The Discover it Chrome for Students is a good card for young adults who want to build credit while earning rewards, but it may be especially beneficial for people who spend a lot on gas or dining out. This card is also a smart choice for those who prefer to get cash back rather than travel rewards.
Rewards with no annual fee
Waives first late fee
Good starter credit card
Caps on rewards categories
Limited card acceptance
- Rewards with no annual fee: Gas and dining are great rewards categories for any spender, including students. While student credit cards generally have no annual fee, it’s still good to know you won’t have to worry about extra costs while in school.
- Waives first late fee: Don’t get in the habit of missing your payment, because it can really hurt your credit score. But if you slip up once, Discover won’t charge you an extra fee for paying late.
- Good starter credit card: The Discover it Chrome for Students is available for consumers with “fair” credit, which makes it easier to qualify for than most rewards credit cards. You'll also get a free FICO score on your monthly statement (and through the mobile app), which lets you monitor your progress as you build a credit history.
Applicants younger than 21 will have to show they have independent income capable of supporting credit card payments.
- Caps on rewards categories: If you spend a lot on gas and dining, you may be disappointed to know you’ll only earn bonus rewards on the first combined $1,000 you spend in these categories each quarter.
- Limited card acceptance: If you plan to use this card outside the U.S., know that cards that use the Visa or Mastercard networks have more international acceptance than Discover cards, according to Nilson Report.
Discover it Chrome for Students Sign-Up Bonus
Discover will double all the cash back you earn in your first 12 months as a cardholder, but you'll have to wait until your first year is over to get it. Unlike a conventional sign-up bonus—where you’re required to spend a certain amount in your first months in order to get a lump sum—this incentive gives you the control.
As a student, let’s say you spend half of the average for a U.S. household ($12,148, based on the 2018 figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics). Based on that, we’ve calculated you would earn $150 in cash back per year if you used this card for all your expenses. And that means the first-year cash-back match would be $150 as well. Sign-up bonuses on student credit cards aren’t a given, so a bonus this size wouldn’t be half bad.
Earning Points & Rewards
The Discover it Chrome for Students Card offers 2% cash back on up to $1,000 in combined spending on dining out and gas each quarter, and then 1% cash back after that. You’ll also earn 1% back on everything else you buy.
Once you begin earning rewards with the Discover it Chrome for Students, you’ll have several options to choose from when it comes to using your rewards. For example, you can:
- Redeem for gift cards or eCertificates, starting at $20
- Make a charitable donation
- Get a credit on your statement in any amount
- Get a deposit into your bank account
- Redeem for merchandise from select retailers
The cash back you earn never expires.
How to Get the Most Out of This Card
Other than using the card for your regular gas and dining purchases, focus on your studies: You get a $20 annual bonus each year you earn at least a 3.0 GPA. You can qualify for that bonus for up to five years.
J.D. Power ranked Discover No. 1 in its 2019 U.S. Credit Card Satisfaction Study, which considered the input of over 28,000 customers across 12 credit card issuers.
If you do a lot of your banking on your smartphone, you’ll also be happy to know that Discover earned the No. 1 ranking in J.D. Power’s 2019 U.S. Credit Card Mobile App Satisfaction Study, with 890 out of 1,000 possible points.
Finally, don’t forget that this card gives you free access to your FICO score on your monthly statement.
The Discover it Chrome for Students Card gives you the opportunity to sign up for free Social Security number account alerts and free alerts for new credit accounts opened in your name. It also has a feature that lets you freeze your card if it’s lost or stolen. And Discover offers free overnight card shipping to any U.S. address if your credit card is lost or stolen.
Discover it Chrome for Students Card's Fees
This card doesn’t charge any outrageous fees. In fact, it won’t charge a late fee on your first late payment or a penalty APR.