Key takeaways

  • Students looking for an easy-to-use starter credit card with a decent rewards structure will find that the Discover it® Student Chrome might be what they’re looking for.
  • This credit card doesn’t have many frills, but it can help you build and monitor your credit while giving you a slight cash back boost in popular spending categories.
  • Discover’s CashBack Match program welcome offer can make for a lucrative start with your card, and the card’s 0 percent intro APR offer can be great for those planning on making large purchases for their classes at the beginning of the year.

Getting a student credit card can make a lot of sense, particularly if you want to begin building credit while you’re still in college. With the right card in your wallet, you may even be able to earn rewards on your spending along the way.

The Discover it® Student Chrome is one student credit card that can help you on both fronts. Once you get your card and begin using it, Discover will report your credit balances to the three credit bureaus, thus helping you build credit with responsible use. You can also earn cash back on everything you buy — and with no annual fee to boot.

If you’re considering this student credit card over other options, you may be wondering if the Discover it Student Chrome is really worth it. Read on to learn when it makes sense to get this card and why, in some cases, it might make sense to consider other options.

When is the Discover it Student Chrome worth it?

The Discover it Student Chrome has a lot going for it, so it may be worth it to you if:

You want to earn straightforward rewards in popular spending categories

Cardholders get to earn 2 percent cash back on up to $1,000 spent at gas stations and restaurants each quarter (then 1 percent back), plus 1 percent back on all other purchases. If you plan on bringing a car to campus and like going out to eat, then this card could work well with your spending habits.

You’re trying to start building credit

If you are specifically looking to get a student credit card to build credit, then Discover can help. Cardholders get a FICO score for free on their credit card statement, which makes it easy to track their progress building credit over time.

You want to avoid common credit card fees

Not only does this card come with no annual fee, but it also comes with no foreign transaction fees and will waive your first late payment fee (After that, you will be charged up to $41 for subsequent late payment fees, though a new federal rule may cap that late payment fee at $8 in the near future).

You want to take advantage of a unique welcome bonus

Discover will even match all the rewards earned in your first year through its Cashback Match program. This means that someone who earns $200 in cash back the first year will see their rewards matched for a total of $400 after the first 12 months.

You might carry a balance when you first get the card

The card comes with a short 0 percent introductory annual percentage rate (APR) offer on purchases: 0 percent for six months, followed by a variable APR between 18.24 percent to 27.24 percent. This offer can help credit newcomers avoid interest on purchases, like books or dorm room essentials, for half a year.

Cardholders can also get a 10.99 percent introductory APR on balance transfers for six months, followed by the same 18.24 percent to 27.24 percent variable APR, but that’s a much less exciting perk. Given that this will likely be your first or one of your first credit cards, you probably won’t have much credit card debt to transfer to the Student Chrome to begin with.

When is the Discover it Student Chrome not worth it?

The benefits above are definitely worth considering, but it also makes sense to find out whether you need to get a student credit card at all. You might be better off skipping the Discover it Student Chrome if:

You’re not a student

The Discover it Student Chrome requires you to be a student to apply for the card. If you’re not a student, however, you can still apply for a comparable card from Discover, such as the standard Discover it® Chrome or the Discover it® Secured Credit Card.

You qualify for better, non-student credit cards

The fact is, student credit cards are geared toward individuals with limited credit history, and those with established credit — or a fair credit score or better — may be able to branch out to credit cards with better perks and rewards. If you have a good credit score, on the other hand, you may be able to qualify for one of the best rewards credit cards on the market today.

You want a student credit card with a different rewards structure

You may also find that the Discover it Student Chrome comes up short when compared to the rewards rates of other student credit cards. It might earn boosted rewards with dining and gas station purchases (up to $1,000 spent quarterly, then 1 percent), but what if you don’t have a car on campus? Or what if you prefer taking advantage of your meal plan instead of eating out? A card that prioritizes different spending categories, such as travel or grocery store purchases, might be a better fit for you.

And if you don’t really want to worry about tracking spending categories at all? A flat-rate cash back card could be what you need.

The Discover it Student Chrome vs. other student cards

The Discover it Student Chrome is a solid choice for a student credit card, but there are plenty of other good options on the market, too.

The Capital One Quicksilver Student Cash Rewards Credit Card, for example, lets cardholders earn:

  • 10 percent cash back on purchases made through Uber and Uber Eats through Nov. 14, 2024
  • 5 percent back on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
  • 1.5 percent cash back on regular purchases

New cardholders can earn a $50 cash bonus after spending $100 on purchases within three months of account opening, but that isn’t necessarily a lot when compared to the Cashback Match potential of the Student Chrome. Like the Student Chrome, there’s also no annual fee.

Another student card to consider with no annual fee is the Capital One SavorOne Student Cash Rewards Credit Card. This student card also offers a $50 cash bonus when you spend $100 within three months of account opening. With it, you can earn:

  • 8 percent back on Capital One Entertainment purchases
  • 5 percent back on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
  • 3 percent cash back on dining, entertainment, popular streaming services and at grocery stores (excluding superstores like Walmart and Target)
  • 1 percent back on all other purchases

To find out how the Discover it Student Chrome stacks up against other Discover credit cards, check out these card comparisons:

Should you get the Discover it Student Chrome?

At the end of the day, the Discover it Student Chrome is best for students who want to earn boosted rewards on gas station and restaurant purchases, as well as those who want access to a 0 percent introductory APR offer, which can be helpful for essential purchases at the beginning of the semester.

The card’s Cashback Match program can also leave students with a much higher payout than they might see from the welcome bonuses of similar student credit cards. So, if you’re fine with waiting until the end of your first year as a cardholder to get your welcome bonus, this card could boost your cash back rewards significantly.

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Keep in mind: This card is also a good option for anyone who wants the chance to track their credit progress by having access to their FICO score for free.

The bottom line

The Discover it Student Chrome is a popular student credit card with a simple, straightforward rewards structure. Given its emphasis on helping students to build good credit history, it can also be a solid choice for a starter credit card. That said, it never hurts to compare other student credit cards before you apply, especially since many have different rewards bonus categories that could make more sense for the way you shop.

If you want to learn more about this card, make sure to check out our full Discover it Student Chrome review. By spending some time learning about this card and seeing how it stacks up to other starter cards, you can wind up with the best credit card for your needs and goals.