Discover it® Student chrome review: Cash back for gas and dining out

Young college student paying a man for a textbook using the Discover it Chrome Card for StudentsImage: Young college student paying a man for a textbook using the Discover it Chrome Card for Students

In a Nutshell

The Discover it® Student chrome could be a good fit for you if you drive a lot and don’t have a meal plan.
Louis DeNicola is a personal finance writer and has written for American Express and Discover. Editorial Note: Credit Karma receives compensation from third-party advertisers, but that doesn’t affect our editors’ opinions. Our marketing partners don’t review, approve or endorse our editorial content. It’s accurate to the best of our knowledge when posted.
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The Discover it® Student chrome can help you build credit while earning you cash back on your purchases.

In fact, the Discover it® Student chrome card is one of only a handful of credit cards that are created specifically for students. You actually have to be enrolled in a two- or four-year college or university to qualify.

If that sounds like you, here’s what you should know about the Discover it® Student chrome.

From our partner

Discover it® Student chrome

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  1. The rundown: Everything we like about the Discover it® Student chrome
  2. Heads up: What you should consider before applying for the Discover it® Student chrome
  3. Which Discover card is best for students?
  4. Bottom line: Is the Discover it® Student chrome right for you?

The rundown: Everything we like about Discover it® Student chrome

Here are a few of the things we like most about the Discover it® Student chrome.

Easy-to-understand rewards program

You’ll earn 2% cash back on your first $1,000 in combined purchases at restaurants and gas stations each quarter (then 1%), and 1% cash back on all other purchases.

On top of that, Discover matches all the cash back you earned during your first 12 billing periods.

Few fees

The card charges $0 for both annual fee and foreign transaction fee (nice if you’re studying abroad). It also won’t charge a late payment fee for your first late payment.

But you should still try to pay on time, because a late payment could affect your credit for years to come. And after your first late payment, you could be charged up to $40.

No interest on purchases for 6 months

There’s an intro 0% APR offer for purchases made with the card in the first 6 months from your account opening, which means you have 6 months in which you won’t have to pay any interest on purchases you charge to your card. But after that, the purchase APR goes up to a variable 12.99% - 21.99%.

Before racking up charges, you should make a plan for how you’re going to pay off the balance before the intro APR period ends so you can avoid paying interest on it.

Heads up: What you should consider before applying for Discover it® Student chrome

The Discover it® Student chrome might not be the best fit for every student.

For starters, if you have an on-campus meal plan and don’t have a car, the bonus cash back at restaurants and gas stations might not be valuable to you. A different student credit card that offers a higher cash back rate on every purchase, or has different bonus categories, could be a better fit.

Another thing to consider is that Discover is also a credit card network, like Visa and Mastercard. More merchants accept Visa or Mastercard credit cards than Discover credit cards.

In general, student credit cards may offer you a lower credit limit than nonstudent cards. This could lead to a higher credit utilization rate if you’re not careful with how much you’re charging to the card, and that could end up affecting your credit scores. But if you keep an eye on your spending and make on-time payments, a student card can be a good opportunity for you to start to build your credit.

Which Discover card is best for students?

Discover’s other student card, the Discover it® Student Cash Back card, is similar but has a different rewards program.

With the Discover it® Student Cash Back card, you’ll get 5% cash back in purchases in select categories each quarter you activate, up to a quarterly cap (then 1%). You’ll also get 1% back on all other purchases.

This means you have to remember to “activate” the categories every few months, though. The categories rotate every three months.

Which card is better for you depends on your lifestyle and personal preferences: Do you eat out and drive frequently? Or does a rotating rewards category suit you better?

From our partner

Discover it® Student chrome

0.0 out of 5

From cardholders in the last year

See details, rates & fees

Bottom line: Is the Discover it® Student chrome right for you?

If you’re a college student who often dines out or drives regularly, the Discover it® Student chrome could be a good credit card for you to use to start building your credit. But it’s worth considering other starter credit cards in case their rewards programs are be a better fit for your spending habits.


About the author: Louis DeNicola is a personal finance writer and has written for American Express, Discover and Nova Credit. In addition to being a contributing writer at Credit Karma, you can find his work on Business Insider, Cheapi… Read more.