Discover it® chrome for Students Card Pays Cash Back for Going Out: Review
Building up a good credit score while you’re in college can work in your favor once you’re out in the real world. A solid credit rating makes loan approval easier and it usually means paying less in interest to boot.
The Discover it® chrome for Students card is designed for young adults who want to boost their score while earning cash back. This card offers cash rewards on every purchase, with a higher rewards rate when you fuel up or grab dinner out.
Students pay no annual fee or foreign transaction fees and there’s no late fee the first time you miss a due date. Besides that, you’ve got free monthly access to your FICO credit score so you can track how your score changes over time.
Still not sure whether the Discover it® chrome for Students card is right for you? Read our review to get a better idea of who this card is best suited for.
Benefits of the Discover it® chrome for Students card
Earn Double Cash Back at Gas Stations and Restaurants
The Discover it® chrome for Students card pays cash rewards on purchases and it proves to be most rewarding at gas stations and restaurants. You can earn 2% cash back on gas and dining on up to the first $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter. After that, you’ll keep earning 1% back until the next quarter starts.
You earn that same 1% cash back rate on all other purchases as well. There’s no limit on how much cash back you can earn. Your rewards don’t expire as long as your account is open.
Get a First-Year Cash Back Match
Some credit cards offer a bonus up front when you open a new account. For instance, you might be offered $500 extra cash back if you spend $3,000 in the first three months. The Discover it® chrome for Students card approaches it a little differently.
Instead of getting an introductory bonus, Discover matches all the cash back you earn during the first year. That means if you earn $200 cash back on purchases, it’s automatically doubled to $400. This is only good for the first year so if you’re planning a big purchase, you don’t want to put it off.
Get More Cash Back for Good Grades
In addition to the first year cash back match, Discover offers an annual cash incentive for making good grades. You can get an extra $20 cash back each year that you have a 3.0 or higher GPA. This offer is good for up to five years so that’s another $120 in cash back you can earn.
Save and Earn More Cash Rewards with Discover Deals
Discover Deals is Discover’s online shopping portal. When you shop Discover Deals with your card, you can take advantage of special bonus rewards offers and discounts. Here are some examples of deals that have been featured through the portal:
- Earn 5% back when you shop the Apple store online
- Save up to 25% on car rentals through Avis
- Earn 5% cash back at Dell Home online
- Get 25% off regular-priced menu items at PapaJohns.com
Those are just a few of the deals that might appeal to students. You can find savings and cash back bonuses at dozens of merchants for things like clothing, electronics, pet care, travel, dining, sporting goods and more.
Just remember that you have to shop through the Discover Deals portal and pay with your card to take advantage of these offers. You can stack the Discover Deals offers with the cash back earned with your Discover card.
Choose from Multiple Ways to Redeem Your Cash Back Rewards
When you’re ready to use some of the cash back you’ve earned, you’ve got a few different ways to do it. Redemption options include:
- Statement credit against purchases made with your card
- Electronic deposit into a checking or savings account
- Charitable donations
- Gift cards from partner merchants
- Pay with rewards when you shop at Amazon.com
The amount of cash back needed to redeem depends on how you plan to use it. If you want to redeem for a gift card, for example, the minimum is $20. If you redeem for a gift card from one of Discover’s Cash Back Bonus Partners, you’ll get another $5 added to your gift card for free.
For charitable donations, bank deposits and statement credits, you can redeem starting with as little as $0.01. When you use your cash back for statement credit, you can apply it towards travel or everyday purchases, with no restrictions.
There’s also no minimum needed when you shop at Amazon.com. That’s good if you need to buy textbooks or a new laptop and you want to save a few bucks at the checkout.
Built-in Tools Make Improving Your Credit and Protecting Your Account Easier
If you’re planning to rent your first apartment, get a private student loan, or apply for a car loan, your credit score is going to come into play. When you open a Discover it® chrome for Students account, you get access to resources that can put you on the fast track to a better credit score.
