All You Need to Know About Balance Transfers With Discover

Using a Discover credit card with a promo APR offer on balance transfers can lead to savings if you handle your finances right, although your balance transfer request remains subject to approval.

Advertising & Editorial DisclosureLast Updated: 10/18/2022
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Last Updated: 10/18/2022

If you get a Discover it® balance transfer credit card with a 0% APR offer, you pay no interest on transferred balances for a fixed time period. While transferring debt from cards issued by other creditors is possible, you may also be able to transfer outstanding balances from loans if you are issued balance transfer checks that can be mailed to your creditors.

You can submit your Discover balance transfer request online or over the phone. There is no guarantee of approval because Discover takes several different factors into account. If you don’t find success with your request, you may look at other options, such as personal loans and debt management plans.

Carrying out a Discover balance transfer can help you consolidate debt from multiple cards so that you have fewer payments to make each month. While a balance transfer may positively impact your credit score, it also has the potential to do the opposite.

On This Page:
MoneyGeek’s Takeaways

smartphone

You may submit your Discover balance transfer request online or over the phone.

noAnnualFee

The intro 0% APR on balance transfers stays in place for the first 15 months.

balanceTransfer

0% APR applies on balances transferred within a predetermined time period.

How Does a Discover Balance Transfer Work?

First, you need to choose from the different Discover it® balance transfer credit cards on offer. Discover lets you transfer any amount up to your card’s available limit for transfers. But keep in mind that this amount must include any balance transfer fees you incur. Submitting a balance transfer request — online or over the phone — requires you to provide the account number you wish to transfer a balance from, the creditor’s name, and the desired transfer amount.

Discover processes most balance transfers within four days. New cardholders must wait an additional 14 days before the process can begin.

Know How Much You Owe

Knowing how much you owe toward different credit cards and other forms of debt is important because it helps determine which debts to pay off first. Ideally, you should prioritize transferring and paying off debt with high interest charges. Discover does not have any preset guidelines surrounding how much money you may transfer. Still, it mentions that your total balance transfer limit might be lower than your total credit limit.

Choose a Balance Transfer Credit Card

If you don’t have a Discover balance transfer card, you may consider applying for one. Choosing a suitable card requires you to look at different factors. Discover’s intro APR offers on balance transfers are largely the same across the different cards.

  • This is an icon

    0% introductory APR

    No matter which 0% APR balance transfer card you get from Discover, you pay no interest charges on the balances you transfer for a predetermined window of time. This enables you to save on interest charges — all the more so if you pay off the entire amount you transfer before the promotional period ends. If your account has any outstanding balance from your balance transfer after this period, you need to start paying interest charges.

  • This is an icon

    Long introductory APR

    This aspect usually requires your attention because it affects how long you have to pay off the transferred balance before it starts accruing interest charges. In the case of Discover, the intro 0% APR offer on balance transfers lasts for 15 months with all applicable cards.

  • This is an icon

    Low ongoing APR

    You typically need to pay attention to this aspect if you feel you will need more time to repay your debt than made available through cards with 0% APR offers. This is because if you get a low APR card, the same low APR applies to your transferred balance until you pay it off completely. Some of the Discover cards that come with the lowest possible regular APRs include the Discover it® Cash Back Credit Card, the Discover it® Miles Credit Card and the Discover it® Gas & Restaurants Credit Card. All three come with intro 0% APR offers on balance transfers.

  • This is an icon

    Low or no balance transfer fees

    You’ll have no luck finding $0 transfer fee credit cards from Discover. Depending on when you carry out a balance transfer, you’ll need to pay either 3% or 5% of the amount you transfer as balance transfer fees.

Since the 0% APR balance transfer offers that come with different Discover it® credit cards are largely the same, select a card after accounting for other factors such as rewards and benefits. You may also consider getting a balance transfer card with a 0% APR offer on purchases.

