Discover it® Student Cash Back Review

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The Discover it® Student Cash Back has all the great features of the regular Discover it® credit card with some extra rewards for students, like cash credited to your statement each year you maintain a 3.0 GPA. You’ll earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com and more up to the quarterly maximum, each time you activate. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases. The introductory interest rate is 0% APR for the first six months, and as part of the introductory offer (then an ongoing 19.49% Variable APR), the Discover it® Student Cash Back card automatically matches all the cash-back rewards you earn at the end of the first year.

Among cash-back award cards, Discover it® Student Cash Back credit card stands out for its user-friendly features and generous rewards in the places college students shop the most, gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com and more.

Card Purchase APR Annual Fee Intro Offer Credit Needed Key features
Discover it® Student Cash Back 0% for 6 months, then ongoing 19.49% Variable APR $0 Discover will match ALL the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year, automatically. There’s no signing up. And no limit to how much is matched. No Credit History Cash back

What we like about the Discover it® Student Cash Back Credit Card

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Discover it® Student Cash Back Highlights
Card Highlights Provided by Discover:
  • INTRO OFFER: Discover will match ALL the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically. There's no signing up. And no limit to how much is matched.
  • Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com and more 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.
  • Get an alert if we find your Social Security number on any of thousands of Dark Web sites.* Activate for free.
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 6 months, then the standard variable purchase APR of 19.49%.

With no annual fee, no over limit fee and a waiver the first time a cardmember makes a late payment, the Discover it® Student Cash Back is more forgiving than other cards. The introductory 0% APR on purchases for six months (then an ongoing 19.49% Variable APR) lets new cardmembers purchase big ticket items and pay them back interest free as long as they continue to make the minimum payments each month.

For students, this credit card offers a number of other useful perks. Cardmembers get $20 credited to their statement each year they maintain a GPA of at least 3.0, for up to five years. There’s no fee on the first late payment, and late payments won’t affect your APR. Students get to check their FICO score for free with Credit Scorecard, and they can freeze their account within seconds with an on/off switch available both on the website and the mobile app. Cardmembers can even get a $50 cash award they refer a friend for the card.

Another valuable perk of this credit card is that students can get when they shop at certain stores — up to $120 every 24 hour period — without paying a cash advance fee. Not every merchant will allow users to take advantage of this feature, and some stores charge a small fee, but for those who need cold hard cash, the Cash Over feature lets them get it without paying an extra dime, provided the credit card is paid in full when the statement comes due.

Plus, unlike other student card options, users will actually be able to earn cash back on all their purchases. In a hectic student world where every penny counts, this is a huge incentive.

Things to consider

One potential drawback of the card is the rotating purchase categories. You must stay on top of things and activate the categories each quarter in order to earn the 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com and more up to the quarterly maximum; it doesn’t happen automatically. And there is a limit on the 5% cash back award itself. Each quarter, cardmembers can only earn 5% on the first $1,500 they make in purchases. After that, you only earn 1%. You should also be aware that you will not earn cash back on balance transfers, cash advances and Cash Over transactions.

Finally, the introductory offer on balance transfers is 10.99%. The 0% percent introductory interest rate only applies to new card purchases, then an ongoing 19.49% Variable APR.

Discover it® Student Cash Back Credit Card cash back details

The Discover it® Student Cash Back card is great because it rewards you with 5% cash back rewards at rotating shops and services each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com and more up to the quarterly maximum. Just make sure you remember to activate the 5% back in your account. In all purchase outside of these categories, you’ll earn 1% cash back.

Discover it® Student Cash Back Credit Card fees

The Discover it® Student Cash Back card has no annual fee and no foreign transaction fee. It waives the late fee the first time cardmembers don’t pay on time; after that, the late fee is up to $39. Returned payment fees are up to $39 as well.

Balance transfer fees are 3% intro balance transfer fee, up to 5% fee on future balance transfers (see terms). The APR on balance transfers is 10.99% during the introductory period and adjusts to the standard interest rate of 19.49% Variable afterward. The APR for cash advances is 26.49% Variable.

Because there is no penalty APR for late payments and no annual fee, the Discover it® Student Cash Back card is an inexpensive card to own, allowing cardmembers to take full advantage of the cash back and Good Grade Rewards offers.

How does it compare to other student cards?

The Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® card offers 1% unlimited cash back every time you make a purchase —1.25% if you pay on time. Unlike the Discover it® Student Cash Back, cardmembers can choose whether they want to receive rewards in the form of cash back or airline miles. There is no introductory APR currently offered for this card.

Another student credit card, the Citi Rewards+℠ Student Card, offers 2% cash back on supermarkets and gas stations and 1% cash back on all other purchases. Citi Rewards+ also “rounds up” to the nearest 10 points, meaning a $5 coffee is worth 10 points. Currently, this card offers 0% APR for the first seven months.

The bottom line

When used to its full advantage, the Discover it® Student Cash Back card can help college students learn how to manage credit wisely while allowing them to pocket extra cash whenever they make a purchase. It offers greater potential cash back awards than its competitors, with similar APR and fees.

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