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Discover it® Student Cash Back

Discover it<sup>®</sup> Student Cash Back

Discover it® Student Cash Back

Intro Purchase APR
0% intro for 6 Months*
Rewards Rate
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
Ongoing APR
12.99% - 21.99% Variable APR*
Reviewed by
Julie Sherrier
Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.

Who is the Discover it® Student Cash Back best for?

Discover offers two credit cards for students looking for a first card with which to begin building credit: The Discover it® Student Cash Back and the Discover it® Student chrome.

The Discover it® Student Cash Back offers a higher cash back rate on purchases that fall into specific categories (such as Amazon, grocery stores and restaurants) that change every quarter. Cardholders are required to activate those categories in order to earn the higher cashback rate.

Despite the effort required to activate a new category every quarter, the Discover it® Student Cash Back’s rewards program along with its $0 annual fee make it hard to beat. But if fussing over bonus categories is too much trouble, students should look to other student cards that are more straightforward, such as the Discover it® Student chrome.

Discover it® Student Cash Back overview

    • INTRO OFFER: 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.
    • Earn 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. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – automatically.
    • Good Grades Rewards: $20 statement credit each school year your GPA is 3.0 or higher for up to the next 5 years.
    • Earn rewards while building your credit history that can help you after graduation. And, get your free Credit Scorecard that includes your FICO® Credit Score and important details that help make up your score.
    • No annual fee. No late fee on first late payment. No APR change for paying late.
    • Refer-a-Friend: Once you become a Discover it® Student cardmember, you can earn a statement credit each time you refer a friend and they’re approved. Over half a million students got Discover Cards from their friends' recommendations.
    • Freeze It® on/off switch for your account that prevents new purchases, cash advances & balance transfers in seconds.
    • Get an alert if we find your Social Security number on any of thousands of Dark Web sites.* Activate for free.
    • Discover is accepted nationwide by 99% of the places that take credit cards.
    • 0% intro APR on purchases for 6 months, then the standard variable purchase APR of 12.99% - 21.99% applies.
  • Credit needed:
    600 850
    Fair/Limited
  • Free FICO Score access
  • Freeze your card online
  • Discover® Identity Alerts
  • Customer service based 100% in the U.S.
  • No penalty APR
  • No late fee on your first late payment

Intro Purchase APR

0% for 6 months on purchases

Intro BT APR

10.99% for 6 months

Annual Fee

$0

Regular Purchase APR

12.99% - 21.99% Variable APR

Cash Advance Fee

see terms

Foreign Transaction Fee

None

Balance Transfer Fee

3% intro balance transfer fee, up to 5% fee on future balance transfers (see terms)*

Pros and cons of the Discover it® Student Cash Back

Pros

  • Generous rewards rate
  • Cashback match
  • Intro purchase APR offer
  • $0 annual fee
  • Foreign transaction fee: None

Cons

  • Bonus categories require activation
  • Spending cap on higher-rate purchases
  • Low rewards rate on non-bonus categories
  • No intro 0% APR on balance transfers

What we like about the Discover it® Student Cash Back

  • Generous rewards rate on rotating categories

    Cardholders earn 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.

  • Cashback match the first year

    This card offers a unique new cardmember offer: 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.

  • Intro purchase APR offer

    If you need to finance a large purchase over a few months, there is an intro offer of 0% for 6 months on purchases from the date of account opening. After that, the interest rate will range from 12.99% - 21.99% Variable APR.

  • $0 annual fee

    For college students on a budget, paying an annual fee to carry a credit card probably doesn’t make sense. Luckily, this card’s annual fee is $0.

  • Foreign transaction fee: None

    If you travel abroad, you won’t have to worry about paying an extra fee for purchases made overseas.

  • Annual bonus for good grades

    Another nice feature is the Good Grades Rewards program, allowing students to receive a $20 annual statement credit when maintaining a 3.0 or higher GPA (valid for up to five consecutive years).

What to watch out for with the Discover it® Student Cash Back

  • Bonus categories require activation

    The Discover it® Student Cash Back’s highest bonus categories must be activated online each quarter, and this could be a hassle for some students who don’t want to bother or would prefer a card offering a flat-rate rewards program.

  • Spending cap on higher-rate purchases

    The elevated cash back reward is limited to a maximum of $1,500 on purchases each quarter.

  • Low rewards rate on everything else

    The rewards earnings rate for non-bonus category purchases and bonus category purchases over the quarterly cap is subpar.

