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Discover Motiva No Good Unless You Carry A Balance

Reviewing: Discover Motiva  |  Rating:
Joan Young By Joan Young on
Badge: Editor | Level: 34 | Finances Expertise:
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I switched to this card about a year ago, but thanks to lousy explanation by the service person, I’m pretty sure I shouldn’t have bothered.

The Discover Motiva card is designed to reward you for paying on time. Well, I always pay on time with an auto payment, so I thought, “why not?” You get a cashback reward every six months that is equal to the next month's interest. But if you also pay off your balance every month there is no interest to get as a reward.

It was very confusing when I signed up. They explained that some of the regular cashback options would be reduced since I would be getting this new bonus. I said ok, because I didn’t understand the other part. I DID tell the person that I pay off my balance each month, and you would think that she would have said something like, “Well, then there is no advantage to the Motiva card.” But that was expecting too much, obviously.

Since the plans between this and a regular Discover Card are hard to compare I waited to just compare my cashback award from a previous year to the one on the Motiva card. Well, it’s still hard to compare because that also depends on the total amount charged to the card, which I’m not going to bother to add up. All I can say for sure is that I earned about 2/3 of the cashback amount this year as I did in the two previous years on a regular Discover card.

One perk of Motiva is that you can pay either online or by phone, on the due date, without a penalty. But since I have an auto payment from my bank already set up I don’t care much about this.

My APR on this card is 13.99% which is pretty reasonable, but again, meaningless if you pay off the balance each month.

I just learned that the Discover web site does have a fairly nice interface to help you choose which card is best for you. I think I’ll be switching to a different one soon. Discover does offer the highest cashback rates in the industry. You just have to figure out which plan works best for your buying and payoff habits.

Help Me Choose page for Discover card types