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Apply online for Discover it® for Students
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Discover it® for Students Review

Pros & Cons

  • This card rewards good grades by offering students $20 cash back each year your GPA is 3.0 or higher for up to five years.
  • Additionally, you receive a 0 percent APR on purchases for six months from the time of account opening.
  • All the cash back you earn during your first year will be matched, dollar-for-dollar, by Discover. That means $200 in cash back is actually $400 in cash back.
  • If you have relatively low student loan debt, and an excellent credit score, you'll be able to find other credit cards with larger rewards

Top Features

Points or Miles
Bonus Points or Miles
Purchase APR
13.99% - 22.99% Variable
Annual Fee

Full Review

Curtis Arnold Editor-in-chief

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.

Among the best student credit cards 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 same feature set as the regular Discover it® card, including:

  • Earn 5 percent cash back in rotating bonus categories that have included gas, restaurants, Amazon.com, Sam's Club and more on up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate;
  • 1 percent cash back on all other purchases and after reaching the quarterly maximum in bonus categories;
  • Discover will match, dollar-for-dollar, all the cash back new card members earn during their first year meaning that $200 in cash back is actually $400 in cash back.
  • 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.

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.

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.

This page was last updated on August 01, 2017

This card compared to other student cards

Points or Miles
1 % Cash Back on all purchases. 0.25 % Cash Back bonus on the cash back you earn each month you pay on time.
Earn 2X Points on Dining Out & Entertainment . Earn 1X Points on All Other Purchases
Bonus Points or Miles
Earn 2,500 bonus points after spending $500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening*
Purchase APR
13.99% - 22.99% Variable
24.99% (Variable) 
15.49% - 25.49%* (Variable) 
Annual fees
Rates and Fees
This card is best for students who want to earn cash back without paying an annual fee and are looking for a low introductory APR on purchases.
CardRatings.com Editorial Staff

Discover it® for Students details

Balance Transfer Intro APR
Balance Transfer Intro Period
6 months
Purchase Intro
6 months
Purchase APR
13.99% - 22.99% Variable
Annual Fee

What Discover says about this card

  • New! We'll monitor your Social Security Number. Get an alert if we find your Social Security Number on any of thousands of risky websites.* Activate for FREE.
  • 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 in rotating categories each quarter like Amazon.com, restaurants, ground transportation and more, up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate.
  • 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 & your FICO® Credit Score for free on monthly statements, on mobile and online.
  • Freeze It® on/off switch for your account that prevents new purchases, cash advances & balance transfers in seconds.
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 6 months, then the standard variable purchase APR of 13.99% - 22.99%.
  • Click "APPLY NOW" to see rates, rewards, FICO® Credit Score terms, Cashback Match™ details & other information.

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Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One®

  • Earn 1% cash back on all your purchases. Pay on time to boost your cash back to a total of 1.25% for that month
  • There's no limit to the amount of cash back you can earn, and rewards won't expire for the life of the account
  • Get access to a higher credit line after making your first 5 monthly payments on time
  • Pay no annual or foreign transaction fees
  • Fraud coverage if your card is lost or stolen
  • Pick the monthly due date that works best for you
Credit Needed:
Average, Fair, Limited
Apply online for Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card for College Students

Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card for College Students

  • Earn 2,500 bonus points after spending $500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening*
  • 2,500 ThankYou® Points are redeemable for $25 in gift cards, electronics and other great rewards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • Earn 2X Points on Dining Out & Entertainment
  • Earn 1X Points on All Other Purchases
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • Travel with ease and enjoy global acceptance with Chip Technology
  • No annual fee*
Credit Needed: