Editorial Review

Capital One Journey Student Card Review: Build Credit the Simple Way

Earn 1% cash back on all spending, plus another 0.25% back for any month when you pay on time; pay on time your first five months, and you might get a higher credit line

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Our Take

4.0

Editor's overall rating

The Bottom Line: This card offers simple flat-rate rewards, with a bonus for paying on time. You don’t even have to be a student to apply, so consider it if you have average credit.

Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One®

Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One®

on Capital One's secure website

Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One®

Annual Fee
$0
Regular APR
24.99%

Variable

Quick Facts

Annual Fee
$0
Regular APR
24.99%

Variable

Alternate Pick: For bad credit or no credit

Capital One Secured Mastercard Credit Card

NerdWallet Rating

Capital One® Secured Mastercard®

A secured card helps build or rebuild credit

If you're building or rebuilding credit, you might be better off getting a secured credit card. These cards require a cash security deposit, which makes them easier to apply for. Capital One's secured card deserves a look because of its flexible deposit requirements.

Read our review

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Qualify with average credit
  • No annual fee
  • No foreign transaction fee
Cons
  • High APR

recommended credit score

Full Review

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®: 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 simplicity of the Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® 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 rewards on the Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® 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.

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 Cash Back

The Discover it® Student Cash Back, 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 Cash Back, 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

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 2 ThankYou points per dollar spent on purchases for dining at restaurants and entertainment and 1 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 1 cent per point, providing a similar value as the cash-back rewards on the Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One®. 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.

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