Journey Student Credit Card from Capital One Review

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The Journey Student Credit Card from Capital One is designed to help college students who are new credit users establish good habits—and earn rewards on purchases. Also, you don’t even have to be a student to qualify. If you have a limited credit history and want a simple, no-annual-fee entry into the world of credit with flat-rate rewards, this could be a good option for you.

Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One®

Overall Rating
4.5
Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One®
Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Poor - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 26.99% variable
Annual Fee $0
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 1% Cash Back on all purchases. 0.25% Cash Back bonus on the cash back you earn each month you pay on time.
Foreign transaction fee (%) 0%
Ratings Breakdown
for Interest
1.8
for Fees
3.4
for Rewards
2.9
for Credit
5.0

Who Is This Credit Card Best For?

  • Avatar for Credit Builder Persona
    Takes improving their finances seriously and wants recognition for using credit responsibly See more cards
    Credit Builder
  • Avatar for Student Persona
    Looks for deals that make a limited budget go further See more cards
    Student

If you’re a student with a limited credit history, the Journey Student Credit Card from Capital One is like taking an introductory course in the credit world. The simple, straightforward flat-rate rewards program gives you the chance to earn some cash back for everyday spending. Even better, you’ll get an extra rewards boost for making on-time payments every month (more on that later).

Your credit line will likely start off low, but the good news is you can graduate to a higher credit limit fairly quickly if you play your cards right. While some other student cards in this category offer rewards programs with higher cash-back rates, or other perks like introductory APR periods or welcome bonuses, those programs may feel a bit advanced for beginners to manage.

Pros
  • A pathway for building credit

  • Rewards for good credit habits

  • No pesky fees

Cons
  • High APR

  • No new-cardholder incentives

Pros Explained

  • A pathway for building credit: Capital One will review your account after six months and may increase your credit limit. While Capital One doesn’t say exactly how it makes its decision, the basic principles of good credit apply: Pay off your balance each month and pay on time, every time. 
  • Rewards for good credit habits: The 1% cash back you earn on purchases isn’t earth-shattering but it’s competitive among cards designed for students. What’s more, you can boost those earnings to 1.25% just by making on-time payments—a nice motivator for promoting healthy credit habits.
  • No pesky fees: Some cards geared toward new credit card users such as secured cards typically have an annual fee, but student cards (including this one) do not. And, you can use the Journey Student Credit Card from Capital One without incurring a foreign transaction fee, which is important if you plan to study abroad or travel outside the U.S.

Cons Explained

  • High APR: This card’s APR is the highest among popular student credit cards. However, a high APR is irrelevant if you can pay your balance in full each month.
  • No new cardholder incentives: While some student cards offer a learning curve in the form of a 0% introductory APR on purchases for a few months, you won’t get that here. Nor will you earn a bonus for new cardholders, as some other cards offer.

Earning Points & Rewards

The appeal of the Journey Student Credit Card from Capital One is its flat-rate cash-back structure. You earn unlimited 1% cash back on nearly every purchase you make, and, if you can pay your bill on time every month, you can earn 1.25%. You can find student cards with higher rewards rates, but those involve rotating categories and somewhat complicated redemption options. Here, your earnings are more predictable—for instance, if you spend $500 per month and pay your bill on time, you’ll earn $75 for the year.

Redeeming Rewards

Redemption is as simple as requesting your cash back in any amount at any time as a statement credit or in check form. Also, you can set up automatic redemptions that send a credit to your account whenever your rewards balance hits one of the following thresholds: $25, $50, $100, $200, $500 or $1,500.

If you’d rather redeem for something other than cash, you can get gift cards or credits for previous purchases, but redemption value with those options may vary.

If you close your account, you will forfeit any cash back that you haven’t redeemed.

How to Get the Most Out of This Card

The whole point of a student card is to embark on a journey toward using credit cards responsibly and building credit so you can increase your credit score. To do that, make purchases each month, but stay below 30% of your credit line since the credit scoring algorithms put a lot of weight on how you use the credit you have. 

