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How to Get Discover’s Student Card Good Grades Reward

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The sooner you start building a positive credit history, the better. Entering adulthood after graduation with a decent credit score can open doors to competitive rates for products ranging from cellphone contracts to your first car or home loan.

Payment history is the most highly weighted factor that impacts your FICO®  credit score. Young adults eager to build good credit can start establishing a record of on-time payments by applying for a student credit card that has student benefits, using it for small purchases and repaying the entire balance on time every month.

The Discover it® chrome and Discover it® Student Cash Back cards give cardmembers regular cashback rewards, an annual statement credit for good grades, plus you can get a one-time good grade cash reward for having an eligible Discover student loan.1

Student cards can be used to buy things like school supplies or Uber rides, and you can get other perks along with your card, but it’s very important not to overextend yourself by charging more than you can repay every month.

1Get a cash reward on each new Discover undergraduate and graduate student loan when you earn at least a 3.0 GPA (or equivalent) in any academic period covered by the loan. Limitations Apply. Visit DiscoverStudentLoans.com/Reward for terms and conditions.

Discover student card eligibility requirements

To qualify for a student credit card with Discover, you need to be 18 years or older and have a steady source of income. You must also be a college student — part of the application process is noting whether you are enrolled in a two- or four-year college or university. Credit limits typically start at $500, but some cardholders report getting approved for limits as high as $5,500. If you get a low limit to start, know that over time and with steady repayment behavior, you can request a credit limit increase after proving you can responsibly manage the card.

Which Discover cards offer students a good grades reward?

Both the Discover it® chrome and Discover it® Student Cash Back cards offer a $20 statement credit each school year if you get top marks.

If you have a Discover student loan, you may also qualify to earn a one-time 1% cash reward per loan when you maintain good grades. The cash reward is equal to 1% of your disbursed student loan principal balance. The cash you receive from this reward could go toward an extra payment or two on your loan, depending on the size of your loan.

The main difference between the two Discover student cards are their cashback programs. Here’s what you need to know:

Discover it® chrome

Cash back: Earn cash back on your next road trip with 2% cash back at Gas Stations and Restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – automatically. Cash back never expires, and you can redeem the cash back earned at any time. The cash back you earn the first year of having the card is automatically matched.

Good grade incentive: Earn a $20 statement credit each year you qualify for the Good Grade Reward (limit of five years).

Cost: There’s a $0 annual fee and no over the limit fees. Plus, your first late payment fee is waived. The card offers an APR of 0% intro for 14 months on purchases. Afterwards, the APR is 11.99% - 22.99% Variable.

Quick highlights:

  • No penalty APR for paying late.
  • Free FICO credit score
  • Freeze It on/off switch for your account to prevent fraudulent purchases if your card is lost or stolen
  • Social Security number alert if found on any dark web sites
  • Introductory APR of 0% intro for 14 months for new purchases, thereafter an APR of 11.99% - 22.99% Variable applies.
  • Unlimited Cashback Match – only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year! There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. Just a dollar-for-dollar match. So you could turn $50 cash back into $100. Or turn $100 into $200. There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. Just a dollar-for-dollar match.

Discover it® Student Cash Back

Cash back: The Discover it® Student Cash Back card gives you a higher cashback percentage in certain spending categories each quarter when you use the card. These revolving bonus categories must be activated every quarter. Cardholders can 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like Amazon.com, grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations and when you pay using PayPal, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate, 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases - automatically. You can redeem your cash back at any time for either a check or statement credit. Your entire cash back earned your first year is automatically matched.

Good grade incentive: On top of the cashback rate in rotating categories throughout the year, earning a 3.0 GPA or higher will earn you a $20 statement credit each school year (for a limit of five years).

Cost: $0 annual fee, no over the limit fees and the first late payment fee is waived. There’s an intro APR of 0% for 6 months on purchases on purchases. Afterwards, the APR is 12.99% - 21.99% Variable APR.

Quick highlights:

  • 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like Amazon.com, grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations and when you pay using PayPal, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate, 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases - automatically:
    • January to March 2021: Grocery stores, Walgreens and CVS
    • April to June 2021: Gas stations, wholesale clubs and select streaming services
    • July to September 2021: Restaurants and PayPal
    • October to December 2019: Amazon.com, Target.com and Walmart.com
  • No penalty APR for paying late.
  • Free FICO credit score
  • Freeze It on/off switch for your account to prevent fraudulent purchases if your card is lost or stolen
  • Social Security number alert if found on any dark web sites
  • Intro APR of 0% for 6 months on purchases for new purchases, after that an APR of  12.99% - 21.99% Variable APR applies.
  • Unlimited Cashback Match – only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year! So you could turn $50 cash back into $100. Or turn $100 into $200. There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. Just a dollar-for-dollar match. So you could turn $50 cash back into $100. Or turn $100 into $200. There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. Just a dollar-for-dollar match.

What is the good grade discount and how can you get it?

There are two ways Discover rewards good grades. First, the Discover Student Loans Rewards for Good Grades program gives a one-time 1% cash reward to borrowers who have a qualifying Discover undergraduate, health professional, law, MBA or graduate student loan. You had to have applied for your loan before May 1, 2014, and you need at least a 3.0 GPA to be eligible.

To get your one-time 1% cash reward, you need to log in to your account and apply within six months of the final academic term that the loan covered. The reward is 1% of your disbursed principal balance. So, for example, if your Discover student loan is $20,000, you’d get a bonus of $200 cash in a check.

You may be asked to submit paperwork to prove your GPA. If your documents check out, your reward check will be sent out within two to three weeks. This reward may be taxable as income, so you may want to speak with a tax professional if you have any questions.

The second way Discover rewards good grades is via its Good Grade Reward, which is a $20 statement credit each school year you’re eligible. The GPA you need to qualify is at least a 3.0 on the 0.0 to 4.0 scale; B or higher on the A to F scale; or 85% or higher on the 0 to 100 scale.

Each year, you have to log into your account and apply for this annual award. The discount will show up on your statement within seven business days. You can earn up to five $20 statement credits within consecutive years following the opening of your account.

The bottom line

Using one of these cashback student cards can help you build credit while rewarding you for spending and getting good grades. With that said, make sure you don’t go overboard. Swiping a card often and then not paying off the balance can do more harm than good, leading to debt, missed payments and high interest charges. The best way to begin your credit journey is to charge small-ticket items and pay off the balance every month.

If you use your card to spend in the rotating bonus categories each quarter, the Discover it® Student Cash Back could serve you well. If you don’t foresee yourself spending in the revolving categories, but you do eat out quite a bit, the consistent cash back on restaurants and gas via the Discover it® chrome may suffice.