Discover it® Student chrome

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An outstanding choice for students who drive or dine out frequently.

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Discover it® Student chrome and Discover it®  Student Cash Back are nearly identical credit cards. They both come with few fees, a low annual percentage rate for qualified cardholders and generous rewards. Either is a fantastic choice for college-age adults new to credit.

The main difference: the Discover it® chrome’s rewards are tailored toward gas and restaurant purchases, while with the Discover it® Student Cash Back card you can enroll every quarter to earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in purchases made in various categories throughout the year. If you’re not a big driver or don’t dine out frequently, Discover it® chrome’s sibling may be a better choice.

Review

The Discover it® Student chrome offer is jam-packed with goodies. It offers 2% cash back up to $1,000 a quarter maximum on gas and restaurant purchases, and 1% on all other purchases. Discover will match dollar-for-dollar all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year. There’s also a $20 statement credit every year you get a GPA of 3.0 or higher, which should be more than enough to buy an apple for every teacher you have.

The card comes with an OK introductory offer on purchases and a less impressive one on balance transfers. There’s also a 3% balance transfer fee, so you’d be better off transferring a balance to a card with a 0% APR offer.

College students typically haven’t built up as much credit history as those in the workforce and might not be eligible for many credit cards. The Discover it® Student chrome is like a kindly grandparent, giving those with fledgling credit histories a chance, and it charges no annual fee.

Who should get this card

If you’re a college student who is financially organized and looking to build up your credit score, the Discover it® Student chrome can reward you for your efforts.

Advantages
  • You don’t need perfect credit to qualify for this card.
  • Get a $20 statement credit each school year your GPA is 3.0 or higher for up to five years.
  • The opportunity to earn cash-back rewards is especially generous for a student card.
  • At the end of the first year, all the cash-back earnings are automatically matched
Disadvantages
  • The enhanced rewards for gas and restaurant spending aren't worth it if you don't drive or dine out frequently.
  • Other cards have better introductory balance transfer offers.
  • There’s no sign-up bonus with this card, although you do get a cash-back match at the end of the first year.

Fees and APR

  • This card has a 6-month 0% introductory APR offer on purchases. After that it’s a variable 14.49% to 23.49%.
  • There’s a 6-month introductory APR offer on balance transfers of 10.99%, after that it’s a variable 14.49% to 23.49%.
  • You’ll pay no annual fee.
  • There’s no foreign transaction fees, making this card a good choice for students studying abroad (where Discover cards are accepted).
  • Late payments won’t affect your annual percentage rate.
  • There’s a balance transfer fee of 3%.
  • First late payment fee is waived, after that it’s up to $37.
  • See Rates & Fees

Extras, perks and using rewards

View your approximate FICO score for free on your monthly statement

The Freeze It feature allows you to turn your card on or off to prevent new purchases, cash advances and balance transfers.

Redeem your rewards at any time in any amount as a credit on your statement, an electronic bank deposit, gift cards through Discover partners (in $20 increments) or use to shop on Amazon.com.

How this card compares

Discover it® Student Cash Back
  • Get a dollar-for-dollar match of all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically.
  • Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants or Amazon.com up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate.
  • Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – automatically.
  • Good Grades Rewards: $20 statement credit each school year your GPA is 3.0 or higher for up to the next 5 years.
  • No annual fee. No late fee on first late payment. No APR change for paying late.
  • Get 100% U.S. based customer service & get your free Credit Scorecard with your FICO® Credit Score, number of recent inquiries and more.
  • Freeze It® on/off switch for your account that prevents new purchases, cash advances & balance transfers in seconds.
  • Receive Free Social Security number alerts—Discover will monitor thousands of risky websites when you sign up.
  • Terms and Restrictions Apply | See Rates and Fees
Credit Needed

Fair Credit

Regular APR

14.49% - 23.49% Variable

Annual Fee

$0

Purchase Intro APR

0% for 6 months

Balance Transfers Intro APR

10.99% for 6 months

The Discover it® Student Cash Back has the same rates and perks as the Discover it® Student chrome but you can enroll every quarter to earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in purchases made in various categories throughout the year, and earn an unlimited 1% on everything else. Depending on how you spend this might make the Discover it®  Student Cash Back a better option than the Discover it® Student chrome.

Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One®
  • Earn 1% cash back on all your purchases. Pay on time to boost your cash back to a total of 1.25% for that month
  • Enjoy no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees
  • Get a head start and build your credit with responsible use
  • Get access to a higher credit line after making your first 5 monthly payments on time
  • Monitor your credit profile with the CreditWise® app, free for everyone
  • $0 fraud liability if your card is ever lost or stolen
  • Pick the monthly due date that works best for you
  • Get customized alerts and manage your account with the Capital One mobile app
Credit Needed

Average, Fair, Limited

Regular APR

24.74% (Variable)

Annual Fee

$0

Purchase Intro APR

N/A

Balance Transfers Intro APR

N/A

The Journey Student Rewards from Capital One card is decent for those just starting to build up their credit score or anyone with average credit who may not qualify for other cards. But there are other cards aimed at those with less-than-stellar credit that offer better cash back rewards and you’re likely to get a better rate on the APR too.

Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card for College Students
  • Enjoy 0% Intro APR for 7 months on purchases from date of account opening; after that the variable APR will be 16.24% - 26.24% based upon your creditworthiness*
  • Earn 2,500 bonus points after spending $500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • 2,500 ThankYou® Points are redeemable for $25 in gift cards, electronics and other great rewards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • Earn 2X Points on Dining Out & Entertainment
  • Earn 1X Points on All Other Purchases
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No annual fee*
Credit Needed

Good Credit

Regular APR

16.24% - 26.24%* (Variable)

Annual Fee

$0*

Purchase Intro APR

0% for 7 months on Purchases*

Balance Transfers Intro APR

N/A

If you know you can use a credit card responsibly (which means paying your bill on time every month) you may as well be rewarded for doing so. The Citi ThankYou Preferred Card for College Students offers top rewards, but doesn’t offer much flexibility for cardholders who pay late or who carry a balance.

EDITORIAL NOTE

Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines, or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.