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.

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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.

What we like Heads up
  • It’s easy to earn and redeem rewards
  • Has few fees
  • Has an intro APR offer for purchases and balance transfers
  • Other cards may offer rewards in categories that suit you more
  • Discover® cards aren’t as widely accepted as Visa® or Mastercard® credit cards
  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? Discover it® Chrome Card for Students vs. Discover it® Card for Students
  4. The competition: How the Discover it® Chrome Card for Students stacks up against similar cards
  5. 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 percent cash back on your first $1,000 in combined purchases at restaurants and gas stations each quarter (then 1 percent), and 1 percent 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 cash back 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 $37.

No interest on purchases for six months

There’s a 0 percent APR intro 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 13.99 and 22.99 percent.

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 non-student 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 it® Chrome Card for Students vs. Discover it® Card 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 percent cash back on your first $1,500 in purchases in select categories each quarter you activate (then 1 percent). You’ll get 1 percent back on all other purchases.

This means you have to remember to log in to “activate” the categories every few months, though. In 2017, the categories have included purchases at wholesale clubs, Amazon.com, Target and restaurants. 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 (as long as you remember to log in each quarter to activate)?

The competition: How Discover it® Chrome Card for Students stacks up against similar cards

It’s always a good idea to consider your options. To get you started, here are three student cards that also don’t charge an annual fee:

Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One®

1% cash back on every purchase. Pay on time to boost your cash back to a total of 1.25% for that month
Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card for College Students Earn 2x points on dining out and entertainment, 1x points on all other purchases
Bank of America®  Cash Rewards Credit Card for Students Earn 1% cash back on every purchase, 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs, and 3% on gas on up to $2,500 in combined grocery, wholesale club and gas purchases per quarter

It’s always a good idea to consider your options. To get you started, here are three student cards that also don’t charge an annual fee:

Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One®

From our partner
See Details, Rates & Fees

With the Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One®, you can earn up to 1.25 percent cash back on every purchase (as long as you pay your bill on time), so you’re not limited by any rewards categories. Also, you may get access to a higher credit limit if you make your first five monthly payments on time.

Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card for College Students

From our partner
See Details, Rates & Fees

The Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card for College Students earns you two points per dollar spent on eating out and entertainment, and one point per dollar spent on all other purchases. It also has a sign-up bonus: You can earn 2,500 bonus points if you spend $500 in purchases in the first three months your account is open.

Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card for Students

The Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card for Students gets you 2 percent cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs and 3 percent cash back at gas stations, on up to $2,500 in combined grocery, wholesale club and gas purchases each quarter. After that, you’ll get 1 percent back.

There’s also a $150 online bonus if you make at least $500 in purchases within 90 days of your account opening.


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.


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