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Most of Discover’s cards (with the exception of the student versions) require good to excellent credit, however, I’ve heard of people with borderline scores getting approved in the past.
Generally, for your best chance of approval, I would recommend applying for Discover it online here and then calling 1-888-676-3695 for reconsideration if you receive a denial.
It sounds like you have already been denied by the automated system so you probably want to hold off on applying again and just call the reconsideration number.
Most people with good to excellent credit are approved instantly online, but if you aren’t approved you can call that number and have them review your application manually – they may be able to approve you if you were denied by the automated system.
The Discover it card rewards program is steller and in my opinion worth definitely worth the risk if your scores are borderline (hard credit pulls really aren’t harmful in the long run).
Chase and Capital One, on the other hand, have products that require average credit, which is why you were probably able to get approved with them. That is assuming this is a credit score issue which is most likely the reason, although not the only reason you could be denied.
The first thing I would do is check your credit score. If everything checks out I would call Discover and speak with someone directly – there are a lot of things that can flag an automatic denial, and it is possible to be manually approved which is why it’s important to actually call.
If your credit is just average, I would recommend looking into the Milestone® Gold MasterCard® – which is relatively easy to get approved for and you can see if you’re pre-qualified before you apply.
As for the student version of the card, yes you do need to be a student to qualify. “To be eligible for the Discover Student Credit Card you must be a college student.”