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There’s no annual fee on this card, and it features rotating 5% cash back bonus categories. Discover’s Cashback Match will double that to 10% in the first year, giving you a chance to earn quite a lot of cash back.
The extra benefits are fairly basic, but you’ll get a $20 cash back reward for every year that you get a GPA of at least 3.0. You can also monitor your credit through the FICO® Credit Scorecard, and get advice for improving it.
All in all, it’s a great card for students who are new to credit cards and have a limited credit history. Keep reading to find out more and learn how to use it like a pro.
We give the Discover it for Students Credit Card 5 out of 5 Stars because it’s one of the best card offers for college students. If you’ve never had a credit card before this is a perfect place to start.
You’ll be able to earn 5% cash back rewards on a variety of purchases that students typically end up making. And Discover will double all the cash back you earn in your first year, making this card even more valuable.
There’s no annual fee to worry about, and a 6-month 0% introductory APR for purchases and balance transfers. Although it’s not very long, this gives you a chance to use the card for a bit without paying any interest on your purchases. But you always have to make the minimum payments.
The extra benefits are basic, but you’ll also be able to monitor one of your FICO 8 Credit Scores with Discover’s FICO Credit Scorecard. This is great for students, who need to build up their credit and learn about it as they go.
Discover is known to be very consumer-friendly, making them a good choice for young people who are less familiar with how credit cards work. Discover has consistently ranked at the top or in a close second place for customer satisfaction in national surveys.
The Discover it for Students is an excellent card for college and university students to use to start building their credit. On top of that, it provides good rewards and favorable terms. Overall, it’s a very competitive offer.
|Introductory Bonus Offer|
The 5% cash back calendar for 2019 is:
|Quarter||5% Cash Back Category|
|January – March||Grocery Stores|
|April – June||Gas Stations, Uber, Lyft|
|July – September||Restaurants, PayPal|
|October – December||Amazon.com, Target, Walmart.com|
You will need to manually activate the reward categories before you can start using them. You can do this a couple months beforehand, and Discover will prompt you to do so. You won’t start earning rewards at the 5% rate until you activate, so it’s important to remember this. Most credit cards don’t require this kind of activation.
These 5% cash back rewards are only good for the first $1,500 in purchases you make in that particular category. After that you’ll earn 1% back on those purchases. This means you can earn up to $75 in cash back per quarter at the 5% rate.
Cardholders will get the valuable Cashback Match from Discover. This unique signup bonus will double all the cash back you earn in your first year. It’s a great deal because it will scale up to double your rewards no matter how much you spend. This covers all the cash back you earn in the first year.
If you happen to like everything about this card except the rewards program, check out the Discover it Chrome for Students below. It has all the same features, except a different reward structure.
Discover will always provide at least $1 for every $1 in cash back that you’ve earned, no matter how you redeem your rewards. That’s a good deal compared to most credit cards, which have some less-rewarding options.
You’ll have five different options for redeeming your cash back:
We recommend always using one of the first 4 options above, and avoiding number 5. The gift card option will offer a bonus on your redemptions, so use it first whenever possible.
Statement credits and direct deposits are both easy ways to redeem your cash back. A statement credit will lower your card’s account balance, while a direct deposit will be sent to your bank account.
Whenever you redeem for gift cards you’ll get some extra value added to the redemption. This makes it the best redemption option for this card, unlike most other cards.
Each gift card redemption will get at least $5 added for free, and more in some cases. There are many categories of retailers available, so you should often be able to find one you can use.
Some examples include:
|Merchant||Cash Back Redeemed||Gift Card Value|
|Buffalo Wild Wings||$45||$50|
Gift cards are available in both digital and physical form. Physical gift cards will take up to 4 weeks to arrive by mail.
You can donate your cash back to a good cause if you so choose. Discover provides an easy way to make a direct donation. You can send your rewards to any of the following organizations:
|ASPCA||Children’s Miracle Network||Make-A-Wish Foundation®|
|American Cancer Society||Junior Achievement||Operation Homefront|
|American Red Cross||Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation||World Wildlife Fund|
You can link your Discover account with a few participating merchants, including Amazon.com. This will let you pay for purchases through them directly with your cash back rewards.
