Updated Sep 20, 2021 | Published Mar 06, 2020 • 10 min read
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The Journey Student Rewards from Capital One is a solid unsecured rewards card that caters to people with average or limited credit. It can be used by anyone, not just students. You get enhanced rewards when you pay on time.
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The Journey Student Rewards from Capital One is not a bad option for students with average or limited credit. If you want to improve your credit and get some cash back too, this card could do the trick.
Despite the name, you don’t actually need to be a student to apply for this card. The Journey Student Rewards card can be used by anyone, which makes it one of our favorite cards for building credit.
You’ll earn 1% cash back on every purchase, which will get boosted to 1.25% when you pay your bills on time. You also may be automatically considered for a credit line increase after six months.
It won’t provide you with a lot of cash back, but with average or limited credit your options will be limited. Use this card to help establish a strong credit history and eventually you’ll qualify for more rewarding credit card offers.
Make timely payments: You should always pay your bill on time, of course, but you have an extra incentive here because you’ll get an extra .25% extra cash back on every purchase. That will come to 1.25% cash back for everything you buy.
Reach a higher credit line: You may be automatically considered for a higher credit line after six months, a valuable feature on a student credit card. Paying on time every month will likely increase your chances.
Pay off your balance: Whether or not you get a bonus or a higher credit line, we always recommend paying your balance in full each billing period.
Take advantage of automatic payments: Set up automatic payments to make sure you always pay on time, and never worry about late fees.
Utilize CreditWise monitoring: Use the CreditWise credit monitoring service to keep track of your VantageScore 3.0 credit score, based on your TransUnion credit report, as it changes over time.
Apply for stronger cards when you can: As you build your credit with this card by using it responsibly, eventually you’ll be able to qualify for better rewards cards with more cash back (or points) and better benefits.
Use this card abroad: Take this card along when studying abroad because it has no foreign transaction fees. It’s also a Visa, so it’s accepted pretty much everywhere.
This card earns 1% cash back on every purchase you make. And if you’re making payments on time, that 1% will increase by .25%. Every little bit helps, right?
1% cash back for every purchase
1.25% cash back if you pay on time
There’s no limit to the amount of cash back you can earn, and it will never expire for the lifetime of your card account.
When you pay on time you’ll get an extra .25%, for a total of 1.25% cash back on those purchases. You’ll get that extra .25% within the next two billing cycles. If your account enters “past due” status, you will not get the bonus.
It should be easy to always get this bonus because you only need to make the minimum payment. However, we recommend that credit card users always pay off their entire balance in full each month. This is a good strategy because it lets you avoid interest on purchases, and it’s also good for your credit. This is important for students with limited credit, because it will help improve your credit while keeping your credit card debt down, by preventing interest from accruing
You can simplify this process by just setting up automatic payments. You can have the entire card balance automatically paid by the monthly due date, ensuring that your balance stays low and you’ll always get the bonus.
Your cash back is redeemable in the form of statement credits, which will lower your account balance.
Cash back can be redeemed manually, or by using the automatic redemption system. You can have your cash back automatically redeemed when it reaches a certain amount, or at a certain time each year.
To redeem your rewards, just log in to your account online or use Capital One’s mobile app, or contact the Reward Center through customer service.
Access a higher credit line: You may be automatically considered for a higher credit line after six months.
$60 streaming credit: $5 per month for 12 months on select streaming services, when you pay on time
Capital One CreditWise: The CreditWise service provides free access to one of your VantageScore 3.0 credit scores, based on your TransUnion credit report. You can monitor your score over time and get alerts about any changes.
Capital One Second Look account monitoring: Keep an eye on your account with Second Look, and get access to account alerts to be notified of any activity on your account.
The Terms & Fees
Balance Transfer APR
Cash Advance APR
Foreign Transaction Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Cash Advance Fee
$0 at this Transfer APR
3% of the amount of the cash advance, but not less than $10
Returned Payment Fee
Up to $40
This card has a pretty high APR, as you can see. That’s pretty normal for a student card, made for people with less-than-great credit. But you don’t need to worry about interest charges on your purchases at all if you commit to always paying off your balance in full each billing period. This lets you avoid that interest rate entirely, and it keeps your credit utilization low on top of that.
Your credit limit will be determined based on your credit profile, finances, and other factors. The minimum is $300, though you may get a higher limit than that.
