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The Discover It® Student Chrome card offers 0% APR on purchases for six months and low fees overall (including no annual fee), but trades these benefits for a limited rewards program.
However, you can be approved without a credit score and your payments will be reported to the three national credit bureaus, making this card a solid option for students looking to establish and build a credit history.
The Discover It® Student Chrome card is a student credit card worth considering for students who want to build up their credit while earning cash back on everyday purchases.
While college students frequently opt for secured credit cards as easy-to-get starter credit cards, the Discover It® Student Chrome card is an unsecured card that doesn’t require a credit score for approval. This means the card doesn’t require a security deposit, and the Discover It® Student Chrome card’s $500 minimum credit line is a few hundred dollars higher than the typical secured card.
Furthermore, the Discover It® Student Chrome card reports payments to all three major credit bureaus, so students can establish their credit history with TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax at the same time.
This card has few fees and features a standard purchase APR of 15.99%–24.99% (variable), which is nothing to write home about, but the introductory offer of 0% APR on purchases for 6 months can give students a leg up on paying off major purchases, like textbooks, moving expenses, or dorm/apartment furnishings.
When it comes to rewards, the Discover It® Student Chrome card offers a maximum of 2% cash back in two categories (gas stations and restaurants) and 1% cash back on all other purchases. Those are so-so rewards rates compared to some competitors, and budget-conscious students may prefer a card that offers cash back on groceries rather than restaurants.
However, since this card lets students build their credit with no annual fee and a handful of other perks, the Discover It® Student Chrome card is an economical starter card that’s worth consideration.
Discover It® Student Chrome Important Details
Basic Card Details
- Credit card issuer: Discover Bank
- Annual fee: $0
- Regular APR: 15.99%–24.99% (variable)
- Introductory APR: 0% on purchases for 6 months; 10.99% APR on balance transfers for 6 months from date of first transfer
- Rewards rate: 1%–2%
- Grace period: 25 days
- No fee for your first late payment
- Free FICO score checks through the Discover mobile app
- Experian credit report and dark web monitoring through Discover® Identity Alerts
- Get a $50-$100 statement credit when you refer a friend for a Discover card and they get approved
Discover It® Student Chrome Feature Breakdown
Here’s a look at Discover It® Student Chrome card’s notable features and what you need to know about the application process.
- Annual fee: $0
- Balance transfer fee: 3% of transfer amount on introductory offers; otherwise, 5% of transfer amount
- Cash advance fee: $10 or 5% of amount (whichever is greater)
- Late payment fee: $0 for first late payment; then, $41
- Returned payment fee: Up to $41
- Foreign transaction fee: None
Note that this card boasts the usual Discover foreign transaction fee waiver, making it a good resource to carry abroad.
- Purchase APR: 15.99%–24.99% (variable)
- Intro purchase APR: 0% for 6 months
- Balance transfer APR: 15.99%–24.99% (variable)
- Intro balance transfer APR: 10.99% for 6 months from date of first transfer
- Cash advance APR: 26.49% (variable)
- Penalty APR: None
The Discover It® Student Chrome card offers 2% cash back on your first $1,000 in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants each quarter and 1% on all other purchases.
Eligible restaurants include cafes, fast food chains, cafeterias, and delivery services. However, gas stations affiliated with wholesale clubs, supermarkets, and supercenters may not qualify for 2% cash back. For example, you can’t get rewards on Costco gas purchases.
As an introductory bonus, Discover will match your first year of cash back—doubling the amount of cash back you’ll get at the end of the year. This offer can go a long way, especially if you’re just starting school or transferring to a new location.
Cash back can be redeemed in the following ways:
- Statement credits
- Electronic deposits to your chosen bank account
- Donations to select charities
- Payment at checkout with qualifying merchants (including PayPal and Amazon)
- Gift cards or eCertificates from Discover affiliates (minimum $5)
Cashback rewards do not expire and, excluding gift card redemption, rewards can be redeemed for as little as one cent. If your account is inactive for 18 months or you close your account, you will automatically receive your cash back as a credit to your account or as a check.
The Discover It® Student Chrome card offers a 25-day grace period on balances. You won’t be charged any interest on purchases made within those 25 days if your previous statement has been paid in full.
The Discover It® Student Chrome card offers an introductory balance transfer deal in which you can enjoy a balance transfer APR of 10.99% and a reduced balance transfer fee of 3% of the amount transferred. After the promotional period, balance transfers will be charged the same APR as purchases, at 15.99%–24.99% (variable) and have a fee of 5% of the amount transferred.
Cash advances (aka using your card to take cash out of an ATM) made with the Discover It® Student Chrome card are subject to a variable 26.49% APR and a cash advance fee of $10 or 5% of the advance amount, whichever is greater.
Application & Approval
To qualify for the Discover It® Student Chrome card, applicants must meet the following requirements:
- At least 18 years of age
- S. address and social security number
- Able to provide proof of income
- Currently enrolled in a 2- or 4-year college or university
- Does not have another active Discover student credit card
One thing you won’t need is a credit score, though it will be taken into account if you already have one. Discover makes its approval decisions using the information supplied in your application, credit report, and from other sources like your bank and employer.
