Discover it® Cash Back Card
vs. PenFed Power Cash Rewards Visa Signature® Card

Updated: June 7, 2024

Advertising & Editorial Disclosure

Shield Insurance

MoneyGeek partners with leading industry experts and advertisers to help you get to your financial happy place. Our content is accurate when posted but offers may change over time. We may receive compensation for partner advertisements, but our editorial team independently reviews and ranks products. Learn more about our editorial policies.

Both the Discover it® Cash Back Card and the PenFed Power Cash Rewards Visa Signature® Card offer rewards without an annual fee. The Discover it Cash Back edges ahead with its 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers, making it appealing for those with existing balances or upcoming expenses.

However, the PenFed Power Cash Rewards card offers a welcome bonus that can quickly put cash back in your pocket. This card's potential for high cash back rewards makes it a strong contender for those eligible for credit union membership.

Credit Card logo for Discover it® Cash Back Card
Discover it® Cash Back Card
Credit Card logo for PenFed Power Cash Rewards Visa Signature® Card
PenFed Power Cash Rewards Visa Signature® Card
MoneyGeek Rating
3.8/ of 5
MoneyGeek Rating
3.8/ of 5

  • Regular APR
    17.24%–28.24% variable
    17.99% variable
    0% APR Offer
    0% intro APR for 15 months
    -
    Intro Offer
    Matches cash back earned at the end of the first 12 months
    Earn $100 Bonus Offer Statement Credit
    Rewards Summary
    Earn 1%–5% cash back
    Earn 1.5% – 2% cash back
    Balance Transfer Offer
    0% intro APR for 15 months
    0% Introductory Balance Transfer APR for 12 months
    Balance Transfer Fee
    3% intro balance transfer fee, up to 5% fee on future balance transfers (see terms)
    3% fee applies to each transaction
    Annual Fee
    $0
    $0
    Recommended Credit
    670–850 (Good to Excellent)
    670–850 (Good to Excellent)
    Penalty APR
    None
    17.99%
    Not sure?

Which Card Is Better for You?

You might prefer the Discover it Cash Back if you enjoy maximizing cash back by keeping up with rotating categories and can take advantage of the card's 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers. This card is especially rewarding in the first year with its cash back match offer, making it a strong contender for those who plan their spending around bonus categories.

You might prefer the PenFed Power Cash Rewards if you value a straightforward rewards program with a consistent cash back rate on all purchases. If you're a PenFed Honors Advantage member, you'll benefit from the higher 2% cash back. Additionally, the welcome bonus and the 0% balance transfer APR offer for 12 months add value for new cardholders who meet the credit union's membership criteria.

Head-to-Head Comparison: Card Details and Features

Evaluating APRs, fees, credit requirements, rewards, and other features will clarify each card's strengths. For instance, if you prefer predictable rewards, the PenFed Power Cash Rewards may appeal to you, whereas the Discover it Cash Back could be advantageous for maximizing rotating category bonuses.

    discount icon

    Regular APR: Discover it Cash Back

    The Discover it Cash Back card is preferable for those prioritizing transparent APR information. It offers a clear APR range of 17.24% to 28.24% variable. The PenFed Power Cash Rewards card does not provide specific APR details.

    annualFee icon

    Annual Fee: Tie

    Both the Discover it Cash Back and the PenFed Power Cash Rewards offer the advantage of having no annual fee, making them equally appealing for those looking to save on yearly costs.

    lowInterestAPR icon

    Introductory 0% APRs: Discover it Cash Back

    The Discover it Cash Back offers a more comprehensive 15-month 0% introductory APR package for both purchases and balance transfers. The PenFed Power Cash Rewards only provides a 12-month 0% APR on balance transfers.

    coins icon

    Rewards: Tie

    Both cards offer competitive rewards but cater to different spending habits. For those who can actively manage rewards, the Discover it Cash Back card provides 5% cash back on rotating categories each quarter, up to $1,500, then 1%. The PenFed Power Cash Rewards card offers a consistent 1.5% back on all purchases, with 2% for PenFed Honors Advantage Members, making it suitable for those who prefer simplicity and consistent rewards across all spending.

    rewards icon

    Welcome Offers: Discover it Cash Back

    The Discover it Cash Back card is better in terms of welcome offers, featuring a unique cash back match at the end of the first year. The PenFed Power Cash Rewards doesn't have a welcome offer.

