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Once a spin-off of a Sears retail credit card project, Discover has grown into a consumer lending powerhouse with hooks into the student loan and mortgage industries. With the Discover it for Students card, the lender wants to prove that qualifying for a student credit card doesn't mean putting up with stripped-down features. It's part of a long term customer loyalty strategy that should force Discover's rival to take notice.

Reinventing the student credit card with personal service

Before 2009's Credit CARD Act, most student credit cards attracted new customers by setting up shop at campus events and trading small tchotchkes for applications. At the risk of stereotyping college students, applicants rarely looked at APRs or rewards programs. Instead, the card with the best t-shirt, frisbee, or spring break getaway coupon often ended up in a student's wallet.

Federal regulations gutted the market for bad student credit cards by restricting marketing practices on campus and by requiring adult cosigners for applicants under age 21. Most college students who carry credit cards now pack an additional card from a parent's rewards credit card account -- usually with far better perks than the typical student credit card.

Discover it for Students doesn't water down the cardholder experience, like many other student credit cards. By hosting all of its customer support teams at facilities inside the United States, Discover prevents a lot of the cultural and language disconnects that can frustrate first-time cardholders when account problems arise. In fact, Discover's call center agents have even been empowered to remove some service fees and renegotiate payment schedules while helping students learn to handle cash effectively.

Best student credit card for cash back rewards
This card is best if you're establishing credit for the first time, but you don't want to pass up the kind of rewards usually offered to consumers with stronger credit histories. This student cash back credit card carries the exact same feature set as the regular Discover it card, including:

  • 1 percent cash back on all purchases;
  • up to 5 percent cash back tied to quarterly promotions, subject to quarterly enrollment and quarterly maximum spend
  • no foreign transaction fees;
  • flexible payment options;
  • no late fee on the first late payment and paying late won’t increase your APR.*

Thanks to a partnership with Amazon.com, cardholders can instantly exchange CashBack Bonus balances for just about anything. Easy online and telephone payment options make this an ideal alternative for parents nervous about their kids picking up cash from ATMs or from wire services.

How Discover it for Students compares to other student credit cards
Discover's entry into the student loan servicing business gives their student credit card a distinct competitive advantage. The data Discover collects from student loan recipients and their institutions helps it make better offers to new cardholders.

Highlights: Discover it® for Students

Editor's Rating

Discover it<sup>®</sup> for Students

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  • No annual fee. No overlimit fee. No foreign transaction fee. No late fee on your first late payment. And paying late won't increase your APR*.
  • 5% cash back for online shopping and department store purchases on up to $1,500 - Oct. through Dec. 2014 when you sign up*. 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Free FICO® Credit Score online and on monthly statements*.
  • Talk to a real person any time with 100% U.S.-based service.
  • Looks out for you-since each Discover purchase is monitored. If it's unusual, you're alerted by e-mail, phone or text-and never responsible for unauthorized Discover card purchases*.
  • 0% intro APR* on purchases for 6 months, then the standard variable purchase APR of 12.99% - 21.99%.
  • Free text alerts can remind you when your payment is due. And free mobile app helps you stay on top of your account.
  • *See rates, rewards, free FICO® Credit Score terms and other info by clicking "Apply."
Credit Required: Average/Fair
Balance Transfer Intro APR

See terms

Balance Transfer Intro Period

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Balance Transfer Fee

3% (of the amount of each transfer.)
Purchase APR

12.99%- 21.99% Variable*

Annual Fee


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