Discover it Secured Review: Earn Cash Back While You Build Credit


Rating as of Apr. 7, 2019 based on a review of services May 31, 2022.

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  • New/Rebuilding
Poor 500-599
Fair 600-699
Good 700-749
Excellent 750-850
Our Bottom Line:

Discover offers a terrific secured credit card with it’s Discover it® Secured. Provide a refundable security deposit between $200 and $2,500 and begin earning rewards while building your credit profile. Discover will match all of the cash back you’ve earned the first year and will not charge you an annual fee.

Intro APR Purchases N/A
Intro Term Purchases N/A
Intro APR Balance Transfers N/A
Intro Term Balance Transfers N/A
Regular APR N/A
Annual Fee N/A
  • N/A
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Update – This offer is now EXPIRED.

The Discover it® Secured is a secured credit card, and a fantastic one at that.

It offers some perks that other secured credit cards don’t, such as cash back and bonuses at the end of the first year.

It has $0 annual fee and if you’re looking to build your credit for whatever reason, this might be a great way to start.

Best for:

  • Young adults looking to start building credit
  • New credit, people who have never worked with credit before
  • Anyone looking to start over and rebuild poor credit

Discover it® Secured Overview

The Discover it® Secured is a $0 annual fee, high benefits secured credit card that makes building credit not only easy but profitable.

Bear in mind, the Discover it® Secured is an actual credit card. It’s not a prepaid or debit card (a major distinction) and can be used just like any other credit card. You make a refundable deposit upon opening your account and receive a line of credit equal to your deposit, $200 minimum.

Unlike many cards of this type, you will not be flagged as using a secured credit card when using the Discover it® Secured.

The one downside we were able to see from the Discover it® Secured is that the credit limit is a little lower than that of other cards in competition with Discover. But, with so many other features, it might be worth the smaller cap.

Wondering if it’s as good as it sounds? Let’s find out if the Discover it® Secured is the right fit for you.

Discover it® Secured Key Features

  • See Terms balance transfer introductory rate for the first see terms. The regular APR is See Terms
  • 2 percent cashback on restaurant and gas up to $1,000 in combined purchases, 1 percent cashback on all other purchases, end of year dollar-for-dollar match
  • $0 annual fee
  • Free social security number alerts
  • Reviewed after eight months to see if you qualify for an unsecured card
  • Max credit limit of $2,500

Taking a Closer Look At Discover it® Secured

As you can see from the highlights, the Discover it® Secured brings a lot to the table, and that’s being humble.

If you do a side by side comparison of secured credit cards on the market today, you’ll see that none of them offer the rich benefits that the Discover it® Secured does. So, if you are into credit cards with perks, this is the one for you.

For starters, the Discover it® Secured has a cash back rewards program.

What you’ll get from your rewards program is 2 percent cashback on all restaurant and gas station purchases you make using your card (note: There is a limit of $1,000 per quarter in combined purchases that will earn this rate).

That’s a decent rate even for an unsecured credit card, and all the more so for this type.

You’ll also receive 1 percent back on all other purchases made using the Discover it® Secured.

Discover makes this card even more profitable by offering you an end of year bonus.

After your first year of using your Discover it® Secured, you’ll receive a dollar-for-dollar match of all the cash back you’ve earned throughout the year, so you are literally doubling your rewards. That’s an ample offer, to say the least. The cash back can be redeemed in a number of ways including:

  • As gift cards or online certificates through participating vendors
  • To make online purchases through the Discover retailers portal
  • A cash credit to your Discover account
  • As a donation to the charity of your choice (from a selection of charities)
  • As a direct eDeposit into another account

It’s unusual for a secured credit card to even have a rewards program. Giving you such flexible redemption options is even impressive for a standard credit card. The  Discover it® Secured really goes above and beyond with this one.

Discover it® Secured Rates & Fees

Another excellent feature of the Discover it® Secured is the noticeable lack of fees involved. Almost all secured credit cards come with several fees tacked onto the expenses, making it more difficult for someone with limited monthly income to manage. The Discover it® Secured fairs extremely well in the fees department.

  • Annual fees: None
  • Penalty APR: None
  • Foreign transaction fee: None
  • Overlimit fee: None

Personally, we found these fee waivers to be exceedingly generous (especially considering industry standards), in particular, the overlimit and penalty APR fees waiver. It shows that Discover is really doing its best to work with people who are trying to rebuild/build their credit. Other fees that are applicable include:

APR

The Discover it® Secured has a regular See Terms APR based on the prime rate for purchases and balance transfers.

