Verdict: If you are a student looking for a credit card to start building credit, the Discover it® for Students is the card we recommend for you. This card has the same rewards program as the standard Discover it card - meaning that it allows you to earn great rewards without having an established credit history.
Discover it® for Students Overview
- Choose either Rotating Rewards (5% cash back on rotating categories), or Chrome (2% back on restaurants and gas)
- 1% Cash Back on all other Purchases (including purchases over quarterly maximums)
- Double all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year automatically - only for new cardmembers.
Annual Fee: $0
Credit Required: Fair
0% for 6 Months on Purchases*
Intro Balance Transfer
12.99% - 21.99% Variable
Discover it for Students was created for students to help them start building credit. The it® for Students card is a surprisingly good card and has a great rewards program that lets you earn cash back.
Discover it for Students Rewards Programs
If you are a student and haven’t established your credit score, finding a good credit card can be a difficult process. Discover makes this process a bit more difficult by adding some choice to it. You see, Discover it for Students comes in two varieties: the regular it rotating rewards card, and the it Chrome for Students.
Rotating Rewards vs Chrome Rewards
- 5% cash back in categories that change each quarter, up to the quarterly maximum (usually $1,500), when you sign up.
- Plus, 1% cash back on all other purchases.
Discover it® Chrome for Students
- 2% cash back on up to $1,000 in combined purchases at restaurants and gas stations every quarter—no sign-ups needed
- Plus, 1% cash back on all other purchases.
The announced "Cashback Calendar" of rotating categories for 2016 are:
- January - March 2016: Gas & Ground Transportation - 5% on up to $1,500
- April - June 2016: Restaurants and Movies - 5% back on up to $1,500
Both version of it for Students offer the same introductory financing offer of 0% APR for six months on purchases and 10.99% APR for six months on transfers. Please note that there is a 3% fee on all balance transfers.
Just base your decision on which program you think will allow you to maximize your cash back rewards. For most people, we think this will be on the regular it for Students rewards card.
No matter which variety of the it for Students credit card you choose, the rewards program and other benefits are good. Just remember that if you select the regular it for Students card, you will need to sign up for the quarterly cash back bonus categories.
And the card has fairly low rates, no over the limit fee, no foreign transaction fees, and no late fee the first time you miss a payment, which is almost unheard of for a credit card, let alone a student credit card.
Card Benefits Applicable to All Discover it for Student Cards
In addition to those perks discussed above, a Discover® it Student rewards card offers these great benefits:
- No annual fee.
- Redeem your rewards for any amount, at any time.
- Your rewards do not expire.
- $0 Fraud Liability
- No late fee for your first late payment, and your APR won’t go up for paying late.
- No foreign transaction fee.
- Free FICO® Credit Score on your monthly statements.
- Freeze it - Discover's on/off switch that lets you prevent new purchases, cash advances and balance transfers. Freeze or unfreeze your account in seconds via our website or mobile app.
- Purchase protection - Discover covers your eligible purchases up to $500 if they are damaged or stolen within 90 days of the purchase.
- Extended Warranty - They will extend the terms of an existing warranty for up to 1 additional year on warranties of 36 months or less.
- Price Protection - Discover will refund the difference up to $500 on eligible items if you find a lower price at any store within 90 days of purchase.
- Return Guaranty - Discover will refund the purchase price up to $500 if the original store will not accept your return within 90 days of purchase.
- Baggage Delay Insurance reimburses you the actual cost of replacing eligible travel essentials from your checked baggage, up to $500, if your baggage is delayed 3 hours or more.
- 24/7 Travel Assistance provides you with a wide range of travel assistance benefits if your tickets, passports or other travel documents are lost or stolen while you are traveling.
Interest Rate, Fees & Other Fine Print
No matter which card you choose, Discover it for Students has no annual fee. For a complete list of updated rates and fees check the card website before you apply.
Charges and Fees
APR for Purchases
After the intro APR expires, your APR will be 12.99% to 21.99%, based on your creditworthiness. This APR will vary with the market based on the Prime Rate.
APR for Balance Transfers
Your APR will be 12.99% to 21.99%, based on your creditworthiness. This APR will vary with the market based on the Prime Rate.
APR for Cash Advances
24.99%. This APR will vary with the market based on the Prime Rate.
Balance Transfer Fee
3% of the amount of each transfer.
Cash Advance Fee
Greater of $10 or 5% of the amount of each cash advance
Late Payment Fee
None the first time you pay late. After that, up to $35.
Up to $35.
How Discover it for Students Compares To Other Student Credit Cards
Discover it for Students vs Capital One Journey Student Rewards Card
Overall, Discover it for Students is a better deal than the Capital One Journey Student Rewards Card. While the Capital One Journey Student Rewards Card offers 1 percent cash back on all purchases, it does not offer 5 percent on rotating categories. It does offer a 25 percent bonus on any cash back in the 1 percent category (most categories) if you pay your bill on time, effectively making it a 1.25 percent cash back offer. However, if you intend to make significant use of the 5 percent cash back (or 2% on restaurants and gas) feature that Discover offers, you’ll end up better off with the it for Students card.
The only significant advantage that the Capital One Card offers is that it’s fees are a little lower in some categories, depending on your credit. If you intend to make a balance transfer – which most students probably will not – there is no fee for doing so. The cash advance fee is also lower than the 5 percent offered by Discover, as it is 3 percent with Capital One.
But we need to point out that Discover is currently offering financing incentives for new purchases and balance transfers for 6 months that Capital One is not.
Overall, Discover offers a better deal to most students when comparing these two cards.
Discover it for Students vs Citi Forward for College Students Card
Discover it for Students also edged out the old Citi Forward for College Students Card. However, Citibank decided to pull the plug on this card in 2014.
Discover it for Students vs Citi Platinum Select Visa Card for College Students
The Citi Platinum Select Visa Card for College Students and the Citi® Dividend® Card for College Students also were cancelled.
Is it just me, or is Discover just laying waste to the competition?
Overall, Discover it for Students is good if you are a student and looking to build your credit. I was pretty impressed with the rewards program. The cash back options available are a great incentive.
Although this card doesn’t have the lowest APR around for a student card, it is still very good (its APR is about 1% lower than most other student cards).
On an additional note, if you have been rejected for other cards because of your lack of credit, you may want to try applying for this card.
Last Update: February 1, 2016.