It pays to Discover.I’ve never carried a Discover Card.

To me, there has always been a social stigma attached to them that turns me off…

Maybe that’s just me?

See, I’ve only ever carried Visa and MasterCard.

I don’t feel privileged enough to carry an American Express card.

I dunno, those seem to be for people who think that they’re better than those around them…at least that’s what their 1980’s television commercials always conveyed to me…

They’ve softened the message some, of late, but they still have that obnoxious “Always a good decision” Sam Adam’s commercial feel to them… You know the one I’m talking about — the one that Sam Adam’s seems to have had successfully removed from YouTube. Damn them.

Though nearly 25 years old now, Discover is still the new kid on the block.

I remember when they came out. They had that catchy jingle (which oddly escapes me at this moment), a cool sun logo, and an application inside the back cover of every Sears catalog — which, at the time, was second only to the Service Merchandise catalog.

I wasn’t old enough then to actually have a credit card but I was old enough to know that I didn’t really want the one from Sears — the most embarrassing store to be seen with your mother in while shopping for back-to-school clothes..

Now before you start accusing me of contradicting myself as an elitist, there’s a HUGE difference between not wanting to be seen in Sears with your Mom as a 4th grader and acting like a pompous arse with a credit card that touts the idea that “membership has its privileges.”

Of course, AE commercials usually failed to make mention of the fees involved in becoming and remaining a “member”.

So along came the Discover Card. They never had fees. I don’t think they ever denied an application. And I’m pretty sure that they invented “reward” programs too. As a result, they attracted a less than desirable crowd.

Alright, fine, I say it…

Discover attracted the Sears crowd whereas American Express was attracting the Tiffany crowd.

Discover is like the anti-American Express.

MasterCard and Visa were, I dunno, the cards for everybody else. That’s where I felt that I fit in…

So anyway, back to the additional “reason” that I still chose not to carry a Discover Card.

The fellow immigrant at work frequently peppers me with trivia-like questions about the places I’ve been — many of which he’s been to as well.

He’s not actually testing me, though, I think he’s genuinely interested in what my answers are.

Today’s initial question was, “How many providences [sic] are there in Canada?

To jeering from my co-workers at my hesitation to this simple question, I timidly said, “Ten?”

See, I can name ’em all (Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia), counting along the way, but the answer doesn’t just roll off the tongue like “50 states.”

Thankfully, this time, my answer was correct.

Of course, one guy (yeah, the type that seems to have bookmarked on his desktop to stifle any entertaining conversation that may start up) had to disagree with me claiming that “Google” says that there are actually 13.

Having now had time to count them in my head, I told him that Google is wrong — the three up north are territories, not provinces.

“Think Guam,” I told him…

He still disagreed… and, naturally, he’s also the type of guy that wouldn’t be able to name all 50 states either…

Anyway, after defending my knowledge of my home country, the inquisitive one said that Canada didn’t seem much different to him than the United States…

“They have American cars, McDonalds, Burger King, and stuff like that.”

I agreed and disagreed at the same time but didn’t say anything as I nodded.

Then he continued, “But they don’t accept Discover.”

Hmmmmm… I didn’t know that.

After a little research it appears that he is correct — it’s pretty much only accepted at the tourist traps that Americans frequent.

Good to know.

And another reason I’ll never apply for a Discover Card.

…as if the stigma of actually having one weren’t enough on its own!


  1. I found Discover to be the least consumer-friendly credit card of them all, which is the mildest way I can think of to call them bastards. I’ve never had a Discover card and never saw the point (where was it accepted that I couldn’t use Visa or MC?), but here are my two anecdotes:

    1) Parents on the verge of bankruptcy, called to see if they’d consider reducing the interest rate – now, only AE agreed to any change, but Discover was by far the snottiest, and they were by far the highest rate of all their six credit cards.

    2) Best friend lost her job but wasn’t in financial trouble. Discover pulled her credit report regularly and upon finding out she was unemployed, they jumped her rate four percentage points (she called them to find out why, it was definitely her employment status). She transferred the balance, back in the days when those offers occasionally came with no transfer fee or at least a low cap, and cancelled the card.

  2. Sour grapes… that’s what came to mind after reading these.
    I have been a member since ’96 and never had any problems. Although I agree that it had not been accepted everywhere, the gap is closing up soon.
    Discover excels on customer service and cash back – two of the most important criteria: do your homework.
    Anecdotes on increasing rates are not uncommon for any credit card – thats how they operate High risk = High Rates. Thats how the rest of us low-risk folks dont have to subsidize for the high-risk people (think auto insurance).
    Now the government will change that, but the good people will be worse off because everyone’s rate will go up.
    I see you trashing Discover, but I didnt see you praising your credit card either. So, either you are a dark soul or suffering from the ‘sour grapes’ syndrome 🙂

  3. Sorry can’t let this one by –

    Posted above by “PG”

    “Discover excels on customer service and cash back – two of the most important criteria: do your homework.”

    YOU = FAIL

    The most important criteria for any credit is the interest rate. Not free toasters, gift cards and other nonsense. Clearly you are the one who has not done his homework.

  4. Ummm, credit cards are for people who actually HAVE money, but don’t want to carry it around with them at all times. (Wikipedia: Diners Club) All of this farting around over benefits and cash back and… blah, blah… DON’T USE A CREDIT CARD IF YOU CAN’T PAY YOUR BILL! It’s that simple. Really!

    I use Amex. I pay all of my bills in full every month. I wonder why that is? Oh, maybe it’s because I’m not living beyond my means.

  5. Here is the problem with the discover card, why need one when everywhere it is accepted a mastercard or visa is accepted, unlike american express which is geared for the more affluent and has exclusive contracts with places such as costco, clubs, sports teams, discover has nothing, no advantage.

    Discover seems to advertise heavily , however their selection of cards sucks, the motiva card is a stupid idea, it encourages debt, and just gives 2% or so off your total interest rate which is probably 13% or more. Why not be competitive and offer a low interest card, the escape/road card is stupid, not only are there cards that offer the same benefit without annual fees, but they are accepted more places (visa/mastercard), the more card is positive but the 5% cash back caps are too low.

    So where is the incentive to choose a discover card, its low, and the company is not giving users an incentive to get one, unlike american express which gives its user incentives and is geared for the more affluent or high spenders, discover has no such goal or ambition.

    Keeping up is not the same as staying ahead , unfortunately discover does neither. Don’t carry balances on credit cards if you don’t have too, remember a hard pull goes on your credit file, so if you find a credit card better than what discover offers which is almost always the case and its a visa or mastercard then don’t take discover, also discover is not clear on whether you can pay your bill at sears, they should inform the person which one you can pay at. With a visa or mastercard you can go to the bank and pay your bill if you ever need to although for many users they may not need to since its a great convenience to know combined with the fact that visa/mastercard is more accepted.

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