So, if your credit limit is $1,000, try not to let your balance go above $300. More importantly, pay that bill on time each month. Do those two things and your credit limit and score will both grow over time, as will your cash-back earnings. 

Use as little of your credit limit as possible to help improve your credit score. You’ll often hear 30% is the most you should use, but using less than 10% of your limit is even better.

Excellent Perks

Most credit cards have ancillary benefits, and some are exceptionally valuable. This card has one benefit The Balance considers an “excellent perk.” 

  • Travel Accident Insurance: When you use your credit card to purchase your fare, you’ll get automatic insurance for a covered loss of up to $100,000 at no extra charge.

Other Features 

  • Rental car collision insurance (secondary to your own policy)
  • Extended warranties
  • Travel and emergency hotline

Customer Experience

Capital One ranked third out of 11 national issuers in J.D. Power’s 2019 Credit Card Satisfaction Study, and its app ranked second out of 10 banks in J.D. Power’s 2020 mobile app study. The issuer offers a 24/7 customer service hotline and its app allows you to pay your bill, view your balance and more.

Another feature that stands out is that you get access to CreditWise, a tool that lets you check your credit score and get alerts when your credit report changes. It also scans the dark web for your Social Security number.

Security Features

Capital One provides standard security features, including virtual card numbers, account alerts via text and email, and the ability to lock your card instantly if it’s lost or stolen.

Fees

The card’s fees are minimal compared to many other cards on the market, and this card doesn’t have an annual fee, foreign transaction fee, or a returned payment fee.

Next Steps
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CURRENT CARD
Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One®
overall rating
4.5
Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Poor - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 26.99% variable
Annual Fee $0
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 1% Cash Back on all purchases. 0.25% Cash Back bonus on the cash back you earn each month you pay on time.
Our Methodology
At The Balance, we are dedicated to giving you unbiased, comprehensive credit card reviews. To do this, we collect data on hundreds of cards and score more than 55 features that affect your finances.
  • Our Reviews Are Always Impartial: No one can influence which cards we review, the way we present them to you, or the ratings they receive. The scores and reviews come directly from the data we collect and our editorial expertise, and we focus on three areas:
  • How Much Does It Cost? With credit card debt at an all-time high, we believe you should know the cost of carrying a balance. Because of that, we give regular purchase APRs significant weight in overall scores, and cards receive low marks if they have an array of pricey fees.
  • What Are the Rewards Worth? Cards accumulate rewards in different currencies—points, miles, cash back—and their values vary widely. To simplify the problem, we built a system that fairly compares rewards and gives them a dollar value. We do this by looking at the ways you can earn and use rewards, which includes evaluating Americans’ typical spending habits and analyzing common travel patterns.
  • Does It Make Your Life Easier? Our scoring system favors cards that accept a wide range of credit profiles and offer simple solutions for things like checking your credit score or contacting customer service. Finally, we give preference to credit cards that have several tools for dealing with fraudulent charges.
  • For every review on The Balance, we hold the credit cards to these standards, and we set the bar high. While we recognize the appeal of splashy features like six-digit sign-up bonuses, our approach ensures that credit cards with the best combination of value, affordability, and accessibility receive the highest scores. See our full methodology for more details.

Article Sources

The Balance requires writers to use primary sources to support their work. These include white papers, government data, original reporting, and interviews with industry experts. We also reference original research from other reputable publishers where appropriate. You can learn more about the standards we follow in producing accurate, unbiased content in our editorial policy .
  1. Capital One. "Journey Student Credit Card." Accessed Aug. 18, 2020.

  2. Experian. "What Is a Credit Utilization Rate?" Accessed Aug. 18, 2020.

  3. Capital One. "Your Guide to Card Benefits: Visa Platinum Card." Page 4. Accessed Aug. 18, 2020.

  4. J.D. Power. "2019 Credit Card Satisfaction Study." Accessed Aug. 18, 2020.

  5. J.D. Power. "2020 U.S. Banking and Credit Card Mobile App Satisfaction Study." Accessed Aug. 18, 2020.