Request a Balance Transfer

You may submit your balance transfer request via Discover’s website or mobile app. To submit your request over the phone, you need to call the Discover card contact number on the back of your card. If you’re eligible, you might benefit through your card’s 0% or low APR offer on balance transfers.

Whether you submit your request online or over the phone, the details you must provide are the same. These include the account numbers you want to transfer balances from, the name of the creditors in question and the amounts you wish to transfer. In most cases, Discover processes balance transfers within four days.

Requesting a balance transfer might work well for you if you wish to save on interest charges or if you want to consolidate debt from multiple credit cards or other forms of credit.

Prepare a Payment Schedule

Preparing a payment schedule if you use a 0% APR balance transfer offer increases the likelihood of you being able to pay off the balance you transfer in a timely manner. Ideally, you should pay off the entire balance before the promo period ends to avoid paying interest charges. If this is not possible, you should aim to pay off as much as possible because any outstanding balance at the end of the promo period will start accruing interest charges at the card’s regular APR for balance transfers.

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You need to account for the balance transfer fees that will add to the total amount. For instance, if you transfer $12,000 and need to pay a 3% balance transfer fee, your card’s outstanding balance at the start would be $12,360, provided there are no other balances on the card.

Discover’s Best Balance Transfer Credit Cards

You get to do more with your Discover it® balance transfer credit card than transfer money from other cards. For instance, the card you get might come with cash back or reward miles.

  • Credit Card Name
    Balance Transfer Fee
    Introductory APR
    Introductory Period
    Ongoing APR
    Perks
  • Discover it®
    Cash Back
    Credit Card

    3% on
    balances
    transferred
    within a given
    time frame;
    up to 5%
    thereafter

    0%

    15 months

    Variable APR
    12.24% to
    23.24%

    • Up to 5%
      cash back on
      bonus
      categories
    • No annual
      fees
  • Discover it®
    Miles Credit
    Card

    3% on
    balances
    transferred
    within a given
    time frame;
    up to 5%
    thereafter

    0%

    15 months

    Variable APR
    12.24% to
    23.24%

    • 1.5X miles
      per dollar
    • No annual
      fees
  • Discover it®
    Chrome Gas
    &
    Restaurants
    Credit Card

    3% on
    balances
    transferred
    within a given
    time frame;
    up to 5%
    thereafter

    0%

    15 months

    Variable APR
    12.24% to
    23.24%

    • Up to 2%
      cash back
    • No annual
      fees
  • NHL
    Discover it®
    Credit Card

    3% on
    balances
    transferred
    within a given
    time frame;
    up to 5%
    thereafter

    0%

    15 months

    Variable APR
    12.24% to
    23.24%

    • Up to 5%
      cash back
    • No annual
      fees
    • 32 NHL team
      logos from
      which to
      choose
  • Discover it®
    Student Cash
    Back Credit
    Card

    3% on
    balances
    transferred
    within a given
    time frame;
    up to 5%
    thereafter

    10.99%

    6 months

    Variable APR
    13.24% to
    22.24%

    • Up to 5%
      cash back
    • No annual
      fees
  • Discover it®
    Student
    Chrome
    Credit Card

    3% on
    balances
    transferred
    within a given
    time frame;
    up to 5%
    thereafter

    10.99%

    6 months

    Variable APR
    13.24% to
    22.24%

    • Up to 2%
      cash back
    • No annual
      fees

Discover it® Cash Back Credit Card

The no-annual-fee card Discover it® Cash Back Credit Card lets you earn up to 5% cash back through different bonus categories that you must activate each quarter, on up to a quarterly maximum. At the end of the first year, Discover matches the cash back you earn during the preceding 12 months. Some of the bonus categories include grocery stores, gym memberships, gas stations and restaurants. Purchases that don’t fall into any bonus category earn 1% cash back.

Discover it® Miles Credit Card

The Discover it® Miles Credit Card comes with no annual fees. You earn 1.5X miles per dollar on all purchases. Discover automatically matches all the miles you’ve earned at the end of the first year. You may redeem the miles you earn as a statement credit for travel purchases that may come in the form of flight tickets, hotel stays, dining out and more. You may also redeem your miles when paying through PayPal or to shop at Amazon.com.

