- Get a dollar-for-dollar match of all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically.
- Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants or Amazon.com - up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate. Plus, 1% unlimited cash back automatically on all other purchases.
- Good Grades Rewards: $20 cash back each school year your GPA is 3.0 or higher for up to the next 5 years.
- No annual fee. No late fee on first late payment. No APR change for paying late.
- Get 100% U.S. based customer service & get your free Credit Scorecard with your FICO® Credit Score, number of recent inquiries and more.
- Freeze It® on/off switch for your account that prevents new purchases, cash advances & balance transfers in seconds.
- Receive FREE Social Security number alerts-Discover will monitor thousands of risky websites when you sign up.
- 0% intro APR on purchases for 6 months, then the standard variable purchase APR of 14.24% - 23.24%.
Our Detailed Review
- Not as widely accepted as some other cards
- No travel or purchase protections
Getting started with credit cards can be intimidating for college students. If you don’t know where to begin, Discover it® for Students may be a great option. This card has no annual fee and pays you for good grades, just like your parents might have done back in middle school! Plus, this card pays up to 5% cash back on rotating categories and 1% back everywhere else. With no fee and easy cashback opportunities, students should seriously look at Discover it® for Students.
Discover it® for Students review
Discover it® for Students is a no annual fee credit card that pays cash back to college students. Cardholders earn 5% cash back on rotating categories each quarter, which recently included gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, and Amazon.com. Earn 1% cash back everywhere else.
As a special bonus, each academic year college students finish with a 3.0 GPA (grade point average) or higher, get an extra $20 statement credit. For up to five years ($100), it is like getting a bonus for doing well at school!
To sweeten the deal even more, at the end of the first year you get a match on the cash back you earned to date, automatically. This means those quarterly 5% cash back purchases year one are really worth 10%. That is a huge opportunity, particularly if the rotating categories align with where you spend most.
The biggest downside of the card is that Discover cards are not as widely accepted as Visa, Mastercard, or American Express. Of the big four card brands, Discover ranks 3rd on acceptance over only Amex. while Discover is accepted in many international destinations, if you do plan to travel, you should probably carry a Visa or Mastercard as a backup. As a matter of fact, that isn’t a bad idea even here in the United States, just in case you try to use the card and find Discover is not accepted.
Discover it® for Students rewards and perks
The major benefit of this card is a cash back program. Earn up to 5% cash back on rotating categories, and 1% everywhere else. Plus you’ll bring home a $20 bonus cash back reward if you maintain a 3.0 or higher GPA for up to five years. At the end of your first year, your full cash back earnings in the first year are matched by Discover.
- Rotating categories - 5% cash back
- Everywhere else - 1% cash back
- Good grades - $20 per year
- Plus end of first year cash back matching
This rewards program is similar to some competing cards, such as Chase Freedom. But Freedom does not give you a bonus for good grades or match at the end of the first year, so Discover’s card wins for the rotating cash back category, at least if you are a college student.
Discover it® for Students credit card benefits
Cardholder benefits don’t stop at cash back. Cardholders also get some extra services thrown in at no extra cost.
Freeze it® - If you realize your card is misplaced, or you forgot it at the last store you went to, you can instantly turn off your card to prevent purchases, cash advances, and other account activity. Turn it back on with the tap of a button.
Free credit score - Get your free FICO® credit score included on your monthly statement and online account. For students building credit for the first time, this is a great perk!
Note that this card does not offer any travel or purchase protection benefits, so if you use this card to book a vacation, you’ll need additional trip insurance. If you rent a car and use this card to pay, make sure to get the rental company’s insurance, as this card doesn’t cover the car.
Discover it® for Students costs and fees
This card has no annual fee, but there are some costs to consider.
The card charges variable rate APR from 14.24% to 23.24% as of this writing. Your interest rate is based on your credit history and market interest rates. However, the card offers 0% APR for the first six months after opening a new account. For balance transfers, you’ll pay the same APR as a purchase, but the discount for the first six months is down to 10.99% APR. Cash advance APR is 26.24%. There is no penalty APR on this card.
Other common fees include a 3% fee for balance transfers, 5% ($10 minimum) for cash advances, and up to $37 for late payments and returned payments. The first late payment has no fee, consider it a stern warning.
Does the Discover it® for Students credit card make sense for me?
For college students new to credit, Discover it® for Students may be a good fit. The card offers a solid cash back program, and a few other useful perks like a free credit score. The major downsides is lower acceptance than Visa and Mastercard, and a lack of travel and purchase protections. But if you just want a card to use around town that pays cash back, including a good grade bonus, this card is a good choice.