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Journey Student Rewards from Capital One: A low-maintenance student starter card

 /  9 min
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Snapshot

3.0

Bankrate rating
Info
Rating: 3 stars out of 5

Bottom line

The Journey Student Rewards from Capital One (No longer available) may be a decent option for students building credit who want a straightforward rewards program, but it falls short of several competing student cash back cards because of its high APR and low rewards rate.

Best for flat-rate cash back and studying abroad
Image of Journey Student Rewards from Capital One

Journey Student Rewards from Capital One

Fair to Good (580 – 740)
Info
Recommended Credit

N/A

Intro offer

Info

1%

Rewards Rate

Info

Annual fee

Regular APR

The Journey Student Rewards from Capital One is no longer available.
 

Journey Student Rewards from Capital One overview

A straightforward student card like the Journey Student Rewards Card from Capital One is a fantastic way to build credit history and learn the ropes of earning rewards. The Journey Student Rewards card weighs in as a solid starter card since it’s low-maintenance, earns cash back on all purchases, rewards good credit habits and poses no extraneous fees. Plus, its security benefits and lack of foreign transaction fees make it a great study abroad companion.

However, several other student cards may have more to offer once you’re comfortable with credit, and Capital One’s new student cards deliver a ton more value for equally fresh credit builders.

What are the pros and cons?

Pros

  • Checkmark

    You can increase your cash back rate to 1.25 percent on purchases for the month after making an on-time payment.

  • Checkmark

    The card charges no annual fee or foreign transaction fees.

  • Checkmark

    You’re automatically considered for a higher credit line after only six months, which is one of the quickest review periods on the market.

Cons

  • This card has a high ongoing APR, even for a student credit card.

  • The card is missing zero-interest offers and common student perks like cellphone insurance, which other Capital One student cards offer.

  • You only receive your boosted rewards rate after making on-time payments each month.

A deeper look into the current card offer

Quick highlights

  • Rewards rate: Unlimited 1 percent cash back on all purchases — boosted to 1.25 percent for the month when the card is paid on time, 5 percent cash back on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel (terms apply)
  • Welcome offer: N/A
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Purchase intro APR: N/A
  • Balance transfer intro APR: N/A
  • Regular APR: 29.99 percent (variable)

Rewards rate

The Journey Student Rewards card earns flat-rate cash back, meaning it earns the same rewards rate on all purchases. This rewards structure can be especially helpful for student expenses like textbooks, technology and student fees that typically aren’t bonus reward categories don’t typically cover. A flat-rate card is great for students new to credit because there are no bonus categories to track and there aren’t tiered categories, making earning rewards a simple process.

However, simplicity is not always best or the most rewarding. At its best, the Journey Student Rewards card is only a fraction better as a rewards card than some of the most basic secured cards and cards for fair credit users.

How you earn

You’ll earn 1 percent flat-rate cash back on all purchases, but that bumps up to 1.25 percent back for the month if you pay your credit card bill on time. This structure works by adding an extra 0.25 percent cash back on that billing cycle’s purchases to your rewards balance if Capital One sees that your account isn’t past due by the end of the billing period.

This rewards rate isn’t bad for a student, especially if you want simplicity, but it’s far from the best. You can get higher cash back rates if you’re willing to deal with bonus categories

How you redeem

Like other cash back credit cards, redeeming your rewards with the Journey card can be as simple as requesting your cash back in the form of a statement credit or a mailed check. Or, if you want to explore more redemption options, Capital One gives cardholders the chance to redeem cash back as credits for previous purchases, gift cards and checkout payments through PayPal and Amazon.com’s “Shop with Points” feature.

How much are the rewards worth?

The Journey card earns cash back, so your rewards are worth an equivalent of 1 cent or 1.25 cents per dollar, depending on the rate you qualify for – which is determined by whether you pay your bill on time or not.

Capital One’s terms on other redemption options, such as Amazon’s “Shop with Points,” state that your reward value may vary. However, basic cash back is the most versatile choice and will always keep its full value. If you want consistent, predictable rewards value, you should choose cash back.

