Credit Card Credit Card Reviews

Discover it Chrome for Students Credit Card Review

overall rating
3.2

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The Discover it Chrome for Students card offers 2% cash back rewards at gas stations and restaurants up to $1,000 in combined spending each quarter, then 1% thereafter and unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases. It has no annual fee, and Discover matches all of the cash back earned during the first year as a cardholder. It also has an introductory 0% APR promotion on new purchases.

Discover it® Chrome for Students

overall rating
4.3
Discover it® Chrome for Students
On Discover's Secured Site.

Current Offer:

Discover will match all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically.

Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Poor - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 12.99% - 21.99% variable
Annual Fee $0
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.
INTRO PURCHASE APR 0% for 6 Months
INTRO BALANCE TRANSFER APR 10.99% for 6 Months
Balance Transfer Fee 3% if completed by July 10, 2020, and up to 5% for transfers made thereafter.
Foreign transaction fee (%) 0%
how this card stacks up
When compared among all student cards in our database:
Low Interest
Security/Customer Experience
Low Fees
Rewards
Benefits
worst best

Full Review of Discover it Chrome for Students Credit Card

Pros
  • Simple cash back rewards structure

  • Generous cash back match

  • Statement credit for good grades

  • Low-interest APR offer on new purchases

Cons
  • Low spending limit for 2% cash back rewards

Pros Explained

  • Simple Cash Back Rewards Structure: With the Discover it Chrome for Students card, cardholders automatically earn 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined spending each quarter. It also offers unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases. The 2% cash back rewards rate is higher than what some other student credit cards offer, making it a useful addition for budget-conscious college students. 
  • Generous Cash Back Match: At the end of your first year as a cardholder, Discover will match all of the cash back you earned using this card. For example, $100 in cash back rewards will double to $200. With no limit to how much you can earn, this could potentially be a significant bonus. 
  • Statement Credit for Good Grades: Cardholders receive a $20 statement credit for each year they maintain a GPA of 3.0 or higher. You can earn the statement credit for good grades for up to five years, giving you up to $100 in possible extra rewards with this unusual perk.  
  • Low-Interest APR Offer on New Purchases: This card offers an introductory 0% APR for six months on new purchases. After that, the APR will range from 12.99% - 21.99% variable. Although the six-month introductory period is short, student cards from other issuers rarely offer this feature. The 0% APR offer is helpful for cardholders who have to make large purchases, such as buying a new laptop or textbooks, and gives them up to six months to pay off the charges without worrying about interest fees.

Cons Explained

  • Low Spending Limit for 2% Cash Back Rewards: The Discover it Chrome for Students card offers 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants, but only on the first $1,000 spent on combined purchases in those categories each quarter. If you spend more than that on fuel or dining out, rewards are at the unlimited 1% rate. The $1,000 quarterly spending limit is relatively low. If you tend to spend more than this, especially on gas, you may find higher limits with another credit card. For example, the Citi Rewards+ Student card offers 2 points per $1 spent at gas stations and supermarkets on up to $6,000 spent per year.

This Card is Best For

  • Avatar for Cash Back Strategist Persona
    Seeks to maximize cash back earnings across spending categories
    Cash Back Strategist
  • Avatar for Annual Fee Averse Persona
    Resists or refuses an annual fee on principle or due to cost
    Annual Fee Averse
  • Avatar for College Student Persona
    Currently enrolled in an accredited four year college or university
    College Student

The Discover it Chrome for Students card is best for college students who want a credit card that offers a simple rewards structure and more generous cash back rewards at gas stations and restaurants. 

With this card, you automatically earn 2% cash back on qualifying purchases at gas stations and restaurants. Similar cards, like the Discover it Student Cash Back card, require you to manually activate rotating spending categories each quarter to receive higher rewards. 

Although the Discover it Student Cash Back card allows cardholders to earn 5% cash back on these rotating categories, having to remember to activate the spending categories can be frustrating for busy college students. And, you can only earn 5% cash back on gas and restaurants for one quarter, and only up to a $1,500 quarterly maximum. 

