investor.com is committed to the highest ethical standards and reviews services independently. Learn How We Make Money

Ally Unlimited Cash Back Mastercard vs Discover it Cash Back 2024

investor.com

Written by investor.com

December 18, 2023

In head-to-head competition, which of these rewards credit cards wins out? Here’s what each has to offer and how they fare when put to the ultimate test — the cash back you’ll earn for using them.

Ally Unlimited Cash Back Mastercard
With the Ally Unlimited Cash Back Mastercard earn unlimited 2% cash back on all your purchases, with no exceptions or expirations. Also available is the Ally Unlimited Cash Back Mastercard for Nurses and Educators.

Discover it Cash Back
Earn 5% cash back at select places (changes quarterly), such as grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations, wholesale clubs, select streaming services, Amazon.com, PayPal purchases, etc., and 1% cash back on all other purchases. New cardmember offers: 0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers. Plus, get an unlimited dollar-for-dollar match of all the cash back you earn at the end of your first year, automatically.

Credit Card Calculator
Monthly Spend
Spend Categories expand_more
Clear All
dining Dining
theater_comedy Entertainment
local_gas_station Gas
shopping_cart Groceries
monetization_on Other
local_pharmacy Pharmacy
card_travel Travel
local_shipping Amazon
storefront Costco
construction Home Improvement
shopping_bag Online Shopping
smart_display Streaming
local_taxi Transit
power Utilities
kitchen Whole Foods
receipt_long Wholesale Clubs

Ally Unlimited Cash Back Mastercard

Read review
Ally Unlimited Cash Back Mastercard Logo
Cashback Per Year
$...
Annual Fee
$0
Welcome Bonus
N/A
Best for Rewards Rotators

Discover it Cash Back

Read review
Discover it Cash Back Logo
Cashback Per Year
$...
Annual Fee
$0
Welcome Bonus
2X Rewards your first year
Want to compare more cards? Use our full calculator.

Which credit card earns more cash back overall?

Based on identical spending inputs, you’ll earn $240.00 cash back per year with Ally Unlimited Cash Back Mastercard and $196.80 with Discover it Cash Back. For context, the average annual rewards payout from the cashback credit cards in the investor.com database is $181.73.

The annual rewards payout assumes you charge $1,000 each month spread across the following spending categories: Dining ($145), Entertainment ($134), Gas ($140), Groceries ($198), Travel ($128), Pharmacy ($15), and Other ($240). The dollar amounts for each category are based on consumer spending data collected by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (i.e., how much the average American spends proportionally across the major credit card rewards categories). But you can — and absolutely should! — customize the inputs based on your actual monthly spending habits, using our rewards calculator.

To ensure the most accurate results possible, the rewards calculations for Ally Unlimited Cash Back Mastercard and Discover it Cash Back incorporate bonus rewards rates, spending caps, default rewards rates and annual fees, where applicable.

Is the Ally Unlimited Cash Back Mastercard good?

Ally’s no-annual-fee, by-invitation-only cashback card offers an easy-peasy 2% cash back on all purchases, but not a lot of extra perks.

thumb_up Likes

  • Unlimited 2% cash back on all purchases
  • No minimum redemption requirements
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • No APR hike for tardy payments

thumb_down Dislikes

  • Requires an online or mail-in invitation from Ally to apply
  • No sign-up bonus or 0% intro APR balance transfer offer
  • Lacks extra cardholder perks


Category Default Rate Bonus Rate Bonus Spend Cap Bonus Spend Period (Months)
Gas 2.00% - - -
Travel 2.00% - - -
Dining 2.00% - - -
Entertainment 2.00% - - -
Pharmacy 2.00% - - -
Groceries 2.00% - - -
Other Purchases 2.00% - - -

Is the Discover it Cash Back good?

The Discover it Year One incentive is 🔥. (You'll earn double the cash back on every dollar you earn for your anniversary.) But the $1,500 quarterly spending cap is a wet blanket.

thumb_up Likes

  • 5% cash back on quarterly rotating spending categories
  • Dollar-for-dollar match on all earned rewards at the end of your first year
  • 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months
  • Free Social Security number alerts
  • Accepted lots of places. Really!
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Preapproval available

thumb_down Dislikes

  • 5% cash back category changes quarterly
  • 5% applies to up to $1,500 in spending each quarter
  • Low 1% cash back rate on all non-bonus spending
  • Requires reward category activation
  • No extra protections like rental/travel insurance


Category Default Rate Bonus Rate Bonus Spend Cap Bonus Spend Period (Months)
Gas 1.00% - - -
Travel 1.00% - - -
Dining 1.00% 5.00% $1,500 3
Entertainment 1.00% - - -
Pharmacy 1.00% 5.00% $1,500 3
Groceries 1.00% - - -
Other Purchases 1.00% - - -

compare_arrows Compare cash back credit cards

Select and compare two credit cards head to head to see which offers the most bang for your buck.


