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Discover it® Student Cash Back vs. Discover it® Student Chrome

Published May 31, 2024
5 min read

Key points about: Discover it® Chrome for Students vs. Student Cash Back

  1. Compare the Discover it® Student Cash Back and Chrome cards.

  2. Learn about different ways to earn rewards for using your card.

  3. Determine which card is right for you.

With no annual fee, generous sign-up bonuses, and a low intro APR, the Discover it® Student Cash Back and Discover it® Student Chrome are both excellent options for student credit cards in 2024. Although both cards are similar, each offers different ways to earn rewards.

With the Discover it® Student Cash Back you can earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places you shop each quarter like grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations, and more, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate. With the Discover it® Student Chrome you can earn 2% Cashback Bonus® at Gas Stations and Restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter, automatically. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases1 on both cards.

This guide will help you choose the ideal card for your financial needs and help maximize your benefits by comparing the rewards of each card—including key features like Cashback Match. As a new cardmember, you can get an unlimited dollar-for-dollar match of all the cash back you earn at the end of your first year, automatically. There is no limit to how much we’ll match.2

Compare Discover it® Student Chrome and Discover it® Student Cash Back credit cards

Below, you’ll find a detailed comparison chart to help you decide whether a Discover it® Student or a Student Chrome card is the better fit for you. While most factors are identical, the primary difference between the cards is the rewards rate. Consider factors like annual fees, cash back rewards, and more as you search for the right card for your needs.

Student Cashback Vs Chrome Card chart comparison
Student Cashback Vs Chrome Card chart comparison

What features do Discover it® Cards have for students?

As the comparison chart above illustrates, there are multiple similarities between the Discover Student Chrome vs. Student Cash Back cards. Here are a few examples of some perks and benefits that Discover it® Student Chrome vs. Cash Back both have to offer cardmembers: 

  • No credit score required to apply for Discover Student credit cards5
  • Both cards have no annual fee
  • Get an unlimited dollar-for-dollar match of all the cash back you earn at the end of your first year, automatically2 for both student Discover cards
  • Both cards offer a 0% introductory APR for your first 6 months

What is the difference between Discover it® Student Cash Back and Discover it® Student Chrome?

The primary differences between Student Cash Back and Chrome are the types of purchases they reward, and the rates at how those rewards are applied. Each card may appeal to different types of cardmembers.

  • The Discover it® Student Cash Back card offers a higher cash back rate on specific spending categories that rotate each quarter upon activation.
  • The Discover it® Student Chrome card offers a lower cash back rate but on a wider variety of purchases, which remain automatic and consistent throughout the year instead of rotating every three months.

Earn top-tier rewards and build a credit history6 with a Discover student credit card

Discover it credit card

Who should get the Discover it® Student Chrome Card?

The Discover it® Student Chrome card is ideal for students who: 

  • Make frequent purchases at restaurants or gas stations
  • Want the convenience of not tracking rotating rewards categories
  • Have no credit history
  • Want the ability to prevent new purchases, cash advances and balance transfers with Freeze it®7

Who should get the Discover it® Student Cash Back Card?

The Discover it® Student Cash Back card may be the right choice for you if: 

  • Your spending habits align with the bonus reward categories
  • You want the flexibility to earn higher rewards with the rotating rewards categories that change every three months
  • Have no credit history
  • Want the ability to prevent new purchases, cash advances and balance transfers with Freeze it®7

Practice responsible card use to build healthy credit

Whichever card you ultimately choose will help build your credit with responsible use.6 With no annual fees and generous rewards, both Discover it® cards are ideal credit cards for students in 2024. It’s never too early to begin your credit-building journey, but the best card option for you depends on your personal spending habits.

