Table of Contents
In this article, you will learn about the Discover card, Is Discover Card Really a Joke? or worth it all over the world?
Discover card is the fourth largest credit card network in the United States, behind Visa, Mastercard, and American Express. It was introduced in 1986 as a product of Discover Financial Services. Here are some key facts about Discover card:
- Accepted at over 99% of places in the U.S. that take credit cards. However, less widely accepted internationally.
- Offers cashback rewards on purchases.
- Known for excellent customer service.
- Tend to have higher than average APRs compared to competitors.
- No annual fee.
Now let’s dive deeper into why some people make jokes about Discover card and whether it deserves the mockery.
Is Discover Card Really a Joke? 5 Reasons
Reason 1: Limited Acceptance Internationally
One of the most common criticisms of the Discover card is that it has very limited acceptance internationally compared to Visa and Mastercard. While Discover claims it’s accepted in over 190 countries, cardholders may find that it’s frequently declined when traveling abroad.
This spotty international acceptance leaves travelers having to rely on backup cards. The inconvenience of pulling out another credit card can understandably be a source of frustration and the butt of jokes for regular international travelers.
However, for those who mostly use credit cards domestically, the international acceptance rates may not be a major issue. But it’s certainly something to consider if you travel abroad frequently.
Reason 2: Higher Than Average APRs
Another reason the Discover card gets critiqued is that it tends to have higher APRs compared to competitors. Currently, the average APR on purchases for Discover cards is around 24.74%, which is noticeably higher than the average credit card APR of 20.71%.
For cardholders who routinely carry balances on their credit cards, those few extra percentage points of APR can really add up. No one likes paying more interest than they have to.
However, for those who pay off balances in full each month, the higher APRs are irrelevant and not a reason to poke fun at Discover. But for revolvers, the noticeably higher rates are hard to ignore.
Reason 3: Lack of Prestige and Status
Another perception issue for Discover is that it lacks some of the prestige and status of American Express. Among credit card users, there’s often a “pecking order” when it comes to prestige. Typically American Express Black card is viewed as the most prestigious, followed by Platinum, and then standard American Express cards. Visa and Mastercard are more ubiquitously accepted but lack status symbol prestige.
Where does Discover rank? Unfortunately, near the bottom for many cardholders. It doesn’t have the luxury prestige of American Express or the worldwide ubiquity of Visa and Mastercard. Among credit card snobs, it’s sometimes viewed as the cheap, basic, no-frills option.
For practical spenders, this lack of prestige isn’t an issue. But for those wanting status symbol cards to impress friends or climb the social ladder, the lack of cachet to Discover’s branding leads to some ragging. Great post to read How to Add Keystone Species.
Reason 4: Lack of Rewards Flexibility
Many comedians point out that Discover’s cashback rewards, while generous, lack flexibility compared to competitors. Discover offers 5% cashback in rotating quarterly categories and 1% back on other purchases. However, rewards must be redeemed as cash.
Compare this to Chase cards that let users redeem Ultimate Rewards points for cash, travel, gift cards, and more. This increased flexibility adds significant value to rewards programs.
Since Discover forces users to take rewards as cash statement credits, it feels restrictive and joke-worthy to cardholders desiring more redemption options. The simplicity comes at the cost of flexibility.
Reason 5: Annoying Marketing and Branding
Another complaint lodged frequently against Discover is regarding its marketing and branding efforts. Discover commercials tend to feature corny gimmicks, bad acting, and annoying jingles. Unlike classier competitors such as American Express, Discover ads often come across as loud, low-brow, and worthy of ridicule.
Discover’s incessant cross-promotions are another marketing tactic that grates customers. It feels like you can’t log in to your account without being bombarded with ads to open another Discover card or account. The relentless upselling leads many to joke that Discover acts more like a telemarketer than a prestigious card issuer.
For consumers who prefer sophisticated marketing, Discover’s heavy-handed advertising and branding approaches leave much to be desired and are ripe for mockery.
Does Discover Deserve the Hate?
Now that we’ve explored some leading theories on why Discover garners so much hate, let’s evaluate if the critiques are warranted or if the card gets an unfair bad rap.
Pros Show It Offers Legitimate Value
- Excellent cash-back rewards program
- Strong U.S. acceptance rate on par with Visa/Mastercard
- Top-notch customer service
- No annual fee
Cons Explain the Criticisms
- Subpar prestige and branding
- Annoying marketing and promotions
- Higher APRs than competitors
- Lack of international acceptance
- Less flexible rewards program
Based on the pros and cons, Discover appears to be a legitimately good card for domestic spenders who pay balances monthly and value simplicity and cashback. However, the cons make clear why it receives critiques from international travelers, balance carriers, and those desiring status symbols or flexible rewards.
In other words, for the right users, it provides strong value, but for others, its limitations are deal breakers. Mockery ensues when consumers use the card in ways not befitting its strengths. But when used properly, it deserves more respect than many give it.
People also ask about
Discover card’s reputation elicits many questions and misconceptions. Let’s address the most frequent ones.
Is a Discover card accepted by Amazon?
Yes, Amazon happily accepts Discover cards. There are no issues using a Discover card for Amazon purchases.
Does Costco accept Discover cards?
Unfortunately, Costco does not accept Discover cards at this time. Only Visa cards are accepted at Costco warehouses currently.
Is Discover going out of business?
Despite criticisms, there are no signs Discover is going bankrupt or closing. The company remains profitable, maintains strong credit card market share, and is rated A- by credit rating agencies.
Does Discover report to credit bureaus?
Yes, Discover Card reports your payment history, credit utilization, and other account activity to all three major credit bureaus just like other issuers. They don’t skimp on credit bureau reporting.
Are Discover cards good for credit building?
Discover cards can be excellent for building credit history thanks to responsible credit reporting. Discover also offers secured cards for those working to establish credit.
The right credit card depends on each consumer’s spending habits and goals. Before joining in the joking about Discover, take time to analyze your credit card needs. For some, Discover’s benefits may outweigh its drawbacks. Judge cards on their merits rather than simply on reputation.
And if you feel Discover misses the mark for your situation, choose an alternative that better fits your lifestyle. With a bit of research, you can find the ideal card to provide value without being the punchline of jokes. The world of credit cards offers abundant options beyond Discover to meet your financial needs.