Expert Verdict

A head-to-head comparison of the Discover it Cash Back and Discover it Student Cash Back credit cards does not make a lot of sense, because the latter is only available to college students. That said, if you are a college student and you have good credit, the Discover it Cash Back card has a slight edge over the Discover it Student Cash Back card. This is due to its more advantageous balance transfer terms and potentially lower annual interest rates.

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Thomas J. Brock
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CFA and CPA with over 20 years of experience

Comparing Discover it Cash Back Card and Discover it Student Cash Back

Earning rewards

Winner: Both Discover it Cash Back Card and Discover it Student Cash Back

Luckily, these cards have the same reward rate. Both cards allow you to earn 5% cash back on rotating quarterly categories (up to $1,500 per quarter) and 1% cash back on purchases outside of your bonus category. 5% cash back categories may include grocery stores, restaurants, and gas stations.

Rewards redemption

Winner: Both Discover it Cash Back Card and Discover it Student Cash Back

Both cards allow you to redeem rewards for a statement credit, electronic deposit, gift cards, or pay with Cashback Bonus at select merchants. You can also redeem your rewards as a charitable donation to select charities.

Additionally, your rewards never expire.

Sign-up bonus

Winner: Both Discover it Cash Back Card and Discover it Student Cash Back

Neither card has a traditional welcome offer, where you earn points or cash back once you spend a certain amount. Instead, the total cash back earned throughout your first year as a cardholder gets doubled. So, if you earn $300 cash back throughout your first year, Discover will give you an additional $300. It’s a great offer if you wait to receive it.

Introductory APR offer

Winner: Discover it Cashback

Discover it has a 0% intro APR offer for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers (with a 3% intro balance transfer fee until June 10, 2024), while the Discover it Student only offers a 0% intro APR on purchases. If you’re looking to consolidate debt or make a large purchase without paying interest for some time, Discover it is the better choice.

Balance transfer features

Winner: Discover it Cashback

Discover it has a 0% intro APR for 15 months on balance transfers and a 3% intro balance transfer fee. Then, the balance transfer fee is up to 5%, and APR increases to 17.24% – 28.24%. This more extended 0% intro APR period makes the Discover it card a winner in this category.

The Discover it Student has a 10.99% intro APR for six months for balance transfers, and then the APR will be 18.24% – 27.24%. However, it also has an intro fee of 3% until June 10, then increases to 5%.

Fees

Winner: Both Discover it Cash Back Card and Discover it Student Cash Back
Annual fees Neither of these cards charges an annual fee. This is a significant advantage, especially for students or those looking for a credit card without added costs.
Foreign transaction fees Both cards are great for international travel as they do not charge foreign transaction fees. This means you can use them abroad without incurring additional costs, making them excellent choices for students studying or traveling overseas.

Additional perks

Winner: Both Discover it Cash Back Card and Discover it Student Cash Back

When it comes to additional perks, neither Discover card has a ton to offer. Both do provide access to your FICO credit score, spend analyzer tools, and recurring charges to monitor your regular payments. You also get online privacy protection, $0 fraud liability,and Social Security number alerts.

That said, if you’re looking for benefits such as purchase protection or extended warranty, travel perks and benefits, cell phone protection, and others, you won’t find those with these cards.

Why should you get the Discover it Cash Back card?

The Discover It Cash Back Card is an attractive option for those who want to maximize their cash back rewards and earn more on rotating bonus categories throughout the year. The more cash back you earn throughout the year, the more you get as a one-time bonus after the first 12 months. and take advantage of additional perks that come with the card. If you have a good credit history and are looking for a rewarding credit card, this could be the right choice.

Get unlimited dollar-for-dollar match of all the cash back you earn at the end of first year, automatically.

Apply now with Discover

ProsCons
Cash back rewards (up to 5%)Rotating categories can be difficult to track
No annual feeCredit requirements
0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 monthsLimited perks and benefits
Cashback matchLimit on 5% cash back earnings
Thomas Brock's Expert Tip on Discover it Cashback Thomas Brock's Expert Tip on Discover it Cashback
The Discover it Cash Back is a generous, $0 annual fee credit card designed for individuals with good credit. It provides a 5% cashback bonus on rotating categories of spend (on up to $1,500 of spend per quarter) and a limitless 1% bonus on all categories. On top of that, it offers a compelling welcome bonus, whereby any cashback rewards earned during a cardholder’s first year are automatically doubled.

Why should you get the Discover it Student Cash Back?

The Discover it Student Cash Back Card is designed for students, so it can be worth it if you are a student looking to build credit responsibly and earn some cash back rewards along the way. It provides a solid foundation for credit building and financial responsibility, especially if you have no credit history or limited credit, helping you to establish a history and credit score to make it easier to upgrade to a better credit card in the future.