Discover it® Chrome Gas & Restaurants Credit Card

You pay no annual fees to use the Discover it® Chrome Gas & Restaurants Card. You get 2% cash back on combined spending of up to $1,000 at gas stations and restaurants every quarter. All other purchases earn 1% cash back. Discover matches the total cash back you earn at the end of the first year.

NHL Discover it® Credit Card

The no-annual-fee NHL Discover it® Credit Card lets you choose the logo of any NHL team as your card’s face. You earn 5% cash back up to a predetermined maximum limit on revolving categories that you need to activate each quarter. All other purchases earn 1% cash back. Discover matches the cash back you earn during the first 12 months at the end of the year.

Discover it® Student Cash Back Credit Card

The Discover it® Student Cash Back Card charges no annual fees. It lets you earn up to 5% cash back up to a predetermined maximum limit of bonus categories that you need to activate every quarter. All other purchases earn 1% cash back. At the end of the first year, Discover matches the cash back you’ve earned through the course of the year.

Discover it® Student Chrome Credit Card

The no-annual-fee Discover it® Student Chrome Card offers 2% cash back on combined spending of up to $1,000 at gas stations and restaurants every quarter. All other purchases earn 1% cash back. As a bonus, you get to double the cash back you earn throughout the first year.

More Balance Transfer Cards

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Take a close look at your creditworthiness and payment history in advance because Discover will do this when you apply for a new card. Remember that people with excellent credit tend to qualify for the lowest ongoing APRs.

How Much You Can Save With a Balance Transfer

While a balance transfer may lead to monetary savings, how much you save depends on the intro APR offer, the amount you transfer, the time you take to repay it completely, the debt’s existing APR and the new card’s regular APR.

  • How Much You Will Pay With Your Current Credit Card
    How Much You Will Pay When You Transfer Your Balance
  • Current outstanding balance: $12,000
    Regular APR: 21.49%
    Monthly payment: $700
    Time required to pay off the balance: 21 months
    Total amount to pay: $14,462.51

    Balance transfer amount: $12,000
    Balance transfer fee: 3%
    Intro APR: 0% for 15 months
    Regular APR: 21.49%
    Monthly payment: $700
    Time required to pay off the balance: 17 months
    Total amount to pay: $12,422.72

    Total savings: $2,039.79

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Discover offers several variations of its credit cards with 0% APR balance transfer options. Unlike other banks, all of these cards earn valuable rewards, so customers can continue using the card for everyday purchases after they’ve paid off their balance transfer. — Lee Huffman, credit card expert at BaldThoughts.com

What to Know Before Requesting a Balance Transfer With Discover

Balance transfers work in the same basic manner across different credit card issuers, although some differences exist. As a result, it’s best to know what to expect from your Discover card balance transfer before getting started.

  • You may request a balance transfer online or over the phone.
  • Your account needs to be open for at least 14 days before Discover processes your balance transfer request.
  • Discover processes most balance transfers in four days, but you need to account for any additional time that a recipient takes to post the payment to your account.
  • You cannot carry out a balance transfer between two Discover cards.
  • Balance transfers do not earn cash back or rewards.
  • Depending on when you transfer a balance, you may need to pay 3% to up to 5% as balance transfer fees.
  • You need to make payments toward your old account until the balance transfer is complete and the account has no outstanding balance.
  • Any outstanding balance on your new Discover card will start accruing interest charges once the promo period ends.
  • If your card does not come with a 0% APR offer on purchases, you’ll need to pay interest charges on new purchases until you pay off the transferred balance in full.

You may increase the possibility of paying off your debt in a timely manner by adhering to some basic principles. In addition, using a balance transfer card can help quicken the process and may also lead to savings.

