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Journey Student Rewards from Capital One: Build Credit the Simple Way

July 2, 2018
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We adhere to strict standards of editorial integrity. Some of the products we feature are from our partners. Here’s how we make money.

Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® Editor's Rating: 4 / 5

With the Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One®, you can build credit as a college student while earning cash back – no spending acrobatics required. Boasting rewards for paying on time, this card makes it easy to establish good habits early on. Here’s what you should know before applying.

Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One®

Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One®

Apply Now on Capital One's secure site
  • Recommended Credit Score
  • 630
    689
    Average
  • Card Details
  • Pros

    • Qualify with average credit
    • No annual fee
    • No foreign transaction fee

    Cons

    • High APR

    Annual Fees

    $0

    APR

    • APR: 24.99% Variable APR
    • Cash Advance APR: 24.99%, Variable

    Bonus Offers

    Get access to a higher credit line after making your first 5 monthly payments on time

    Intro APR

    • N/A
  • Additional Information
    • Earn 1% cash back on all your purchases. Pay on time to boost your cash back to a total of 1.25% for that month
    • Enjoy no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees
    • Get a head start and build your credit with responsible use
    • Get access to a higher credit line after making your first 5 monthly payments on time
    • Monitor your credit profile with the CreditWise® app, free for everyone
    • $0 fraud liability if your card is ever lost or stolen
    • Pick the monthly due date that works best for you
    • Get customized alerts and manage your account with the Capital One mobile app

The Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® At a Glance

Annual fees$0
Foreign transaction feeNone
Rewards programCash back
APRThe ongoing APR is 24.99% Variable APR
Verdict: If you have average credit and are looking for a low-maintenance card, this could be a good pick.
Good for:

  • College students.

  • Someone with average credit.

  • Someone who prefers a flat-rate rewards program.

Bad for:

  • Someone looking for a low-interest card.

  • Someone who spends a lot on groceries, gas or other specific categories.

In this article

The Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® basics
Where the Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® shines
Extras on the Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One®
Where the Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® falls short
The Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® vs. its competitors
Should I get the Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One®?

The Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® basics

Unlike most student credit cards, you’re not required to be an enrolled college student to qualify for the Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One®, but you do have to have at least average credit. Here are some highlights:

  • You’ll earn 1% cash back on all purchases, plus a 0.25% bonus every month you pay on time. That adds up to 1.25% in cash back.
  • If you pay on time for the first five months, you may be offered a credit line increase.

Make on-time payments and only use a small amount of the credit extended to you on this card, and you’ll be well on your way to a higher credit score.

» MORE: Capital One credit cards mobile app review

Where the Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® shines

The Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One®’s simplicity makes it easy for users to get ahead in the credit score game. Here are some of its standout features:

Easy credit line increase. If you make your first five monthly payments on time, Capital One may raise your credit limit. Gaining more available credit may also give your credit score an additional boost, assuming you continue to only use a small amount of it.

Rewards for paying on time. You’ll earn a bonus 0.25% cash back on all your purchases paid on time, which adds up to 1.25% cash back on everything. If you’re the type of person who always turns things in on time, from assignments to bills, this deal can help you save even more.

No foreign transaction fees. Want to travel abroad for a semester? With the Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® on hand, you won’t have to worry about having expensive fees tacked onto each purchase. You could save a few dollars for each transaction this way – which, over the course of a few months, could add up to hundreds.

Where the Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® falls short

If you have better-than-average credit, the Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® might not be the best card for you. Here are a few reasons why:

Low rewards rate. Even with the 0.25% bonus cash back for on-time payments, the Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One®’s rewards aren’t the best you can score with average credit.

High APR. The ongoing APR is 24.99% Variable APR on the Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One®, which is on the steep side if you’re planning to carry debt from one month to the next. In this case, you may be better off with a 0% APR or low-interest offer.

The Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® vs. its competitors

If your spending falls into certain categories more frequently, one of these cards may suit you better.

Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® vs. Discover it® Student chrome

Discover it® Student chrome

Discover it® Student chrome

Apply Now on Discover's secure site
  • Recommended Credit Score
  • 630
    689
    Average
  • Card Details
  • Pros

    • Earn 2% cash back at gas and restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter
    • Qualify with average credit
    • Bonus cash back categories
    • No annual fee
    • 0% on Purchases for 6 months and 10.99% on Balance Transfers for 6 months
    • No foreign transaction fee

    Annual Fees

    $0

    APR

    • APR: 14.74% - 23.74% Variable APR
    • Cash Advance APR: 26.74%, Variable

    Bonus Offers

    Get a dollar-for-dollar match of all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year, automatically.

    Intro APR

    • 0% on Purchases for 6 months and 10.99% on Balance Transfers for 6 months
  • Additional Information
    • Get a dollar-for-dollar match of all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically.
    • 2% cash back at restaurants and gas stations on up to $1,000 in combined purchases every quarter - no sign-ups needed. 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.
    • Receive FREE Social Security number alerts-Discover will monitor thousands of risky websites when you sign up.
    • 0% intro APR on purchases for 6 months, then the standard variable purchase APR of 14.74% - 23.74%.
    • View Rates and Fees

The Discover it® Student chrome, which requires applicants to be enrolled college students, offers comparatively high bonus rates, with 5% cash back on rotating categories up to $1,500 in quarterly purchases (plus 1% cash back on all other purchases). It also comes with free FICO scores and no foreign transaction fees.

If you’re looking for a lower-maintenance card, you may be better off with the Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® and its flat-rate rewards. With the Discover it® Student chrome, you’re required to opt into bonus categories each quarter, and depending on what they are, you may be tempted to overspend to maximize earnings.

Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® vs. Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card for College Students

Citi ThankYou<sup>®</sup> Preferred Card for College Students

Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card for College Students

Apply Now on Citibank's secure application
  • Recommended Credit Score
  • 690
    719
    Good
  • Card Details
  • Pros

    • No annual fee

    Annual Fees

    $0

    APR

    • APR: 16.24% - 26.24% Variable APR
    • Penalty APR: Up to 29.99%, Variable
    • Cash Advance APR: 26.99%, Variable

    Bonus Offers

    Earn 2,500 bonus points after spending $500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

    Intro APR

    • 0% on Purchases for 7 months
  • Additional Information
    • Enjoy 0% Intro APR for 7 months on purchases from date of account opening; after that the variable APR will be 16.24% - 26.24% based upon your creditworthiness*
    • Earn 2,500 bonus points after spending $500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
    • 2,500 ThankYou® Points are redeemable for $25 in gift cards, electronics and other great rewards when redeemed at thankyou.com
    • Earn 2X Points on Dining Out & Entertainment
    • Earn 1X Points on All Other Purchases
    • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
    • No annual fee*

To qualify for the Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card for College Students, you must be a college student – unlike the Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One®. It offers users two ThankYou points per dollar spent on purchases for dining at restaurants and entertainment and one ThankYou point on other purchases with no spending caps. At best, these points can be redeemed for gift certificates, travel, charity donations and student loan payments at a value of one cent per point, providing a similar value as the Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One®’s cash-back rewards. Keep in mind, though, that you’ll have to pay 3% foreign transaction fees if you travel abroad with the Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card for College Students, while the Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® has no foreign transaction fees.

For students who frequent concerts and sports games, order takeout constantly and aren’t looking for a card to take abroad, the Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card for College Students may be a good fit. It also comes with an introductory APR offer: 0% on Purchases for 7 months, and then the ongoing APR of 16.24% - 26.24% Variable APR. If you have better credit, you might be able to bring home a better rate.

If you’re searching for a student credit card, visit our roundup of top credit card options.

Should I get the Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One®?

If you’re looking for a lot of rewards or low interest rates, the Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® may not be the best choice for you. But if you’re looking for a simple, no-annual-fee card that can help you build your credit and eventually qualify for better terms, this card delivers – especially if you pay on time.

Claire Davidson is a staff writer covering personal finance for NerdWallet. Follow her on Twitter @ideclaire7 and on Google+.

Image via iStock.