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Review of the Discover it® Student chrome

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Brendan Harkness By Brendan Harkness Jan 05, 2018 | Updated Apr 02, 2020
Our rating
Min. credit level: Limited Credit History
Annual Fee: $0
Regular APR: See Terms

Discover it® Student chrome

Our rating
Limited Credit History Min. credit level
See Alternatives

The Discover it® Student chrome gives college and university students a way to establish a credit history. On top of that, it provides cash back rewards at gas stations and restaurants.

With no annual fee, this card is a convenient way to pay for those common purchases, where you’ll get 2% cash back (up to $1,00 spent per quarter). And Discover will even double all the cash back you earn in your first year.

There are some handy perks for students, like a good grades statement credit and the ability to monitor one of your FICO credit scores. The interest rates and fees are quite favorable too, good for first-time cardholders.

This card is just like the Discover it® chrome (Review), but it’s designed with students in mind. Use it wisely, and eventually you’ll be able to qualify for even better credit cards.

Discover it® Student chrome

Discover it® Student chrome

Our rating
Min. credit levelLimited Credit History
Details
Annual Fee$0
Regular APRSee Terms

The information related to Discover it® Student chrome has been collected by Credit Card Insider and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of this product.

Our Rating: 5 Out of 5 Stars

We give the Discover it Chrome for Students 5 out of 5 Stars because it’s a strong offer for young people who are just getting into credit cards.

Why We Like It

  • 2% cash back on gas and dining
  • Double cash back in your first year
  • Free FICO Score 8 from TransUnion
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • No annual fee

Why It Could Be Better

  • Card benefits don’t provide much extra value

Insider Advice: Getting the Most Out of Your Card

  • Pay for food and gas: Use the Discover it Chrome to earn cash back when you go out to eat or fill up your tank. Unless you’d earn rewards at a higher rate with a different card, of course.
  • Earn a lot of cash back on big purchases: If you’re planning any big purchases, try to make them before the end of your first year. Discover’s Cashback Match will double your rewards in that first year.
  • Consider Discover’s international acceptance: If you’re studying abroad, a different card will probably be a better fit. Even though this card has no foreign transaction fees, Discover isn’t as widely accepted around the world as some other issuers. Check out the Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® (Review). It has no annual fee, no foreign exchange fees, and more acceptance worldwide because it’s a Mastercard.
  • Pay off purchases over time, if necessary: Use this card’s intro APR to learn the basics of using and paying off credit cards. Just be sure to always pay the minimum payment every month. After that you’ll get a regular rate of See Terms.
  • Redeem for gift cards if possible: To maximize your rewards, redeem your cash back for gift cards. This will add a bonus of at least $5 to each gift card. Otherwise, the next best options are redeeming for a statement credit or to a bank account.
  • Monitor your credit: Use the FICO Credit Scorecard to check your credit and monitor your FICO 8 Credit Score. It will be based on your TransUnion credit report. Read through their custom tips to see how you can improve your score.

The Rewards

As long as you use this card frequently for gas and dining, you’ll rack up quite the return on your spending. Especially considering for your first year, Discover will double your rewards. That could net you some serious cash, if you’re taking full advantage of what it has to offer.

Earning

Spending Rewards
  • 2% cash back on up to $1,000 spent per quarter at:
    • Gas stations
    • Restaurants
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases
Introductory Bonus Offer
  • Cashback Match: New cardmembers get double cash back in the first year (awarded after the first year)

So you’ll get 2% cash back rewards when you fuel up or go out to eat. That isn’t a whole lot compared to some other cards. But since Discover will double your rewards in the first year, that makes 4% back on those categories. Plus you’ll get 2% back on every other purchase in that first year, which is better than most cards. That’s pretty good for a card with no annual fee.

Redeeming

Redeeming your cash back is very easy with Discover. You’ll always get at least $1 for every $1 that you’ve earned. And there’s a way to get even more than that.

You’ll have five different options for redeeming your cash back:

  1. As a statement credit to reduce your balance
  2. Directly into a bank account of your choice
  3. For gift cards
  4. As a charitable donation
  5. Pay with rewards at select retailers, like Amazon.com

We recommend always using one of the first four options above, and avoiding number five. The gift card option will offer a bonus of at least $5 on your redemptions, so use it first whenever possible.

