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If you’re a college student, this is a good time to build a great credit score that can help you when you need to buy a car, rent an apartment or maybe even get a new job. The Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® is a cashback rewards card that is designed for students looking to start their credit voyage.
We break down this card’s rewards, who might best benefit from the card and offer up an alternative student card for comparison.
- Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® pros
- Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® cons
- Compare it with the Discover it® Student Cash Back
- Is the Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® right for you?
Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® pros
Rewards. This card earns a flat rate of 1% cash back on all purchases; 0.25% cash back bonus on the cash back you earn each month you pay on time. Having a bonus rewarding you for when you pay on time is a good incentive for students who are just learning how to responsibly manage credit.
There are four ways to redeem your cash back:
- As a statement credit
- As a check
- As credits toward previous purchases
- As gift cards
You can also set up automatic redemptions, either at a set time each calendar year or whenever your rewards reach a certain threshold ($25, $50, $100, $200, $500 or $1,500).
Rewards don’t expire (though if your account is closed, you’ll lose rewards you haven’t redeemed) and there’s no limit to how much you can earn on purchases.
Chance to earn a higher credit limit. If approved for the card, Capital One will set your initial credit limit after reviewing your application and considering your ability to pay. The minimum credit line you’ll get is $300.
Whatever your starting limit, after making your first five monthly payments on time, you can request a higher credit line via the Capital One Credit Steps program. You’re also able to ask for a credit line increase after having an account open with Capital One for at least three months and showing good payment history and utilization.
Paying your bill on time every month is also the most important thing you can do to build and maintain a good credit score.
No annual fee. You don’t have to pay a fee for this card, since the annual fee is $0. That’s a good thing for college students on a tight budget.
No foreign transaction fee. If you’re planning to study abroad, this is a great card to take with you. You don’t have to worry about being charged a foreign transaction fee on each purchase you make outside the United States because there is none. Other cards may charge up to 3% for each purchase you make abroad with the card.
The Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® comes with some travel and purchase benefits, including:
- Auto rental collision damage waiver: If you pay for an eligible car rental with your card, you may be covered for collision damage or theft.
- Travel accident insurance: Use your card to pay for eligible travel and you may be covered for select accidents, including death and dismemberment.
- Extended warranty: When you make a purchase entirely on this card, the extended warranty benefit doubles the time period of the original manufacturer’s written U.S. repair warranty up to one additional year on eligible warranties of three years or less.
CreditWise. With CreditWise, you can check your VantageScore credit score, see when there are inquiries on your TransUnion credit report and get alerts if your Social Security number is found on the dark web. (Note that you can use CreditWise even without a Capital One card.)
Eno. Capital One provides a virtual assistant called Eno. You can use it to get virtual card numbers to pay for online purchases, get account alerts, check your balance and more.
Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® cons
High APR. The interest rate on this card is 26.99% (variable), so you want to avoid carrying a balance from month to month. Pay on time and in full every month to avoid incurring expensive interest charges.
The rewards rate is on the low side. If you’re making all your payments on time with this card, you’ll earn 1.25% cash back per $1 spent. There are other credit cards that earn from 1.5% cash back on every purchase to 5% cash back in rotating quarterly categories. However, if your main focus is establishing a solid credit history, earning rewards may not be your main focus.
Compare it with the Discover it® Student Cash Back
0% intro for 6 Months*
Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter up to the quarterly maximum, when you activate*
12.99% - 21.99% Variable*
- INTRO OFFER: Unlimited Cashback Match – only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year! There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. Just a dollar-for-dollar match.
- Earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like Amazon.com, grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations and when you pay using PayPal, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – automatically.
- Good Grades Rewards: $20 statement credit each school year your GPA is 3.0 or higher for up to the next 5 years.
- No annual fee. No late fee on first late payment. No APR change for paying late.
- Get 100% U.S. based customer service & get your free Credit Scorecard with your FICO® Credit Score, number of recent inquiries and more.
- Freeze It® on/off switch for your account that prevents new purchases, cash advances & balance transfers in seconds.
- Get an alert if we find your Social Security number on any of thousands of Dark Web sites.* Activate for free.
- 0% intro APR on purchases for 6 months, then the standard variable purchase APR of 12.99% - 21.99% applies.
- See Rates & Fees
See additional details for Discover it® Student Cash Back
If earning a higher cashback rewards rate is on your radar, another popular student credit card to consider is the Discover it® Student Cash Back. Here’s how it stacks up against the Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® from Capital One.
Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® vs. Discover it® Student Cash Back
|Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® from Capital One||Discover it® Student Cash Back|
|Rewards||1% cash back on all purchases; 0.25% cash back bonus on the cash back you earn each month you pay on time.||Earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations, select rideshares and online shopping, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate. 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases - automatically|
|Sign-up bonus||No bonus.||For new cardmembers, Unlimited Cashback Match – only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year! There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. Just a dollar-for-dollar match.|
|Foreign transaction fee||None||None|
|Purchase APR||26.99% (variable)||Intro APR of 0% for 6 months. After, a 12.99% - 21.99% variable APR applies.|
The Discover it® Student Cash Back follows the same cashback calendar as the Discover it® Cash Back. Check out all the categories for 2020 on the cashback calendar.
If your spending patterns match up well with the 5% categories, and you don’t mind having to manually activate the new categories each quarter, you can get significant value from the Discover it® Student Cash Back. Plus, the sign-up bonus boosts the card’s rewards rate to 10% on rotating categories and 2% on everything else for the first year.
Another nice feature of the Discover it® Student Cash Back is that it offers a Good Grades Reward in the form of an annual $20 statement credit. You’re eligible for this reward every school year that your GPA is 3.0 or better, for up to five consecutive years.
Read our review of the Discover it® Student Cash Back.
If you plan to travel abroad with the card, know that the Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® is a Visa — and Visa tends to be more widely accepted abroad than Discover. So, if you’re planning to travel, the Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® might be a better choice.
If neither of these cards seem like a good fit, check out our list of best student credit cards for more options.
Is the Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® right for you?
The Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® is a good credit card for students who want to build credit and take advantage of a simple cashback program that rewards responsible credit behavior. After demonstrating that you pay on time and don’t max your card out, you can request an upgrade to another Capital One offering better rewards — such as the Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card, which earns 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day.