Discover it® Student Cash Back review

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Recommended Credit Score

No Credit History

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

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Best for rotating cash back bonus categories

Annual Fee:
Purchase Intro APR:
0% for 6 months
Balance Transfer Intro APR:
10.99% for 6 months
Regular APR:
12.99% - 21.99% Variable
Terms and Restrictions Apply | Rates and Fees

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Discover it® Student Cash Back: Details and benefits

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 perks. Enroll every quarter to earn 5 percent cash back on up to $1,500 in purchases each quarter made in various rotating categories, then 1%. You’ll earn 1 percent 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 (up to 5 years), which should be more than enough to buy an apple for every teacher you have.

The card comes with an okay introductory offer on purchases and a less impressive one on balance transfers. There’s also 3 percent intro balance transfer fee, up to 5 percent fee on future balance transfers (see terms)*, so you’d be better off transferring a balance to a card with a zero percent intro APR offer on balance transfers.


  • You don’t need perfect credit to qualify for this card.
  • Get a $20 statement credit back 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.


  • The rotating bonus cash-back categories can be cumbersome to track and may not correspond with the cardholder’s biggest spending categories.
  • Other cards have better introductory balance transfer offers.

Is it worth it for you?

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.

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.

Get the most value from Discover it® Student Cash Back

In addition to cash back rewards, you can maximize value with this card through its introductory offers and minimal fees. This card has a 6-month 0% introductory APR offer on purchases (variable 12.99% – 21.99% APR thereafter), plus a 6-month introductory APR offer on balance transfers of 10.99% (variable 12.99% – 21.99% APR thereafter). There’s also 3 percent intro balance transfer fee, up to 5 percent fee on future balance transfers (see terms)*.

You’ll pay no annual fee and 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.  The first late payment fee is waived, after that it’s up to $40.

And since this card is for students looking to build credit, you can also boost value with added credit benefits. You can view your approximate FICO score for free on your monthly statement. Discover’s Freeze It feature allows you to turn your card on or off to prevent new purchases, cash advances and balance transfers.

How to redeem rewards

Redeem your rewards at any time in any amount as a credit on your statement, an electronic bank deposit, gift cards (partner gift cards range from $5 to $200 in increments of $5) or use to shop on