Select Credit Cards

×
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxAlliant Cashback Visa Signature Credit Card
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxAlly Everyday Cash Back Mastercard
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxAlly Unlimited Cash Back Mastercard
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxAmazon Prime Visa
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxAmazon Visa
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxAmerican Express Cash Magnet
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxApple Card
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxBank of America Customized Cash Rewards
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxBank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxBlue Cash Everyday from American Express
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxBlue Cash Preferred Card from American Express
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxBMO Harris Bank Cash Back Mastercard
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxBread Cashback American Express Card
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxCapital One Quicksilver Rewards
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxCapital One Quicksilver Rewards for Good Credit
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxCapital One QuicksilverOne
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxCapital One Savor Rewards
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxCapital One SavorOne Rewards
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxChase Freedom Flex
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxChase Freedom Unlimited
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxCiti Custom Cash Card
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxCiti Double Cash Card
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxCostco Anywhere Visa Card by Citi
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxCredit One Bank American Express Card
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxCredit One Platinum Rewards Visa (No Annual Fee)
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxCredit One Platinum Visa
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxCredit One Platinum X5 Visa
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxDiscover it Cash Back
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxDiscover it Chrome Gas & Restaurant
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxFidelity Rewards Visa Signature Card
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxNavy Federal cashRewards Credit Card
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxPayPal Cashback Mastercard
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxPenFed Power Cash Rewards
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxPetal 2 Visa Card
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxPNC Cash Rewards Visa Credit Card
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxSam's Club Mastercard
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxSoFi Unlimited 2% Credit Card
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxTD Cash Credit Card
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxTruist Enjoy Cash Credit Card
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxU.S. Bank Cash+ Visa Signature Card
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxU.S. Bank Shopper Cash Rewards Visa Signature Card
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxUpgrade Cash Rewards
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxUpgrade Triple Cash Rewards
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxUSAA Cashback Rewards Plus American Express Card
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxUSAA Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature Card
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxVenmo Credit Card
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxWells Fargo Active Cash Card

Compare

0 of 2

Read Next

Explore our other articles and reviews:

Methodology

The results of the investor.com Credit Card Rewards Calculator are based on the monthly spending amounts you enter and the annual dollar value of the rewards each credit card program pays per $1 spent. Credit card companies often express this payout amount as a percentage (e.g., 1.5% of every dollar spent) or on a points basis (e.g. ,1.5 points for every dollar spent). We converted all of them to a dollar amount (“Cash Back Per Year”) to make comparing offers easier.

To calculate the amount of cash back you could earn per year, we factored in:

  • Spend category inputs: The default dollar values for each “Spend Category” in the Best Cashback Credit Cards tool — gas, groceries, travel, restaurant, entertainment, pharmacy, other — are based on average American spending data from the Consumer Expenditure Surveys from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. We also include additional spend categories (such as streaming services, online shopping, utilities, transit, Amazon and more) to help you see which rewards cards are most closely aligned with your actual spending patterns. We encourage you to customize the monthly spend inputs for the most accurate results.
  • Tiered rewards rates: If a rewards credit card pays higher cashback rates on certain spending categories (also called “Bonus Rewards”), that difference is reflected in the total “Cash Back Per Year” tally.
  • Rewards spending caps: Some cards impose category- or time-based limits (monthly, quarterly, annually) that affect the amount of rewards you can earn. For example, a card may pay 3% cash back on groceries on up to $1,000 of spending each quarter, then revert to the base/default rewards rate until the following quarter. We accounted for bonus spending caps and timeframe in the calculations.
  • Default rewards rates: Purchases that exceed a spending cap are usually subject to a lower default rewards rate (e.g., 1% or 1.5%). We mathed that out too.
  • Annual fees: If a rewards card charges an annual fee, we deducted that amount from the “Cash Back Per Year” total to provide a true accounting of a card’s annual rewards payout.

What’s not included in the “Cash Back Per Year” total is the cash value of any sign-up/introductory bonus. We highlight any Welcome Bonus separately. While sign-up bonuses can be the most lucrative part of getting a new cashback rewards credit card, not everyone will want or be able to do what it takes to earn the extra cash. (It usually requires spending a certain amount in a specified time period after the card is activated.)



close