Discover it® Student Cash Back review

This credit card offers the opportunity to build your credit without missing out on the opportunity for excellent rewards. Plus, Discover will go one step further and match all the cash back you earn at the end of your first year.

Written by
Jennifer Doss
Why you should trust CardRatings
Student Card

Discover it® Student Cash Back

  • Rewards
  • Earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places you shop each quarter like grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations, and more, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases-automatically.
  • Welcome Bonus
  • Discover will match all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year.
  • Regular APR
  • 18.24% - 27.24% Variable APR
Credit Score: Fair, New to Credit
Terms and Limitations Apply

Key Features

Editor Analysis:

  • All the cash back new card members earn during the first year will be matched, dollar-for-dollar, by Discover. That means $100 in cash back is actually $200 in cash back after your first year.
  • As a card member, you can earn a statement credit for each person you refer who is approved for the card.
  • If you have relatively low student-loan debt, and an excellent credit score, you may be able to find another option with larger rewards potential.


Credit Score: credit_score_needed

card_name rewards

The CardName card has a lot to offer a young person trying to build their credit history and learn the ropes of using a rewards credit card at the same time.

As the name suggests, it is multiple cash-back opportunities that make CardName a great addition to the wallet of any financially responsible young adult. You have the chance to earn 5% cash back in rotating categories on up to $1,500 in purchases each quarter you activate. Plus, you’ll also earn 1% cash back on all other purchases and the bonus category purchases once you’ve met the quarterly spending maximum.

Here’s where this reward structure gets even better: As an introductory welcome bonus, Discover will match, dollar-for-dollar, all the cash back you have accumulated during your first year as a card member. This can easily add up to hundreds of dollars. Think about it: If you max out the spending in the quarterly 5% categories, you’ll earn $75 cash back just on those purchases each quarter for a total of $300 cash back for the whole year. That means that with Discover’s match at the end of your first year you will have earned $600 cash back after your first year – and we haven’t even mentioned the 1% cash back you’ll be earning on all your other purchases that will also be matched after your first year.

CardName offers tools to help you manage your credit, including free credit score updates with each statement, fraud monitoring and the ability to quickly turn your card “off” if you think it’s been lost or stolen and then back “on” again if you find it.

CardRatings Tip

A credit card can be a powerful financial tool, but remember, it’s important to use it responsibly. If you’re not paying your balance in full and on time, you could quickly find yourself buried in interest charges. Only charge to your card what you can afford to pay off. The rewards earned with this card are nice, but they won’t offset the cost of interest charges, so don’t spend money you don’t have just to earn those rewards.

card_name credit limit

Credit limits on the CardName vary. While you cannot request a specific credit line when you apply, Discover says credit lines start at $500. In some cases, credit limits may be higher depending on a combination of information provided in your application and consumer report used to determine your creditworthiness.

card_name credit cards pros and cons

We’ve covered numerous pros already, but are there any potential cons to consider? Like with any card, there are a few.

To maximize your cash back rewards you need to keep track of the rotating categories, which change each quarter. If you aren’t good at keeping up with schedules, you could miss out on opportunities to maximize your rewards.

As is the case with all student credit cards, getting the CardName card is not as easy as it used to be. Discover no longer allows co-signers, so you are on your own with the application. And the federal government has tightened its regulations on marketing and issuing cards, particularly to students.

Lastly, if you do a fair amount of traveling overseas or are planning to participate in a study abroad program, you might want to have other options in your wallet. On the plus side, Discover doesn’t charge fees for foreign transactions but, on the downside, Discover cards are not usually as widely accepted internationally as Visa or Mastercard.

How do cardholders rate the card_name card?

CardRatings conducts a survey annually to learn what actual cardholders think of their cards. Here are the results for the CardName card:

 Current ScoresPast Scores
Overall Score74.378.9
Features Satisfaction6.97.7
Customer Service6.57.7
Website/App Usability8.18.6
Likelihood of Continuing to Use8.78.5
Recommend to a Friend/Colleague8.47.8
Scores above reflect the results of surveys with actual cardholders. Full methodology below.

How the card_name compares to other student cards

CardName vs. CardName


CardName is best described as a scaled-back, simplified version of the CardName card. Rather than rotating quarterly rewards categories, CardName offers a straight 2% cash back for gas and restaurant purchases, on up to $1,000 in combined purchases per quarter with no need to sign up each quarter to take advantage; you’ll also earn an unlimited 1% on all other purchases. This type of cash-back card is called a tiered-rewards card. CardName does also offer the end-of-the-first-year cash-back matching bonus, so you’ll enjoy a match of every dollar you’ve earned at the end of your first year.

It also offers a annual_fees annual fee and no foreign transaction fees.

Overall, CardName could be a better fit for the student who already has enough on their plate (and who could blame you?) and doesn’t want to keep up with rotating categories. Furthermore, if you know you spend the bulk of your money on restaurant and gas purchases, you could end up earning more cash back in the long run with CardName.

CardName vs. CardName


What’s nice about the CardName is that cardholders can earn a flat 1.5% cash back on all purchases – plus 10% cash back on purchases made through Uber & Uber Eats, and complimentary Uber One membership statement credits through 11/14/2024. This is a good card for those who have expenses all over the place as it rewards you no matter what you’re buying – and not just in certain categories. And then of course that limited time Uber bonus is nice for those who regularly use the Uber apps.

The 1.5% rate is much lower than what you can expect with the Discover card, but depending on how you use your card, in the long run it may profit you more rewards overall. However, if you regularly make purchases in select categories, the Discover card may be the better fit.

As far as welcome bonuses go, new CardName cardholders can earn an early spend bonus of $50 once spending $100 in the first three months. That’s a valuable – and easy to earn – reward to pocket.

Finally, there are no annual fees or foreign transaction fees to worry about.

Who should get the CardName card?

CardName is a great fit for the wallet of any financially responsible college student. The combination of ongoing cash-back rewards and an end-of-the-first-year cash back matching bonus can put several hundred dollars into your pocket.

This is also a strong card for a young person looking to build their credit rating. The card offers credit management tools such as monthly credit score updates on your statements and fraud monitoring, to help you avoid pitfalls.

Frequently asked questions

CardName is accepted wherever Discover credit cards are accepted, which includes millions of locations across the United States and around the world.
Yes, CardName typically requires applicants to have a credit history, but it's specifically designed for students who may have limited credit history or are new to credit.

Our Methodology

Survey methodology: CardRatings commissioned Op4G in September 2023 to conduct surveys among 1,869 cardholders nationwide. CardRatings website analytics from Jan. 1, 2023-Aug. 31, 2023 were used to determine a selection of the most popular cards and additional cards were included to add survey breadth. Responses to each of nine questions were given on a scale of 1-10 and respondents’ scores were then averaged under broad topics. To determine the overall score, responses from questions 1-8 were summed and the answer to “How likely are you to recommend this card to a friend, coworker or family member?” was double weighted. Current Scores reflect scores from the most recent survey (2023); “Past Scores” reflect scores from the 2022 survey.

Disclaimer:The information in this article is believed to be accurate as of the date it was written. Please keep in mind that credit card offers change frequently. Therefore, we cannot guarantee the accuracy of the information in this article. Reasonable efforts are made to maintain accurate information. See the online credit card application for full terms and conditions on offers and rewards. Please verify all terms and conditions of any credit card prior to applying.

This content is not provided by any company mentioned in this article. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed here are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any such company. does not review every company or every offer available on the market.

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