The Discover It® Student Chrome card does not allow applicants to request a credit line, but it has a $500 minimum credit limit. Your exact credit limit will be determined by Discover and specified in your card offer.
After you graduate, you can continue to use your credit card, and you may be able to get a credit limit increase from Discover. However, if you want to apply for another Discover card, you can only apply for a non-student card after your Discover It® Student Chrome account has been open for more than 12 months and you are no longer a student.
The Discover It® Student Chrome card reports payment activity to TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian. Credit reporting is an important feature for borrowers who want to build their credit histories.
The Discover It® Student Chrome card offers a few extra benefits through the Discover mobile app:
- Free FICO score checks
- Discover® Identity Alerts monitors your Experian credit report new inquiries and the dark web for any personal information
- Online Privacy Protection scans “10 select people search sites” for your personal information every 90 days and submits opt-out requests on your behalf. People search sites are online databases of names, addresses, phone numbers, and other personal information created to make it easier to locate people.
Additionally, you can earn a $50-$100 statement credit when you refer a friend for a Discover card and they get approved.
Should You Get the Discover It® Student Chrome?
The Discover It® Student Chrome is a simple but worthwhile credit card that can help students build their credit history while earning a steady stream of cash back year-round. The intro offer of 6 months of 0% APR on purchases and cashback match is especially useful for students who need to take on a large balance at the start of the semester.
While students who want higher cash back rates or different categorical rewards should consider other cards, the Discover It® Student Chrome card is a great choice for students who are early on in their credit journey.
Who is this card for?
- Students looking for their first unsecured credit card: The lack of an annual fee, the rewards, and fee waiver for your first late payment make this card a forgiving option for students making the leap to an unsecured credit card. Students can also build their credit history through on-time payments reported to the three major credit bureaus.
- Students who want a hands-off rewards program: With no rotating categories to manage or points to convert, the Discover It® Student Chrome lets you earn cash back through everyday purchases without needing to strategize your spending or rewards redemption.
Here’s how the Discover It® Student Chrome stacks up against other student rewards cards.
Discover It® Student Chrome vs. Discover It® Student Cash Back
The Discover It® Student Cash Back is a very similar card, offering the same intro and standard APR as well as the same fees.
What makes the Discover It® Student Cash Back card different is its much more enticing rewards rate of 5% cash back for purchases in different categories each quarter (up to $1,500) and 1% cash back on all other purchases.
The quarterly categories rotate, so you’ll need to strategize your spending to make the most of your rewards. Here’s an example of the quarterly 5% rewards categories:
- Q1: Grocery stores and memberships to fitness clubs and gyms
- Q2: Gas stations and Target
- Q3: Restaurants and PayPal
- Q4: Purchases made at Amazon or using a digital wallet, such as Apple Pay or Google Pay
Rewards can be redeemed in all the same ways as the Discover It® Student Chrome card, plus Discover will match your cash back for your first year.
Students who prefer a broader range of cash back categories or want to maximize their rewards may want to consider the Discover It® Student Cash Back over the Discover It® Student Chrome card.
Discover It® Student Chrome vs. Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards for Students
Another card with no annual fee, the Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards for Students offers a flat rewards rate of 1.5% cash back on all purchases, and a $200 bonus if you spend $1,000 in your first 90 days.
It also offers 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months—more than twice that of the Discover It® Student Chrome card. That means this card is an excellent choice for students looking to transfer a balance or make a large purchase that will take more than a year to pay off.
You’ll also get miscellaneous perks like free FICO Score checks, $0 liability for fraudulent transactions, and overdraft protection when you link your card to an eligible Bank of America account.
However, students should be cautious of the 29.99% penalty APR and stunning high APR on cash advances.
Overall, the Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards for Students card is worth considering for students who need a lengthy 0% APR period and who wouldn’t mind earning cash back at a flat rate.
Discover It® Student Chrome vs. Capital One® SavorOne® Rewards for Students
The Capital One® SavorOne® Rewards for Students card has no annual fee or foreign transaction fees, but features a higher APR on purchases and balance transfers of 17.99%–27.99% (variable).
However, this card has some of the best cashback rewards rates for a student card, offering four levels of cash back:
- 8% on tickets purchased through Capital One Entertainment and Vivid Seats
- 5% on hotels and car rentals booked through Capital One Travel
- 3% on dining, groceries purchased at select grocers, streaming services, and eligible entertainment
- 1% on all other purchases
That 8% cash back can apply to tickets to movie theaters, amusement parks, zoos, sports events, concerts, and more. For a limited time, cardholders can also earn a $100 bonus for spending $100 or more in their first 3 months.
The high cash back rates and variety of categories make the Capital One® SavorOne® Rewards for Students card an outstanding student rewards card, particularly for students who spend a lot on travel and entertainment.