Statement credits will lower your card’s account balance. Direct deposits are sent to your linked bank account. These are probably the easiest ways to redeem your cash back, but not the most rewarding.

If you pay with rewards you won’t earn any cash back on those purchases, so it’s better to pay with your card as normal.

The Benefits

  • $20 statement credit for Good Grades: Discover will give you a $20 statement credit for every year that you get a 3.0 GPA or higher, for up to five years.
  • FICO Credit Scorecard: Access your FICO Score 8 whenever you’d like for free, based on your TransUnion credit report.
  • Cash at Checkout: At eligible retailers you can get cash at checkout, a handy way to get some money without going to an ATM. The extra cash will be counted as part of your purchase.
  • Refer a Friend bonus: Earn a $50 statement credit bonus for every friend you refer who’s approved, up to 10 friends per year. If your friend makes a purchase within three months of opening the account, he or she will earn a $50 bonus too.
  • $0 Fraud Liability Guarantee: If your card is lost or stolen, you are not liable for any fraudulent charges made to your account. Contact customer support immediately if you suspect fraud.
  • Fraud Protection: Discover monitors your account around the clock for suspicious or unusual activity.
  • Free Social Security number alerts: Discover searches for your Social Security number on thousands of risky sites and will alert you if your information was compromised.
  • New account alerts: Get notified of credit inquiries and new accounts on your Experian credit report.

The Terms & Fees

Purchase APR Balance Transfer APR Cash Advance APR
See Terms for See Terms, then See Terms See Terms for See Terms, then See Terms See Terms
Annual Fee Foreign Transaction Fee
$0 None
Balance Transfer Fee Cash Advance Fee
See Terms See Terms
Penalty APR Late Fee Returned Payment Fee
None See Terms See Terms

There’s no annual fee on this reward card, so if you avoid accruing interest it can be completely free to use. Just pay your balance in full every billing period, and you’ll never have to worry about interest.

This is a good card for students because Discover has pretty forgiving terms. Some issuers will apply a penalty apr if you go over your credit limit or make a late payment, but Discover will not. Your first late payment also gets a pass. But you should commit to always using your card responsibly.

The Bottom Line

The Discover it® Student chrome is a good option to help college and university students improve their credit. And if you want to earn some cash back too (who doesn’t?), this card fits the bill.

Most of the card features are good for first-time credit card users, like the interest rates, terms, and benefits. You’ll get 2% cash back on gas and at restaurants, which tend to be frequent expenses for students, and those rewards will be doubled for the first year.

The $20 credit for good grades is a nice bonus that most credit card companies don’t offer. And being able to check one of your credit scores will help you improve your credit as fast as possible, with helpful tips along the way.

As a student who is new to credit, you should always be responsible with your credit cards. This will help ensure that you build up a positive credit history, and eventually you’ll be able to qualify for more rewarding cards.

There are some other cards designed for students with limited or no credit. Take a look at some other student credit card options below.

How to Apply for the Discover it Chrome for Students

You can apply for the Discover it Chrome for Students card securely on Discover’s website.

Discover will check your credit reports from the major credit reporting bureaus, along with other financial information. You’ll also need to provide proof that you’re a student, like a student ID or class schedule.

Since this is a student credit card, it’s designed for people with limited or no credit. If you’ve never had a credit card before or haven’t started building up a credit history at all, this card is designed to give you a way in. If you’re an international student take a look at the Deserve Edu Mastercard, which doesn’t require an SSN to apply.

Qualifications and Requirements

  • Must be 18 to apply
  • Student status: Must be enrolled in a two- or four-year college or university
  • Personal information: Name, date of birth, Social Security number, U.S. citizenship status
  • Address and contact information: Home address, phone number, email address
  • Financial information: Total annual income, monthly mortgage or rent payment
Discover it® Student chrome

Discover it® Student chrome

Our rating
Min. credit levelLimited Credit History
Details
Annual Fee$0
Regular APRSee Terms

The information related to Discover it® Student chrome has been collected by Credit Card Insider and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of this product.

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Alternatives to the Discover it Chrome for Students

Uninterested in the Discover it Chrome for Students? Then stick around and take a look at a few good alternatives.