We do not recommend this method because when you pay with rewards you won’t earn any cash back. If you’re paying with rewards at Amazon.com you could be missing out on 5% cash back, for example. So, we suggest you always pay with your card to earn cash back, and then redeem your rewards through a different method.
Discover will offer a $20 cash back reward for every year that you get a 3.0 GPA or higher.
This deal is available for five years. Cardholders must apply for this reward, it is not automatic.
Discover’s FICO® Credit Scorecard provides access to one of your free FICO credit scores online, along with alerts if it changes. Discover will use the FICO 8 Credit Score from your TransUnion credit report. This service is not limited to cardholders; anyone can make use of it.
Many issuers today will offer free access to one of your FICO credit scores, but if you don’t have another way to check your TransUnion score this card is a good option for that. Discover also includes quite a bit of advice and information about credit scores, breaking your score down by category and providing specific tips for improving it.
If you’d like a way to check out your actual TransUnion credit report for free, whenever you want, take a look at the Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® (Review) below. Capital One provides this very option, along with access to your VantageScore 3.0 based on your TransUnion credit report. Anyone can access this service, it’s not limited to cardholders.
When shopping at participating locations, you can get cash back immediately by charging an additional amount over your purchase. There is no extra fee from Discover and this will be counted as part of your purchase, rather than as a cash advance.
You can get a maximum of $120 every 24 hours in this way, but individual stores will have their own cash back limits and in some cases they will charge a fee. Some examples are below.
Take note that you will not earn cash back rewards on any cash you get at checkout.
This is a great feature because it provides a way to get cash directly through your credit card without taking out a cash advance, which is pretty amazing if you’re familiar with the high interest rates that always accompany cash advances. Most credit card issuers other than Discover do not provide this option.
There are a few dozen participating stores, but they include:
|Albertson’s||Army and Air Force Exchange Service||Big Y||Farm Fresh||GetGo||Heinen’s|
Although Safeway is listed as a participating merchant on Discover’s site, we were informed by Safeway that they no longer offer this cash at checkout service.
Here are some current cash back limits and fees:
|Retailer||Cash Back Limit||Fee|
|Dillons||$100 per purchase||$3 for any amount over $100|
|Dollar General||$40 per purchase||$1.50|
|Kroger||$100 per purchase||$3 for any amount over $100|
|Meijer||$50 per person, per day||None|
|Sam’s Club||$100 per purchase||None|
|Walmart||$100 per purchase||None|
As a cardholder, you can earn a statement credit bonus for referring friends to apply for Discover credit cards. You must send them the referral link you get from Discover, and they must use that link to apply.
If your friend is approved you will earn a $50 statement credit bonus. If your friend makes his first purchase within 3 months of opening the account, he will earn a $50 statement credit bonus too.
You can refer a maximum of 10 friends per year, and your account must not be late on payments or over the credit limit to qualify for this benefit.
The Discover it for Students comes with a few benefits that aren’t listed here, and occasionally the offers will change. There are also important account management and security benefits, like fraud protection, free Social Security Number alerts, and the ability to quickly freeze your account to prevent new purchases.
Read more about the benefits, and check the Guide to Benefits that comes with the card to learn what you have access to.
|Intro APR for Purchases||Regular Purchase and Balance Transfer APR||Cash Advance APR||Minimum Credit Limit|
|0% for 6 months||14.74%–23.74% Variable||26.74% Variable||$500|
|Annual Fee||Foreign Transaction Fee||Balance Transfer Fee||Cash Advance Fee|
|$0||None||3% intro balance transfer fee (5% on later balance transfers)||5%, $10 minimum|
|Penalty APR||Late Fee||Returned Payment Fee|
|None||$0 the first time; up to $39 after that||Up to $39|
This is quite an inexpensive card since it has no annual fee. As long as you pay your balance in full each month to avoid interest and fees, it will be completely free to use.
