About Discover it Chrome Gas & Restaurant Card
The Discover it Chrome Gas & Restaurant Card is one of Discover’s most lucrative cash rewards credit card.
What makes the card different than all the other credit cards that Discover offers is that you get double the cash rewards on gas and restaurant purchases. So, if you tend to spend more than the average person on gas and eating out, there could be some tremendous value in this card.
However, owning a credit card is not quite as easy as you think. There are things like rewards caps, interest rates, penalty APR’s and rewards exceptions; all of them can cut into a card’s value. Also, remember that the strength of a rewards card is only as strong as your particular financial situation.
So, over the course of this review, we’re going to put the card’s features and benefits into the context of the average American: the person who most likely has multiple credit cards and credit card debt.
Here are the Chrome Gas & Restaurant’s areas we’re going to cover:
- The rewards
- The features
- Rates and fees
- Public opinion
At the end of our review, we’ll list the pros and cons of the card as well as who we think could benefit the most from using it.
Rewards of the Discover it Chrome Gas & Restaurant Card
Discover credit cards focus on cash rewards. What that means is that you earn a little bit of cash with every purchase you make and, whenever you want, you can check that cash balance and apply it to your credit card statement.
Pretty simple stuff; you don’t need to worry about frequent flyer miles or points like you would if you have a travel, airline or hotel rewards credit card.
Discover offers two types of credit cards for people with decent credit:
- 1% on every purchase and 5% on some purchases
- 2% on gas and restaurants, 1% on everything else
As you’ve probably guessed, the Discover it Chrome we’re talking about falls in the second category and is the only card in Discover’s line-up that offers it.
2% on Gas and Restaurants
This is the main reward you get with the card and we’re going to explain exactly how it works.
The 2% represents how much money will be added to your rewards balance whenever you make a purchase. So, for example, if you head to your local restaurant for dinner and spend $50 you’ll earn $0.10.
Those rewards can take up to two billing periods (60 days, more or less) to show up in your balance. Once they’ve arrived, you can redeem them for cash or use them to make purchases through Discover’s online shopping portal or on Amazon.com.
Now, let’s get back to “gas” and “restaurants”. The basic rules of what constitutes a gas purchase or restaurant purchase are as follows:
- Warehouse club/superstore gas station purchases don’t count
- Using NFC or third-party payment apps like PayPal may not get rewards
- Most restaurants and fast-food places count
- Restaurants inside department stores may not count
With these few exceptions, all gas and restaurant purchases should count. Whether or not a purchase gets rewards is based on something called a "merchant code", which is a number that identifies a business as a gas station or a restaurant.
Discover and other credit card networks like Visa and MasterCard don’t control which merchant code a business chooses and, since rewards are based on those codes, this explains why not every gas purchase may get rewards.
Finally, Discover limits the rewards you can earn each quarter to $1,000 in spending. At 2% cash back, that means the most you can earn from your gas and restaurant rewards each quarter is $20.
1% on Everything Else
For all those purchases that aren’t gas or restaurants, you’ll earn 1%. Based on our research, we estimate that the average household can spend around $25,000 a year on their credit card and, assuming you hit the $1,000 limit each quarter, that leaves $21,000 eligible for 1%, or $210 in cash rewards.
But will you max out your $1,000 in gas and restaurant rewards? The Bureau of Labor Statistics says that, in 2016, the average American family spend about $5,000 a year on gas and eating out. So, yes, the averages say you’ll hit that $1,000 each quarter.
When all the numbers are crunched, we believe this card can earn you around $290 a year in cash rewards.
The final reward you get with this card is the famed Discover first-year match. They’ll add up all the cash rewards you earned the first year you own the card and then they’ll match it. So, based on our numbers, we think you can earn $580 in cash rewards your first year.
Benefits of the Discover it Chrome Gas & Restaurant Card
We consider a credit card's benefits those things that aren't dependent on spending a certain amount of money in order to get cash rewards.
One of the main benefits of owning a Discover card is the suite of security features you get. Some of them are commonplace – no liability for fraudulent purchases and the ability to freeze your account with one click.
What makes the card's security benefits unique is that Discover partners with Experian to provide you alerts if your social security number pops up on shady websites used to buy/sell stolen information. You also get notifications if your social is used to open a mortgage, credit card, car loan or other accounts.
You also get a series of benefits related to purchases: extended warranties, price protection, guaranteed returns and several other features that are described in detail in the benefits guide you get with your credit card.
Pro tip: Discover's customer service is all U.S.-based.
Rates and Fees of the Discover it Chrome Gas & Restaurant Card
Among the leading credit card issuers, Discover tends to have the lowest interest rates and fees. If you don't carry a balance on your credit card and never pay late, this isn't a big deal.
However, if you're like the four out of every 10 people with credit cards in the U.S., there's a good chance you have more than $10,000 in credit card debt. APR plays a huge role in that situation.
The Chrome Gas & Restaurant card's APR ranges from 11.99% to 23.99%; the lower rates are reserved for those with the best credit scores (720+). This is an excellent rate compared to other cash back cards:
- Citi Double Cash: 14.74%
- Chase Freedom Unlimited: 15.99%
- Capital One Quicksilver: 13.99%
- American Express Blue Cash Preferred: 14.24%
On an average daily balance of $5,000, a difference of between 2% and 4% in APR results in $100–$200 of extra interest payments every year.
As for late fees, you won't get one the first time you pay late and every subsequent tardy payment gets a $37 fee.
Here's a quick list of other fees and rates:
- Cash advance fee/APR: 5% and 25.99%
- Annual fee: None
- Balance transfer fee: None
- Foreign transaction fee: None
0% APR for 14 Months
The APR's we listed above apply to your account after 14 months. Why? Because the card gives you 14 months of 0% APR on all purchases and balance transfers. Offers like this are commonplace with cash rewards cards.
Pro tip: Balance transfers eligible for 0% have to be made within a certain amount of time from the day you’re approved for your card.
Public Opinion About the Discover it Chrome Gas & Restaurant Card
In general, the Discover it Chrome gets above average reviews from experts. Many point to the card's gas and restaurant rewards as a strength, as well as the host of security features we listed earlier.
As far as customer reviews go, many of them were positive as well.
This body of evidence seems to corroborate the findings of independent consumer research firm J.D. Power, whose research revealed that Discover has been the top card for customer satisfaction for three of the past four years.
Pros and Cons
Based on our research, we believe that the Discover it Chrome is one of the better cash back cards on the market when you consider everything it offers, not just the cash back rate.
The card's low APR will provide hundreds of dollars of relief in interest payments compared to cards with better cash-back rates – Freedom Unlimited (1.5%) & Double Cash (2%). Its partnership with Experian provides an unprecedented level of security for credit card customers.
The drawback to the card, in our opinion, is that the rewards categories are limited to $1,000 in spending every quarter. The standard limit for cash back cards is $1,500 – the Discover it, AmEx Blue Cash Preferred and Chase Freedom operate with this limit.
As for who would enjoy this card the most, we see the evidence pointing to someone who will most likely carry a balance on the card. The Chrome's industry-leading interest rate will be, as we pointed out, a critical factor in reducing interest payments. The 14 months of 0% is also a huge plus for someone looking to transfer balances from another card to this card.
If you aren't totally convinced this card is right for you, take a look at our article about the best cash back rewards credit card. We do some super in-depth research to help you see which cards you should consider and which ones you should avoid.