Discover it® Student Cash Back

Discover it® Student Cash Back

Our rating
Min. credit level Limited Credit History
Details
Annual Fee $0
Regular APR See Terms

The Discover it® Student Cash Back (Review) is very similar to the Discover it Chrome for Students. The only difference is the reward structure, which is quite different.

The Discover it for Students provides 5% cash back in categories that rotate every three months, up to $1,500 spent per quarter (activation required). And you’ll get 1% cash back on every other purchase.

The other terms, benefits, and rewards are the exact same. That includes the excellent Cashback Match offer. So you’ll actually be getting 10% cash back in those categories in your first year, and that’s a great deal.

If you’re an experienced credit card user and you know how to use them responsibly, you could even use both of these cards. Just use the Discover it whenever you can earn 5% cash back, and use the Discover it Chrome for every other purchase. But when the reward categories overlap, be sure to use the Discover it to make sure you get the most cash back possible.

Spending Rewards
  • 5% cash back in categories that rotate every three months (see calendar below), on the first $1,500 spent per quarter (activation required)
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases
Introductory Bonus Offer
  • Cashback Match: Double all cash back rewards earned in the first year

The 5% cash back calendar for 2020 is:

Quarter 5% Cash Back Categories
January – March Grocery Stores, Walgreens, CVS
April – June Gas Stations, Uber, Lyft, Wholesale Clubs
July – September Restaurants, PayPal
October – December Amazon.com, Target.com, Walmart.com
  • Good Grades statement credit: Discover will give you a $20 statement credit for every year that you get a 3.0 GPA or higher, for up to five years.
  • FICO Credit Scorecard: Access your FICO Score 8 whenever you’d like for free, based on your TransUnion credit report.
  • Cash at Checkout: At eligible retailers you can get cash at checkout, a handy way to get some money without going to an ATM. The extra cash will be counted as part of your purchase.
  • Refer a Friend bonus: Earn a $50 statement credit bonus for every friend you refer who’s approved, up to 10 friends per year. If your friend makes a purchase within three months of opening the account, he or she will earn a $50 bonus too.
  • Free Social Security number alerts: Discover searches for your Social Security number on thousands of risky sites and will alert you if your information was compromised.
  • New account alerts: Get notified of credit inquiries and new accounts on your Experian credit report.
  • Purchase APR: See Terms for See Terms, then See Terms
  • Balance Transfer APR: See Terms for See Terms, then See Terms
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: $0

The information related to Discover it® Student Cash Back has been collected by Credit Card Insider and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of this product.

Bank of America Cash Rewards™ Credit Card for Students

Bank of America Cash Rewards™ Credit Card for Students

Our rating
Min. credit level Limited Credit History
Details
Annual Fee $0
Regular APR 16.24%–26.24% Variable
Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

The Bank of America Cash Rewards™ Credit Card for Students (Review) is another good option for college students who are new to credit. It has no annual fee, and a different reward structure.

It’s a bit more rewarding than the Chrome for Students, with more bonus categories. The cash back you earn in the 3% and 2% categories is limited to the first $2,500 in combined spending every quarter. After that limit is reached you’ll earn 1% cash back on those purchases. With that limit you can earn up to $75 cash back every three months, if you only spend in the 3% categories (not counting any 1% cash back purchases).

There’s also a decent signup bonus with this card, a nice quick incentive compared to the Chrome for Students. You’ll get a longer 0% intro APR period as well, coming at 12 months for purchases and balance transfers. Discover only offers 6 months.

So if you’re trying to decide between these two cards, the main question is: Do you want to earn rewards at just restaurants and gas stations, or in a wider variety of categories? BofA account holders will have an extra incentive to go with the Cash Rewards card thanks to a reward bonus. But the right card for you will depend on your personal shopping habits.