Capital One may automatically consider you for a higher credit line after six months. This is a nice feature because student cards tend to have low credit limits. Making monthly on-time payments, which you should be doing anyway, will likely increase your chance to get an increase. And this is a nice incentive to get you in the habit of paying on time when you open the account.
The Bottom Line
All in all, the Journey Student Rewards from Capital One is a decent choice for students looking for a first credit card. It doesn’t offer the highest rewards out of the student credit cards, but it’s not a bad option if you can’t get approved for a more rewarding card.
With it, you have the chance to build credit while earning cash back rewards at no annual fee. In time, with responsible credit use all around, you’ll eventually achieve good credit, and thus be able to qualify for cards with better rewards and benefits.
This card will get you in the habit of paying your bills on time, providing incentives for you to avoid late payments. The APR is very high, but if you pay off your balance in full each month you’ll never have to pay interest on your purchases. This is what we recommend doing for every card, student or not, because it’s the best move for your credit.
Use the CreditWise service to check up on your credit, and learn about what will improve or hurt your credit scores.
There are many student credit cards out there, and several of them offer better rewards than the Journey Student. Check out some of those alternatives below.
How to Apply for the Journey Student Credit Card
You can apply for the Capital One Journey Student securely on Capital One’s website. Click the Apply Now button below and you’ll be redirected to the credit card issuer’s page.
Despite the name of this card, you do not need to be a student to apply.
Capital One will check your credit reports with one or all of the three major credit bureaus. The application decision will come almost instantly for many people, but in some cases you may need to wait to get an answer. And in other cases, Capital One may request that you supply some additional information.
Qualifications and Requirements
Must be 18 to apply
Personal information: Name, date of birth, Social Security number, U.S. citizenship status, and potentially driver’s license number
Address and contact information: Home address, phone number, email address
Financial information: Total annual income, monthly mortgage or rent payment
You could earn quite a bit more with this card than with the Journey Student Rewards, as it earns more than double cash back. The difference is that you’ll only earn 5% cash back in rotating categories, and then 1% back on everything else. So you lose a little freedom, but the cash back you’ll earn should make up for it.
The main difference between these cards is the rewards program they offer. If you want to earn a significant amount of cash back while building your credit too, Discover will be the better choice.
There’s another Discover card made for students, the Discover it® Student chrome (Review). It’s very similar to the Discover it for Students, but offers stable rewards instead of rotating.
5% cash back in rotating categories (up to $1,500 spent per quarter, then 1%; activation required):
January – March: Grocery Stores, Walgreens, CVS
April – June: Gas Stations, Wholesale Clubs, Select Streaming Services
July – September: Restaurants, PayPal
October – December: Amazon.com, Target.com, Walmart.com
1% cash back on all other purchases
Cashback Match: Double all cash back rewards earned in the first year
The 5% cash back calendar for 2021 is:
5% Cash Back Categories
January – March
Grocery Stores, Walgreens, CVS
April – June
Gas Stations, Wholesale Clubs, Select Streaming Services
July – September
October – December
Amazon.com, Target.com, Walmart.com
This is a rewarding card compared to other student cards, and even compared to many regular rewards credit cards. It can potentially be quite valuable, and provides the same program you get with the regular, non-student version, the Discover it® Cash Back (Review). And there’s the $20 good grades statement credit on top of that.
These rewards are much more than the maximum of 1.25% you can get with the Journey Student card. Not only in the bonus reward categories, but even in non-category purchases for the first year.
Good Grades statement credit: Discover will give you a $20 statement credit for every year that you get a 3.0 GPA or higher, for up to five years.
FICO Credit Scorecard: Access your FICO Score 8 whenever you’d like for free, based on your TransUnion credit report.
Cash at Checkout: At eligible retailers you can get cash at checkout, a handy way to get some money without going to an ATM. The extra cash will be counted as part of your purchase.
Refer a Friend bonus: Earn a $50 statement credit bonus for every friend you refer who’s approved, up to 10 friends per year. If your friend makes a purchase within three months of opening the account, he or she will earn a $50 bonus too.
Free Social Security number alerts: Discover searches for your Social Security number on thousands of risky sites and will alert you if your information was compromised.
New account alerts: Get notified of credit inquiries and new accounts on your Experian credit report.
