 5-15% APR.
Higher cash-back with Chase Freedom Unlimited. It offers a flat 1.5% cash back rate—among the best in the industry—and it doesn't charge an annual fee.
The Question Everyone is Asking Now:
"Where is Discover card accepted?"
This is the most-asked question about Discover based on internet searches.
In terms of acceptance:
Worry-free acceptance domestically. Discover is one of the most widely accepted cards in the United States - accepted by 9.3 million merchants across the nation.
That's comparable to the 9.5 million merchants that accept Visa and Mastercard.
Limited acceptance when traveling abroad. You won't be able to use your Discover card in quite a number of foreign destinations like in some South American countries and the majority of African countries, as well as South Asia.
Discover offers a map and listing of partner ATM companies across the world.
How Discover Works
Discover offers lucrative banking options in addition to loans
Cash back checking. You can earn 1% cash back every time you swipe your debit card for up to $3,000 in debit card purchases each month.
That means you can actually end up earning up to $30 each month if you use your debit card frequently enough.
On the other hand, Discover's checking options come with no monthly maintenance fee or minimum balance requirement.
Also, if you're someone who tends to overdraft, most big-name banks, like Chase or Bank of America, will charge you more than the $30 per day Discover charges on any overdrafts.
The only downsides are that there are no physical branches and no option to deposit cash.
High-yield savings account. Discover offers one of the most enticing savings accounts around.
Not only will your money earn 1.30% APY, but the account has no monthly fee, balance requirement, or minimum opening deposit.
Compare that to average bank account which typically earn a measly .06% APY, and your earnings potential becomes clear.
On a deposit of $2,000, for instance, your Discover account would earn $26 the first year and just $1.20 with the average account.
Lucrative money market accounts. Discover Bank also offers an online money market account, with relatively high APY.
You'll earn 1.15% on accounts with balances between $1,000 and $99,999, and 1.20% APY on balances over $100,000.
A deposit of $2,500 is required to open a money market account, and you'll pay out a $10 fee during months where your average daily balance falls below $2,500.
You can access funds via check, debit card, or online.
Top rated credit cards. Discover offers seven different credit cards.
Most rewards cards will require you to have excellent credit, with a few customers reporting a score of 645.
Discover's cards include:
Discover it. This rewards card comes with 5% cash back in rotating categories up to $1,500 per quarter; 1% cash back on all other purchases.
To sweeten the pot, Discover matches all of your cash back earned at the end of the first year.
There is no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees; APR varies from 11.99-23.99% variable.
NHL Discover card. This card, while earning the same cash back as the Discover it card, provides 10% savings at NHL.com and 10% off your NHL.TV subscription.
It also has no annual fee and a variable APR from 11.99-23.99% variable.
Discover Gas & Restaurant card. Made for frequent drivers, cardholders earn 2% cash back at gas and restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter, plus 1% cash back on all other purchases.
Discover Miles. This travel rewards card earns unlimited 1.5 miles for every dollar spent on all purchases – from airfare and hotels to groceries and online shopping.
An added incentive offers students $20 cash back each school year for students earning a GPA of 3.0 or higher.
Discover it Student card. Almost identical to the Chrome card, this card comes with all the same features except one: 5% cash back on rotating categories each quarter rather than the Chrome's 2% on gas and restaurants.
Secured Discover card. Despite being a secured card, Discover still offers rewards (a rarity in the secured card space): 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants up to $1,000 each quarter and 1% cash back on all other purchases.
But the card does come with an astronomical purchase APR of 23.99%.
Secured cards are a good way to steadily build up credit if you have none.
In case you need to improve that credit score of yours to qualify to get your security deposit back, a smallpersonal loan just might help.
Student loan options. Discover offers different types of student loans: fixed rate loans with a 6.49-12.99% APR and variable rates ranging from 4.37-11.62% APR.
Loans can be repaid over 15- to 20-year terms and come with no fees of any kind.
What's more, Discover offers a 1% cash-back reward to students who receive a GPA of 3.0 or better with every academic term — something you won't find anywhere else.
Key Digital Services
Discover's website and app are appealing because they allow complete control from your phone
Discover's website and mobile app are cleanly designed and easy to navigate, allowing customers to seamlessly transfer funds, pay bills, and deposit checks.
Aside from those features, Discover offers:
Shopping at your fingertips. Through the company's online shopping portal, Discover Deals, customers get extra savings and cash back on everyday purchases from more than 100 brands.
Product categories run the gamut from dining, to travel, to electronics.
Complete mobile banking. Not only can you deposit checks with your mobile phone, you can also save your card details in Google Pay, allowing you to pay for purchases without taking the card out of your wallet at retailers including McDonald's, Macy's, CVS, Walgreens, Home Depot, Subway, and Petco.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
How do I get a Discover credit card?
On Discover's website, find the card you want to apply for and click the "Apply Now" button.
Fill out the basic information (such as name and date).
The next screen will ask for your address, date of birth, Social Security number, employment status, total gross income, total available assets, monthly housing payment, email address, and primary phone number.
Submit your form.
How do I close my Discover account?
Closing an account or canceling a credit card is simple: just call the customer service number at 1-800-DISCOVER.
While you can close an account without paying off your entire balance, you'll still be required to make payments after closing it.
How do I make payments on my Discover card balance?
Pay your balance by transferring funds from your bank account, writing a check, or by transferring your balance to another card that will accept transfers from Discover.
Which credit bureaus does Discover report to?
Discover reports to all of the credit bureaus.
What credit score do I need for a Discover student loan?
Either you or a co-signer need a FICO score of at least 660, with an average acceptance of 750.
Will I be charged for using an ATM?
Discover will not charge you a fee for using your debit card at any ATM.
How long does it take to get a decision on a Discover loan?
You could receive a decision on the same day as long as your application is complete and there is no missing information.
Once your application is approved and you accept the loan terms, funds can be sent to you as early as the next business day.
What information do I need when applying for a Discover loan?
When applying for a loan, gather all income, employment, and bank account details.
If you like to be rewarded for using your cards and the opportunity to earn more interest on savings, you'll love Discover
Discover is the perfect option for anyone who shops often and uses their debit and/or credit cards for almost every purchase.
Its cash back rewards — both on checking and credit accounts —allow for a high-earning potential each month.
The high-yield, low-fee savings accounts means you can grow a small nest egg in a shorter amount of time than with other banks.
Do you use Discover?
How has Discover worked out for you?
Let us know in the comments below.