The introductory 0% APR is pretty short at just 6 months. But this is to be expected for student credit cards, which are designed for people with limited credit. This is nice feature for students because it gives you half a year to learn about your card before you’ll start accruing interest. Just be sure to always pay your minimum payment, or you could lose this 0% intro rate.
Discover is quite forgiving when it comes to the penalty terms and fees. There is no high penalty APR, which some issuers will apply if you make late payments or go over the credit limit. Your first late payment fee will be waived as well, which should serve as a warning.
It’s important to always use your credit card responsibly. But if you make a mistake with this card you won’t be punished too harshly, compared to other cards. These generous terms are another reason why this is a good card for students who are new to credit cards.
|Discover it for Students Card Support||1-800-347-3085|
|U.S. General Card Support||1-800-347-2683|
|Outside U.S. General Card Support||1-801-902-3100|
Discover’s phone support is excellent compared to other credit card companies. When calling you will probably reach a U.S.-based customer support center.
Whenever we’ve called they’ve shown themselves to be professionals. Their customer service representatives have been friendly, knowledgeable, and eager to help. Instead of giving the same rehearsed response over and over, like some representatives are known to do, Discover’s reps will think about what you say and provide a useful answer.
Even when we’ve asked some of our more obscure credit questions, Discover’s reps have been able to handle them quickly and efficiently. We never had to be put on hold, or to call again hoping to get a different representative.
That’s probably part of the reason why they’ve always been either winning or coming in second place in J.D. Power’s annual U.S. Credit Card Satisfaction Survey. They won in 2015 and 2016, before coming in second to American Express in 2017.
|Support Page||Discover Card Help Center|
Among credit card issuers, Discover has a very easy to navigate and well-laid-out site. You’ll be able to find everything you would normally need to know about the rewards, benefits, and other card features.
You can get in touch with them by live online chat, though this is limited to Discover customers and account holders only. They also have a phone line and physical mailing address.
Discover has a dedicated Help Center where you can find:
If you’re a student and would like to start building good credit, the Discover it for Students card may be for you. Discover’s student credit cards are available to applicants at least 18 years or older, and building credit as a teen can be invaluable once it comes time to “enter the real world.”
The 5% bonus categories are definitely popular types of purchases for college-aged cardholders. The cash back rewards are generous, especially for cards designed for people with little to no credit. And the fact that Discover will double all the rewards you earn in your first year makes the deal even better. Don’t forget to sign up for the 5% bonus reward categories each quarter.
There’s also a nice little incentive to get good grades with this card, which could provide a maximum of $120 cash back over 5 years. The extra benefits are pretty basic. But the ability to monitor your credit as it changes from month to month is a great tool for students who are starting to build up their credit.
This card allows you to earn rewards at a great rate potentially for free, all while improving your credit. Use it responsibly, always paying your bills on time. If you pay off your balance in full each billing period you’ll never have any interest charges to worry about. And that strategy will be perfect for building your credit quickly, too.
There are several other student credit cards, made for people with limited credit. Check out some alternatives to the Discover it for Students below.
You will need to be enrolled in a 2- or 4-year college or university to be eligible for the Discover it for Students.
Applying for this card offer is simple. Just click the Apply Now button below and you’ll be taken to Discover to provide your personal information.
They’ll 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. That means students who are just entering the world of credit have a better chance of being approved than with other cards.
Not the right card for you? Well, stick around because we’ve put together some alternatives that might fit a little better. Take a look!
For more cards that might be up your alley, 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 our Review of the Discover it® Credit Card.
Do you have the Discover it for Students credit card? How do you like it? Leave your own review below, we’d love to hear what you think!
Perhaps the best student card on the market, the Discover it for Students offers excellent cash back rates for young people looking for their first credit card. With 5% back in rotating categories and double rewards in your first year, it’s a great way to start building a credit history.
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