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Discover it Student Cash Back

Requires sign in
Rewards Rate
5% cash back on rotating categories for up to $1,500, 1% on all other purchases
Sign Up Bonus
Cashback match for one year
Typical Credit Score
Limited / None
Pros & Cons
  • 0% purchase intro APR for the first six months
  • No annual fee
  • No penalty APR
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Extra bonus for good grades
  • Flexible redemption of cash
  • Rotating rewards categories makes for a more complicated reward policy
  • There is an upper bound with the 5% cashback bonus (up to $75 bonus each quarter)
Discover it Student Cash Back review

Who is the Discover it Student Cash Back for?

Just by looking at the name of this card, it is obvious that this card is designed specifically for students. The Discover it Student Cash Back is similar to Discover it Cash Back but has a Good Grade reward each year so that each college student who has a GPA higher or equal to 3.0 (out of 4.0) can get a $20 reward. You do not need a credit score to apply for this card which is also suitable for students who have not had credit cards before.

The special bonus for the card is that you can get 5% cashback in several chosen categories, such as Walgreens and gas stations in each quarter of a year and 1% cash back on every other purchase. The cash can be redeemed in any amount at any time and can be used as gift cards, donations, instant eCertificates, a statement credit, or Amazon.com purchases. Discover will match all the cashback without any limit for the first 12 months and give the same amount of money to your account at the end of that year.

Although the card is friendly to beginners, it is relatively more complicated since the categories in each quarter are different and you have to activate them manually before each quarter or you can not get the 5% cashback. There is also a limit of $75 cashback that you can get in each quarter which means after your purchases of $1,500 your cash decreases to 1%. Thus, if you don’t want to take time studying the rules, this card is not good for you. But if this is not a big deal and you are a college student, the Discover it Student Cash Back is a perfect choice.

Signup bonus

You will not want to miss this bonus. In the first year after you open your account, Discover will double your cashback without any limit. For instance, if you get a $300 cashback bonus according to the rules of rewards, the back will give another $300 to your bank at the end of the last consecutive month. Moreover, the lack of signup or annual fee reduces the burdens on students and lowers the threshold of applying for a credit card.

Rewards 

Now down to the most intriguing topic. Rewards for Discover it Student Cash Back can be divided into two parts: 5% cash back bonus on chosen categories in each quarter and 1% cashback bonus on any other expense, which means that you will earn rewards after each purchase using the card.

The rules for the 5% cashback bonus are slightly complicated. There are four quarters in a year and each quarter has different categories. For example, in the first quarter, rewards will be given on purchases from grocery stores, Walgreens, and CVS. But there are many details that the purchases made in only specific situations such as the official websites or apps can be counted in the categories, so you may have a look at the category calendar from Discover’s website.

But most importantly, do not forget to activate the categories before each quarter to get the 5% cashback bonus or you will only be given 1% cashback. Although it may take you some time, the rewards will not let you down. 

Benefits 

There is no introductory APR for the first six months after you open your account. Thus you can use this period to buy expensive items like cars without paying high interest. After that, the APR will be 12.99% to 21.99%. In the first six months, there is a 10.99% intro APR for balance transfers and then the APR will be 2.99% to 21.99%. Discover it Student Cash Back is also tolerant towards paying late. For the first time, you have a late payment, Discover will not charge a late fee. Even if you pay the late fee several times, the APR will not rise. Thus, you don’t need to be too anxious about exorbitant penalty APRs.

You can redeem the cash freely in any amount at any time to any account you choose. The cash can also be used as gift cards, donations, instant eCertificates, a statement credit, or Amazon.com purchases which means you do not need to transfer the money between different platforms.

There is also one benefit called Good Grades that is specifically designed for college students. Any applicants who are enrolled in college and whose account remains open during the request period can have a chance to get a $20 good grade reward. Students with a Discover it or Discover it Chrome card can be awarded when they have a GPA greater or equal to 3.0 (out of 4.0) during a school year (from September to August). One can earn rewards for up to 5 years from the date when the account is open.

No Annual Fee or foreign transaction fee

Discover it Student Cash Back does not have an annual fee or a signup fee. This means you can earn rewards as soon as your account is open without paying anything to Discover. Also, this card does not require a credit score which is suitable for students. No foreign transaction fee means you can also use the card in countries other than the United States without worrying about high fees. Thus, this card is a good choice for international students studying in the United States as long as they have their Social Security Number. They can enjoy the bonus in their daily college life and also use the card in their own country.

