Discover Cashback Match: How Does It Work?

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Discover Cashback Match is a perk for new Discover it Cash Back card members and Discover it Chrome cardholders that doubles a new cardholder’s cash-back rewards during their first year of card membership. Whereas some credit cards offer an all-or-nothing bonus to new cardholders who spend a minimum using the card during a given introductory period, Discover makes it possible for all new cardholders to earn a bonus. With Discover Cashback Match, there are no minimum purchase requirements, and a new cardholder has 12 months to earn matched rewards.

cardholders have the opportunity to earn 5% cash back on bonus rewards category purchases each quarter and 1% cash back on all other purchases. Discover awards Chrome cardholders with 2% cash back on eligible restaurant and gas purchases and 1% cash back on all other purchases. 

With either card’s rewards program, a new Discover cardholder can earn a considerable cash-back match after their first year by using their card for everyday purchases. Here is what potential and new Discover cardholders should know about how Discover Cashback Match works and how rewards points are earned to maximize the first year’s cash-back match.

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How Does Discover Cashback Match Work?

Discover Cashback Match is available to every new Discover it Cash Back cardholder and Discover it Chrome cardholder, including those with a Discover it Student Cash Back, Secured Credit, Student Chrome card and others. 

Discover matches all the cash-back rewards a new cardholder earns from the day an account is approved through the first 365 days or 12 consecutive billing periods, whichever is longer. Discover does not limit the Cashback Match that a cardholder can earn. If a cardholder earns $300 in cash back during the first year after account opening, Discover will reward the cardholder with an additional $300, giving the cardholder a total of $600 cash back.

At the end of the first year, Discover will add the Cashback Match to the cardholder’s cash-back balance within two billing periods. Cashback Match rewards never expire and can be redeemed just as other earned cash back.

Cashback Match is a one-time bonus. Discover does not match any rewards processed after the initial 12-month period or rewards transferred from other Discover accounts.

How To Earn Discover Cash Back Rewards

Discover it Cash Back cardholders and Discover it Chrome cardholders earn 1% cash back on all purchases and can earn higher cash-back rewards as follows:

  • Each quarter, Chrome cardholders can earn 2% cash back on eligible gas and restaurant purchases on up to $1,000 in combined purchases.
    • Once the $1,000 purchase limit is reached, cardholders earn 1% cash back on additional gas and restaurant purchases.
  • Discover it Cash Back cardholders can earn 5% cash back on eligible bonus category purchases each quarter, combined up to $1,500.
    • Bonus purchase categories vary each quarter and must be activated for cardholders to earn the 5% cash back and not the standard 1%.
    • Any quarterly bonus category purchases that exceed the $1,500 purchase limit earn 1% cash back.
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Discover it Cash Back Bonus Categories for 2022

The following chart shows Discover’s 5% bonus categories for 2022. Discover it cardholders must activate the categories each quarter to receive the 5% cash back on eligible bonus purchases.

Quarter 5% Cash-Back Bonus Categories
January 1 to March 31 Fitness club and gym memberships and grocery stores, excluding Walmart and Target purchases
April 1 to June 30 Target purchases and eligible gas station purchases
July 1 to September 30 PayPal and restaurant purchases, including restaurant delivery service purchases
October 1 to December 31 and digital wallet purchases, including Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay, and Garmin Pay

Ways To Redeem Discover Cashback Match Rewards

A Discover cardholder can redeem cash-back rewards, including matched rewards, in the following ways:

  • As a statement credit
  • In the form of an electronic deposit into an eligible designated checking or savings account
  • Toward purchases at select merchants, such as Amazon and PayPal
  • Toward gift card purchases
  • As a donation to select charities.

Discover’s Introductory Offer for New Cardholders

New Discover it Cash Back cardholders and Discover it Chrome cardholders get an additional introductory perk beyond the Discover Cashback Match. Discover provides an attractive introductory bonus offer of a 0% APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers. Both cards have a APR after the introductory 0% APR ends, which is determined by the cardholder’s creditworthiness.

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Neither card has an annual fee, but both have a 3% fee for balance transfers. Balance transfers do not earn cash-back rewards and therefore do not count towards the Cashback Match.


Discover’s 0% APR introductory purchase offer means a cardholder does not have to worry about accumulating interest charges during the first 15 months of card use. However, neither credit card rewards nor a 0% APR should be an incentive to overspend, as after the first 15 months, the rates are .

The best way for a new cardholder to maximize their cash-back rewards and earn the Discover Cashback Match is to use the card for as many monthly purchases as possible up to the amount they can pay in full each month. Carrying a high balance past the initial APR introductory period means a cardholder could negate any cash-back rewards earned with the interest earned by carrying a balance at the higher APR rates. 

Discover Cashback Match FAQ

Here are quick answers to common questions about Discover Cashback Match.
  • Does Discover really match cash back every year?
    • Discover does not match cash-back rewards every year. It only matches cash back earned during the first 12 months after opening a new account. After the first year, Discover pays cash-back rewards as stated in its card terms but does not match any cash-back rewards earned.
  • How is Discover cash back calculated?
    • For the Discover it Cash Back Rewards card, Discover calculates cash back by multiplying eligible bonus category purchases by 5% and all other eligible purchases by 1%. Cardholders must activate the quarterly bonus categories for Discover to calculate those purchases at 5% rather than 1%. Discover does have a purchase limit for quarterly bonus purchases that earn 5%. Any bonus category purchases over the limit are calculated at 1%.

Rates are subject to change; unless otherwise noted, rates are updated periodically. All other information on accounts is accurate as of Aug. 26, 2022.

Editorial Note: This content is not provided by any entity covered in this article. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, ratings or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author alone and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any entity named in this article.

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About the Author

Andrea Norris has been in the web publishing business for the past 15 years both as a content contributor and a copy editor specializing in personal finance, frugal living, home and auto topics. She writes both short and long-form content and is well-practiced in SEO keyword research and writing.
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