Discover it® Student chrome Credit Card Review: Should You Apply?

Discover it® Student chrome Credit Card Review: Should You Apply?

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The Discover it® Student chrome is a good choice for young adults who predominantly use their card to pay for gas and restaurant purchases. However, if you’re looking for a credit card that can be more rewarding at other types of spending, such as textbooks or bars, there are other choices that will give you better savings.

If you are getting a credit card to have in case of emergencies, and don’t expect to use it much, the Discover it® Student chrome is also a good choice. Assuming you maintain a 3.0 average in school, you will still get a $20 statement credit, which is more than you’ll get out of other cards if you don’t use them. Note that the perk only lasts for up to 5 years, for a maximum payout of $100.

Review: Is the Discover it® Student chrome Good For Students?

The Discover it® Student chrome is excellent for students who want to charge gas and restaurant purchases to their credit card. However, if you spend money in different categories as well, other student credit cards begin to quickly overshadow this one. Students who don’t drive much and like to go out with friends are sure to benefit more from a card like that in the long-term.

Good For…
Bad For…
Young adults who spend a lot on gas and restaurant purchasesMaximizing rewards for those with varied spending
Students with at least a B average, who charge very little to their credit cardUse abroad
Long-term savings
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The best aspect of the Discover it® Student chrome, like all cash back credit cards from the issuer, is: Unlimited Cashback Match – only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year! So you could turn $50 cash back into $100. Or turn $100 into $200. There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. Just a dollar-for-dollar match. This exists in lieu of a more traditional signing bonus we see on other credit cards. Therefore, in terms of pure rewards earned through spending, the Discover it® Student chrome is one of the best choices for young adults – at least for the duration of one year.

For those who want to travel abroad with their credit card, be aware that Discover credit cards, in general, have spotty acceptance abroad. Unlike VISA, Mastercard, and even American Express, the Discover network may disappoint you outside of the United States. If you do find merchants that take the card, you can use it at no extra charge to you. As for foreign transaction fees? The Discover it® Student chrome has None. Most other student credit cards would tack on a 3% charge whenever a payment passes through a foreign bank.

Bottom Line: If your spending is mostly limited to gas and dining out, the Discover it® Student chrome is a fine choice. It comes with enough bells and whistles to make it worthwhile, at least during its first cardmember year. If you’re looking for a card to purely maximize the rewards you earn from spending, however, we recommend looking at other options.

Discover it® Student chrome Benefits & Features

The Discover it® Student chrome’s predominant benefit is the cash back it earns students. You get 2% cash back at Gas Stations and Restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter, 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases - automatically.

Instead of having a traditional bonus, the Discover it® Student chrome currently runs two special promotions. First, Unlimited Cashback Match – only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year! So you could turn $50 cash back into $100. Or turn $100 into $200. There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. Just a dollar-for-dollar match. Also, students who maintain a 3.0 GPA or higher during the school year will receive a $20 statement credit. The benefit is available for up to five consecutive years. To be eligible for it, you must indicate on your credit card application that you are enrolled in college. Both these benefits are available for new cardmembers only.

The first time you’re late on paying your Discover it® Student chrome bill there is no fee. Typically, most other credit cards will impose a $35 charge in such a scenario. This can be especially beneficial for students for who aren’t used to dealing with a credit card. It’s easy to slip up once and forget to pay a bill. At a time like that, you’ll be happy to have the charge waived. Keep in mind that the ‘no late fee’ is a one-time benefit. If you make a habit out of it, it will cost you up to $40 each time. Worse yet, if you frequently miss payments it will also have a negative impact on your credit score.

Finally, another unique benefit that comes with Discover cash back cards is their instant Amazon.com checkout redemption. If you visit Amazon.com, you can use the cash back rewards you have accumulated to pay for items on the site. If you order textbooks or school supplies online, this can be an effective way to put your rewards to use.

How Does The Discover it® Student chrome Compare To Other Student Credit Cards?

If you want to get an idea of how good a particular card is, you should always measure it against how it stacks up against other options. We took a look at some of the most popular credit cards for students, and compared them to the Discover it® Student chrome.

Discover it® Student chrome vs Journey Student Rewards from Capital One

The Journey Student Rewards from Capital One offers 1% Cash Back on all purchases; 0.25% Cash Back bonus on the cash back you earn each month you pay on time. For the first year of card membership, the Discover it® Student chrome will be undeniably the better student credit card, due to Discover’s reward match. If you’re looking for a rewards credit card for the long haul, things get a little trickier. If your spending on gas and restaurants is more than 33% of your monthly budget, the Discover it® Student chrome is still the better choice – assuming you don’t spend more than $1,000 in these categories every three months. The more you go over the $1k cap, the less you would need to spend on other items in order for the Discover card to still come out ahead.

Another important thing to consider is whether you will be travelling abroad and using your credit card there. Therefore, if you want to have a card you can reliably take with you on your travels, the Journey Student Rewards from Capital One is the way to go. You can learn more about the Journey Student Rewards from Capital One in our detailed review of the card.

Discover it® Student chrome vs Discover it® Student Cash Back

The Discover it® Student Cash Back is another option for those in college, and for many it will be the better one. The card gives students 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like Amazon.com, grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations and when you pay using PayPal, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate, 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases - automatically. For 2021, the categories include grocery stores, Walgreens and CVS (January-March), gas stations, wholesale clubs and select streaming services clubs (April-June), restaurants and PayPal (July-September), Amazon.com, Walmart.com and Target.com (October-December). Many of the best benefits that come with the Discover it® Student chrome also come one the Discover it® Student Cash Back – including the doubling of cash back rewards at the end of the first year for new cardmembers, and the $20 good grade statement credit.

Discover it® Student chrome vs Citi Rewards+℠ Student Card

The Citi Rewards+℠ Student Card is one of the best credit cards for the student lifestyle. That's because it rounds up purchases to the nearest 10 points. For example, let's say you purchased a $4 coffee, you'd get 10 points with this card. If you purchased a $14 Uber ride, you'd get 20 points. Additionally, the card charges $0 annual fee, meaning it won't put a dent in your budget.

Right now, the Citi Rewards+℠ Student Card is offering the the following sign-up bonus: Earn 2,500 bonus points after you spend $500 in purchases with your card within 3 months of account opening; redeemable for a $25 gift card at thankyou.com. Users are able to earn 2X ThankYou® Points at Supermarkets and Gas Stations for the first $6,000 per year and then 1X Points thereafter. Plus, earn 1X Points on All Other Purchases.

Info about the Journey Student Rewards from Capital One, Discover it® Student Cash Back and Citi Rewards+℠ Student Card has been collected independently by ValuePenguin. The issuer did not provide the details, nor is it responsible for their accuracy.

Joe Resendiz

Joe Resendiz is a former investment banking analyst for Goldman Sachs, where he covered public sector and infrastructure financing. During his time on Wall Street, Joe worked closely with the debt capital markets team, which allowed him to gain unique insights into the credit market. Joe is currently a research analyst who covers credit cards and the payments industry. He earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at Austin, where he majored in finance.

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How We Calculate Rewards: ValuePenguin calculates the value of rewards by estimating the dollar value of any points, miles or bonuses earned using the card less any associated annual fees. These estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone, not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.

Example of how we calculate the rewards rates: When redeemed for travel through Ultimate Rewards, Chase Sapphire Preferred points are worth $0.0125 each. The card awards 2 points on travel and dining and 1 point on everything else. Therefore, we say the card has a 2.5% rewards rate on dining and travel (2 x $0.0125) and a 1.25% rewards rate on everything else (1 x $0.0125).