Cautions 

In order to earn the 5% cashback bonus, be sure you activate the categories before each quarter. Also, there are many rules limiting the categories and you need to check the details in section Rewards or official category calendar from Discover so that you will not miss any bonus.

Even if the policy for late payment is tolerant, you still need to pay your bill on time. After the first time of paying late, you will be charged up to $40 and your credit score will be affected. You will need a higher credit score if you want to apply for other credit cards in the future. Thus it is important to make the payments on time.

As mentioned before this card does not require a foreign transaction fee, but you have to check if the stores in countries other than the United States accept Discover. Unlike Mastercard or Visa, Discover is a more domestic card which means it may not be popular in other countries. Make sure you have alternative cards with you in case the card does not work.

Conclusion

Discover it Student Cash Back is a perfect card for college students. The 5% cash back bonus on specific categories each quarter and a 1% bonus on any other purchase put this card above other student cards. These rewards consisting of restaurants, gas stations, and grocery stores can be found on campus everywhere and make life easy for cardholders. No annual or signup fee is another attraction since you do not need to pay anything to Discover while you enjoy the rewards. Also, this card does not require a credit score and can be a perfect first credit card for college students before they apply for other cards.

Complete Card Details
Rewards Rate
5% cash back on rotating categories for up to $1,500, 1% on all other purchases
Welcome Bonus
Cashback match for one year
Typical Credit Score
Limited / None
Intro Annual Fee
N/A
Annual Fee
N/A
Additional User Annual Fee
N/A
Foreign Transaction Fee
N/A
Intro Purchase APR
0%
Regular Purchase APR
12.99% - 21.99%
Cash Advance Fee
5%
Cash Advance APR
24.99%
Late Fee
Up to $40
Intro Balance Transfer APR
10.99%
Regular Balance Transfer APR
12.99% - 21.99%
Penalty APR
N/A
Balance Transfer Fee
3% initial fee, 5% fee for balances transferred after August 10, 2020
Return Payment Fee
Up to $40
Minimum Deposit
N/A
Credit Card Network
Discover
Credit Card Issuer
Discover
Discover it Student Cash Back FAQ

What is the minimum credit score required to apply for Discover it Student Cash Back?

This information is currently not available. Please refer to the card terms and conditions for more details.

What is the minimum deposit required for Discover it Student Cash Back?

There is no minimum deposit required for this credit card.

What is the Intro Annual Fee for Discover it Student Cash Back

The Intro Annual Fee for this credit card is not available at the moment. Please check the terms for more details.

What is the Annual Fee for Discover it Student Cash Back

The Annual Fee for this credit card is not available at the moment. Please check the terms for more details.

What is the Intro Purchase APR for Discover it Student Cash Back

The Intro Purchase APR for this credit card is 0%.

What is the Regular Purchase APR for Discover it Student Cash Back

The Regular Purchase APR for Discover it Student Cash Back is 12.99% - 21.99%.

What is the Intro Balance Transfer APR for Discover it Student Cash Back

The Intro Balance Transfer APR for Discover it Student Cash Back is 10.99%.

What is the Regular Balance Transfer APR for Discover it Student Cash Back

The Regular Balance Transfer APR for Discover it Student Cash Back is 12.99% - 21.99%.

What is the Cash Advance APR for Discover it Student Cash Back

The Cash Advance APR for this credit card is 24.99%.

What is the Cash Advance Fee for Discover it Student Cash Back

The Cash Advance Fee for this credit card is 5%.

What is the Late Fee for Discover it Student Cash Back

The Late Fee for this credit card is up to $40.

What is the Penalty APR for Discover it Student Cash Back

The Penalty APR for Discover it Student Cash Back is not available at the moment. Please check the terms for more details.

What is the Balance Transfer Fee for Discover it Student Cash Back

The Balance Transfer Fee for this credit card is 3% initial fee, 5% fee for balances transferred after august 10, 2020.

What is the Min. Balance Transfer Fee for Discover it Student Cash Back

The Min. Balance Transfer Fee for Discover it Student Cash Back is $5.

What is the Foreign Transaction Fee for Discover it Student Cash Back

The Foreign Transaction Fee for Discover it Student Cash Back is not available at the moment. Please check the terms for more details.

What is the Return Payment Fee for Discover it Student Cash Back

The Return Payment Fee for Discover it Student Cash Back is up to $40.
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