Spending Rewards
  • 3% cash back in one category of your choice:
    • Gas
    • Online shopping
    • Dining
    • Travel
    • Drugstores
    • Home improvement/furnishings stores
  • 2% cash back at:
    • Grocery stores
    • Wholesale clubs
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • Spending limit: 3% and 2% rewards only up to $2,500 per quarter, then 1%
Introductory Bonus Offer
  • $200 cash rewards bonus for spending $1,000 in the first 90 days
  • Free FICO credit score: Access your FICO Score 8 whenever you’d like for free, based on your TransUnion credit report.
  • SafePass: A one-time 6-digit code to be used when banking online.
  • Purchase and Balance Transfer APR: 0% for 12 months, then 16.24%–26.24% Variable
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: $0
  • $200 cash rewards bonus for spending $1,000 in the first 90 days
  • New Offer: Maximize your cash back in the category of your choice: gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drug stores, or home improvement /furnishings
  • Now earn 3% cash back in your choice category and 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs (up to $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club quarterly purchases), and unlimited 1% on all other purchases
  • You can update your choice category for future purchases once each calendar month using the Mobile banking app or Online banking, or do nothing and it stays the same.
  • No changing categories and no expiration on rewards
  • 0% Introductory APR for 12 billing cycles for purchases and for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days, then, 16.24%–26.24% Variable APR. 3% fee (min $10) applies to balance transfers.
  • Get a 10% customer bonus every time you redeem your cash back into a Bank of America® checking or savings account
  • If you’re a Preferred Rewards client, you can increase that bonus to 25% – 75%. Click “Apply Now” to learn more about Preferred Rewards.
  • Now with chip technology for enhanced security and protection at chip-enabled terminals
  • No annual fee
Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One®

Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One®

Our rating
Min. credit level Limited Credit History
Details
Annual Fee $0
Regular APR 26.99% Variable
Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

The Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® (Review) provides more flexibility at the cost of rewards when compared to the Chrome for Students.

Rather than earning more on certain purchases, you’ll get 1% cash back on everything you buy. That 1% gets a little extra kick if you pay your bill on time, earning you .25% more. But other cards will offer at the very least 1% back for every purchase you make, so this isn’t a huge advantage. It certainly is not the most rewarding card, but if you don’t want to be limited to where you can earn rewards, you may like this option.

These cards also differ in the credit score they provide. Whereas the Chrome for Students offers your FICO Score 8 through TransUnion, this card provides a VantageScore 3.0, also from TransUnion. But Capital One’s CreditWise will show more information from that report (anyone can sign up for both Discover and Capital One’s credit monitoring services, cardholder or not).

Although the Journey Student Rewards is less rewarding than the others on our list, it’s still a solid way for students with limited credit to establish a positive credit history. In time, with responsible use, you’ll build up your credit and prove your worthiness for a more rewarding card.

Spending Rewards
  • 1% cash back for every purchase
    • 1.25% cash back if you pay on time
  • Get a higher credit line: You’ll have access to a higher credit line, or credit limit, after making your first five monthly payments on time.
  • Capital One CreditWise: The CreditWise service provides free access to your VantageScore 3.0 credit score, based on your TransUnion credit report.
  • Shopping protections: Get access to extended warranties for eligible purchases, and potentially more.
  • Travel protections: Including rental car insurance, roadside assistance, and travel accident insurance.
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Purchase and Balance Transfer APR: 26.99% Variable
  • Annual Fee: 26.99% Variable

The information related to Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® has been collected by Credit Card Insider and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of this product.

Discover it® Secured

Discover it® Secured

Our rating
Min. credit level Bad
Details
Annual Fee $0
Regular APR See Terms

Unlike the other cards on this list, the Discover it® Secured (Review) isn’t a student card. This is a secured credit card, which means it requires a security deposit to use.

The rewards for gas and dining are exactly the same, and most of the other card features are too.

The security deposit must be at least $200, and it will fund your credit limit. Your credit limit will be equal to your deposit; if you pay more, up to $2,500, you’ll get a higher credit line. Every eight months, Discover will review your account and credit history for responsible use and may refund your deposit.

You won’t get the good grades statement credit with the Discover it Secured, but you will get double cash back in the first year — a surprisingly good offer for a secured card.

Although it’s not a student card, students can use the Discover it Secured as an option for building their credit. It also might prove useful for anyone who is planning to become a student but isn’t one yet, or has just recently graduated from college.