  • No intro 0% APR on balance transfers

    If you’re looking for a balance transfer card offering a 0% intro APR period in which to save on interest charges, the Discover it® Student Cash Back won’t be a good fit as it offers 10.99% for 6 months for balance transfers, then a 12.99% - 21.99% Variable APR will apply. There are better balance transfer card offers with 0% intro APR and longer intro periods.

Alternate student card

Compare it to the Discover it® Student chrome

Disclosures |
Discover it® Student chrome
Discover it® Student chrome
on Discover's secure site
0% for 6 months
12.99% - 21.99% Variable APR
$0
2% cash back at Gas Stations and Restaurants on up to $1,000
  • INTRO OFFER: 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.
  • Earn 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.
  • Good Grades Rewards: $20 statement credit each school year your GPA is 3.0 or higher for up to the next 5 years.
  • Earn rewards while building your credit history that can help you after graduation. And, get your free Credit Scorecard that includes your FICO® Credit Score and important details that help make up your score.
  • No annual fee. No late fee on first late payment. No APR change for paying late.
  • Refer-a-Friend: Once you become a Discover it® Student cardmember, you can earn a statement credit each time you refer a friend and they’re approved. Over half a million students got Discover Cards from their friends' recommendations.
  • Freeze It® on/off switch for your account that prevents new purchases, cash advances & balance transfers in seconds.
  • Get an alert if we find your Social Security number on any of thousands of Dark Web sites.* Activate for free.
  • Discover is accepted nationwide by 99% of the places that take credit cards.
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 6 months, then the standard variable purchase APR of 12.99% - 21.99% applies.
600 850

How Does LendingTree Get Paid?

LendingTree is compensated by companies on this site and this compensation may impact how and where offers appear on this site (such as the order). LendingTree does not include all lenders, savings products, or loan options available in the marketplace.

Another good card for building credit while in college is the Discover it® Student chrome. Both the Discover it® Student Cash Back and the Discover it® Student chrome have the same benefits and features key to Discover cards — but they differ in how their cash back programs operate.

With the Discover it® Student Cash Back, you can earn more cash back when you opt into the rotating spending categories each quarter. The Discover it® Student chrome, on the other hand, is better suited for commuter students, and offers a less generous flat-rate rewards program. Cardholders earn 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter, 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases - automatically. The Discover it® Student chrome‘s annual fee is $0.

Compare the Discover it® Student Cash Back to similar cards

Comparison of four different credit cards
Discover it<sup>®</sup> Student Cash Back Discover it<sup>®</sup> Student chrome Discover it<sup>®</sup> Secured Credit Card Journey Student Rewards from Capital One
Discover it® Student Cash Back Discover it® Student chrome Discover it® Secured Credit Card Journey Student Rewards from Capital One
Apply Now
on Discover's secure site
Apply Now
on Discover's secure site
Apply Now
on Discover's secure site
Apply Now
on Capital One's secure site
Annual Fee
$0 $0 $0 $0
Welcome Offer
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. 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. 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. No bonus
Rewards Rate
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 2% cash back at Gas Stations and Restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter, 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases - automatically 2% cash back at Gas Stations and Restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter, 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases - automatically 1% Cash Back on all purchases; 0.25% Cash Back bonus on the cash back you earn each month you pay on time
Intro Purchase APR
0% for 6 months on purchases 0% for 6 months N/A N/A
Regular APR
12.99% - 21.99% Variable APR 12.99% - 21.99% Variable APR 22.99% Variable APR 26.99% (Variable)
Intro Balance Transfer Rate
10.99% for 6 months 10.99% for 6 months 10.99% for 6 months N/A
Regular Balance Transfer Rate
12.99% - 21.99% Variable APR 12.99% - 21.99% Variable APR 22.99% Variable APR 26.99% (Variable)
Balance Transfer Fee
3% intro balance transfer fee, up to 5% fee on future balance transfers (see terms)* 3% intro balance transfer fee, up to 5% fee on future balance transfers (see terms)* 3% intro balance transfer fee, up to 5% fee on future balance transfers (see terms)* $0 at this Transfer APR
Recommended Credit
Fair/Limited Fair/Limited Limited/Bad/Poor Average/Fair/Limited
Card Details
Discover it® Student Cash Back Discover it® Student chrome Discover it® Secured Credit Card Journey Student Rewards from Capital One

Is the Discover it® Student Cash Back right for you?

Students willing to keep track of bonus categories can maximize their cash back with the Discover it® Student Cash Back, while also building credit through responsible credit practices. But if remembering to opt into the categories quarterly is too much of a hassle, the Discover it® Student chrome may be a better fit. Whichever you choose, paying on time and keeping balances low will help build a great credit score.

Apply Now
on Discover's secure site