Full Review of Discover it Chrome for Students Credit Card
Simple cash back rewards structure
Generous cash back match
Statement credit for good grades
Low-interest APR offer on new purchases
Low spending limit for 2% cash back rewards
- 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.
- 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
Seeks to maximize cash back earnings across spending categories
Resists or refuses an annual fee on principle or due to cost
Currently enrolled in an accredited four year college or university
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%.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.