Other cardholder perks

The Journey Student Rewards card carries extra features that are standard for other Capital One credit cards, but its student perks put it a notch above several other competitors if you’re looking for some peace of mind while shopping or traveling. 

Automatic credit line reviews

If you use your credit responsibly, you may qualify for an upgrade to a higher credit line in only six months. An increased credit limit could help you improve your credit score even faster if you keep a low credit utilization ratio.

Credit card security

Besides basic account alerts and card lock, students worried about identity theft can feel a bit safer with these features:

  • CreditWise from Capital One: Cardholders can enroll for free in order to receive Experian and TransUnion credit report change alerts, as well as dark web scanning and Social Security number tracking. This level of credit monitoring means Capital One will let you know if it finds your Social Security number and other sensitive data possibly compromised on the internet.
  • Virtual credit card numbers: Capital One is one of the few issuers that still offer virtual credit card numbers. Through the Capital One Eno browser extension, you can use randomly generated tokens instead of your credit card for online purchases for an added layer of security. Eno will even keep track of nicknames you give your virtual card numbers for each merchant.
  • Fraud Coverage: You’re covered by $0 Fraud Liability if your card is ever lost or stolen and used to make unauthorized purchases.
  • Emergency Card Services: If your credit card is lost or stolen, you can get an emergency card replacement and a cash advance, subject to available credit.

Rates and fees

If you prefer a low-maintenance credit card to start with, the Journey Student Reward card doesn’t charge an annual fee or foreign transaction fees. However, there are no introductory APR offers in case you need to make big purchases for school or moving.

Unfortunately, student credit cards usually carry high interest rates and late fees, and the Journey Student card is no different. Carrying a balance means that you could be hit with the 29.99 percent ongoing variable APR and a late payment fee up to $40.

This APR is still very high compared to other top student cards, depending on your credit score. On the bright side, the Journey card’s APR won’t change with a missed payment, since there is no penalty APR.

How the Journey Student Rewards from Capital One compares to other student cards

Overall, the Journey card provides slightly better benefits than some other cards, including Capital One’s credit line increase review at six months, but the cash back rate and practical everyday perks leave much to be desired compared to a few competing cards — even Capital One’s other student cards.

The Journey card also doesn’t waive your first late fee or offer intro zero-interest periods — key benefits other issuers may extend for students. If you’re a first-time cardholder who wants a safety net while building credit, you might want to look at alternative cards like the ones presented here:

Image of Journey Student Rewards from Capital One

Journey Student Rewards from Capital One

Annual fee

$0

Intro offer

N/A

Rewards rate

1%
Info

Recommended Credit Score

Fair to Good (580 – 740)
Info
Image of Discover it® Student Cash Back
Bankrate Score
See Rates & Fees , Terms Apply
Apply now Lock
on Discover's secure site

Annual fee

$0

Intro offer

Cashback Match™
Info

Rewards rate

1% - 5%
Info

Recommended Credit Score

No Credit History
Info
Image of Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards for Students credit card

Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards for Students credit card

Bankrate Score
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
4.0

Annual fee

$0

Intro offer

$200
Info

Rewards rate

1% - 3%
Info

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 – 850)
Info

Journey Student Rewards vs. Discover it® Student Cash Back

Rewards-wise, Discover student credit cards offer much more than the Journey Student Rewards card. The Discover it® Student Cash Back, earns higher rates of cash back on rotating bonus categories each quarter you enroll, up to a set spending cap before it drops to 1 percent. Discover also matches all the cash back you earn at the end of your first year with the card, maximizing its first-year value.

The Discover it® Student Cash Back is also one of your best options for a low-cost student card. The Journey Student Rewards card poses a higher-than-average variable APR, but the Discover it® Student Cash Back a much more reasonable variable APR, especially for a student card. Plus, the Discover it® Student’s intro APR offer already puts it ahead of the Journey Rewards Student card. Discover’s policy to charge no annual fee, foreign transaction fee, penalty APR or a late fee on your first late payment (up to $41 after) creates an excellent safeguard for students new to credit cards.