The Discover it Chrome for Students card also makes it simple for college students to redeem their cash back. There’s no need to worry about point valuations or redemption methods. You can redeem your cash back for its full value for statement credits or deposits to your bank account. But if you redeem them for gift cards, you can get even more value for your rewards.  

Discover it Chrome for Students Credit Card Bonus

Discover's Cash Back Match program is a valuable bonus offer. For new cardholders, Discover matches all of the cash back earned the first year. There’s no limit to how much cash back Discover will match. So, if you earn $250 in rewards, it will be doubled to $500 after the cash back match. 

Depending on how you use this card, that potentially lucrative bonus is higher than you’d expect from a student credit card. Discover is the only card issuer that matches cash back you earn during your first year, so this is a standout perk. 

Rewards Earning Details

Cardholders earn 2% cash back at restaurants and gas stations, on up to $1,000 spent each quarter. 

If you spent the $1,000 maximum each quarter on qualifying purchases, you’d earn $80 per year in rewards. 

This card also offers unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases, which can add up over time. For example, The College Board reported that the average college student spends $1,240 on books and supplies per year. If you use this card to pay for those expenses, you’d earn $12.40 in additional rewards, giving you a total of $92.40. 

Plus, after your first year as a cardmember, the Discover Chrome for Students card will match all of the cash back you’ve earned. That means you’d get double, for a total of $184.80 in cash back. 

Rewards Redemption Details

With the Discover it Chrome for Students card, you can redeem your rewards for cash back in the following ways: 

  • Statement credits
  • Electronic deposits to a bank account
  • Credit at select retailers like Amazon.com
  • Charitable donations to select organizations
  • Gift cards

For statement credits, electronic deposits, charitable donations, and credit at select retailers, you can redeem your rewards with as little as one cent. For gift cards, you need to accrue at least $20 in cash back before you can use that redemption method.

If you choose to redeem your cash back for gift cards, you'll get at least $5 free added to your gift card amount. That means if you have $20 in cash back rewards, you can get a $25 gift card. There are hundreds of gift card options to choose from, such as Applebee's, AMC Theatres, iTunes, and Old Navy.

Your cash back rewards never expire. If your account is closed or if you have not used it in 18 months, your Discover it Chrome for Students account will be credited with your cash back balance. If you close your account, you can’t use your card to make new charges, but you’ll still be able to log into your account to redeem your rewards. 

How to Maximize Your Rewards

To maximize your cash back rewards, use this card to pay for all of your purchases at gas stations and restaurants to earn 2% cash back on up to $1,000 spent on combined purchases each quarter. Because of the cash back match after your first year, the cash back rate is actually equal to 4% in those categories. 

However, you'll only earn 1% cash back on all other purchases after your first year as a cardmember. After your first cardmember anniversary, it may be worth using another card for additional expenses, such as groceries or clothes. 

For example, the Bank of America Cash Rewards credit card for students offers cardholders 3% cash back on a category of their choice, such as gas stations, online shopping, dining, travel, drug stores, or home improvement stores. Plus, you earn 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs, and 1% cash back on all other purchases. You’ll earn 3% and 2% cash back on the first $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club purchases each quarter, then earn 1%.

Standard Benefits

  • Freeze it on/off switch: If your card is lost or stolen, you can freeze your account through the app or online to prevent unauthorized charges.
  • Free FICO credit score: You can view your FICO credit score for free on your monthly statements, on the mobile app, or online.

Cardholder Experience

Discover is consistently one of the top-ranked card issuers in the country. In fact, Discover ranked highest in customer satisfaction among national issuers in the 2019 J.D. Power Credit Card Satisfaction Customer Survey

Discover’s customer service is based in the United States and is available 24 hours a day through the mobile app, a secure message platform online, or over the phone at 1-800-DISCOVER. 

Security Features

Like some other card issuers, Discover allows you to freeze your account if your card is lost or stolen to prevent unauthorized transactions. The company will also notify you of suspicious activity with your account. If you sign up for Social Security number alerts, Discover will also monitor thousands of dark web sites and alert you if your Social Security number is compromised.

Our Verdict

If you’re looking for a simple student cash back credit card and don't want to worry about remembering to activate spending categories, the Discover it Chrome for Students card is a smart choice. It has no annual fee, and you earn 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants, which is a solid rewards rate for a student card. And, all of your rewards will be doubled at the end of your first year through Discover's Cash Back Match program. 

