College is most people’s first steps into the big, scary world of adulthood – not only do students have to be responsible with their academic performance, they need to start learning how to use credit wisely. It’s a scary proposition, giving someone who’s just learning how to be a grown-up control over something they could easily see as free money.
On Chase's home portal
640 - 700
Highlight: Generous cash back in the first year, no annual fee
14.49% - 23.49%
1% - 5%
To that end, the Discover it Chrome Card provides a nice, easy solution for students to get some rewards out of their new credit spending, while also rewarding them for good academic behavior. By tying responsible card use with good grades, the Chrome Card allows reliable students to effectively get paid to do well in school.
The most interesting gimmick for the Discover it Chrome Card is its Good Grades Reward, in which you get a $20 statement credit every school year, provided your GPA is at a 3.0 or higher. (This, of course, applies only to the first five years, so the Van Wilders of the world can calm down about the prospect of a sudden windfall.)
Furthermore, the Discover it Chrome Card also functions as a decent cash back rewards card – cardholders get 2% cash back on gas and restaurants, and unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchase. For new cardholders, the Chrome Card even matches the rewards you earned at the end of your first year, providing a good incentive for students to use the card frequently.
There’s no annual fee, but no introductory APR rate, giving students a crash course in how interest can affect their balances. However, the card is still forgiving to these new cardholders – Discover waives the first late fee you receive, and late payments won’t affect your APR. It’s a solid safety net in case it takes a bit of time for them to learn to use credit cards wisely.
Our Overall Rating
The Discover it Chrome Card is one of the best student cards we’ve come across – it’s got inventive, eye-catching rewards that will draw the eye of students who are still getting used to having a credit card, and the Good Grades Reward even gives them extra motivation to do well in school.
As a cashback rewards card, you could do far worse; the inclusion of a bonus rewards category (2% for gas and restaurants) is inspired, and the first-year matching of all available rewards is another wonderful method of reinforcing good spending habits.
While students are immediately saddled with a variable APR that can be a bit on the high side, there’s also no annual fee, and the extent to which Discover forgives students’ first slipups with payment is something to heavily consider when getting this card.
Many of us can remember being irresponsible with our first credit card, sometimes leading to a not-great start to our credit-holding career. With the Discover it Chrome Card, new students get the chance to become responsible with credit, without ruining their credit if they mess up a little bit.
Where it Wins
A great card for student cardholders just starting their credit. If you’re a college student who also wants to learn how to responsibly own a credit card, the Discover it Chrome is a cushy first card to use. With things like late fee forgiveness and not changing your APR for late payments, students can mess up without it ruining their credit forever.
Rewards responsible card ownership and academic performance. It’s really important for students to learn not only to be good learners, but fiscally responsible people as well. Between the Good Grades Reward and other amenities, the Discover it Chrome is a solid teacher for these vital life lessons.
Generous cash back rewards. Honestly, the Discover it Chrome provides a really robust cash back rewards program for what is supposed to be a beginner’s card. With 2% back on gas and restaurants, the card provides a nifty way to let students pay for all the dinner dates and long trips they’ll be taking as they enjoy the freedom of college.
Rewards & Benefits
$20 statement credit each year for good grades. The Good Grades Reward is a fantastic way to incentivize academic performance, offering a bit off their statement if they do well in school.
2% cash back on restaurants and gas. As a cash back rewards program, getting 2% for gas and restaurant purchases is on par with a lot of really solid rewards cards, so it’s nice to see it in a student card.
Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases. While the double points tier is nice, it’s also good to see that students can use the card to get cash back on anything else they buy, so they can learn the value of being smart cardholders.
Matching cash back rewards in first year. As an introductory incentive, it’s hard to beat this – freshmen with the Chrome card can really learn how much judicious use of their credit card can pay off for them.
Fraud and liability protection. Identity theft and fraudulent purchases are the last thing a struggling student needs to deal with when handling deadlines and finals; luckily, the Chrome Card offers protection from fraud so you’re not liable for purchases falsely made on the card.
Costs & Fees
No annual fee. For a first card, having no annual fee is a tremendous load off young students’ minds; that way, they only have to worry about the balances they accumulate, instead of dealing with arbitrary maintenance fees.
No late fee on your first late payment. It can take time to learn the good habits of responsible payment. It seems like Discover understands this, as their Chrome Card forgives the late fee on your first late payment. It’s effectively a mulligan for the first time you mess up your credit card usage, allowing you to learn the lesson with minimal damage to your credit.
14.49% to 23.49% variable APR. While there’s no annual fee, there’s also no introductory APR period either – as APR ranges go, this isn’t bad for a first card. It can go on the high side, especially for young students just starting out with their credit; with that in mind, it’s doubly important that they handle their balances with care.
Who is this card best for?
This card is ideal for students who are just getting their college and debt management careers started. It’s set up to not only provide great rewards to students who are using it, but a solid safety net for those first mistakes that virtually all credit card owners make.
The Discover it Chrome Card is also fantastic for rewarding good students with tangible financial rewards: the Good Grades Reward is something that all cardholders wish they could have, frankly. With this card, students get a chance to build a strong credit history while benefiting from the rewards the accumulate with their card usage.
How to Apply
If you want to apply for a Discover it Chrome Card, just head to this application portal and start the process. It starts easily enough; just enter your full name (first, middle initial and last), and pick a card design. The Chrome offers plenty of potential looks, from a simple chrome to turquoise, magenta or a printed background.
After that, you’re taken to a second page where you enter your financial information, like your employment status, your annual income, mortgage or rent payment, and so on. Also, be sure to enter your full address and social security number. If you want to transfer balances from another card to this one, they have an option for that there as well.
From there, the rest is simple; all you have to do is sign off on some e-disclosure agreements, click Apply, and wait to hear back. It shouldn’t take more than 15 minutes at the latest to hear back regarding your approval for the card.
Discover it Chrome Student Card Alternatives
Capital One Journey Student Rewards Credit Card. If you’re looking for another student credit card, Capital One’s rewards card is similarly forgiving to new credit holders (it also won’t raise your APR if you pay late, or charge you your first late fee).
Citi ThankYou Preferred Card for College Students. Citi’s college card has a similar rewards program as the Discover it Chrome (2% cash back for certain categories), and you can also redeem your rewards at Amazon.com.
Bank Americard for Students. This card offers fewer of the same amenities as the other cards on this list, much less the Discover it Chrome Card; however, it does have no overlimit fee and late payment forgiveness on your APR.