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

4.1

NerdWallet 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.

Capital One Journey Student Rewards Credit Card

on Capital One's website

Annual Fee

$0

Regular APR

26.99% Variable APR

Intro APR

N/A

Recommended Credit Score

Quick Facts

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Qualify with average credit

  • No annual fee

  • No foreign transaction fee

Cons

  • High APR

Alternate Pick: For bad credit or no credit

Capital One Secured Mastercard Credit Card
NerdWallet rating 

Secured Mastercard® from Capital One

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

Compare to Other Cards

NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
Annual Fee

$0

Annual Fee

$0

Annual Fee

$0

Regular APR

26.99% Variable APR

Regular APR

12.99% - 21.99% Variable APR

Rates & Fees

Regular APR

12.99% - 21.99% Variable APR

Rates & Fees

Intro APR

N/A

Intro APR

0% intro APR on Purchases for 6 months and 10.99% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 6 months

Intro APR

0% intro APR on Purchases for 6 months and 10.99% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 6 months

Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score

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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

Card type: College student.

Annual fee: $0.

Bonus: None.

Rewards: 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.

APR: The ongoing APR is 26.99% Variable APR.

Foreign transaction fee: None.

Other perks:

  • Up to $60 in credit for streaming media for new cardholders in their first 18 months from account opening.

  • Payments reported to three major credit bureaus (TransUnion, Equifax and Experian), which helps you build credit.

  • Unlimited access to your credit score through the CreditWise tool.

  • Virtual card numbers from Eno, Capital One’s assistant, can be used to pay for online purchases to keep your card number secure.

  • A card-lock feature keeps your card safe if it is misplaced, lost or stolen.

  • Travel and retail benefits such as travel accident insurance, auto rental collision damage coverage, 24-hour travel assistance and extended warranty protection.

Why you might want the Journey Student Rewards from Capital One

The Journey Student Rewards from Capital One requires you to have at least average credit to qualify. If you can meet that requirement, it's worth considering this card. Here's why it might be a good fit:

Potential credit line increase. If you make your payments on time, you can be automatically considered for a credit limit increase in as little as six months. Gaining more available credit may also give your credit score a boost, assuming you continue to only use a small amount of it.

Rewards boost for paying on time. The card's baseline rewards rate is 1% cash back on all purchases, but you can earn an additional 0.25% (for a total of 1.25%) cash back in each billing cycle if your account is not past due on the last day of that cycle. That's below the industry-standard flat rate of 1.5% back, but it's still decent for a student card. 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.

Credits for streaming services. After the first on-time payment, new cardholders can receive a $5 statement credit for each month that they use the card to pay for qualifying music and video streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, Disney+ and Spotify. Exclusions and terms apply. You can get up to 12 of the credits; they must be earned within the first 18 months of opening the account.

A credit monitoring tool. You can track your credit score with CreditWise, a free app from Capital One available for iPhone and Android devices. You’ll get unlimited access to your credit score, and you'll be notified of changes to your credit report and potential threats to your personal information. The tool alerts you when your Social Security number is used with a new name or address. It also scans the dark web and alerts you if it finds your Social Security number or email address there.

No foreign transaction fees. Want to travel abroad for a semester? With the Journey Student Rewards from Capital One on hand, you won't incur 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. As a Visa, the card is also widely accepted abroad.

Travel and retail benefits. With 24-hour travel assistance services, you can get your card replaced if it’s lost or stolen. And the travel accident insurance covers a loss when you use your credit card to purchase your fare. You can also stress less about a rental car being stolen or damaged because the auto rental collision coverage may reimburse you if that happens. Terms apply.

Why you might want a different credit card

The Journey Student Rewards from Capital One might not be the best card for all students. If you have better-than-average-credit or if the card isn't a match for your spending, consider other options.

Here are a few reasons why you might consider a different credit card:

Other cards offer higher rewards rates. The Discover it® Student Cash Back, for example, earns 5% cash back in rotating categories on up to $1,500 in quarterly purchases (activation required; all other purchases earn 1% back). The card also comes with free FICO scores, security alerts and no foreign transaction fees. Discover notes that there's no FICO history requirement for this card. It has a $0 annual fee.

Other cards offer a lower APR. The Citi Rewards+℠ Student Card offers an introductory 0% period for purchases — a rare benefit on a student credit card. It earns 2 ThankYou points per $1 spent at supermarkets and gas stations (on up to $6,000 spent annually) and 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. Plus, all purchases are automatically rounded up to the nearest 10 points.

You'll need to meet traditional credit requirements. If you lack a U.S. credit history, a Social Security number or both, the Deserve® EDU Mastercard for Students can be an excellent starter card. The issuer uses its own underwriting process to evaluate applications based on alternative criteria. The card earns 1% cash back on all purchases and it even offers some perks, too. It has a $0 annual fee. Terms apply.

Should I get the Journey Student Rewards from Capital One?

If you’re looking for high rewards rates or low interest rates, the Journey Student Rewards from Capital One may not be the best choice for you. But if you’re seeking a simple, $0-annual-fee card that can help you build your credit and eventually qualify you for better terms, this is a very good starter card.

Frequently asked questions