    creditApproved icon

    Recommended Credit Score: Discover it Cash Back

    The Discover it Cash Back Card is more accessible, requiring a credit score of 670 to 850. PenFed Power Cash Rewards does not specify its credit score requirements.

    autopay icon

    Penalties and Fees: PenFed Power Cash Rewards

    PenFed Power Cash Rewards is better for penalties and fees, as it does not impose late or cash advance fees. The Discover it Cash Back charges up to $41 for late payments and has a cash advance fee of either $10 or 5%.

    points icon

    Issuer Satisfaction: Discover it Cash Back

    When it comes to issuer satisfaction, Discover, which issues the Cash Back, outperforms with a rating of 4.5 compared to PenFed's 0.0.

    airplane icon

    Other Features & Perks: Tie

    Both the Discover it Cash Back and PenFed Power Cash Rewards cards offer unique perks beyond their rewards programs. Discover assists in minimizing online exposure of personal data, while PenFed offers a $100 bonus statement credit for new cardholders.

Rewards Comparison

The Discover it Cash Back card stands out with its 5% cash back on rotating categories, up to a quarterly maximum, upon activation. This can be lucrative for those who align their spending with these categories. However, some management is required to activate the categories each quarter. The rotating categories can include expenses such as gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants. You should stay informed about the current and upcoming categories to fully benefit from the 5% cash back offer.

The PenFed Power Cash Rewards card offers a steady 1.5% cash back on all purchases, or 2% for PenFed Honors Advantage Members, without the need to track rotating categories. This makes it a solid choice for those seeking a straightforward rewards program without the fuss.

The following table provides a visual comparison of the bonus categories for each card.

Category
Discover it Cash Back
PenFed Power Cash Rewards

Quarterly Categories

5% on up to $1,500 in combined quarterly purchases, then 1%

N/A

All Other Purchases

1%

2% for PenFed Honors Advantage Members/1.5% for non-members

Redeeming Rewards

The Discover it Cash Back offers a flexible redemption process. You can redeem your cash back for gift cards, statement credits or direct deposits. There is no minimum redemption threshold. Additionally, rewards on this card do not expire; even if you don't use the card for a period, you can still claim the rewards within 18 months of account inactivity.

The PenFed Power Cash Rewards also has various redemption options. You can get your rewards as a statement credit to your credit card account. You may also deposit rewards into your PenFed Checking or Share account or transfer them to another financial institution. There is no expiration for rewards, which is favorable if you prefer accumulating your cash back over time.

Methodology

MoneyGeek evaluates credit cards like the Discover it Cash Back and PenFed Power Cash Rewards using a tailored scoring system for different use cases. For instance, we assess the Discover it Cash Back on its balance transfer features and gauge the PenFed Power Cash Rewards on its cash back benefits.

The most influential factors in these evaluations include the introductory APR offers, the regular APR for balance transfers and the effective reward rate for cash back. For a deeper understanding of our process, you can review our ranking methodology.

FAQ: Discover it Cash Back vs. PenFed Power Cash Rewards

What are the cash back rewards for each card?
Do either of the cards have an annual fee?
What are the introductory offers from these cards?
How do the APRs compare between the two cards?
Are there foreign transaction fees for either card?

About Doug Milnes, CFA


Doug Milnes, CFA headshot

Doug Milnes is a CFA charter holder with over 10 years of experience in corporate finance and the Head of Credit Cards at MoneyGeek. Formerly, he performed valuations for Duff and Phelps and financial planning and analysis for various companies. His analysis has been cited by U.S. News and World Report, The Hill, the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times and many other outlets.

Milnes holds a master’s degree in data science from Northwestern University. He geeks out on helping people feel on top of their credit card use, from managing debt to optimizing rewards.


*Rates, fees or bonuses may vary or include specific stipulations. The content on this page is accurate as of the posting/last updated date; however, some of the offers mentioned may have expired. We recommend visiting the card issuer’s website for the most up-to-date information available.
Editorial Disclosure: Opinions, reviews, analyses and recommendations are the author’s alone and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. Learn more about our editorial policies and expert editorial team.
Advertiser Disclosure: MoneyGeek has partnered with CardRatings.com and CreditCards.com for our coverage of credit card products. MoneyGeek, CardRatings and CreditCards.com may receive a commission from card issuers. To ensure thorough comparisons and reviews, MoneyGeek features products from both paid partners and unaffiliated card issuers that are not paid partners.