Purchase APR: See Terms for See Terms, then See Terms
Balance Transfer APR: See Terms for See Terms, then See Terms
$200 cash rewards bonus for spending $1,000 in the first 90 days
New Offer: Maximize your cash back in the category of your choice: gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drug stores, or home improvement /furnishings
Now earn 3% cash back in your choice category and 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs (up to $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club quarterly purchases), and unlimited 1% on all other purchases
You can update your choice category for future purchases once each calendar month using the Mobile banking app or Online banking, or do nothing and it stays the same.
No changing categories and no expiration on rewards
0% Introductory APR for 15 billing cycles for purchases and for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days, then, 13.99%–23.99% Variable APR. 3% fee (min $10) applies to balance transfers.
If you’re a Preferred Rewards client, you can increase that bonus to 25% – 75%. Click “Apply Now” to learn more about Preferred Rewards.
Now with chip technology for enhanced security and protection at chip-enabled terminals
You’ll have more cash back opportunities with the Cash Rewards card, as it allows you to choose one category to earn 3% cash back in, while earning 2% on groceries and at wholesale clubs.
The 3% categories include gas, online shopping, dining, and more, so you could tailor it to best suit your spending habits to reap in the rewards. The 1% on non-category purchases is almost equal to the 1.25% you get with the Journey Student.
The Cash Rewards comes with a 0% introductory APR for 15 billing cycles, for both purchases and balance transfers (then 13.99%–23.99% Variable). This is exceptionally long for a student card, and much more favorable than what you’ll get with the Journey Student.
You should be able to earn more cash back with the Cash Rewards card. But perhaps you really want the increase in the credit line that may come with the Journey card after your first six months. This isn’t guaranteed to happen, and the increase with the Journey card might not be very significant. So it probably isn’t worth pursuing the Journey Student just for that credit line increase.
Unlike the Journey card, the Citi Rewards+ has a 0% introductory rate for purchases for 7 months (then 14.49% - 24.49% (Variable)), a pretty rare feature when it comes to student cards. It also has the unique perk of rounding every purchase up to the nearest 10 points, and you’ll get 10% of the first 100,000 points you redeem back.
You’ll earn more with this card than you would with the Journey, especially if the main bulk of your purchases are gas and groceries. This card earns just as much as the Journey Student Rewards on everything else, not counting the pay-on-time bonus, but rather than cash back you’ll get ThankYou points.
So you very likely would end up raking in higher rewards with the Citi Rewards+ than with the Journey Student Rewards card.
Citi Entertainment: Enjoy special access to purchase tickets to thousands of events annually, including presale tickets and VIP packages to concerts, sporting events, and dining experiences, plus complimentary movie screenings and more.
Purchase APR: 0% for 7 months, then 14.49% - 24.49% (Variable)
The Deserve Edu Mastercard (Review) is designed to be more accessible than the average student credit card. It’s made for students without a credit history at all, providing an easy first step into the world of credit.
International students won’t need a Social Security number to apply, which is rare among credit cards. You’ll earn a little less with this card than what you would get with the Journey Student Rewards, but you can get a nice Amazon Student Prime intro bonus. If you’re a frequent Amazon shopper, the free shipping and discounts you’ll get could add up to quite a lot.
It won’t provide you with access to any of your credit scores, which is unfortunate for a card meant to help build your credit. If you use the Deserve card you can still use a free credit monitoring service, like CreditWise.
The main attraction of the Deserve Edu is how easy it is to get. No credit history or SSN required, and no annual fee. If you need a card like that you’ll find few competitors, especially as an international student without an SSN.
Limited Priority Pass Select membership: Some current cardholders may be given an offer of a one-year membership to Priority Pass Select for spending $1,000 within 120 days of receiving the offer.
Insurance and furniture rebate: Get a $10 statement credit after making three consecutive payments for Lemonade Renters and Home Insurance, and a $100 discount on your first month’s rental from Feather. To get the latter, pay with your Deserve card and use promo code “DESERVE100”.
Refer a friend: Refer a friend to get a Deserve credit card and you’ll receive a $30 statement credit for every approval. If you refer 10 friends you’ll get a $200 bonus, for a total of $500 in statement credits.
Shopping protections: Get access to extended warranty, price protection, cell phone insurance, and more.
Travel protections: Get rental accident insurance, roadside assistance, and travel assistance services.
Purchase and Balance Transfer APR: 18.74% Variable
Annual fee: $0
Do you have the Capital One Journey Student Credit Card? How do you like it? Leave your own review for other visitors below.
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