Discover it® - Double Cash Back your first year - 12 Month APR Offer and Discover it® - Double Cash Back your first year - 18 Month Balance Transfer Offer are 2 different versions of the popular Discover it® cash back credit card issued by Discover Financial Services. These are some of my favorite credit cards when it comes to 0% intro APR offers on purchases and balance transfers, in addition to their great cash rewards program.

As rewards cards, they let you earn cash back in return for your spending, so it's really like having a discount card with you. The only real difference between the two cards is that Discover it® - Double Cash Back your first year - 12 Month APR Offer comes with a 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 12 months with a (11.24% - 23.24% variable purchase APR) thereafter, while Discover it® - Double Cash Back your first year - 18 Month Balance Transfer Offer gives you 0% intro APR for 18 months on balance transfers and 0% intro APR for 6 months on purchases followed by the regular 11.24% - 23.24% variable purchase APR. Here I will go over the benefits that these cards give you and explain how to use this card to earn cash back on your purchases.

First, a look at what both cards have in common:

No annual fee. Enjoy the cash back rewards and other exclusive cardholder benefits of this card at no charge at all.

Double Cashback. As a new cardmember you will enjoy a bonus offer that will double all the cash back you've earned in your first year automatically! That bonus can help you earn a lot of cash back because if you earn $101 cash back in your first year as a cardholder, Discover will double it to $202 automatically. Just note that this bonus is for new cardmembers only.

Earn 5% cash back in categories that change each quarter. This is another attractive benefit this card will offer you. It can help you save a lot of money by giving you 5% cash back for purchases you make in categories that change every quarter. Important note: You must sign up (it's free and you can do it online or over the phone) to earn 5%! You earn this 5% up to the quarterly maximum for spending on purchases in the quarterly categories, and if you spend more than the quarterly maximum for each 5% program, the excess will automatically earn 1% cash back.

Here are the 5% cash back categories for the first quarter of 2016:

- Jan-March: Gas and ground transportation. You will earn 5% cash back on a maximum of $1,500 spent in these categories (which equals $75) after signing up for the 5% cash back bonus! Any excess will earn you 1% cash back.

Receive 1% cash back on all other purchases. You will earn 1% cash back on all the rest of your purchases. You also earn this 1% on any purchases in the 5% cash back categories after you reach the quarterly maximum spending cap.

Receive extra cash back on purchases made through Discover Deals. You can earn additional cash back and receive instant discounts when you purchase deals from retailers through Discover Deals. This is one of the best cash back deals portals around, as you can get deals right on your phone via the Discover app and redeem them at the counter in brick-and-mortar retail locations. You can also use the Discover Deals online portal to earn cash back at online stores.

Redeem Cashback Bonus cash back for any amount, any time. Cashback Bonus can be redeemed for gift cards, merchandise, or cold hard cash in the form of an electronic deposit to your bank account or a statement credit.

Get at least $5 to $20 extra with Gift Cards and eCertificates. You can boost the value of your Cashback Bonus when redeeming for gift certificates from participating retailers.

Use your Cashback Bonus to pay directly at Amazon.com when you link your account to it. What's great about this is that you can use any amount, and there is no minimum spending required! Since I frequently shop at Amazon.com, I find this to be a great tie-up.

Earn rewards for paying your monthly household bills with your card. Set up automatic recurring payments for your cable, cell phone, insurance, internet (etc.) on this card, and you earn Cashback Bonus on the bills you already pay!

Free FICO® credit score on monthly statements, online and in the mobile app. This is a new perk Discover offers, in which you can track your recent FICO® credit score every month for free on your monthly statement or online in one easy-to-read chart. This will help you keep track of your credit score for free!

Your Discover purchases are monitored. Your account is monitored every day, and you’ll be alerted by text, email or phone if any unusual purchases are made. You will never be responsible for unauthorized purchases on your Discover card.

Freeze ItSM. Use this on/off switch to prevent any new purchases, cash advances or balance transfers from being made using your misplaced card. You can freeze or unfreeze your card account in a few seconds on the website or mobile app. This is a nice perk that gives you a lot of peace of mind, as anytime your card is missing you can just freeze your account until you find it.

No foreign transaction fee. When you use this card outside the U.S. or when you pay in a different currency, you won't be charged any foreign transaction fee, a fee that most other credit cards will charge you when making purchases in a foreign currency.

No penalty APR. With other credit cards in the U.S., your APR gets bumped up to a ridiculous rate when you don't pay on time, in addition to a late fee. But with this card, your APR won't be increased at all when you pay late.

100% U.S.-based call center service. They will answer your call in seconds, and you get to speak to a real person no matter what time of day or night.