With six months at 0% APR on new purchases, this card is also a good option for students who need to finance a major purchase. 

However, if you spend more than $1,000 per quarter at restaurants and gas stations, or if you don’t mind manually activating spending categories, you can earn more rewards with another credit card that has either a higher spending limit or higher cash back rate.

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For Discover it® Chrome for Students
on Discover's Secured Site.
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CURRENT CARD
Discover it® Chrome for Students
overall rating
3.2
Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Poor - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 12.99% - 21.99% variable
Annual Fee $0
INTRO PURCHASE APR 0% for 6 Months
Investopedia Credit Card Rating Methodology
Investopedia is committed to delivering the best credit card recommendations in the industry. We’ll tell you when a card is good, we’ll tell you when a card is bad, and we’ll only call a card the best if we would recommend it to our friends or family members.
Overall Star Rating Explained
To rate credit cards we objectively assess, score and weight nearly 100 individual card features which roll up into five major feature sets: fees, interest, rewards, benefits and security/customer service. Here’s how we weighted those feature sets for the overall star rating of a card:
We have applied our proprietary rating methodology to every generally-accepted credit card in the U.S. domestic market to allow consumers to make fully informed choices. It’s important to note that for our overall score that we make a number of assumptions about how you would be using your credit card:
  1. While we make no assumption as to whether balances are carried on a given card we do assign varying weights to all credit cards’ introductory APR (if present) in addition to the regular, long term purchase and balance transfer interest rates.
  2. We utilize BLS (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics) income and average category spending data to calculate annual earnings rates for rewards cards that offer cash back, points or miles rewards at a set rate on all spending or in consideration of bonus rewards for certain spending categories, like gasoline, groceries, restaurants or travel.
  3. We determine the maximum points value of rewards cards by dividing the points, cash back or miles required to exchange for the retail price of the most valuable redemption option (for example, in the case of a card that offers a domestic roundtrip airline ticket as a redemption option vs. another redemption option of lesser value that requires the same amount of points or miles to acquire, we would base the rewards value on the airline ticket).
  • Cards that are selected best overall in their respective categories generally feature most if not all of the following attributes:
  • Low or Reasonable Fees Credit card fees come in many forms but the primary ones involve those for annual card membership and balance transfer. There are a myriad of reward and non-reward card options that charge no annual fee but for the many that do assess an annual fee the cost is often justified by their lucrative ongoing rewards and initial signup bonuses. Balance transfer fees are occasionally waived during introductory periods with certain cards, a factor which is heavily and positively weighted in our scoring model for cards offering this benefit. When charged, balance transfer fees range between 3% - 5%, which we grade accordingly. Other standard fees can generally be avoided, such as those for paying late or taking cash advances but we rate those relative to other cards in the market for reference, though with less weight assigned
  • Competitive Interest Many cards offer 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for varying lengths and then revert to a permanent or regular APR (based on a variable rate tied to the prime rate) that applies to any balances not paid in full. We rate both introductory APR percentage and length (in months) along with the midpoint of the variable regular APR interest rate range.
  • Valuable Rewards Credit card reward programs can be based on cash back, points or travel rewards (which can be generic or travel partner-specific, as with airline and hotel co-brand card programs). For cards that offer rewards we determine the value per dollar spent along with average redemption values and assign more favorable ratings to cards that offer superior consumer value. We also assign value to sign-up bonus offers and their initial spending requirements, when present.
  • Excellent Benefits Credit card benefits cover a range of offerings like concierge service, TSA Pre-check, auto rental coverage, travel accident insurance, lost luggage assistance and free credit scores. We rate cards on the number and level of over a dozen standard and upscale benefits and provide extra weighting emphasis for those travel-related perks that apply to premium travel cards when present.
  • Solid Security/Customer Service Security and customer service features like lost or stolen card replacement, being able to lock one’s card from an issuer app and 24 hour customer support are becoming more standard across the card market and we provide a significant amount of weighting to features in this area.
  • You can also read the full version of our methodology for a more in-depth look at how we assess cards and award them the best in various categories.