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Key takeaways

  • Both the Capital One SavorOne Student Cash Rewards and Discover it® Student Cash Back are good options for students looking to build credit and earn rewards.
  • The Capital One SavorOne Student Cash Rewards Credit Card is great for those who spend more on groceries and travel.
  • The Discover it Student Cash Back’s quarterly categories often include gas stations, digital wallets and select streaming services.
  • Which student credit card is better for you depends on your personal spending habits.

A student credit card can be a great way to start building credit while in school. The Capital One SavorOne Student Cash Rewards Credit Card and Discover it Student Cash Back are two good options to consider for both building credit and, as a bonus, earning rewards. With either card, you can earn cash back on a wide variety of everyday purchases. Neither card charges an annual fee or foreign transaction fees and both offer flexible rewards redemption options.

So which card is better suited for student spending? We’ll take a closer look to help you decide.

Main details

Capital One SavorOne Student Cash Rewards Discover it Student Cash Back
Welcome bonus $50 cash bonus after spending $100 in the first 3 months All cash back earned within the first year will be matched at the end of the first year
Rewards rate
  • 3% cash back on dining, entertainment, popular streaming services and at grocery stores (excluding superstores like Walmart and Target)
  • 5% cash back on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
  • 8% cash back on Capital One Entertainment purchases
  • 10% cash back on purchases made through Uber & Uber Eats, plus complimentary Uber One membership statement credits through Nov. 14, 2024
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • 5% cash back on activated rotating categories each quarter (on up to $1,500 in combined purchases each quarter, then 1%)
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases
Intro APR N/A
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 6 months (then a variable APR of 18.24% to 27.24%)
  • 10.99% intro APR on balance transfers for 6 months (then a variable APR of 18.24% to 27.24%)
Annual fee $0 $0

Capital One SavorOne Student Cash Rewards vs. Discover it Student Cash Back Back highlights

Both the Capital One SavorOne Student Cash Rewards and the Discover it Student Cash Back offer a rewards program, welcome bonus and no annual fee. But there are some differences between the two that are worth pointing out. Here’s how the two cards compare on key features:

Which card earns the most?

Whether you can earn more rewards with the Capital One SavorOne Student Cash Rewards or the Discover it Student Cash Back largely depends on which categories you spend the most in and how much you spend.

Capital One SavorOne Student Cash Rewards vs. Discover it Student Cash Back spending example

Let’s say that you typically spend about $530 per month on your student credit card. Your spending breakdown includes:

  • Dining: $200
  • Groceries: $150
  • Gas: $50
  • Streaming services: $30
  • Entertainment: $40
  • Miscellaneous purchases: $60

If you use the Capital One SavorOne Student Cash Rewards, you’ll earn a total of $15.70 in cash back per month ($188 per year), which breaks down as:

  • Dining: $6
  • Groceries: $4.50
  • Gas: $0.50
  • Streaming services: $0.90
  • Entertainment: $3.20 (purchased through Capital One Entertainment)
  • Miscellaneous purchases: $0.60

Now, say you use the Discover it Student Cash Back instead. Also say that this quarterly 5 percent cash back category is restaurant purchases (5 percent on each quarter’s activated rotating categories, on up to $1,500 in combined purchases per quarter, then 1 percent). In that case, you’ll earn $13.30 in rewards each month ($159.60 per year):

  • Dining: $10
  • Groceries: $1.50
  • Gas: $0.50
  • Streaming services: $0.30
  • Entertainment: $0.40
  • Miscellaneous purchases: $0.60

Even though you have the potential to earn more rewards with the Discover it Student Cash Back during the first year thanks to Cashback Match, and you could be diligent and max out the bonus categories quarterly, it’s likely going to be simpler and more consistent to earn with the Capital One SavorOne Student Cash Rewards.

Why should you get the Capital One SavorOne Student Cash Rewards?

If you’re still comparing student credit cards, here are a few reasons why you might consider the Capital One SavorOne Student Cash Rewards over the Discover it Student Cash Back.

  • The Capital One SavorOne Student Cash Rewards comes with some benefits you might find valuable as a student, like access to exclusive sporting events, culinary experiences and music events. That’s something you might appreciate if you want to have fun while still sticking to a budget.

    In addition to those benefits, you’ll also get extended warranty protection, travel accident insurance, travel assistance services, complimentary 24/7 concierge service and special savings from Capital One Shopping.

  • You have several ways to redeem rewards earned with Capital One SavorOne Student Cash Rewards. For example, you can redeem rewards for cash in the form of a check or statement credit, for gift cards, or shopping at Amazon.com or via PayPal.

    Rewards are unlimited and never expire as long as your account remains open and in good standing. You can also redeem cash back in any amount.

  • One of the primary benefits of student credit cards is that they can help you to build a credit score. For that one reason, they’re often tailored to students who often have limited or no credit history.

    For the Capital One SavorOne Student Cash Rewards, you’ll need at least fair credit to qualify. This typically means a FICO credit score of 580 or higher.

Why should you get the Discover it Student Cash Back?

The Discover it Student Cash Back might be worth it for you if you’re comfortable with activating quarterly bonus categories or if you want to take advantage of an introductory APR for purchases and balance transfers.

  • A good perk to note is that the Discover it Student Cash Back rewards you for referring friends. Each time someone you refer is approved for a new account, you’ll receive a credit to your account. Other benefits include free FICO credit score access, 24/7 U.S.-based customer service and credit monitoring.
  • Your options for redeeming cash back with the Discover it Student Cash Back are similar to the options available with the Capital One SavorOne Student Cash Rewards. You can redeem rewards for statement credits, direct deposits, shopping at Amazon.com, gift cards and charitable donations.

  • For the Discover it Student Cash Back, no credit history is needed to apply for this card, which might be a deciding factor between this card and SavorOne that requires Fair credit.

The bottom line

If you’re interested in getting one of the top student credit cards, both the Capital One SavorOne Student Cash Rewards and Discover it Student Cash Back are worth considering. Either card can help you earn cash back while building credit. The main question is: Which card is better suited to your individual spending habits?

If you typically spend more on dining, entertainment, groceries and travel, then the Capital One SavorOne Student Cash Rewards could be a better fit. But if your spending habits better align with Discover’s quarterly bonus categories, you might get more from the Discover it Student Cash Back. Or, you might consider adding both cards to your wallet, which would provide you with the opportunity to maximize cash back earnings.

Remember, though, the main goal with a student credit card should be building your credit and laying a strong foundation for your financial future. Do that, and you’ll open up future opportunities to add a wider range of top rewards cards to your wallet.

For Capital One products listed on this page, some of the above benefits are provided by Visa® or Mastercard® and may vary by product. See the respective Guide to Benefits for details, as terms and exclusions apply.

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