Discover it Student Cash Back card review: No annual fee and up to 5% cash back, plus a yearly reward for good grades

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Discover it® Student Cash Back

Discover Discover it® Student Cash BackAverage 401k balance

While there’s no traditional welcome bonus, Discover will match all the cash back you earned with the Discover it® Student Cash Back after the first 12 months through its Cashback Match program, and there’s no limit to the amount matched. Cardholders can also apply for a “Good Grade Reward” of a $20 statement credit each year when they maintain a GPA of 3.0 or higher, for up to five years.

Parents: Read these strategies that can help your child build credit, and find out how adding children as credit card authorized users can give their credit score a boost.

If you’d rather not keep track of rotating bonus categories, Discover issues another student card — the Discover it® Student chrome — which offers 2% back at restaurants and gas stations on up to $1,000 in purchases each quarter (then 1%), and 1% cash back on everything else.

Keep in mind there are other student credit cards that do offer a welcome bonus, along with opportunities to earn rewards in different categories. For example, the Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card for Students offers $200 in cash rewards after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 90 days of account opening.

Or if you want to earn points for travel, consider the Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card for Students, which offers 25,000 points (worth $250 in travel) after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 90 days of account opening. 

Bottom line: The Discover it® Student Cash Back is a good choice if you’re a student with limited credit history and want to earn cash back on your everyday spending without paying an annual fee — and if your grades are good, you can earn an extra $20 bonus each year.

We’re focused here on the rewards and perks that come with each card. These cards won’t be worth it if you’re paying interest or late fees. When using a credit card, it’s important to pay your balance in full each month, make payments on time, and only spend what you can afford to pay.

Comparison: Discover it Student Cash Back vs other Discover cards

 

Discover it® Student Cash Back

Discover it® Student chrome

Discover it® Secured Credit Card

Annual fee

$0

$0

$0

Rewards rate

5% cash back in categories that rotate each quarter on up to $1,500 in combined spending when you activate (then 1%)

1% cash back on all other eligible purchases

2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined spending each quarter (then 1%)

1% cash back on all other eligible purchases

2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined spending each quarter (then 1%)

1% cash back on all other eligible purchases

Welcome bonus

None, but Discover will match all the cash back you earned after the first 12 months

None, but Discover will match all the cash back you earned after the first 12 months

None, but Discover will match all the cash back you earned after the first 12 months

Card benefits

$20 Good Grade Reward as a statement credit each year your GPA is 3.0 or higher for up to 5 years

Free FICO score

No late payment fee on your first late payment (then up to $40)

$20 Good Grade Reward as a statement credit each year your GPA is 3.0 or higher for up to 5 years

Free FICO score

No late payment fee on your first late payment (then up to $40)

Free FICO score

After eight months, Discover will review your account and credit history monthly and may refund your security deposit

Introductory 0% APR offer

0% APR on purchases for the first six months (then 12.99% – 21.99% Variable)

0% APR on purchases for the first six months (then 12.99% – 21.99% Variable

N/A

Foreign transaction fee

No

No

No

Review

 

 

 

Discover it Secured card review

Comparison: Discover it Student Cash Back vs other student credit cards

 

Discover it® Student Cash Back

Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card for Students

Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One®

Annual fee

$0

$0

$0

Rewards rate

5% cash back in categories that rotate each quarter on up to $1,500 in combined spending when you activate (then 1%)

1% cash back on all other eligible purchases

3% cash back in the category of your choice (gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drugstores, or home improvement/furnishings)*

2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs*

1% cash back on all other eligible purchases

1% cash back on all purchases (1.25% cash back if you pay on time that month)

Welcome bonus

None, but Discover will match all the cash back you earned after the first 12 months

$200 in cash rewards after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 90 days of account opening. 

N/A

Card benefits

$20 Good Grade Reward as a statement credit each year your GPA is 3.0 or higher for up to 5 years

Free FICO score

No late payment fee on your first late payment (then up to $40)

Free FICO score

 

$5 per month credit toward select streaming subscriptions for 12 months (when you pay on time)

Free credit monitoring with CreditWise from Capital One

 

 

Introductory 0% APR offer

0% APR on purchases for the first six months (then 12.99% – 21.99% Variable)

0% APR on purchases and cash advances (made in the first 60 days of account opening) for the first 12 billing cycles (then a 13.99% – 23.99% variable APR)

N/A

Foreign transaction fee

No

Yes

No

*3% and 2% cash-back categories on the Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card for Students on up to $2,500 in combined spending each quarter, then 1% cash back

How to use rewards from the Discover it Student Cash Back card

The simplest way to use rewards from the Discover it® Student Cash Back is by redeeming for a statement credit or direct deposit to an eligible checking or savings account. There’s no minimum redemption amount, and your rewards don’t expire as long as your account is open. 

Other redemption options include:

  • Paying with rewards directly at Amazon or with PayPal
  • Donating to Discover’s charity partners which include American Cancer Society, ASPCA, American Red Cross, Carbonfund.org, Children’s Miracle Network, Junior Achievement, Make-A-Wish, Operation Homefront, and World Wildlife Fund
  • Gift cards to popular merchants (minimum redemption amount may apply, some merchants offer a bonus)

Discover it Student Cash Back card benefits and features

As you might expect from a student card with no annual fee, the Discover it® Student Cash Back doesn’t come with a huge list of benefits, but it does have a couple of handy perks that can save you money and help you stay on top of your finances.

$20 Good Grade Reward

Each school year (September to August) you have a GPA of 3.0 or higher, you can apply at Discover.com for a $20 statement credit, for up to five consecutive years from the date your account is opened.

0% introductory APR on purchases

The Discover it® Student Cash Back comes with an introductory 0% APR on purchases for the first six months (then 12.99% – 21.99% Variable), which is helpful if you have a lot of school expenses to pay for upfront that you need a little more time to pay off.

Just be sure you have the means and a plan to pay off your balance before the promotional APR period expires, otherwise, you could be on the hook for hefty interest charges.

Free FICO score

Discover it® Student Cash Back cardholders can access their FICO score for free, any time, through their online account. This makes it easy to keep an eye on your credit score and how it’s changed over time.

Opening and using a credit card responsibly by paying off your balance in full and on time each month can help improve your credit score.

Late payment forgiveness

If you’re late with a payment on the Discover it® Student Cash Back, Discover won’t charge you a fee the first time it happens. After that, there’s a fee of up to $40. Paying late will not increase your APR, however.

Unique card designs

Discover it® Student Cash Back cardholders can choose from over a dozen colorful (and unusual) card designs that you don’t usually find on conventional credit cards. 

Discover it® Student Cash Back

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Please note: While the offers mentioned above are accurate at the time of publication, they’re subject to change at any time and may have changed, or may no longer be available.

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