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

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

For most students, the non-Chrome Discover it® card will be a better choice.
Editor's Rating: 4.0/5.0

Editor's Rating

4.0/5.0

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. For example, the Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card for College Students doesn’t have any spending caps, and comes with a 2% rewards rate whenever you shop at restaurants and bars. 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

The best aspect of the Discover it® Student chrome, like all cash back credit cards from the issuer, is the ‘Discover matches your cash back’ promotion. At the end of the first year, new cardmembers will have all their rewards doubled. 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. The Discover it® Student chrome has no foreign transaction fee. 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% back at gas stations and restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter. Plus, 1% cash back on all other purchases.

Discover it® Student chrome
Annual Fee
$0
Purchase APR
14.99% - 23.99% Variable
Credit Needed Fair
Details
  • 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 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter. 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.
  • Receive FREE Social Security number alerts-Discover will monitor thousands of risky websites when you sign up.
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 6 months, then the standard variable purchase APR of 14.99% - 23.99%.
  • Click "APPLY NOW" to see rates, rewards, FICO® Credit Score terms, Cashback Match™ details & other information.

Instead of having a traditional bonus, the Discover it® Student chrome currently runs two special promotions. First, Discover will match all the cash back you earn during your first year, essentially doubling the rewards you earn during that period. 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 months. 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 $37 each time. Worse yet, if you frequently miss payments it will also have a negative impact on your credit score.

Additionally, the Discover it® Student chrome doesn’t come with a penalty APR, so your interest rates won’t skyrocket due to a missed payment.

Finally, another unique benefit that comes with Discover cash back cards is their instant Amazon.com checkout redemption. If you visit Amazon.com/CashbackBonus, 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 a fixed and unlimited 1.25% cash back rate on all purchases, assuming you pay your credit card bill 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. As you can see, due to it’s limited 2% rewards, the Discover it® Student chrome doesn’t scale well for those who have varied spending.

Another important thing to consider is whether you will be travelling abroad and using your credit card there. While neither card charges a foreign transaction fee, the Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® is on the Mastercard network, which is accepted by more merchants worldwide than Discover. 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 in categories that change each quarter, up to the quarterly maximum of $1,500 when they sign up. After that, it gives a fixed 1% back. 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. Therefore, the only thing you have to figure out if you will benefit more from the rotating 5% categories or a fixed 2% back on gas and restaurant shopping. There the decision will come down to how closely your expenses match the categories on the Discover it® Student Cash Back.

As a rule of thumb, if at least 12.5% of your total spending falls into the above categories, you will be better off with the Discover it® Student Cash Back than the Discover it® Student chrome.

Discover it® Student chrome vs Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card for College Students

The Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card for College Students is one of the best credit cards for the student lifestyle. It gives a 2% rewards rate on restaurant spending and entertainment. The latter includes bars and movies. There is no quarterly spending cap, like there is with the Discover it® Student chrome. Therefore, if you don’t care about earning rewards on purchases at gas stations, we recommend the Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card for College Students.

The only time the Discover it® Student chrome will be more lucrative is during the first cardmember year, due to its bonuses. If you want to apply for just one credit card, with the plan of it being long-term, we recommend the Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card for College Students. Otherwise, we suggest going with the Discover it® Student chrome to maximize value during year one.

Comments and Questions

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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® Card 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).