Discover it® Student Cash Back
vs. Discover it® Secured Credit Card

Updated: April 22, 2024

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If you're looking for a rewards card with no credit history required, you may be considering the Discover it Student Cash Back and the Discover it Secured credit card. Both cards offer enticing cashback rewards and a $0 annual fee, but the Discover it Student Cash Back Card is generally the better choice for those who can qualify, thanks to its 0% intro APR on purchases for six months, lower regular APR range, and higher cash back rates on rotating categories.

Credit Card logo for Discover it® Student Cash Back
Discover it® Student Cash Back
Credit Card logo for Discover it® Secured Credit Card
Discover it® Secured Credit Card
MoneyGeek Rating
1.6/ of 5
MoneyGeek Rating
1.6/ of 5

  • Regular APR
    18.24% - 27.24% variable
    28.24% variable
    0% APR Offer
    0% for 6 months on purchases
    N/A
    Balance Transfer Offer
    10.99% for 6 months on balance transfers
    10.99% for 6 months on balance transfers
    Annual Fee
    $0
    $0
    Rewards Summary
    Earn 1% – 5% cash back
    Earn 1% – 2% cash back
    Recommended Credit
    (No Credit History)
    (No Credit History)
    Not sure?

Discover it® Student Cash Back vs. Discover it® Secured Credit Card: Which Is Better for You?

You might prefer the Discover it Student Cash Back if: You're a student or someone with no credit history looking to earn rewards without a security deposit. This card offers 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate, which can be particularly beneficial if your spending aligns with the bonus categories. Additionally, there's an introductory 0% APR for six months on purchases, which can be helpful if you have upcoming expenses and need time to pay them off without interest. The card also matches all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, which could significantly increase your rewards without any additional effort.

You might prefer the Discover it Secured Credit Card if: You're looking to build or rebuild your credit and can provide a security deposit to get started. The deposit you provide becomes your credit line, and with responsible use, you can build credit since Discover reports to all three major credit bureaus. You'll earn 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter and 1% on all other purchases, which is a solid return for a secured card. Plus, Discover offers the same Cashback Match at the end of your first year, which can add a nice boost to the cash back you've accumulated. This card is a practical choice if you're focused on credit building and can benefit from the cash back at gas stations and restaurants.

MoneyGeek's Take on the Discover it® Student Cash Back

The Discover it Student Cash Back Card is a practical choice for students stepping into the world of credit. With a MoneyGeek balance transfer card rating of 1.2 out of 5, it's tailored for those with no credit history, offering a straightforward path to building credit while earning rewards.

This card is particularly beneficial for its 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate. Plus, there's no annual fee to worry about, and new cardmembers can take advantage of an introductory 0% APR on purchases for six months, followed by a variable APR between 18.24% and 27.24%. While the card is not primarily designed for balance transfers, it does offer a 10.99% introductory APR on balance transfers for six months. The Discover it Student Cash Back Card positions itself as a cost-effective tool for students to earn rewards while they learn to manage credit responsibly.

Discover it® Student Cash Back
Credit Card logo for Discover it® Student Cash Back
MoneyGeek Rating
1.6/ of 5

Regular APR
18.24% - 27.24% variable
0% APR Offer
0% for 6 months on purchases
Balance Transfer Offer
10.99% for 6 months on balance transfers
Rewards Summary
Earn 1% – 5% cash back
Recommended Credit
(No Credit History)

MoneyGeek's Take on the Discover it® Secured Credit Card

The Discover it® Secured credit card is a solid choice for individuals looking to establish or rebuild their credit. MoneyGeek gives this card a balance transfer score of 1.0 out of 5, indicating its specific ranking in that category. With no annual fee and the opportunity to earn cash back on every purchase, this card stands out as a financial tool for credit building. It requires a security deposit, which serves as the credit line for the account. This card is particularly well-suited for those with no credit history, as no credit score is required to apply. Cardholders can earn 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants, up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter, and unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases. The Discover it® Secured Credit card is not just a stepping stone in credit improvement; it's a rewarding experience in its own right.