The Journey Student Rewards card does win out if you would prefer a simpler rewards structure, even if it’s not as lucrative as what you could get out of a card with rotating bonus categories. As long as your focus is locked in on building credit and paying your balances in full every month, the Journey Student Rewards’ high APR could be a nonfactor. 

Journey Student Rewards vs. Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards credit card for Students

Although the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards Card for Students’ benefits are light compared to Capital One cards, it can be a much more rewarding alternative to the Journey card in the right hands. It also comes with better interest rates and introductory APRs that can make early student life a breeze by comparison.

This Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards Card for Students earns impressive rates of cash back on purchases in one of six choice categories that you can swap each month based on your expected expenses. These categories include online shopping, gas, dining, travel drugstores and home improvement/furnishings. You’ll also get a competitive earning rate for purchases at grocery stores and wholesale clubs and 1 percent on all other purchases. The catch here is that your highest earning categories share a quarterly $2,500 spending limit for combined purchases before reverting to 1 percent. If you’d rather have higher cash back rates with some minor spending restrictions and fewer convenience features, like CreditWise and virtual account numbers, the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards Card for Students may be the better fit for you.

Still, strategizing and keeping a close eye on your monthly spending habits could be a time-consuming task for a busy student schedule. The Journey Student Rewards card keeps things simple by earning the same rate on all purchases, and you’d still have the opportunity to earn elevated rates on hotels and rental cars booked through the Capital One Travel portal. Your final decision between these two cards could come down to time, energy, and earning value.

Best cards to pair with the Journey Student Rewards Card from Capital One

Since the Journey Student Rewards card is a flat-rate card with a low 1 percent to 1.25 percent cash back when you make an on-time payment that month, other cash back cards with higher rewards rates in your top spending categories can help maximize your rewards earnings. 

If you tend to spend money on everyday purchases, like shopping or going out with friends, the Capital One SavorOne Student Cash Rewards credit card is an excellent choice to pair with the Journey Student Rewards. Its unlimited 3 percent cash back on dining, entertainment, popular streaming services and grocery store purchases (excluding superstores like Walmart and Target) will be a great fit. Plus, the SavorOne Student gives you unlimited 8 percent back on entertainment purchases when you book through the Capital One Entertainment portal.

Bankrate’s Take — Is the Journey Student Rewards Card from Capital One worth it?

The Journey Student Rewards Card from Capital One is an understandable option for first-time cardholders who want an easy-to-handle cash back card for every occasion. The card’s 1 percent flat cash back rate on all purchases can seem like a generous offer, especially if you’ve never earned rewards before. Plus, the card’s perks can give you peace of mind when you’re shopping or traveling.

However, the card’s high ongoing APR and relatively low rewards rate might make other student cards more valuable and accessible. Other cards — including other Capital One student cards — also offer higher rewards rates and better perks like cellphone insurance.

*All information about the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card for Students has been collected independently by Bankrate and has not been reviewed or approved by the issuer.

For Capital One products listed on this page, some of the above benefits are provided by Visa® or Mastercard® and may vary by product. See the respective Guide to Benefits for details, as terms and exclusions apply.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Written by
Garrett Yarbrough
Writer, Credit Cards

Bankrate expert Garrett Yarbrough strives to make navigating credit cards and credit building smooth sailing for his readers. After regularly featuring his credit card, credit monitoring and identity theft analysis on NextAdvisor.com, he joined the CreditCards.com and Bankrate teams as a staff writer to develop product reviews and comprehensive credit card guides focused on cash back, credit scores and card offers.

Edited by Senior Editor, Credit Cards
Reviewed by Former Senior Editor, Credit Cards

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Editorial Disclosure: Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, and have not been reviewed or approved by any advertiser. The information, including card rates and fees, is accurate as of the publish date. All products or services are presented without warranty. Check the bank’s website for the most current information.