Discover Card (Credit Score Needed + Top 5 Discover it® Cards)

By: Brittney Mayer Updated: 8/13/2018

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Finding the right credit card in the sea of options can be as difficult as finding a specific fish in the ocean, and without the fun Finding Nemo hi-jinks. In fact, with so many cards on the market seeming to offer the same rewards, it can feel more like finding Nemo — in a tank of clown fish.

At the end of the day, picking the best credit card from the group comes down to selecting an issuer with great customer service and helpful features that can actually help make your credit card experience an enjoyable one.

With awards for customer service three years running, the Discover it® line is an obvious choice for great credit cards. With their popular FICO credit score tracking feature and awesome rewards, there’s a Discover card perfect for just about anyone.

Requirements | Compare & Apply (5) | Other Options | Reconsideration

Credit Score Needed, Plus Other Requirements

Your credit score is, and will likely remain, an important part of the credit card approval process. That said, advances in data collection and analysis are starting to have an impact on how companies determine credit risk. Your overall credit profile is becoming just as important as your numerical score.

Sources Suggest a Minimum 648 FICO Score

Most card companies don’t actually have a hard and fast minimum score for approval. That said, if you have a low credit score (<620 FICO), you’ll likely need an issuer that deals specifically with subprime consumers.

For Discover it® cards, most reports indicate a FICO score between 680 and 720 should get you a good offer. One myFICO user reports being approved with a credit score of 648, suggesting Discover may have more flexible credit score requirements.

Of all the Discover cards, however, the Discover it® Secured is specifically designed as a credit-building card, making it an option for those with less-than-perfect credit. Keep in mind you’ll need to make a security deposit to be approved; your credit limit will be equal to the size of your deposit.

Good Overall Credit Profile

Perhaps because their credit score requirements are so flexible, Discover is known to look closely at your overall credit profile — not just your credit score. If you have a history of missed payments, have opened too many recent accounts, or carry too much of a balance on your cards, you could be rejected. Other credit red flags, such as recent  bankruptcy discharges, may also be cause for rejection.

Positive History with Discover

If you already have a Discover card, or have had one in the past, you should consider your relationship with Discover — because they will. If you haven’t been paying your bill on time, had a delinquent Discover account in the past, or have otherwise soured your relationship, you’ll likely be rejected for additional Discover cards.

Compare Discover it® Cards & Apply Online

The specific Discover card that’s right for you will depend on your specific needs, but they’ll all offer the same great benefits, like free FICO credit score tracking and no annual fee.

For Cash Back

Offering one of the largest cashback percentages, the Discover it® Cash Back card will net you 5% cashback in rotating categories each quarter, including places like department stores or Amazon.

Bonus cashback is limited to $1,500 each quarter. Click here to see the current Discover bonus rewards calendar.

For Travel Rewards

For the avid traveler, or just the odd vacation-goer, miles can be a great way to make your journey more affordable. The Discover it® Miles card offers an unlimited 1.5 miles for every dollar spent, and can be redeemed without worrying about blackout dates.

While you can cover your airfare with miles, some airlines may require other fees, so be prepared to spend a little out of pocket to cover miscellaneous costs.

For Balance Transfers

It’s never a good idea to carry debt, but sometimes it’s unavoidable. To take the interest-rate sting out of carrying a credit card balance, the Discover it® Balance Transfer offers a 0% APR on balance transfers for the first 18 months (transfer fee will apply).

Make sure to pay your balance before the end of your offer term to avoid paying interest.

For Everyday Use

For the everyday meals and tank fill-ups, the best card is the Discover it® chrome, which comes with bonus cashback rewards for restaurants and gas station purchases.

Unlike the rotating categories, you don’t need to sign up to activate your bonus rewards for this card. Bonus rewards will have quarterly limits.

For Students

Getting started on the path to a good credit history should begin early. To start building good credit, try the Discover it® Student chrome, which offers student-centric perks such as an annual statement credit for getting good grades.

Using your student credit card responsibly is the key to building a positive credit history. Pay the balance in full and on time every month.

If You Didn’t Get Approved Due to a Low Credit Score

If you were rejected for a Discover credit card because of a low credit score or poor credit history, your best option is to take time to rebuild your credit before reapplying. The appropriate method for building your credit will depend on your particular circumstances, but here are a few general tips:

  • Pay off existing debt balances to lower your utilization rate
  • Avoid late fees or missed payments by automating bills
  • Check your credit report regularly and remove errors

Rebuilding good credit can take time, so be patient. Your diligence will be rewarded with better spending limits and interest rates in the future.

Try Reconsideration as a Last Resort

In the event you are rejected due to inaccurate or erroneous information, you can try calling Discover and asking for a re-evaluation of your application. Use the number below to reach Discover customer service:

1-800-347-2683

Though not guaranteed to work, by any means, explaining your situation to a person who can look at your report firsthand may get you an approval. Remember to remain polite during the call, though, or you’ll likely be stuck fishing for another card.

Editorial Note: Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

About the Author

Brittney Mayer

Brittney Mayer is a contributing editor for CardRates.com, where she uses her extensive research background to write comprehensive consumer guides and in-depth company profiles. Leveraging her vast knowledge of the financial industry, Brittney’s work can be found on websites such as the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, US News & World Report, CreditRepair.com, Lexington Law, BadCredit.org, and CreditCards.com, among others. Brittney specializes in translating complex financial jargon and ideas into readable, actionable advice on lending best practices.