Earn up to 5% cash back on everyday purchases

Apply now with Discover

ProsCons
Cash back rewards (up to 5%)Rotating categories can be difficult to track
No annual feeCredit requirements
0% intro APR on purchases for 6 monthsLimited perks and benefits
Cashback matchShorter intro APR, no intro APR for balance transfers
Limit on 5% cash back earnings
Expert Tip by Thomas Brock on Discover it Student Cash Back Expert Tip by Thomas Brock on Discover it Student Cash Back
The Discover it Student Cash Back credit card is just as generous as the Discover it Cash Back card, but it is only available to students enrolled in a 2- or 4-year college. With no annual fee, it provides a 5% cashback bonus on rotating categories of spend (up to $1,500 of spend per quarter) and a limitless 1% bonus on all other categories. It also offers a compelling sign-up bonus, whereby you can double the cashback rewards earned during your first year as a cardholder.

When to get both Discover it Cash Back and Student Cash Back?

Getting both the Discover it Cash Back and Discover it Student Cash Back cards can be a smart move if you want to maximize your cash back rewards. Here's when it might make sense:

Different rewards categories

Both the Discover it Cash Back card and Student Cash Back card offer 5% cash back in rotating categories. While the categories are often the same, by having both cards, you can earn 5% cash back on a wider range of purchases throughout the year.

Higher cash back cap

Each card has a quarterly maximum for the 5% cash back categories. By having both cards, you can potentially earn more cash back in these categories before reaching the cap.

Building credit

If you're a student looking to build credit, having both cards can help you establish a positive credit history faster, as long as you manage them responsibly.

Introductory offers

Both cards offer introductory bonuses, such as the first-year cash back match and 0% intro APR offers. Having both cards allows you to take advantage of these offers.

When to get neither the Discover it Cash Back nor the Student Cash Back?

There are a few situations where it might not make sense to get either the Discover it Cash Back or Discover it Student Cash Back cards:

Already have similar cards

If you already have credit cards that offer similar cash back rewards and benefits, getting either of these Discover cards may not provide significant additional value.

Low credit score or limited credit history

If you have a low credit score or limited credit history, you may not qualify for the Discover it card or may be offered less favorable terms. In this case, it might be better to focus on building your credit before applying.

Prefer fixed rewards

If you prefer the simplicity of fixed-rate cash back rewards or rewards in other forms (such as points or miles), these cards may not be the best fit for your preferences.

High annual fee tolerance

If you're willing to pay an annual fee for a credit card that offers higher rewards rates or additional benefits, you may find other cards more appealing than these Discover cards, which have no annual fee but also do not offer many perks and benefits.

Not a student

If you're not a student, the Discover it Student Cash Back card is not available to you. You may find other credit cards that better suit your needs and spending habits.

Bottom line

The bottom line is that the Discover it Cash Back and Discover it Student Cash Back cards can be valuable tools for earning cash back rewards, especially if you're a student or looking to build credit. However, whether you should get either of these cards depends on your individual financial situation, spending habits, and preferences. Consider factors such as your credit score, existing credit cards, willingness to manage multiple cards, and the specific rewards and benefits offered by these cards before making a decision. If these cards align with your goals and you can use them responsibly, they can be great additions to your wallet.

  • Earning rewards
  • Rewards redemption
  • Sign-up bonus
  • Introductory APR offer
  • Balance transfer features
  • Fees
  • Additional perks
WINNER

FAQs

No, these are two distinct credit cards offered by Discover. The primary differences lie in the rewards, credit score requirements, and features.

The Discover It Cash Back Card may be a good choice if you have a strong credit history or want higher cash back rewards and additional perks. However, if you are new to credit or a student, the Discover it Student Cash Back Card is designed to meet your needs.

Once your credit profile has improved, you can request a product change from the Discover it Student Cash Back Card to the Discover It Cash Back Card. Contact Discover’s customer service for more information on this process.

The credit limit on the Discover it Student Cash Back Card Card varies depending on your creditworthiness. It’s determined by factors like your credit score, income, and credit history.

To choose between these cards, consider your credit history, financial needs, and spending habits. The Discover it Student Cash Back Card may be a better fit if you have a limited credit history or are a student. The Discover It Cash Back Card may be more suitable if you have a stronger credit profile and want higher rewards.

You cannot switch back and forth between these two cards, as they are two distinct products.

Still not sure which card to pick?

Check out other popular cards.

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Apply now with Wells Fargo Read full review
Reward rate: 1.5% - 5%
Reward details: Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back or more on all purchases, like 3% on dining and drugstores and 5% on travel purchased through Chase. close-icon

Card summary

Annual fee: $0
Regular APR: 20.24% - 28.99%
Apply now with Wells Fargo Read full review

Citi® Double Cash

Reward rate: 2.00%
Reward details: Earn cash back on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases close-icon

Card summary

Annual fee: $0
Regular APR: 18.99% - 28.99%

Wells Fargo Active Cash®

Reward rate: 2.00%
Reward details: Earn unlimited 2% cash rewards on purchases with no categories to track or quarterly activations close-icon

Card summary

Annual fee: $0
Regular APR: 20.24% - 29.99%

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