This is high, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t dismiss this card. If you’re using this card right you’ll be paying off your balance in full and on time anyway, which would mean you could totally ignore the high APR.

Balance Transfer Fee

There is a See Terms.

Late Payment Fee

You won’t be charged the late payment fee for the first time you are late making a payment, a nice gesture on Discover’s part. After that, you’ll pay up to $40 depending on the payment due.

Discover it® Secured Rewards & Benefits

We’ve already mentioned the rewards program you’ll get with the Discover it® Secured, but there are other benefits as well such as:

Free Credit Score Checks

Discover it® Secured members can access their free FICO credit score either online or on their monthly statements. Your credit score is shown each month at the bottom of your statement.

Free Social Security Alerts

Upon activation, Discover offers monitoring and alert services for you free of charge. It will monitor your Experian credit report every day and notify you of any changes. Additionally, Discover it® Secured members will receive monitoring of thousands of risky websites each day to see if your personal information is being exposed.

Card Replacement

If you lose your card or if it’s been stolen, Discover will issue you a new one immediately. If you’re within the United States, you’ll get free overnight shipping for your replacement card. Otherwise, international carrier limitations can prevent immediate results, but the card goes out right away, so you’ll get it as soon as conceivably possible. We found this to be a real benefit for anyone who loses/gets their card stolen while overseas for business or on vacation.

Credit Bureau Reporting

Initially, this may sound like a drawback, but with a secured credit card, bureau reporting is a good thing. The reason you are using the Discover it® Secured is to build credit. This won’t happen if the credit bureaus don’t know about it though.

Discover reports your payment activity to the bureaus to show them that you are paying off your credit responsibly and in a timely fashion. What this does is increase your credit score, making you more eligible for better, unsecured lines of credit in the future.

Introductory Balance Transfer Offer

Another big bonus that most secured credit cards don’t offer is an introductory balance transfer rate.

With the Discover it® Secured, you’ll get a See Terms introductory APR on all balance transfers from the first see terms of owning your card. After that, the regular See Terms APR will apply.

So if you want to transfer a balance, you can do it within the first half a year for significantly less. While this is a nice offer and one that is unique in the secured credit card world, this isn’t the best balance transfer offer.

If you are looking to shift your debt over to a single credit card, look for a good balance transfer card.

Mobile App

Another thing we really liked about the Discover it® Secured  is its convenient mobile app.

The app is available for Android and iOS devices, and you can get it for phones, tablets, and watches. The mobile app is done really well, with a sleek interface and easy to use format, unlike a lot of other financial mobile apps out there that are clunky and time-consuming.

With the Discover it® Secured mobile app, you can access your account while on the go, make payments and see payment history, and transfer rewards points. Even more important than convenience is the safety of the mobile app.

Using your mobile device, you can freeze your account on the spot. So, if you ever lose your Discover it® Secured while you are out, you can just tap a button and block anyone who finds it from making unwanted purchases. Additionally, you can get security notifications directly on your wearable or mobile devices using the handy app.

Choose from text or push notification display, whichever you prefer, and get updated about the account activity that is important to you.

Security

Discover is a major corporation that has been around for decades, so it knows how important security is to its customers. The alerts notify you when your private information (social security number) is being discussed or used online or found on any of thousands of suspicious websites.

Additionally, you can put a freeze on your Discover it® Secured if you are suspicious of illegal activities associated with your account or if it’s been stolen or lost. When you put a freeze on your card, Discover will not allow any activity to be taken through the card including cash advances, purchases, or balance transfers.

Conveniently, recurring bills that you’ve put on your Discover it® Secured will continue even if you’ve frozen your account. A freeze can be activated within seconds via the online portal or mobile app to prevent unauthorized purchases.

The Discover it® Secured also comes with $0 fraud liability insurance. This means that if your card details are stolen and used to make purchases, you will not be held accountable for paying for these purchases.

Alerts

As mentioned above, the Discover it® Secured comes with automatic social security alerts, so your identity remains safe (note, these alerts can be disabled if you so choose, but we do not recommend it).

Additionally, you’ll be notified if someone uses your personal details to apply for or open a new credit card, take out a car loan or mortgage, or create any other type of account.

Customer Support

One thing Discover boasts about a lot is its customer service. Not only is it available 24/7 via telephone, live chat, or social media outlets, but the customer service representatives are all based in the US. So you can avoid those frustrating phone calls with overseas reps.

