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Discover it Student Cash Back Review

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Approximate annual rewards value: $282
First-year bonus cash back value: $282
First-year rewards value: $564

The Discover it Student Cash Back card earns 5% cash back on up to $1,500 each quarter in rotating bonus categories students must activate, such as Amazon.com, grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations and when you pay using PayPal. Everything else gets 1% back, and Discover matches all the cash back you earn during your first year as a cardholder.

Based on average spending data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and Discover it Student Cash Back’s bonus categories for 2020, you can earn an estimated $282 each year.

Expenditure Annual cost Cash back earning rate Annual cash back earned
Groceries $4,400 5% one quarter; 1% the rest of the year $88
Dining $3,400 5% one quarter; 1% the rest of the year $68
Apparel and services $1,800 1% $18
Flights and hotels $1,000 1% $10
Gas $2,000 5% one quarter; 1% the rest of the year $40
Entertainment $3,000 1% $30
Personal care products and services $800 1% $8
All other expenditures $2,000 1% $20
Total annual cash back  $282
Bonus cash back $282
Total first-year value  $564

Values for each spending category are based on average data from the 2017 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Expenditure Survey. Each category is rounded to the nearest $100.

With the card’s first-year cash back match, you can double what you’ve earned at the end of your first year.

Students with Discover it Student Cash Back can redeem rewards at Amazon.com or as a statement credit, direct deposit, gift card or donation.

Of these options, gift cards provide the most value. When you redeem cash back rewards for gift cards starting at $5, you get a bonus on each card.

Annual fee: Neither card charges an annual fee.

Rewards: Discover it Student Cash Back earns 5% cash back on up to $1,500 each quarter in rotating categories, and you’ll get 1% back on everything else. At the end of your first year as a cardholder, Discover will match all the cash back you’ve earned. The Bank of America Cash Rewards Credit Card for Students earns 3% cash back in a category of your choice, 2% back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs and 1% back on all other purchases.

Sign-up bonus: Discover it Student Cash Back will automatically match all of your cash back earned at the end of the first year if you’re a new cardholder. The Bank of America Cash Rewards Credit Card for Students offers a $200 cash rewards bonus if you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening.

Benefits: Both cards offer monthly access to your FICO credit score for free. Discover it Student Cash Back also lets cardholders freeze and unfreeze their card’s usage at any time in addition to identity theft monitoring.

Discover it Student Cash Back vs. Chase Freedom® Student credit card

Annual fee: Neither card charges an annual fee.

Rewards: Discover it Student Cash Back earns 5% cash back on up to $1,500 each quarter in rotating categories, and you’ll get 1% back on everything else. At the end of your first year as a cardholder, Discover will match all the cash back you’ve earned. With the Chase Freedom Student credit card, you’ll earn 1% cash back on all purchases.

Sign-up bonus: The Discover it Student Cash Back will automatically match all of your cash back earned at the end of the first year if you’re a new cardholder. The Chase Freedom Student credit card offers a $50 bonus after the first purchase made within the first three months of account opening.

Benefits: Both cards give you free access to your credit score, while the Discover it Student Cash Back also lets cardholders freeze and unfreeze their card’s usage at any time in addition to identity theft monitoring.

Q: Which Discover card is best for students?
A: Not all Discover cards are a good fit for students, but Discover it Student Cash Back is likely a good choice for many. Students building credit can use the card to earn rewards.

Q: How much cash back can I get with Discover?
A: Based on spending averages from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, you can earn nearly $300 in rewards each year with the Discover it Student Cash Back card.

Q: What credit score is needed for Discover it Student Cash Back?
A: Discover may approve applicants for the Discover it Student Cash Back card with a credit score as low as 580. That means fair to good credit is recommended.

Q: Is Discover it Student Cash Back a good credit card?
A: The Discover it Student Cash Back is a good card for students and has one of the highest cash back rates of any student card for categories you’ll probably use often while in school.

  • Are a student and want a rewards card
  • Can maximize rewards by activating and spending on quarterly bonus categories
  • Maintain at least a 3.0 GPA to earn the card’s good grade bonus

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