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  1. 2% Chrome Gas and Restaurants: You earn a full 2% Cashback Bonus® on your first $1000 in combined purchases at Gas Stations (stand-alone), and Restaurants each calendar quarter. Calendar quarters begin January 1, April 1, July 1, and October 1. Purchases at Gas Stations and Restaurants over the quarterly cap, and all other purchases, earn 1% cash back. Gas Station purchases include those made at merchants classified as places that sell automotive gasoline that can be bought at the pump or inside the station, and some public electric vehicle charging stations. Gas Stations affiliated with supermarkets, supercenters, and wholesale clubs may not be eligible. Restaurant purchases include those made at merchants classified as full-service restaurants, cafes, cafeterias, fast-food locations, and restaurant delivery services. Purchases must be made with merchants in the U.S. To qualify for 2%, the purchase transaction date must be before or on the last day of the offer or promotion. For online purchases, the transaction date from the merchant may be the date when the item ships. Rewards are added to your account within two billing periods. Even if a purchase appears to fit in a 2% category, the merchant may not have a merchant category code (MCC) in that category. Merchants and payment processors are assigned an MCC based on their typical products and services. Discover Card does not assign MCCs to merchants. Certain third-party payment accounts and digital wallet transactions may not earn 2% if the technology does not provide sufficient transaction details or a qualifying MCC. Learn more at Discover.com/digitalwallets. See Cashback Bonus Program Terms and Conditions for more information.

  2. Cashback Match: We’ll match all the cash back rewards you’ve earned on your credit card from the day your new account is approved through your first 12 consecutive billing periods or 365 days, whichever is longer, and add it to your rewards account within two billing periods. You’ve earned cash back rewards only when they’re processed, which may be after the transaction date. We will not match: rewards that are processed after your match period ends; statement credits; rewards transfers from Discover checking or other deposit accounts; or rewards for accounts that are closed. This promotional offer may not be available in the future and is exclusively for new cardmembers. No purchase minimums.

  3. $0 Fraud Liability: An “unauthorized purchase” is a purchase where you have not given access to your card information to another person or a merchant for one-time or repeated charges. Please use reasonable care to protect your card and do not share it with employees, relatives, or friends. Learn more at Discover.com/fraudFAQ.

  4. Refer-a-Friend: Refer-a-Friend eligible cardmembers will receive a statement credit referral reward if the person they referred applies online for the specific offer sent via the digital link provided and is approved by 11:59 pm ET, December 31, 2024. Phone, mail-in, and other digital applications are not eligible for referral rewards. Maximum annual referral amount will be stated in individual referral offers upon login. You are not eligible to refer if you have a Discover it® Secured Credit Card, or Discover it® Business Card. Your account must be open and in good standing to receive your referral reward. Each eligible referral will receive a statement credit after making a purchase within three months of opening a new Discover account. Existing Discover cardmembers and those who have opted out of receiving marketing communications from Discover are not eligible referrals. You will not be notified whether a specific referral was approved or declined. Please allow up to 1-2 billing periods for the statement credit to post to your account after each referral is approved. Statement credits you receive may be taxable to you. Please contact your tax advisor. Offer may not be combined with any other introductory offer.

  5. No Credit Score Required to Apply (Student): Based on the preceding 12 months of Discover Student credit card application data, applicants without a credit score may qualify. You must meet other applicable underwriting criteria. When we evaluate your creditworthiness, we consider all the information you provide on your application, your credit report, and other information. If you have a credit score, we may use that in our evaluation.

  6. Build credit with responsible use: Discover reports your credit history to the three major credit bureaus so it can help build/rebuild your credit if used responsibly. Late payments, delinquencies or other derogatory activity with your credit card accounts and loans may adversely impact your ability to build/rebuild credit.

  7. Freeze it®: When you freeze your account, Discover will not authorize new purchases, cash advances or balance transfers (including checks). However, some activity will continue including charges from merchants where your card is stored or billed regularly, as well as returns, credits, dispute adjustments, delayed authorizations (such as some transit purchases), payments, Discover protection product fees, other account fees, interest, rewards redemptions and certain other exempted transactions.

  • Legal Disclaimer: This site is for educational purposes and is not a substitute for professional advice. The material on this site is not intended to provide legal, investment, or financial advice and does not indicate the availability of any Discover product or service. It does not guarantee that Discover offers or endorses a product or service. For specific advice about your unique circumstances, you may wish to consult a qualified professional.