Spending Rewards
  • 2% cash back on up to $1,000 spent per quarter (then 1%) at:
    • Gas stations
    • Restaurants
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases
Introductory Bonus Offer
  • Cashback Match: Double all cash back earned in the first year; awarded at the end of the first year
  • FICO Credit Scorecard: Access your FICO Score 8 whenever you’d like for free, based on your TransUnion credit report.
  • Cash at Checkout: At eligible retailers you can get cash at checkout, a handy way to get some money without going to an ATM. The extra cash will be counted as part of your purchase.
  • Refer a Friend bonus: Earn a $50 statement credit bonus for every friend you refer who’s approved, up to 10 friends per year. If your friend makes a purchase within three months of opening the account, he or she will earn a $50 bonus too.
  • Free Social Security number alerts: Discover searches for your Social Security number on thousands of risky sites and will alert you if your information was compromised.
  • New account alerts: Get notified of credit inquiries and new accounts on your Experian credit report.
  • Purchase APR: See Terms
  • Balance Transfer APR: See Terms for See Terms, then See Terms
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: $0

The information related to Discover it® Secured has been collected by Credit Card Insider and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of this product.

Deserve Edu Mastercard

Deserve Edu Mastercard

Our rating
Min. credit level Limited Credit History
Details
Annual Fee $0
Regular APR 20.24% Variable
Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

The Deserve Edu Mastercard (Review) is designed to be an option for students with limited or no credit. It’s also a good choice for international students because you won’t need an SSN to apply.

Unlike most cards, which just look at your credit history and financial situation, this card will take a few other factors into account when you apply.

The Deserve Edu (and other Deserve cards) will also consider:

  • Education
  • Future employability
  • Earnings potential

So if you lack a traditional credit history this card provides a chance to get that first credit card. This can sometimes be the most difficult step, so it’s nice to see a card that will consider more than just the normal criteria.

You’ll also earn some cash back on your purchases, and get a year of Amazon Prime for free.

This isn’t the most rewarding card, but if you’re a student with no credit history it might be one of the only cards you can get. International students without an SSN will have few other options as well. You can use this card to start building a positive credit history, and eventually you’ll be able to qualify for more rewarding cards.

Spending Rewards
  • 1% cash back on every purchase
  • 1 year of Amazon Prime: When you pay for Amazon Prime Student with your Deserve card (at either a monthly or annual rate), you’ll get statement credits to pay for one year of the membership cost.
  • Limited Priority Pass Select membership: Some current cardholders may be given an offer of a one-year membership to Priority Pass Select for spending $1,000 within 120 days of receiving the offer.
  • Insurance and furniture rebate: Get a $10 statement credit after making three consecutive payments for Lemonade Renters and Home Insurance, and a $100 discount on your first month’s rental from Feather. To get the latter, pay with your Deserve card and use promo code “DESERVE100”.
  • Refer a friend: Refer a friend to get a Deserve credit card and you will receive a $30 statement credit for every approval. If you refer 10 friends you’ll get a $200 bonus, for a total of $500 in statement credits.
  • Purchase, cell phone, and identity protections: Get access to extended warranty, price protection, cell phone insurance, identity theft protection, and ID theft protection.
  • Travel protections: Get rental accidence insurance, roadside assistance, and travel assistance services.
  • Purchase and Balance Transfer APR: None
  • Annual fee: $0

 

  • No SSN required for International students. Available to students (enrollment verification is required)
  • Amazon Prime Student Membership (get reimbursed for subscription fees up to a lifetime total of $59)
  • 1% unlimited cash back on all purchases
  • Credit limits up to $5,000
  • $0 annual fee & no foreign transaction fees
  • No security deposit or co-signer required
  • Helps students build credit history and gain financial independence
  • Use anywhere in the world where Mastercard is accepted
  • Includes Mastercard Platinum Benefits like Car Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Roadside Assistance, Travel Assistance Services, Price Protection, Extended Warranty and ID Theft Protection
  • Complimentary cellphone insurance up to $600

For more great cards, take a look at the Best Student Credit Cards.

If you’d like to learn about the non-student version of this card, check out the Discover it® chrome (Review).

Do you have the Discover it Chrome for Students? How do you like it? Leave your own review below and tell us what you think!

At a glance

Designed for college students, the Discover it® Student chrome provides a way to start building a credit history while earning cash back, and will even reward you with a statement credit for having good grades.

Credit Card Insider receives compensation from advertisers whose products may be mentioned on this page. Advertiser relationships do not affect card evaluations. Advertising partners do not edit or endorse our editorial content. Content is accurate to the best of our knowledge when it's published. Learn more in our Editorial Guidelines.

The information related to Discover it® Student chrome, Discover it® Student Cash Back, Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One®, Discover it® Secured, and Discover it® chrome have been collected by Credit Card Insider and have not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of these products.

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