Discover it® Student Cash Back Credit Card: Review

Written by: Kristyn Pilgrim
Updated: 5/27/20

Paying for college can be stressful. Tuition rates are increasing, and figuring out how to cover it all can make you feel like you don’t know where to start. Many college students are turning to credit cards to help pay for some necessary day-to-day expenses. To take the confusion out of which credit card to choose, we’re breaking down the Discover it® Student Cash Back Credit Card. From rates and fees to the perks offered, our guide will help you decide if this card is the right fit for you.

Discover it® Student Cash Back Credit Card Rates and Fees

$0 $0 for 6 months Variable 12.99%–21.99% 640 or lower

Rates and Fees

Like with all credit cards, knowing the rates and fees associated will help you determine whether the Discover it® Student Cash Back Credit Card makes sense for your financial situation. With no annual fee and a competitive introductory APR, Discover helps college students take control of their future.

Special Qualifications 

The first major stipulation for being approved for the Discover it® Student Cash Back Credit Card is that you must be a student. Discover will ask for information to verify your identity, such as your name, address, date of birth, and enrollment status to a two- or four-year accredited college or university. 

Discover makes it easy for college students without credit or those with poor credit to get approved for this card. While many Discover credit cards require a 700 or higher credit score, the student credit card doesn’t require any credit history to be approved. Students with poor credit history and a score of 640 or lower can even receive approval for this credit card. 

For those students who have little or no credit and cannot verify an income, Discover suggests becoming an authorized user on another member’s account. However, even with a part-time job, you may qualify for Discover’s student credit card options.


  • Zero Annual Fee: The Discover it® Student Cash Back Credit Card doesn’t charge an annual fee, making it a more sensible option for those worried about accruing another bill.
  • Introductory APR: The Discover it® Student Cash Back Credit Card offers an introductory rate of 0% APR for the first six months. After that, your interest rate can range from 12.99% to 21.99%, depending on how creditworthy your history is.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees: When you are traveling overseas, the last thing you want to worry about is paying a fee to use your credit card. Discover doesn’t charge a foreign transaction fee, meaning you can spend while studying abroad without worry. 
  • Balance Transfers: For balance transfers, Discover offers an introductory APR of 10.99% for the first six months after your first transfer. After the introductory period, your APR ranges from 12.99% to 21.99%, depending on your creditworthiness. Additionally, a fee of 3% will be charged as an introductory rate until June of 2020. Afterward, a balance transfer fee of 5% is charged for each transfer. 
  • Cash Advances: When you need extra cash, Discover offers a cash advance with an APR of 24.99%. Additionally, there is a fee of $10 or 5%, whichever is greater. 
  • Late Fees: Late fees can really hurt your credit. Discover waives the late fee for the first late payment. Any subsequent late payments incur a fee of up to $40. 

Discover it® Student Cash Back Highlights 

With so many credit cards to choose from, finding a card with the best benefits matters. The Discover it® Student Cash Back Credit Card offers its users 1% cash back on all purchases, with the ability to earn up to 5% back on certain categories of purchases. That’s just the tip of the iceberg. Here are some of the other perks of using this student credit card:

  • Cash Back Bonus®: 1% cash back on all purchases, with 5% cash back on qualified purchases. Discover changes the category periodically and has a cap on how much cash back approved card owners can earn. They break down the terms and conditions on their website.

    Your cash back rewards never expire. Cardholders can redeem their cash back reward as an electronic deposit to their bank account, as a donation to select charities, or they can pay using their cash back at select merchants. 
  • Cash Back Match: Discover offers a cash back match program, which matches any cash back you receive for the first 12 months for all new accounts. The reward is applied to your account following the next one or two billing cycles after your first year.
  • Good Grade Rewards: For students who maintain a 3.0 GPA or higher, the Discover it® Student Cash Back Credit Card offers a $20 statement credit once per school year for up to five consecutive years. The only stipulations are you must sign up for this option when you apply for your card and submit your grades between May and August.
  • Fico Credit Score: Discover gives you free access to your Fico Credit Score for being a cardholder. Having access to and regularly checking your credit is a great way to take control of your financial future. You can monitor for fraudulent activity and track your credit score growth as you build your credit history.
  • Free Overnight Card Replacement: In case of an emergency, the Discover it® Student Cash Back Credit Card offers free overnight card replacement. It’s not available for P.O. boxes or outside the U.S., however.
  • Discover® Identity Alerts: Stopping identity theft in its track is how Discover deals with it. As a standard part of their program, Discover makes sure to keep you safe by monitoring websites for your personal information, monitoring your Experian® credit report, and alerting you whenever anything out of the ordinary occurs. 
  • Freeze it®: Discover allows cardholders to freeze their account. This prevents any new purchases, cash advances, or balance transfers from being made. It can protect you if you believe your card information might be at risk. While the card is frozen, any recurring bills will still be incurred. Furthermore, Discover lays out other types of transactions that will still be in effect.

What’s the Bottom Line?

The Discover it® Student Cash Back Credit Card offers a quality option for college students looking to build their credit or figuring out how to pay for the increasingly high costs of attending college. They make it easy for those without credit or with little credit to get approved for at least a $500 limit, which can help lessen the stress of out-of-pocket school costs. Their Cash Back Bonus® program lets you stretch your money even further for things you purchase regularly. Also, any cash back you earn for the first 12 months is matched by Discover. And with a $0 annual fee, you won’t have to worry about another bill. The Discover it® Student Cash Back Credit Card is a great option for any college student.

The only downside to the Discover it® Student Cash Back Credit Card is its rates and fees. While it is competitive, extending the introductory APR of 0% to 12 months would help more college students in need. Also, while this card doesn’t have a foreign transaction fee and Discover waives your first late fee, the company could lessen the fees associated with cash advances and balance transfers.

At College Finance, our team of experts helps college students plan for their future. Whether you have questions about scholarships, want to learn more about financing higher education, or need to work out a student loan repayment plan, College Finance has the information you need. With over 44 million Americans dealing with student loan debt, we’re here to make sure you understand everything you need to know about paying for college.