Discover it® Secured Credit Card
Credit Card logo for Discover it® Secured Credit Card
MoneyGeek Rating
1/ of 5

Regular APR
28.24% variable
0% APR Offer
N/A
Balance Transfer Offer
10.99% for 6 months on balance transfers
Rewards Summary
Earn 1% – 2% cash back
Recommended Credit
(No Credit History)

Details Comparison: Discover it® Student Cash Back vs. Discover it® Secured Credit Card

Our breakdown will help compare APRs, fees, required credit, rewards, introductory offers and other features. This side-by-side analysis provides a clear view of each card's advantages and limitations.

    discount icon

    Regular APR

    The Discover it® Student Cash Back is better for those concerned with Regular APR, offering a variable APR range between 18.24% and 27.24%. In contrast, the Discover it® Secured Credit Card has a higher, fixed variable APR of 28.24%.

    annualFee icon

    Annual Fee

    Both cards have no annual fee. This makes the Discover it® Secured Credit Card and the Discover it® Student Cash Back equally appealing for users looking to avoid extra costs.

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    Introductory 0% APRs

    The Discover it® Student Cash Back offers a 0% introductory APR on purchases for six months, a feature not available with the Discover it® Secured Credit Card. Both cards provide a 10.99% introductory APR on balance transfers for six months.

    coins icon

    Rewards

    The Discover it® Student Cash Back offers a more lucrative rewards program, with the ability to earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases in rotating categories each quarter, such as Amazon.com, grocery stores and gas stations, up to the quarterly maximum when activated. In contrast, the Discover it® Secured provides 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter. For those seeking higher and more diverse cash back opportunities, the Student Cash Back card is the superior choice.

    rewards icon

    Welcome Offers

    Both the Discover it® Student Cash Back and the Discover it® Secured offer a Cashback Match as their welcome offer, where Discover matches all the cash back earned at the end of the first year with no limit. This makes neither card superior based on welcome offers alone.

    creditApproved icon

    Recommended Credit Score

    Both cards are designed for individuals with no credit history. This makes them equally accessible to new credit users or those looking to build credit.

    autopay icon

    Penalties and Fees

    Both cards offer similar terms regarding penalties and fees. Each card waives the late fee for the first late payment and charges up to $41 for subsequent late payments. Cash advance fees are set at $10 or 5% of the amount of each cash advance, whichever is greater, for both cards. Additionally, neither card imposes foreign transaction fees.

    points icon

    Issuer Satisfaction

    Neither card has an advantage over the other in terms of issuer satisfaction, as they share the same issuer.

    airplane icon

    Other Features & Perks

    Both the Discover it® Student Cash Back and Discover it® Secured Credit Card offer unique perks tailored to their respective audiences. The Student Cash Back card includes benefits like a good grade reward, appealing to students aiming for academic success. Meanwhile, the Secured credit card focuses on credit building, offering a clear path to upgrading to an unsecured card.

FAQ: Discover it® Student Cash Back vs. Discover it® Secured

What are the main differences in rewards between the Discover it® Student Cash Back and Discover it® Secured Credit Card?
Do either of the Discover cards require an annual fee?
Can I upgrade from the Discover it® Secured Credit Card to the Discover it® Student Cash Back card?
Which Discover card is better for building credit?
Are there any introductory APR offers with these Discover cards?

About Doug Milnes, CFA


Doug Milnes, CFA headshot

Doug Milnes is a CFA charter holder with over 10 years of experience in corporate finance and the Head of Credit Cards at MoneyGeek. Formerly, he performed valuations for Duff and Phelps and financial planning and analysis for various companies. His analysis has been cited by U.S. News and World Report, The Hill, the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times and many other outlets.

Milnes holds a master’s degree in data science from Northwestern University. He geeks out on helping people feel on top of their credit card use, from managing debt to optimizing rewards.


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