Editor’s Note: This product has been removed from viewing as part of this site because it is being replaced by another product, Discover it. You can still read our original review below, but TopTenREVIEWS is no longer updating this product’s information.
Credit is a powerful tool that can smooth income and expenditure spikes while you are in school, but it can also start you down a path toward indentured servitude. If you want to use the credit tool to its best advantage then pay the least amount of interest when you are forced to borrow money. Don’t be seduced by rewards programs that entice you to use credit more than absolutely necessary to achieve your educational and career goals.
With these cautions in mind, we sifted through many credit cards for students to find one worthy of the TopTenREVIEWS Gold Award and found a clear winner in the Discover® Student More Card. Yes it has a good rewards program, but more importantly it has a relatively low annual percentage rate (APR). So you don’t have to choose between rewards and low APR. You can get both with this college student credit card.
After a nine-month period during which you pay no interest for purchases, the APR begins. If you have not yet built an admirable credit history, your APR will be 18.99%. If you have managed credit well, your APR will be 12.99%. Both of these APRs are extremely competitive. If you get into the unfortunate situation where you need to advance cash from your credit card, it will cost you 24.99%. In other words, try to avoid cash advances. Discover offers a more generous grace period for repayment than required by law. The grace period is 23 days even though the law allows a minimum of 21 days from when the bank issues the billing statement. The way that grace periods work is worth some explanation. Even though the grace period is 23 days from the billing statement, it doesn’t mean that you will only pay one day’s worth of interest if you pay on the 24th day. If you miss the grace period, then the interest you owe extends back to the actual date of purchase.
If you are willing to pay attention to the calendar, there are categories that rotate quarterly that have a 5% cash back bonus: gas and entertainment, restaurants and movies, grocery stores, gas and holiday shopping. Unfortunately the incentive is capped at $1,500 in purchases. If you want to shop from Discover’s approved online shopping mall there are cash back bonuses that range above 5%, but not until you first spend $3,000 at 0.25%. The default cash back bonus is 1%.
To redeem rewards, you can opt for a deposit into a bank account or as credit on the card. You can also donate to charity or redeem for gift cards. Discover has made arrangements with more than 100 brand-name retail partners, for example iTunes, Macy’s, Old Navy, Hotels.com, The North Face, Zappos, Banana Republic, Bloomingdales and the Apple Store.
The Discover® Student More Card is a student credit card with excellent features. For example if you use this card for travel it provides car rental and flight insurance. You can call Discover to learn about passport or visa requirements or to learn the locations of the nearest consulates. Students with this card can also get currency conversion information, weather and ski reports, and translator or interpreter assistance. Discover also assists when you need cash by wiring or delivering cash to you or telling you where to find ATMs. If you need to escape from a country that is melting down politically or if there is a natural disaster, Discover will maintain contact with you until the emergency ends.
Our review would be incomplete without mentioning a few other features. For example you can select from more than 100 designs to find the look you want for the physical card. New design requests are free. And by the way, the plastic in the card is biodegradable. Furthermore, the Discover website has helpful financial tools so you can track spending by month and category and plan a budget. You should also know that Discover has quite a few ways to secure your account and prevent you from becoming a fraud victim. For example you will get fraud alerts via phone, text or email. And the website contains sound advice about how to avoid becoming a victim of hackers and phishing schemes.
Fees and fines are typical for the student credit card industry. Cash advances cost 3% and balance transfers are 5%. If you are late with a payment it could cost $35. But if you want to use the card while you are outside of the United States, there is no extra charge, so this is the one to take with you on your grand European tour. Quite a few of Discover’s competitors charge 3% for the privilege of non-U.S. credit card transactions.
The Discover® Student More Card is the best college student credit card because it has a good rewards program and a low APR. It even has a competitive APR for students who have not made the best use of credit. It has a generous zero-interest introductory period and a grace period more generous than the law requires. Fees and fines are normal for the industry and the included features are useful and comprehensive. If you can follow the discipline that it takes to use a credit card responsibly to help carry you over into your career after you graduate, this is the best college student card to have.