Automatic Review

The Discover it® Secured makes it easy to transition to an unsecured credit card. Eight months after opening your account, Discover will automatically review it to see if you are eligible for an upgrade.

Upgrades will be based on timely monthly payments and other credit factors, so if you want to get approved for an unsecured card, your best bet is to make payments on time each month and never be late.

Why would you want to switch when you already have the Discover it® Secured? Because unsecured credit cards come with better benefits like rich travel rewards programs, more generous cashback opportunities, and low-interest options. Essentially, your goal is to spend and pay back responsibly so that you can boost your credit score and be approved for the unsecured credit card of your choice.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Strong Bonus Rewards — Earn 2% cash back at gas and restaurants, on up to $1,000 spent each month.
  • You Don't Need Perfect Credit — Rebuild your credit with a card that's offered to those with credit problems.
  • Match Your Cash Back — Discover will match the cash back you earn during your first year.
  • Low Fees — This card has no annual fee.

Cons

  • Few Purchase Protection Benefits — Discover no longer offers benefits such as purchase protection, return guarantee, extended product warranty, and price protection.
  • Little Travel Protections — Discover no longer offers travel benefits such as auto rental insurance, flight accident insurance.
  • Not Accepted Everywhere — The Discover card isn't accepted in some countries.

Discover it® Secured vs. Discover it® Student Cash Back

Not sure if the  Discover it® Secured is the right card for you? If you are having doubts, then check out this side by side comparison that puts the Discover it® Secured next to another Discover credit card, the Discover it® Student Cash Back, to see which one fairs better for you.

 Discover it® Secured Discover it® Student Cash Back
Match of cash back at the end of your first yearYesYes
Credit requiredUnder 600600+
Cashback rewards2% cash back on gas and restaurant purchases up to $1,000 in purchases per quarter, 1% on all other purchases5% cash back on rotating categories with quarterly activation up to a $1,500 spend quarterly max, 1% on all other purchases
Annual fee$0$0
Introductory APRSee Terms for first see terms on balance transfers,
See Terms after that
0% APR for 6 months on purchases, 10.99% APR for 6 months on balance transfers , 14.49% - 23.49% Variable after that

As you can see, the Discover it® Student Cash Back certainly has some great benefits that trump the Discover it® Secured. However, the operative comparison section to look at is the credit requirements.

While you can get approved for the Discover it® Secured with bad credit, the Discover it® Student Cash Back requires at least a Fair credit rating. If you have that, and are a student then it’s the preferred option. Otherwise, the Discover it® Secured is probably your best bet.

Other Cards Worth Considering

While the Discover it® Secured is one of the better secured cards on the market, it may not be best for everyone. Here are some other cards with lower security deposits and potentially higher lines of credit.

Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card

Apply Now On the Secure Website

Here’s another secured card from a major card issuer that has no annual fee. The Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card card might require a minimum security deposit of just $49 (amount depends on your credit) in order to receive a $200 credit limit, which is a nice feature.

Capital One offers a full range of cardholder benefits including extended warranty coverage, travel assistance services, and auto rental insurance.

Capital One’s CreditWise tool also allows you to monitor your credit using TransUnion’s VantageScore 3.0 model. And, as with all Capital One cards, there are never any foreign transaction fees.

BankAmericard® Secured Card

This card is also offered by a major bank to help customers build credit. It requires a minimum security deposit of $300, which becomes your credit limit. It also features a free monthly FICO score so you can watch how your credit improves.

After 12 months, your account may be reviewed, and you may qualify for a standard, unsecured card. There’s a $39 annual fee for this card.

Is The Discover It® Secured Right For You?

The Discover it® Secured is arguably the best secured credit card you’ll find anywhere. With no annual fee to worry about, great customer service, and an unprecedented rewards program to sweeten the pot, there doesn’t seem to be any competition.

The low credit amount can be off-putting if you are looking to spend in higher amounts, but remember that this is only for a limited amount of time.

Generally speaking, it pays to opt for a lower spend limit, earn cashback for the money you are spending anyway, and reserve larger purchases for a later date when you’ve saved up and can pay cash.

Anyone looking to build credit will have an easy time doing so with the Discover it® Secured.

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About the author

Total Articles: 35
Jason Steele has been writing about credit cards, travel and personal finance since 2008, and is passionate about using his cards to travel for free. Jason contributes to many of the top personal finance and travel sites and has been widely quoted in mainstream media as a credit card expert. Jason lives in Denver Colorado where he enjoys bicycling, snowboarding and flying. You can follow Jason on Twitter, Facebook or on his website.