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As more student credit cards enter the starter credit card space, you might be wondering which one is right for you. Most major issuers have respectable student credit card offers, all with varying rewards rates, welcome offers and other benefits.
In this comparison guide, we’ll look at two student credit cards from Capital One — the Capital One Quicksilver Student Cash Rewards Credit Card and the Journey Student Rewards from Capital One.
|Capital One Quicksilver Student Cash Rewards Credit Card||Journey Student Rewards from Capital One|
|Welcome bonus||$50 when you spend $100 in the first 3 months||None|
|Rewards rate||1.5% cash back on all purchases||1% cash back on all purchases — boosted to 1.25% for the month when the card is paid on time|
Quicksilver Student Cash Rewards vs. Journey Student Rewards highlights
Rewards rate winner: Quicksilver Student Cash Rewards
The Quicksilver Student Cash Rewards offers a flat 1.5 percent cash back on all purchases and there’s no limit to how much cash back you can earn. Plus, this card is eligible for 5 percent cash back on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel.
In comparison, the Journey Student Rewards offers just 1 percent cash back on all purchases. That rate is then boosted to 1.25 percent back for the month if you pay your bill on time. If your goal is to earn as much cash back as possible, then the Quicksilver Student Cash Rewards would be the better option of the two.
Welcome bonus winner: Quicksilver Student Cash Rewards
The Quicksilver Student Cash Rewards currently offers a welcome bonus of $50 when you spend $100 within the first three months of card membership. This offer is among the better welcome offers available with student credit cards, and it would be easy to meet — you’d only have to spend about $34 per month to earn the bonus.
The Journey Student Rewards, on the other hand does not offer a welcome bonus.
Although the Journey Student Rewards’ welcome bonus requirements are easier to meet — you only need to pay your monthly credit card bills on time — the Quicksilver Student Cash Rewards offers an easy-to-attain, higher welcome bonus of $50, making it the clear winner in this category.
Annual fee winner: Tie
Neither card has an annual fee, meaning you won’t have to pay for card membership each year. It’s easy to find a student credit card without an annual fee, so make sure that any card you’re seriously considering doesn’t have one.
Foreign transaction fee winner: Tie
Both the Quicksilver Student Cash Rewards and Journey Student Rewards include no foreign transaction fees. This means either card would be a good option for studying or traveling abroad since you won’t have to pay a fee (usually around 3 percent) for each transaction you make outside of the country.
Which card earns the most?
The following is a pretty straightforward spending example since we’re comparing the Quicksilver Student Cash Rewards’ 1.5 percent cash back to the Journey Student Rewards’ 1 percent cash back. In addition to that, we’ll also throw in the Journey Student Rewards’ bonus cash back rate of 1.25 percent to see how much you can earn as an on-time payer.
Quicksilver Student Cash Rewards vs. Journey Student Rewards spending example
Say you spend $125 on groceries, $50 on dining, $30 on entertainment and $40 on miscellaneous expenses each month, for a total of $245. Of the three earning rates for the two cards, you could earn the following cash back on your purchases each month:
|Quicksilver Student Cash Rewards (1.5%)||Journey Student Rewards (1%)||Journey Student Rewards (1.25%)|
|Total spent ($245)||$3.68||$2.45||$3.06|
For this spending example, we used modest spending amounts to estimate the potential rewards earnings since students likely won’t have high credit limits or spending budgets. But you can see that the Quicksilver Student Cash Rewards wins out on cash back every time.
The Quicksilver Student Cash Rewards even beats out the Journey Student Rewards in terms of the welcome bonus. That’s an extra money in your pocket that you can use however you want — for streaming services, takeout, shopping or whatever.
Why should you get the Quicksilver Student Cash Rewards?
You should get this card if you want a straightforward way to earn a respectable cash back rate and a solid welcome bonus. Plus, the card includes multiple ways to redeem rewards and no foreign transaction fees, making it a good pick if you’re planning to travel or study abroad. It also comes with access to Capital One Travel and 5 percent cash back on hotels and rental cars booked through the Capital One Travel portal.
The Quicksilver Student Cash Rewards comes with a number of card benefits like price protection, extended warranty protection, complimentary concierge services, rental car insurance, roadside assistance, travel accident insurance, emergency travel assistance, $0 fraud liability, virtual card numbers from Eno and credit monitoring through CreditWise, among others.
Also, you can automatically be considered for a higher credit limit in as little as six months, which is a much shorter time period than competing student cards. If you use your card responsibly — which means paying your bill on time and keeping your balance in check — then Capital One could reward you with an increased credit limit.
Quicksilver Student Cash Rewards cardholders can redeem their cash back rewards for statement credits, checks, checkout at PayPal, shopping on Amazon and gift cards from merchants like Starbucks, Ulta Beauty, Panera Bread, Whole Foods and others.
Recommended credit score
Since this is a student credit card, your approval odds are likely better if your credit profile is, at minimum, in the fair to good credit range (a FICO score of 580 to 740).
Why should you get the Journey Student Rewards?
If you’re a new cardholder looking to build your credit and practice good financial habits — and you’re not interested in the welcome bonuses or higher rewards rates that come with other student cards — then the Journey Student Rewards could be a good fit for you.
The Journey Student Rewards doesn’t have as many card benefits as the Quicksilver Student Cash Rewards. The main benefits this card offers include access to the Capital One Travel portal, $0 fraud liability, virtual card numbers from Eno, credit monitoring through CreditWise and emergency card replacement. Plus, like the Quicksilver Student Cash Rewards, you’ll be automatically considered for a higher credit limit after six months.
The redemption methods for this card are the same as the Quicksilver Student Cash Rewards. You can redeem your cash back in the form of statement credits, checks, gift cards or shopping at Amazon or via PayPal.
Recommended credit score
The Journey Student Rewards requires a fair to good credit score (a FICO score of 580 to 740).
The bottom line
Building credit can be a long, drawn-out process, but starting early can make a huge difference. As a student, there are plenty of credit-building student cards available that’ll also offer you perks like welcome bonuses and cash back on all of your purchases.
In this case, there are pros and cons for both the Capital One Quicksilver Student Cash Rewards and the Journey Student Rewards from Capital One. However, even if you only plan to hang onto a student card for a year or two, the Quicksilver Student Cash Rewards beats out the Journey Student Rewards in terms of its higher rewards rate, welcome bonus and additional benefits.