Discover's 2% Cash-Back ... Nice for Discover

The Discover (DFS) credit card family is making an aggressive bid to be the choice of holiday shoppers, starting a 2% cash-back program Nov. 15 and letting it run through Dec. 31. The deal doubles the card's usual cash-back option.

There are some limitations for the deal, which can be used with the Discover More, Motiva and Open Road cards: Customers have to sign up on the Web, and the deal is good for up to only $1,000 in purchases.

What do consumers actually get out of that additional 1%? Up to $10.

That might not buy much more than a stocking stuffer for your kids, but it works out to be a nice gift for Discover itself.

While the cash-back option cuts into the "swipe" fees card companies charge retailers, analysts say the added sales generated by the perception of a deal can make up for that. The

National Retail Federation already expects holiday spending - usually starting Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving -- to rise 2.3% this year, to $447 billion, from last year, even though an estimated 5% of consumers are still dragging around debt from last year's holiday spending and the economy is hardly surging.

The option -- already widely hyped -- is sure to be a boon for Discover, which traditionally lags behind such competitors as American Express ( AXP), Visa ( V) and MasterCard ( MA).

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