Discover it Student Cash Back Credit Card Review: Earn 5% Cash Back and a Great Sign-Up Bonus
Discover it® Student Cash Back
The Discover it Student Cash Back Credit Card, also known as the Discover Student Card, is a great value for students. Most student credit cards mimic regular credit cards, but lack many of the rewards, sign-up bonuses, and useful perks. The Discover Student Card, on the other hand offers solid, category-based rewards, a unique sign-up bonus, and another reward for earning good grades. In the scheme of student credit cards, it’s one of the best out there, with a huge earning potential.
On top of all that, you get a short interest-free period and a free monthly FICO score. If you’re just getting the hang of using a credit card, consider the Discover Student Card. Double check with the CardCruncher tool to make sure it’s the right card for you, and read on to get the full details before you apply.
Discover Student Credit Card Highlights
Here are the highlights of the Discover Student Credit Card:
Annual Fee: $0
APR: 0% for 6 months, then a 14.99% to 23.99%
Sign-Up Bonus: 100% cash back match your first year
Discover Student Credit Card Benefits:
- Earn 5% cash back on categorie that rotates each quarter
- Earn 1% cash back on all other purchases
- Get a $20 statement credit for each school year when your GPA is a 3.0 or better
- Free FICO score updates each month
- 100% U.S.-based customer service
Discover Student Credit Card Minimum Payment:
The greater of:
- Any past due amount, plus the greater of 3% of the new balance or $15 plus interest charges, late fees, and debt protection fees
Discover Student Credit Card Fees:
- No fee for the first late payment, then up to $37
- Up to $37 for returned payments
Why Apply for the Discover Student Credit Card
There are a few reasons that you should consider applying for the Discover Student Credit Card.
Earn 5% cash back on select purchases
Most credit cards offer rewards worth a few percent of your purchase. A great flat-rate credit card offers 2% cash back on every purchase, and even credit cards with bonus categories offer about 3% cash back on those categories. The Discover Student Credit Card offers an amazing 5% cash back on rotating bonus categories. In the past, these categories have included home improvement stores, Amazon.com, gas stations, Uber and Lyft, dining, and groceries. The 5% cash back is capped at $1,500 in purchases each quarter, giving you the ability to earn as much as $75 per quarter and $300 each year. For all other purchases, you’ll earn 1% back. That’s still a terrific offer—especially for a student credit card.
Huge potential for the sign-up bonus
Most credit cards offer a sign up bonus that requires spending a lot of money in the first few months to trigger a set bonus. Once you earn that, the only reason to keep using the card is its ongoing cashback rate. The Discover Student Credit Card works differently. It doubles all the cash back you earn in your first year. You don’t have to spend a lot up front, and there’s nearly no limit to how much you can earn from the bonus. If you max out the 5% bonus categories each quarter and spend an additional $1,000 each month on day-to-day purchases, you’ll earn $420 in cash back, plus a $420 sign up bonus. The more you use your card, the larger your sign up bonus will be.
Discover Student Credit Card: Drawbacks and Downsides
There are some downsides to consider before applying for the Discover Student Credit Card.
Poor cash back rate beyond the 5% bonus categories
The inherent issue with credit cards that offer bonus rewards on certain purchases is that they rarely offer great rewards for other purchases. Few credit cards, let alone student credit cards, pay more than 1% cash back on every purchase. If you can’t take advantage of the Discover Student Credit Card’s 5% bonus category for a given quarter, you’ll earn just 1% on everything you buy.
The Discover Student Credit Card charges heavy fees in some situations. If you ever take a cash advance, you’ll pay the greater of $10 or 5% of the amount you withdraw, which can add up on a large advance. The late payment fee of $37 is also no joke, though Discover will forgive your first late payment by waiving that fee.
Discover Student Credit Card Alternatives
Before applying for the Discover Student Credit Card, think about whether these alternatives might be a better option.
Discover it® Chrome for Students
If you want a credit card that offers non-rotating rewards, consider the Discover it Chrome for Students. This card offers 2% cash back on up to $1,000 in purchases each quarter at gas stations and restaurants. You’ll also get 1% back on all other purchases. Like with the Discover Student Credit Card, the Discover it Chrome for Students has a sign-up bonus of 100% cash-back match your first year. If you drive to school every day, or simply worry about taking advantage of rotating bonus categories, this can be a great card.
Bank of America Travel Rewards Credit Card for Students
If you want a credit card that offers travel rewards rather than cash back, you should apply for the Bank of America Travel Rewards Credit Card for Students. This card offers a great sign-up bonus of 25,000 points. That’s huge for a student card. You’ll also earn 1.5 points per dollar on every purchase, plus an extra 10% bonus (0.15 points) if you have a Bank of America checking or savings account.
Discover Student Credit Card FAQs
Here are some of the most common questions that people have about the Discover Student Credit Card.
What is the credit limit for Discover’s student cards?
When you’re approved for a Discover student credit card, you’re guaranteed a credit limit of at least $500. Depending on your credit history, the limit could be higher, reaching into the thousands of dollars.
Do most places take Discover?
Discover has a reputation for not being widely accepted, but that’s only partially true. Discover is accepted in locations overseas that accept Diners Club, China UnionPay (Mainland China only), and JCB (Japan only). That opens up more options, though it should be noted that the distribution isn’t quite as diverse as you’ll find with Visa or Mastercard.
In the United States, Discover lags very slightly behind Mastercard and Visa, but edges out American Express.
Bottom Line: Should You Apply for the Discover Student Credit Card?
If you can take advantage of its rotating bonus categories and unique cash back match, the Discover Student Credit Card makes a ton of sense. If you worry about maxing out the bonus categories or don’t see yourself spending enough to rack up significant cash back in your first year, a card with a front-loaded sign up bonus will likely be a better choice. Check out the CardCruncher tool to find the right card for you.