  • Select a Discover balance transfer card after comparing your options based on cash back/reward rates and added perks.
  • Work on a plan to pay off the entire transferred amount before the end of the promo period.
  • Avoid late fees by making your payments well in advance.
  • Don’t add to your existing debt before paying off what you owe.
>>More: What Happens to an Old Credit Card After a Balance Transfer?

Pros and Cons of Doing a Balance Transfer

While a Discover balance transfer might work well for you, there are potential pitfalls that need your attention too.

Pros and Cons of Doing a Balance Transfer

plusSign
Pros
  • No interest charges if you pay off the entire balance before the promo period ends.
  • Ability to pay off your debt more quickly.
  • Your new card may come with better perks.
  • Your credit score might improve.
  • There is no penalty APR to worry about.
minusSign
Cons
  • There is no guarantee that Discover will approve your balance transfer request.
  • The maximum duration of Discover’s 0% APR offer is limited to 15 months.
  • You need to pay balance transfer fees.
  • Your credit score might suffer if you don’t handle your finances well.

What if My Balance Transfer Request Is Denied?

If Discover denies your balance transfer request, you have other options. For example, if you wish to consolidate balances from different types of debt, you may think about getting a personal loan. People experiencing financial hardship may benefit by getting on debt management plans. Using a cash advance to pay off credit card debt, on the other hand, is not the best idea.

  • Personal loan. Personal loans tend to have lower ongoing APRs than credit cards, which is why many people turn to them for debt consolidation. Plus, you can usually get approved for higher credit limits through personal loans.
  • Debt management plan. If you’re having trouble paying your bills and keeping up with your everyday expenses, you may consider getting on a debt management plan. You should ideally work with a nonprofit credit counseling agency accredited by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, which negotiates with your lenders on your behalf. Going this route may come with lower interest rates, and it may be possible to get your previously applied late charges waived.
  • Cash advance. Cash advances start accruing interest from the date of the transaction and typically incur additional cash advance fees. Cash advance APRs can also be rather steep. So using a cash advance from one card to pay off another is not recommended. Consider taking this path only if you wish to avoid a hefty late fee and are sure you can pay off the entire cash advance amount in a few days.
  • Balance Transfer
    Personal Loan
    Cash Advance
    Debt Management Program
  • When to
    Use

    To pay off debt
    within 15 months
    through a
    Discover intro 0%
    APR offer

    To pay off debt
    over a longer
    period of time

    To deal with
    emergencies

    To tide yourself
    over when
    facing financial
    hardship

  • How to
    Request

    Online or over
    the phone

    Online or over
    the phone

    Online, over the
    phone, at an
    ATM or at a
    branch

    Online or over
    the phone

  • Repayment
    Terms

    Make at least
    minimum monthly
    payments

    Make fixed
    monthly
    payments

    Make at least
    minimum
    monthly
    payments

    Make a
    combined
    monthly
    payment

  • APR
    Ranges

    Typically the
    same as
    purchase APRs,
    unless an intro
    APR offer applies

    4.99% to
    35.99%

    17.99%
    to 29.99%

    7.04% to
    35.89%

  • Credit/Loan
    Limits

    Usually up to a
    card’s available
    credit limit

    Up to $100,000

    Usually a
    percentage of a
    credit card’s
    overall limit

    No minimum or
    maximum limits

  • Fees

    3% to 5% of the
    amount you
    transfer

    Application fee:
    up to $50
    Loan
    origination fee:
    up to 6% of
    borrowed
    amount

    3% to 5% of the
    transaction
    amount

    One-time set-up
    fee: Up to $75
    Monthly fee:
    $20 to $75

Other Questions You May Have About Balance Transfers With Discover

Next Steps

Learn More About Credit Card Balance Transfer Pages

About the Author


Rajiv Baniwal has been writing about different financial topics for over 15 years. Meticulous in his research, he makes sure he provides accurate and up-to-date information. His areas of expertise include mortgages, personal loans, credit cards, insurance and international money transfers.


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