Journey Student Rewards from Capital One Review

A straightforward rewards card for students looking to build good credit ​
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Michelle Clardie

By Michelle Clardie Contributing Writer

Journey Student Rewards from Capital One Review

The Journey Student Rewards card from Capital One is a convenient way for people with limited credit history (e.g., college students) to earn rewards as they build their credit. While the interest rate is comparatively high at 26.74%, the automatic cash back reward of 1% on all purchases is an attractive offer, especially for those on tight budgets. Plus, this 1% boosts to 1.25% each month you pay your bill on time. This added incentive may help you develop good financial habits by avoiding late payments.

Pros
Cons
1% cash back on all purchases
Added incentive to pay your bill on time
A simple, straightforward rewards structure without complicated category-based points
High interest rate
No introductory offer

Journey Student Rewards from Capital One Overview

  • Card Type: Cash back
  • Rewards Rate: 1% cash back, boosted to 1.25% each month you pay your bill on time
  • Sign-Up Bonus: N/A
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • APR: 26.74% variable rate
  • Intro APR: 26.74%
  • Additional Rates and Fees: N/A

Perks

  • 1% cash back on all purchases
  • Added incentive to pay your bill on time
  • Simplicity with the rewards structure

Best for

Young people with limited credit who still want to earn rewards on their credit card purchases

Not for

People who occasionally miss a payment or who don’t make payments in full

The Competition

Journey Student Rewards from Capital One Discover it Student Cash Back Bank of America Travel Rewards Credit Card for Students Wells Fargo Cash Back College Visa Card
Rewards rate
1% cash back, which boosts to 1.25% each month your bill is paid on time 5% cash back on specific categories (which rotate quarterly) 1% cash back on all other purchases 1.5X points for every $1 on all purchases 1% cash back on grocery, gas, and drugstore purchases
Sign-up bonus
N/A Cash back match at the end of the first year 25,000 bonus points if you charge $1,000 to your card within 90 days of opening the account ($250 value) 3% cash back for up to $2,500 spent on grocery, gas, and drugstore purchases over the first six months, with a max cash reward total up to $50 for the six-month period
Annual fee
$0 $0 $0 $0
APR
Variable 26.74% Variable 19.49% Variable 16.49%-24.49% 12.65%-22.65% based on creditworthiness
Other
No foreign transaction or balance transfer fees or complicated rewards system The cash back amount increases to give users an incentive to pay their credit card bills on time 0% introductory APR for the first six months Cash back match program 0% introductory APR for 12 billing cycles 0% introductory APR for the first six months Offers a comparatively low APR for users with good credit
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All information accurate as of January 23, 2020.

Main Benefits

1% cash back on all purchases

Not all student credit cards come with rewards. Even cash back cards don’t always offer cash back on all purchases; some only offer cash back on certain categories, like restaurants and gas. So 1% cash back on all purchases is an attractive offer for a student card.

Added incentive to pay your bill on time

By increasing your 1% cash back to 1.25% each month you pay your bill on time, the Journey Student Rewards card gives you an additional incentive to make timely payments. This is crucial for building good credit and useful financial habits, as late payments negatively impact your credit score.

Simplicity

The Journey Student Rewards card plan is a straightforward offer: 1% cash back on all purchases (increases to 1.25% when you pay your monthly bill on time) and no annual fee. You don’t have to strategically plan your spending to maximize rewards by purchasing in certain categories, and you don’t have to get another card for use when you travel abroad.

Possible Drawbacks

High interest rate

The 26.74% APR is comparatively high for a student credit card. The good news is that you can completely avoid paying interest simply by paying your credit card bill in full each month.

Short introductory offer

While some cards offer an introductory rate of 0% APR for a period of six to 12 months, the Journey Student Rewards card doesn’t. The high interest rate is immediately in effect after opening the card. And while some cards might throw in some free points as a sign-up bonus, there’s no introduction perk with the Journey Student Rewards card.

Journey Student Rewards Compared to Discover it Student Cash Back

The Discover it Student Cash Back card offers more rewards than the Journey Student Rewards card. In addition to the standard 1% cash back on all purchases, Discover it increases the cash back rate to 5% on a specific category (restaurants, grocery, gas, etc.) each quarter. Even if you don’t strategically plan your spending around the quarter’s category, you’ll likely earn some additional cash back purely by coincidence. And at the end of your first year, Discover automatically matches your cash back rewards, effectively doubling your rewards for the first year. Plus, the interest rate on the Discover it card is lower than the rate on the Journey card.

But there are still a few considerations before you choose the Discover over Journey. First, there are more fees with the Discover it card; there is no annual fee, but you may be surprised by a 3% balance transfer fee. Secondly, if you travel abroad often, your Journey card (which is a Mastercard) is more likely to be accepted worldwide than the Discover it card.

How to Earn Cash Back

Earning cash back happens automatically with the Journey Student Rewards credit card. Every transaction earns you 1% cash back, and there’s no limit as to how much you can earn. This percentage automatically increases to 1.25% for every month in which you pay your credit card bill on time, giving you added incentive to pay your credit card bills when they come due, which may improve your credit score over time. You don’t need to take any further action on your end to earn cash back; the entire Journey Student Rewards system is automatic and seamless.

How to Redeem Cash Back

There are three options for redeeming your cash back rewards with Journey. First, you can set a time each calendar year to automatically redeem your cash back in the form of a credit to your account or a check. Second, you can set an amount threshold ($25, $50, $100, etc), and you’ll automatically receive your cash back in the form of a credit to your account or a check when you reach that threshold. Or you can choose the third option, in which you redeem your cash back in the form of a credit to your account or a check upon request. Sign in to your Rewards Center account to set up your chosen redemption option.

The Bottom Line

If you’re looking for a simple, everyday student credit card that provides rewards while helping you build good credit, the Journey Student Rewards card is a good fit for you. Other cards may offer lower interest rates or slightly better rewards, but the Journey Student Rewards card has the benefit of simplicity. You won’t have to strategically plan your purchases to maximize your rewards or be surprised by hidden fees with this card.