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Apply online for Discover it® Student Cash Back
About Our Ratings
Credit Needed
Fair

Discover it® Student Cash Back Review

Pros & Cons

  • This card rewards good grades by offering students $20 statement credit 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 after your first year.
  • 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

Cash Back on Gas
1-5%
Cash Back on groceries
1-5%
Cash Back on other
Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants or Amazon.com up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate. Plus, 1% unlimited cash back automatically on all other purchases.
Annual Fee
$0

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® Student Cash Back 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, which means that earning $200 in cash back during your first year 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 unless that person can show adequate independent income to support paying off a card. 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® Student Cash Back 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® Student Cash Back 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 July 16, 2018

This card compared to other cash back cards

Cash Back on Gas
1-5%
2% cash back at restaurants and gas stations on up to $1,000 in combined purchases every quarter - no sign-ups needed.
1%
Cash Back on Groceries
1-5%
1%
1%
Cash Back on other
Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants or Amazon.com up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate. Plus, 1% unlimited cash back automatically on all other purchases.
1%
1%
Purchase Intro
APR:
0%
Period:
6 months
APR:
0%
Period:
6 months
APR:
N/A
Regular APR
14.74% - 23.74% Variable
14.74% - 23.74% Variable 
24.99% (Variable) 
CardRatings.com Editorial Staff

Discover it® Student Cash Back details

Cash Back on Gas
1-5%
Cash Back on groceries
1-5%
Cash Back on other
Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants or Amazon.com up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate. Plus, 1% unlimited cash back automatically on all other purchases.
Purchase Intro
APR:
0%
Period:
6 months
Regular APR
14.74% - 23.74% Variable
Annual Fee
$0

What Discover says about this card

  • 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 at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants or Amazon.com up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - automatically.
  • Good Grades Rewards: $20 statement credit 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 & get your free Credit Scorecard with your FICO® Credit Score, number of recent inquiries and more.
  • Freeze It® on/off switch for your account that prevents new purchases, cash advances & balance transfers in seconds.
  • Receive FREE Social Security number alerts-Discover will monitor thousands of risky websites when you sign up.
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 6 months, then the standard variable purchase APR of 14.74% - 23.74%.

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Highlighted offers
Currently available on the Discover it® Student Cash Back
Get a dollar-for-dollar match of all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year,
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Apply online for Discover it® Student chrome

Discover it® Student chrome

  • Get a dollar-for-dollar match of all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically.
  • 2% cash back at restaurants and gas stations on up to $1,000 in combined purchases every quarter - no sign-ups needed. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - automatically.
  • Good Grades Rewards: $20 statement credit 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 & get your free Credit Scorecard with your FICO® Credit Score, number of recent inquiries and more.
  • Freeze It® on/off switch for your account that prevents new purchases, cash advances & balance transfers in seconds.
  • Receive FREE Social Security number alerts-Discover will monitor thousands of risky websites when you sign up.
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 6 months, then the standard variable purchase APR of 14.74% - 23.74%.
Credit Needed:
Fair
Apply online for Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One®

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
  • Enjoy no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees
  • Get a head start and build your credit with responsible use
  • Get access to a higher credit line after making your first 5 monthly payments on time
  • Monitor your credit profile with the CreditWise® app, free for everyone
  • $0 fraud liability if your card is ever lost or stolen
  • Pick the monthly due date that works best for you
  • Get customized alerts and manage your account with the Capital One mobile app
Credit Needed:
Average, Fair, Limited