The Capital One Journey Student Rewards card is one of the easiest ways to build credit without a secured credit card. Despite the name, you don’t have to be a student to apply. If you have average or limited credit, you can likely qualify and get a steady cash-back rewards rate that will even increase if you pay on time.
You can also get an increased credit limit by making your first 5 payments on time. This card is a great option if you are in a position where you need to rebuild or establish a credit history.
The Essentials of the Capital One Journey Student Rewards Card
- APR: 26.74% Variable
- Annual Fee: None
- Primary feature: A steady 1% cash-back reward on all purchases for those with average or limited credit
What’s Interesting about Capital One Journey Student Rewards Card
- You won’t be charged foreign transaction fees
- No annual fee
- Unlimited access to your credit report (standard with most Capital One products)
- Virtual card numbers for added security when shopping online
- A card lock feature accessible on the app just in case your card is lost or stolen
- Travel accident insurance, rental car coverage, and extended warranties on some items
For a credit card offered to those with average credit, these are some great perks in addition to the rewards and the opportunity to boost your credit score. Like other more traditional cards, your payment history will be reported to 3 major credit bureaus.
Things to Consider
The first drawback to the Journey Student Rewards card is the interest rate, which is high. This is true of many cards designed to rebuild credit and can be avoided by simply paying your entire balance monthly. There are other types of cards that offer a lower rate if you intend to carry a balance.
The other issue is that the rewards program is not spectacular. While 1% is pretty good, and you can get a boost to 1.25% by simply paying bills on time, there are similar cards with a higher rewards rate, although some do come with annual fees. Finally, you do need to have average credit to qualify for this card. There are other Capital One card options if you have less-than-perfect or even poor credit, but this is not one of them.
How to Get the Most from this Card
There are some keys to get the most out of the Journey Student Rewards Card:
- Pay your balance in full every month. You will boost your credit score faster, end up with a higher credit limit, and earn more with a higher rewards rate.
- Take advantage of the free credit monitoring program to make sure you’re doing the right things with your spending and debt and get fraud alerts.
- Use the virtual numbers offered when shopping online. You’ll keep your account secure and your credit intact.
- Use the card when you travel for the additional perks. If you have them, you might as well take advantage of the travel insurance and rental car coverage.
This credit card offers some excellent perks for someone just starting to establish or improve credit, so take full advantage of them.
Other Card Options that Might Interest You
There are a couple of other options that may be interesting when it comes to student cards. The Discover it® Student Cash Back card offers 5% cash back on certain categories. Enroll every quarter to earn 5% cash back in various categories on up to $1,500 in purchases, then 1%. It also has no foreign transaction fees and no annual fee.
The Citi Rewards+℠ Student Card has the advantage of offering a lower APR if you plan to carry a balance. There’s also an introductory period of seven months with no interest on purchases. After that, the variable APR will be 15.99% – 25.99%. It’s an excellent deal for a student credit card.
If you have a less-than-average or even poor credit rating, you might try the Capital One® Secured Mastercard® instead. While it does not have the rewards of the Journey Student Rewards card, it is a good way to reestablish credit if you’ve had financial setbacks.
The Final Word
If you have better-than-average credit and are looking for greater cash-back rewards and lower APR rates, the Journey Student Rewards card may not be the answer for you. However, if you have at least average credit and want a simple cash-back rewards card, this one should be on your radar. With no annual fee and pretty straightforward rewards which you can boost just by paying on time, this is a great option for you to consider.
Of course, as with all cards, use this one wisely, and you’ll get the most out of both this card and the boost it can provide to your credit score over time.