Discover it Student Cash Back Credit Card

Andrew Reyes
A woman handing a store clerk her credit card.
  • Annual percentage rate (APR): 12.99% to 21.99%.
  • Purchase intro APR: 0% for the first six months.
  • Rewards: 1% or 5% cash back; $20 statement credit for good grades.
  • Annual fee: $0.
  • Late fee: $40.
  • Credit score: Fair to Good (601-780).
  • Apply Today.

Table of Contents


  • Low fees: Discover is known for offering low fees on its credit cards, and the Discover it Student Cash Back card is no exception to this trend. The card has no annual fee, has a competitive APR, and has no foreign transaction fees. Plus, as with other Discover cards, your first missed minimum payment will not result in a late fee — and your APR won’t go up, either. All these factors make this card a great choice for consumers who don’t want to waste funds on extra fees.
  • Excellent cash-back perks: While some components of this cash-back card have limitations (read more below), it’s undeniable that the variety of perks on offer make for a great deal for most students. In addition to unlimited 1% cash back on all purchases and 5% cash back on specific purchases, Discover will also match cash-back rewards you earn in your first year.
  • Useful tools for credit monitoring: Students who use the Discover it Student Cash Back Card have access to a range of tools to manage and learn more about their credit. Users receive updates on their credit score with each statement, and they also get access to credit card monitoring services with text or email alerts. This makes this card useful for individuals who are looking to build their credit and want to learn more about how their spending habits impact their score.


  • Fewer merchants accept Discover than Visa or Mastercard: With the understanding that the vast majority of U.S. merchants accept Discover, it’s still important to note that slightly fewer merchants accept Discover than Visa or Mastercard. This is particularly concerning for individuals who frequently travel outside of the U.S., as Discover is rarely accepted in some countries (such as most countries in Africa and the Middle East).
  • Higher balance-transfer rates than some competing cards: Users can expect to pay a 3% fee for any balance transfers. While this is a standard rate for this type of transfer, it can be less-than-ideal for users who intend to move large balances. On the upside, balance transfers have a promotional APR of 10.99% for six months. Considering that some cards offer promotional APRs on balance transfers and sometimes no fees at all, it may be worth exploring other options if you intend to transfer large balances.
  • The 5% cash-back feature has limitations: While 5% cash back can be a tantalizing proposition, this promotion only applies to rotating categories of merchants. Further, that promotion only applies on up to $1,500 in spending per quarter. This means that you’ll need to capitalize on this benefit during limited promotional windows. Further, this benefit must be manually activated via the Discover app — meaning you’ll earn no additional cash back if you simply forget to do so. Nevertheless, you’ll continue to earn 1% cash back on all purchases.

What Can You Expect From the Discover it Student Cash Back Card?

Adding this card to your wallet is a fairly stress-free experience. With a 0% APR for six months and limited fees, it is a great option for students who need to begin working on their credit without facing unexpected or unreasonable charges. Paying for day-to-day college expenses with this card can help you accomplish this while generating a reasonable cash-back balance.

If you’re interested in applying for a cash-back card, you’re likely interested in getting one that provides a maximum amount of rewards with a minimal amount of waiting or fuss. Thankfully, the rewards on offer with this Discover card are generous and fairly straightforward. With the exception of needing to opt-in for 5% rewards on a quarterly basis (which may be completed via the mobile app — read more on this below), you can be assured that you’ll be accruing plenty of cash back rewards in no time.

Discover Mobile App

The Discover Mobile App is a convenient and comprehensive portal for managing your credit card and retrieving information about your spending habits. You can use this app to set up mobile alerts, check and redeem rewards, contact customer service, and much more. It has extremely positive reviews on the Google Play Store and Apple App Store, and it gives you a lot of control over your new card.

In the flurry of campus activities and spending, it can seem inevitable that you’ll lose your card at some point. Fortunately, if your card is lost or stolen, reporting the incident is fairly easy; all you’ll need to do is log into the Discover app or the Discover website, select “Manage Cards & Devices,” select your card, then click “Report Lost or Stolen.” You can also add authorized users or freeze all card activity on this app, which gives you increased control over your card’s usage.

Who Should Get the Discover it Student Cash Back Card?

This starter credit card offer has obviously been designed with college students in mind, though it outperforms other student-oriented cards in a number of ways. With competitive terms, no annual fees or late fees for initial late payments, as well as an appealing rewards structure that prioritizes cash-back incentives from brands that college students frequently shop for, the Discover it Student Cash Back card has clearly been designed to meet the needs of this demographic from multiple angles.

Discover markets this card as the premier way for students to earn rewards while building their credit history, and the terms and perks of the card fulfill this promise. If you have limited or no credit and want to start building your credit while getting some much-needed financial flexibility during your college years, it may be worth applying for the Discover it Student Cash Back card. This offering will give you some options and tools for developing responsible credit habits.

Note that a Social Security number, as well as proof of enrollment in higher education, is required to qualify for this card. This means that U.S. college students are exclusively eligible for this Discover card. It is definitely worth determining whether this card fits into your financial strategy — but if you will be attending school in an area where Discover is not commonly accepted, it may be worth exploring other options, depending on your specific needs.

Apply Today for the Discover It Student Cash Back Card.

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