Discover Financial Services is launching additional perks to its flagship credit card under the Discover It tagline in a test involving about 10% of the U.S. market, including Chicago.

The enhanced product contains more perks than Discover's other cards. For example, Discover will not assess a fee for a customer's first late payment, Julie Loeger, Discover's senior vice president of brand and new cardmember acquisition, said in an interview.

Discover, which has been running teaser TV ads in Chicago all week announcing the July 20 product launch, is marketing the card to the general population and to existing cardholders seeking more benefits, she says.

Besides not charging a late fee for the first delinquent payment, Discover won't raise the annual percentage interest rate for paying late. Subsequent late payments incur a fee up to $35. The card, Discover's first to print the account number on the back of the plastic, doesn't impose foreign-transaction or overlimit fees.

Other new perks include the ability to pay bills until midnight the day it's due by phone or online, available U.S.-based customer service at all times, and automated expedited delivery of new cards via UPS, Discover says.

Discover chose to limit the scope of the initial rollout to ensure a smooth transition, plus sizable anticipated fulfillment needs, she says.

"We want to make sure we have every 'T' is crossed before we roll this out nationally," Loeger says. "We want to make sure we have everything right."

Though it is using the Discover It tagline in the promotion, the product itself remains the traditional flagship Discover card, Loeger notes.

"The goal is to leverage the brand and its heritage around rewards and to engage interest and to drive more new-account acquisitions," Loeger says. "When you compare it with other cards, it's really about the combination" of benefits, she says.

Brian Riley, research director with CEB TowerGroup, said in an interview he would have been more impressed if Discover had taken its card to the next step, such as including an EMV chip or tying it more closely to mobile payments.

"It's not geared to set the world on fire with a novel idea, but the package is neat," he says. "This is basically a no-annual-fee rewards card to me."

Discover is offering a 0% introductory rate for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers. Thereafter, the interest rate rises to 10.99% to 19.99%, based on credit status. The rate also will vary based on the Prime Rate. The balance-transfer rate after the introductory period is 3% of the transfer amount, Discover notes online in the product's terms and conditions.

Discover continues to provide its 5% cash-back bonus up to $1,500 in purchases in categories that change throughout the year. Other purchases generate 1% or more cash back, and the return can be as high as 20% back when shopping with certain merchants online at Discover's shopping portal, ShopDiscover, Loeger says.

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