As any savvy consumer knows, credit cards are not created equally. Those little features that banks and credit card companies offer can make a big difference.
Discover offers an incentive for new card holders that matches dollar for dollar on their cash rewards for the first year. It offers 5 percent cash back for certain categories that change every quarter and 1 percent for all other purchases. You can redeem your cash back reward at any time for any amount, and your rewards never expire. Discover also offers a unique feature in which you can apply your cash back rewards on a purchase at Amazon.com at checkout.
Chase offers a 1.5 percent cash back award on all purchases. Like Discover, you can redeem your cash back balance at any time and for any amount, and they do not expire. Chase will give you $150 bonus if you spend $500 during the first three months. You can also get a $25 bonus when you sign up your first authorized user, a spouse for example, and make a purchase within the same three months.
Rates and fees
Neither Discover nor Chase charge an annual fee, nor do they assess an over-limit fee. Discover does not charge a foreign transaction fee.
A late payment from your Discover Card will not raise your APR. The first late payment will not result in a fee.
Chase has a zero percent APR for the first 15 months for purchases or balance transfers. After that, it will assess a 14.24 percent, 19.24 percent, or 23.24 percent APR Discover also has a zero percent APR for the first year, then assesses an 11.24 percent to 23.24 percent APR.
Both Discover and Chase offer fraud protection, which means that you would not be liable for an unauthorized purchase. They both offer free overnight shipping for a card replacement. Discover has a unique feature that allows you to freeze your account if your card is lost or stolen. Discover will also alert you by text, phone call, or email when it detects a suspicious purchase. Chase has a chip-based system that provides security when read by a chip card reader.
Discover prints out your credit score on your monthly statement. Discover’s customer service is based in the United States and is available 24/7. You can pay your bill up to midnight Eastern Time on the day it is due.
Chase offers a rental car collision damage waiver feature. This means that when you rent a car with the Chase Freedom card you can decline the insurance the rental car company offers. You will be covered for collision damage or theft for most cars rented in the United States, but the coverage will be secondary to your personal car insurance.
Both cards have some attractive features. Chase would seem to have the edge if you intend to make some major purchases from the start. The rental car insurance option is also attractive. On the other hand, Discover has a service edge with domestic call centers and the instant account suspension feature.