Discover it® Student Cash Back
Editorial disclosure: All reviews are prepared by Bankrate.com staff. Opinions expressed therein are solely those of the reviewer and have not been reviewed or approved by any advertiser. The information, including card rates and fees, presented in the review is accurate as of the date of the review. Check the data at the top of this page and the bank’s website for the most current information.
Discover it® Student Cash Back is a card designed for young adults, but one that has had its training wheels removed. Unlike many student cards, this one comes with few fees, a low annual percentage rate for qualified cardholders and generous rewards. This is one of the very best credit cards for college students.
The Discover it® Student Cash Back card is jam-packed with goodies. Enroll every quarter to earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in purchases made in various categories throughout the year. You’ll earn 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 Cash Back is like a kindly grandparent, giving those with fledgling credit histories a chance, and it charges no annual fee. This card is hard to top.
Who should get this card
If you’re a college student who’s organized and looking to build up your credit score, the Discover it® Student Cash Back can reward you for your efforts.
Fees and APR
• This card has a 6-month 0% introductory APR offer on purchases. After that it’s a variable 14.99% to 23.99%
• There’s a 6-month introductory APR offer on balance transfers of 10.99%, after that it’s a variable 14.99% to 23.99%.
• 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
The Discover it® Student chrome has the same rates and perks as the Discover it® Student Cash Back but instead of rotating bonus categories, it pays 2% back on gas stations and restaurants, up to $1,000 per quarter, and an unlimited 1% on everything else. Although this might make it attractive to some, the rewards potential is greater with the Discover it® Student Cash Back card.
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.
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 Thank You Preferred Card for College Students offers top rewards, but doesn’t offer much flexibility for cardholders who pay late or who carry a balance.