Student credit cards can be a great way to start building credit while in school. The Capital One SavorOne Rewards for Students and Discover it® Student Cash Back cards are two options to consider for earning rewards while building credit.
With either card, you can earn unlimited cash back on groceries, dining, gas, shopping and everyday purchases. Neither card charges an annual fee and both offer flexible redemption options for using the rewards you earn.
So which card is better suited for student spending? We’re taking a closer look to help you decide.
|Cards||Capital One SavorOne Rewards for Students||Discover it Student|
|Rewards Rate||Earn unlimited 3% cash back on dining, entertainment, popular streaming services and at grocery stores, plus 1% on all other purchases.||
Capital One SavorOne Rewards for Students vs. Discover it Student highlights
Both the Capital One SavorOne Rewards for Students and the Discover it Student Cash Back offer a rewards program. But there are some differences between the two that are worth pointing out. So we compared some of the key features of both cards head to head:
Welcome bonus winner: Tie
Earning an introductory welcome bonus could give you a nice rewards boost right out of the gate. This usually means meeting a minimum spending requirement first. With student credit cards, however, introductory bonuses tend to be the exception and not the rule.
That’s the case with the Capital One SavorOne Rewards for Students Card and the Discover it Student. Neither one offers an upfront welcome bonus. The Discover it Student does come with an unlimited CashBack Match, however. You can get an unlimited dollar-for-dollar match of the cash back earned your first year.
You can also earn a $20 statement credit with the Discover it Student for earning good grades. You’ll need to maintain a 3.0 GPA or higher to qualify for the annual statement credit.
Rewards rate winner: Discover it Student
If you’re looking purely at the rewards rate you can earn on purchases, the Discover it Student is the winner. This card offers 5 percent cash back on everyday purchases in selected categories that you activate each quarter. All other purchases earn unlimited 1 percent cash back.
But those rewards are not unlimited. The 5 percent cash back rate applies to the first $1,500 in purchases in the bonus categories each quarter. After that, purchases earn unlimited 1 percent cash back until the new quarter begins.
The Capital One SavorOne Rewards for Students, on the other hand, offers unlimited cash back. That means you’ll always earn 3 percent back on dining, entertainment, selected streaming services and groceries, with no cap. All other purchases earn unlimited 1 percent cash back.
Annual fee winner: Tie
When comparing the Capital One SavorOne Rewards for Students versus Discover it Student cards, they both score high marks for charging no annual fee. No annual fee is a good thing, as it won’t detract from the value of any rewards you’re earning.
That doesn’t mean you won’t pay any fees at all with these cards, however. Both cards charge fees for balance transfers and cash advances. You might consider a balance transfer if you already have student credit cards and you want to consolidate the balances to a single card at a lower rate.
The Capital One SavorOne Rewards for Students has a lower ongoing balance transfer fee. But only the Discover it Student offers an introductory APR for balance transfers.
Foreign transaction fee winner: Tie
If you’re planning to study abroad or travel between semesters, it pays to take along a student credit card that doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees. These fees, which typically run between 2 percent to 3 percent of the transaction amount, can be added on when you use your card to make purchases outside the U.S.
You won’t pay a foreign transaction fee with the Capital One SavorOne Rewards for Students or the Discover it Student. So that makes this category a draw.
Which card earns the most?
Whether you can earn more rewards with the Capital One SavorOne Rewards for Students or the Discover it Student depends largely on how you spend.
Again, the Capital One SavorOne Rewards for Students offers unlimited cash back rewards. You can earn rewards at two different rates: 3 percent or 1 percent, depending on which categories you’re spending in. Meanwhile, the Discover it Student earns you 5 percent cash back, but only in bonus categories and only up to the quarterly spending limit.
Still wondering which card is the winner for rewards? Here’s an example to help you decide.
Capital One SavorOne Rewards for Students vs. Discover it Student spending example
Let’s assume that you normally charge $1,500 per month to your credit card. Your spending breakdown includes:
- $500 for dining and entertainment
- $300 on groceries
- $200 on gas
- $100 on streaming services
- $400 on miscellaneous purchases
If you used the Capital One SavorOne Rewards for Students, you’d earn 3 percent back on dining, entertainment and streaming services. You earn 1 percent back on gas and miscellaneous spending. Altogether, you’d earn $33 in cash back per month or $396 in cash back per year.
Now, assume that you have the Discover it Student instead. If you were to max out the 5 percent cash back bonus each quarter by charging $500 per month, you’d earn $180 per year in rewards. That would be in addition to any cash back you earn at the 1 percent rewards rate.
So, say you make $1,000 a month in miscellaneous purchases. That would add another $120 to your cash back total for the year, bringing it to $300. But even though you’re spending the same $1,500 monthly, you’re earning less cash back overall.
Even though the Discover it Student has a higher 5 percent rewards rate, it doesn’t necessarily yield more rewards overall.
Why should you get Capital One SavorOne Rewards for Students?
If you’re still comparing student credit cards, here are a few reasons why you might consider the Capital One SavorOne student card versus the Discover it Student.
The Capital One SavorOne Rewards for Students comes with some benefits you might find valuable as a student. As a cardholder, you’ll get access to exclusive sporting events, culinary experiences and music events. That’s something you might appreciate if you want to have fun while sticking to your student budget.
In addition to those benefits, you also get things like extended warranty protection, travel accident insurance, travel assistance services, complimentary concierge service and special savings from Capital One Shopping.
You have several ways to redeem rewards earned with Capital One SavorOne Rewards. For example, you can redeem rewards for cash as a check or statement credit. You also have the option to apply cash back to recent purchases, redeem them for gift cards or use them to shop at Amazon.com.
Rewards are unlimited and never expire as long as your account remains open and in good standing. You can redeem cash back for any amount.
Recommended credit score
One of the benefits student credit cards offer is that they can help you to build a credit score. For that one reason, they’re often tailored to students who may have limited or no credit history.
If you’re interested in the Capital One SavorOne Rewards for Students, you’ll need fair credit to qualify. This typically means a FICO credit score between 580 and 669.
Why should you get Discover it Student?
The Discover it Student offers a different take on rewards. But you might consider this card if you’re comfortable with activating quarterly bonus categories or you want to take advantage of an introductory APR for purchases and balance transfers.
Aside from the $20 Good Grade reward and the first-year cash back match, the Discover it Student rewards you with statement credits for referring friends. Each time someone you refer is approved for a new account, you’ll receive a credit to your account.
You can also view your FICO credit score for free. This feature is available when you log in to your account online or through the Discover mobile app.
Your options for redeeming cash back with the Discover it Student are similar to what they are with the Capital One SavorOne Rewards for Students. You can redeem rewards for statement credit or a deposit into a bank account. Redeeming rewards for shopping at Amazon.com or PayPal is also an option, or you could use rewards for gift cards and charitable donations.
There’s only one caveat: Your account must be in good standing to redeem rewards.
Recommended credit score
Discover does not specify a minimum credit score requirement to qualify for this card. So there’s no way to know for certain if you’ll be approved unless you apply.
If you’re looking for a student credit card, Capital One SavorOne Rewards for Students and Discover it Student are both worth considering.
Either card can help you earn cash back with no annual fee while building credit. The question is, which card is better suited to your individual spending habits?
If you typically spend more on dining, entertainment and groceries all year long then the Capital One SavorOne Rewards for Students could be a better fit. But if your spending habits change from quarter to quarter, you might get more benefit from the Discover it Student.
It’s also possible that you might consider adding both cards to your wallet. This way, you have an opportunity to maximize cash back earnings. Just keep in mind that having two student credit cards means double the monthly payments so consider how that might work for your budget.