Discover it® Chrome Card for Students: Cash back for gas and dining out

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In a Nutshell

The Discover it® Chrome Card for Students 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 it’s posted.
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The Discover it® Chrome Card for Students can help you build credit while earning you cash back on your purchases.

In fact, Discover it® Chrome Card for Students 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® Chrome Card for Students.


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

The rundown: Everything we like about Discover it® Chrome Card for Students

Here are a few of the things we like most about the Discover it® Chrome Card for Students.

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.

And if you have a GPA of at least 3.0 and your card account is in good standing, Discover will give you an extra $20 statement credit each school year. You can qualify for the bonus for up to five consecutive years. Just remember to apply for this Good Grades Reward each year you’re eligible at Discover.com.

Few fees

The card doesn’t have an annual fee or a 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. And after your first late payment, you could be charged up to $39.

No interest on purchases for six months

There’s a intro 0% APR offer for purchases you make with the card in the first six months from your account opening, which means you have six months in which you won’t have to pay any interest on purchases you charge to your card. But after that, the variable APR goes up to between 15.24% and 24.24%.

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.

The best first credit card for young adults

Heads up: What you should consider before applying for Discover it® Chrome Card for Students

The Discover it® Chrome Card for Students 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.

Keep reading: How to build credit as a student in 5 easy steps

Which Discover card is best for students?

Discover’s other student card, Discover it® Card for Students, is similar but has a different rewards program.

With the Discover it® Card for Students, 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 log in to “activate” the categories every few months, though. In 2019, the categories have included purchases at Amazon.com, Target and restaurants, and on Uber and Lyft. 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?


Bottom line: Is the Discover it® Chrome Card for Students right for you?

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