In the mid-1980s, TV viewers witnessed advertisements for a radical new type of credit card. Not only would users be able to use the card to make purchases at thousands of businesses worldwide, but the card would actually pay them back for its use.
The commercial titled "Dawn of Discover" showcased consumers going about their typical American days, with the message, "Very few things cost you nothing to get and pay you back every day. But now the Discover card does."
Thus was born the Discover card, which when launched in 1986 brought the popular notion of credit card rewards into existence.
In the decades since that introduction, the soundness of the Discover card philosophy has been proven. Today, cash back rewards credit cards are a staple of the industry.
The Discover differences
Discover differentiated itself in other areas as well. At the time of its introduction, annual fees were the norm in the credit card industry. But Discover card offered its cash-back promise while charging no annual fee, a platform that also has been widely copied throughout the credit card industry.
In addition, Discover card distinguished itself by offering a higher credit limit than most other cards offered at the time. It was also widely accepted by merchants based on merchant fees that were substantially lower than other cards.
These benefits have all contributed to helping make the Discover card a winner with consumers right from its introduction, and Discover has remained a pioneer and agent of change in the credit card industry ever since.
The cash back offer, originally 2 percent of the amount spent using the card, has grown to a 5 percent cash back on some of its cards, based on the amount of use.
Discover was one of the first card issuers to provide customer service around the clock seven days a week, as well as secure account numbers for online purchases. Discover card has also striven to increase and grow its network linking millions of cash access locations and merchants.
The lineup of Discover cards has grown to include consumer and business cards that help users gain better control of their credit.
The current array of Discover cards include cash back, low introductory balance transfer APR, as well as a student version of the popular card and small business card that offers owners greater financial control and flexibility.
Discover Card was originally offered by Chicago-based Sears, then the nation's largest retailer. It was part of Dean Witter and subsequently Morgan Stanley in later years. In 2007, Discover Financial Services became an independently-owned company.
Today, Discover card is one of the leading credit cards in the U.S., and is held by more U.S. households than any other cash rewards card. It turns out that radical notion of a credit card that pays you back wasn't so radical after all.