First, there’s free access to your FICO credit score. If you don’t know what that is, it’s the credit scoring system that most lenders use to make credit decisions. Your FICO score is a three-digit number ranging from 300 to 850. A score of 850 is considered “perfect” and it virtually guarantees that you’ll get the best interest rates on anything you borrow.
The other tool Discover offers is the Freeze ItSM feature. This lets you turn your card on or off, putting the brakes on any new purchases, balance transfers or cash advances. That’s important if you’re worried about identity theft. If you lose your card after a night on the town or it’s stolen, Freeze ItSM can keep you from being a victim of fraud.
Even if someone does manage to rack up fraudulent charges, you can breathe a sigh of relief. Discover offers a $0 liability guarantee so you’re not held responsible for what they spend.
Finally, the Discover it® Chrome for Students has EMV chip technology. If you dip your card in a chip reader terminal when shopping in a store, the chip gives you an extra layer of security protection against hackers.
The Fee-Friendly Structure Is Ideal for Students
Being a college student usually means not having a lot of cash to spare. The Discover it® chrome for Students will appeal to your wallet if you’re on a tight budget.
As mentioned earlier, there’s no annual fee and no foreign transaction fee. That’s a plus if you plan to study abroad and want to take your card along. You won’t pay a late fee the first time you miss a due date and there’s no overlimit fee.
The annual percentage rate terms are pretty comparable to other student cards. There’s a low introductory APR for purchases and, after that, a regular variable APR applies. The rate is competitive and the better your credit score is, the better the odds of getting a lower APR.
If you want to get out of paying interest altogether, only charge what you can afford to pay in full each month. Also be sure to factor in the fees if you plan to transfer a balance to the card or take a cash advance.
What Other Cards Does Discover Offer for Students?
The Discover it® chrome for Students card isn’t your only choice if you want to get a card with Discover. The Discover it® for Students card and the Discover it® Secured Credit Card are two others to consider. Here’s how they compare.
Discover it® for Students
The Discover it® for Students card is very similar to the Discover it® chrome for Students card in terms of the fees, the cash back match after the first year, and the annual good grades cash bonus. Where the two cards differ is in the cash back rewards structure.
With the Discover it® for Students card, you can earn 5% cash back in bonus categories that rotate each quarter. The 5% bonus applies to the first $1,500 in purchases. After that, you earn unlimited 1% cash back on those purchases, plus 1% cash back on everything else.
Bonus categories may include things like gas, movie theaters, restaurants, and Amazon.com purchases. If you can max out the 5% bonus each quarter, you stand to earn more cash back than with the Discover it® chrome for Students card. If the quarterly bonus doesn’t line up with your spending habits, however, it may not be as valuable.
Discover it® Secured Credit Card
When you’re new to using credit, getting approved for a card can be challenging. The Discover it® Secured Credit Card is an alternative if you can’t get approved for either of Discover’s student cards.
With this card, you put up a cash deposit that doubles as your credit line. You can earn 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants, on the first $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter. After that, you’ll earn 1% back. You also earn 1% back on all other purchases.
This card doesn’t have an annual fee but there’s one potential hitch. The regular variable APR for purchases is fairly high. If you’re going to carry a balance from month to month, the interest could add up pretty quickly. Do what you can to keep your balances low or, better yet, pay them off in full.
Discover® Student Cards
|Discover it® for Students||Earn 5% cash back on certain categories that change every quarter.|
|Discover it Chrome for Students||Earn bonus cash back at gas stations and restaurants.|
Final Verdict: Best for Earning Cash Back in College
The Discover it® chrome for Students card has a lot of appealing features for students who want to get cash rewards while establishing a positive credit history. We wouldn’t steer you towards this card if you’re looking exclusively for travel rewards. Bottom line, this card is a good low-fee option if you want to build credit during your college years and save some money in the process.