Balance transfer fee of 3%. This is a relatively low balance transfer fee you have to pay when transferring your balance from another credit card account to this account.

$0 Fraud Liability Guarantee. If there are any unauthorized transactions on your Discover it card, you won't have to pay a single cent for it!

No sign-up bonus cash back. Unlike some other credit cards, this card doesn't let you earn a bonus when making your first purchase or when spending a certain amount on purchases within the first few months.

Now let's have a look at the differences between these two cards:

Discover it® - Double Cash Back your first year - 12 Month APR Offer:

0% introductory APR on balance transfers for 12 months. For the first 12 months, you will enjoy a 0% introductory APR on all balance transfers. This is a good deal if you plan to take advantage of the intro 0% balance transfer by transferring your high-interest credit card debt or store card debt to this new card account, so that you pay ZERO interest on your transferred balance for 12 months! This allows you to pay off your existing debt faster as you stop paying interest on it. After the 12 months, 11.24% - 23.24% variable purchase APR, depending on your credit score, will apply. Make sure you can pay off all your debts within the 12 months so that you don't incur the higher non-promotional interest rates. Balance transfer fee is 3% of each transferred balance.

0% introductory APR on all your purchases for 12 months. You will also enjoy the benefit of having a 0% introductory APR on all your purchases for 12 months, after that you will have to pay 11.24% - 23.24% variable purchase APR depending on your credit score. This 12-month period of 0% intro APR on purchases is a very good offer as it is one of the longest offered by credit card companies in the US. So if you are thinking of buying a big ticket item, and have 12 months to pay it off interest-free, you'll make the most out of this card.

Discover it® - Double Cash Back your first year - 18 Month Balance Transfer Offer:

0% introductory APR on balance transfers for 18 months. If you want a longer intro APR period for balance transfers then this card might be the better choice. You get 0% intro APR for 18 months on balance transfers, followed by 11.24% - 23.24% variable purchase APR, depending on your credit score. That means you will have a year and a half to pay off your balance without a high APR. A 3% fee applies to each balance transferred.

0% introductory APR on all your purchases for 6 months. This card has 0% intro APR on purchases for 6 months, followed by 11.24% - 23.24% variable purchase APR (depending on your credit score) for purchases. If you plan to use your card to make a big purchase, then the Discover it® - Double Cash Back your first year - 12 Month APR Offer might be a better option as it gives you a longer intro APR for purchases.

If you would like to get 12 months of 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers as well as earn great cash back on your purchases, you should consider getting Discover it® - Double Cash Back your first year - 12 Month APR Offer. It is a solid cash back card to have since you can save quite a lot of money through rewards, and redemption is easy through the many different options.

The Discover it® - Double Cash Back your first year - 18 Month Balance Transfer Offer is a better card for balance transfers, since you get 0% intro APR for balance transfers for the first 18 months, but it gives you a much shorter intro APR period of 6 months for purchases. You might want to make a note on your calendar when the 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers end, so that you can budget your spending in advance and avoid the 11.24% - 23.24% variable purchase APR for balance transfers and purchases.

Both versions of this card are on our best rated cash back cards list as you can get 5% cash back on different categories that change every quarter after you sign up for 5%, up to a quarterly maximum spent on purchases in these quarterly changing categories. You might also want to consider carrying a few different cash back cards so as to maximize your rewards when a particular card has a higher reward on a certain category. These Discover cards don't charge any foreign transaction fee or any penalty APR, which makes them stand out from other cash back cards on the market. Because of all these features, we highly recommend both the Discover it® - Double Cash Back your first year - 12 Month APR Offer and the Discover it® - Double Cash Back your first year - 18 Month Balance Transfer Offer.

Click Apply Now to see rates, rewards, FICO® Credit Score terms & other information.

Click here to go to the secure Discover website and apply for Discover it® - Double Cash Back your first year - 12 Month APR Offer.

Click here to go to the secure Discover website and apply for Discover it® - Double Cash Back your first year - 18 Month Balance Transfer Offer.




If you prefer a Visa cash back card, you might want to consider Chase Freedom® (read our review of Chase Freedom®) which lets you earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening. It also gives you a minimum of 1% unlimited cash back on all purchases and 5% cash back on purchases in quarterly rotating categories, up to $1,500 in combined purchases per quarter.

Ivan Daniel is a writer at GET.com a lifestyle and personal finance website. Email: ivan.daniel@get.com.

Editorial Disclosure: Any personal views and opinions expressed by the author in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint of GET.com. The editorial content on this page is not provided by any of the companies mentioned, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of the companies mentioned, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.