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 “extra credit” (aka, rewards) for being smart swipers. 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
4.1
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
Fair - 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
4.4
for Rewards
3.9
for Credit
4.4

Top Rated For

  • Best Overall Credit Cards
  • Best Credit Cards for Students

Who is This Credit Card Best For?

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

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 sign-up bonuses, those programs may feel a bit advanced for “credit freshmen” to manage. Capital One’s card keeps it simple for those beginning their educational credit journey.

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: The Journey Student Credit Card from Capital One offers a minimum credit line of $300, which just barely pays for a college textbook. However, after making the first five monthly payments on time, you’ll activate Capital One’s Credit Steps program, which may increase your credit limit. 
  • Rewards for good credit habits: The 1% cash back on all purchases isn’t earth-shattering, but it also doesn’t require a night of cramming to figure out how to maximize points value. 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. You can also 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: Although this is listed as a con, a high APR is a moot point if you can manage to pay your balance in full each month. If you think you’ll carry a balance, however, consider a different student card with a lower APR instead.
  • 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 sign-up bonus, 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. It’s designed to be a no-brainer way to earn a few bucks for your spend, plus a little extra for responsible payments. 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, that’ll net you $75 for the year ($5 per month = $60, and the 25% bonus makes it $75).

Redeeming Rewards

Redemption is simple with the Journey Student Credit Card. You can get your cash back in any amount at any time as a statement credit, or in check form. If you do plan to close your account, though, redeem what you’ve earned or you’ll lose it. You could also set up automatic redemptions when you reach a certain date or a specific earnings amount.

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

How To Get The Most Out Of This Card

The whole point of a student card is to embark on a journey (hence the card’s name) 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 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. Just as 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.

Journey Student Credit Card from Capital One Card’s Excellent Perks

Most credit cards have ancillary benefits, and some are exceptionally valuable. This card has one benefit The Balance considers to be 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.

Journey Student Credit Card from Capital One’s Other Features 

  • Secondary auto rental collision damage waiver
  • Extended warranties
  • 24-hour travel assistance

Customer Experience

Capital One ranks third in J.D. Power’s 2019 Credit Card Satisfaction study, scoring 807 out of a possible 1,000 points. (The industry average was 806.) The issuer offers a 24/7 customer service hotline and a robust mobile app for paying your bill, viewing your balance and more. Capital One’s app ranks fourth in J.D. Power’s 2019 U.S. Banking Mobile App Satisfaction Survey, with a just-above-average score of 876.

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 

  • For online purchases, the card offers a virtual card number that decreases the chance that your actual account information will be compromised. 
  • You can sign up for account alerts via text or email, not only to remember when your bill is due, but to keep tabs on any suspicious account activity. 
  • Finally, if you do lose your card or suspect that it was stolen, you can immediately lock your account using your app. 

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.

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CURRENT CARD
Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One®
overall rating
4.1
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
Fair - 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.