It’s a very bright idea for someone trying to make the credit cards more money, however. Perhaps even brilliant.

The premise behind the Discover Motiva Card is that they’ll reward you for being a good customer. 6 months of paying your bills on-time and you get the next month’s interest back.

That right, next month’s interest.

Essentially, it’s giving you no interest for one month every 7 months (6 months of interest and then the next month’s interest back). If you’re being a responsible credit card user, want to guess how much money you’ll get back from that? I put it at…oh $0.

Now we can retire and live like kings!

It’s fascinating. They know that it’s not great for the company when people take advantage of good cashback rewards programs without paying interest. On the other hand, the company thrives if you’re carrying a balance and paying them the monthly interest.

So they’ve come up with a program that specifically rewards you for carrying a balance and really only for carrying a balance. It’s even framed to make you feel like a savvy consumer. As for the money they’re “rewarding” you with, you could save yourself 6x as much or more just by not carrying that balance in the first place.

Very bright idea for them, not a bright idea at all for you.

The good (?) news is that it’s also a cashback bonus rewards card. You get some nice rewards (5%-20% want to bet it’s mostly 5%?) if you shop through the Discover store online (I wonder what they make off that and what the markups are!). The bad news is that it’s only up to 1% on anything else. “Up to” really could mean anything… 0.0001%.


StackingPennies April 7, 2008 at 11:42 am

I agree that this is a crappy deal for responsible CC users.

It is worth noting that Discover has a couple other flavors of rewards cards that are much better for people like me–a OpenRoad gas card (5% on gas and car stores) and a More card which is 5% in various categories that change through the year. And you still can shop through the discover store, something which I do (sometimes, when I shop :))

But the motiva card? Not for me.

ChristianPF April 7, 2008 at 12:09 pm

ahhhh.. just another clever ploy from those credit card companies to lure and seduce more customers into debt…

Vered April 7, 2008 at 12:18 pm

This is a great example of brilliant marketing. Thanks for pointing it out.

deepali April 7, 2008 at 12:47 pm

I believe either Citi or Chase has this card as well (or was it BoA?). Nuts.

Fabulously Broke April 7, 2008 at 4:19 pm

That is the silliest thing I’ve ever heard

I hope people don’t fall for that

BeThisWay April 7, 2008 at 4:26 pm

You’re so right. Zero is what I’d get, too.

They say “up to 1%” because the reward is in steps; .25% for the first $1000 in purchases, .5% for the next couple of thousand, etc until you max out at 1%.

I do have a Discover card, but I use it rarely. My other cards get much better rewards.

Jesse April 7, 2008 at 5:23 pm

You have to be careful with Discover in general: they will automatically sign you up for their “protection” plans if you don’t watch them. This whole “reward for carrying a balance” doesnt surprise me…unless it applies to balance transfers (which I doubt)

Dad April 7, 2008 at 10:21 pm

Good catch. Obviously the card companies are in it to make money. No surprise. The only way to be a good customer to them and good to yourself is to spend a lot regularly and pay in full. They make money from the transaction. But if you manage the card right, you pay no fees or interest.

Funny about Money April 8, 2008 at 12:01 am

What an annoying “plan.” The name “Motiva” presumably means “let’s motivate our customers to run a month-to-month tab on the credit card. Make ’em think it’s good for them!”


sunfsh June 18, 2009 at 10:02 am

This card is actually a great deal for someone like myself who has a balance transfer on a card with a company I HATE (BofA). 3.99% interest for the life of the transfer and I get a month’s interest back if I’m on-time sounds pretty good to me. Those of us carrying balances will love this card. Those of you who don’t should obviously consider other cards.

Factfinder September 13, 2010 at 7:57 am

Nope, sunfsh , instead you should look at a low interest credit card such as the penfed promise, maybe too late, you applied for a discover card ran a hard pull, how do you know discover won’t raise your interest rate, its not accepted at many places like visa/mc so there is no motivation to use it instead, while discover has increased acceptance, since there is nothing special about it, its kinda of s tupid strategy, in fact its even stupider when many cards give cash back in addition to interest taking the motiva interest giveaway , be smart not stupid, surprised the even offer the card, discover is not run by smart people.

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