Full Review of Journey Student Credit Card from Capital One
No annual fee
No foreign transaction fee
Cash back on a student card
Quick credit limit raises
No bonus categories
- No Annual Fee: Having no annual fee eliminates the need to calculate whether the cash back you’ll receive will justify the fee.
- No Foreign Transaction Fee: Without a foreign transaction fee, this is a perfect credit card to take on an international spring break vacation, a semester abroad, or a cross-border road trip.
- Cash Back Offer on a Student Card: While not completely unusual, getting cash back on a student card is a decided plus. Even better is the bonus for making on-time payments.
- Quick Credit Limit Increases: Student credit cards are designed to be the first step in building credit. Getting an automatic credit limit increase after the first five on-time payments is a nice feature.
- No Bonus Categories: There are no special spending categories, such as gas or groceries, that earn extra cash back rewards. Cash back earnings are capped at 1% regardless of category, although there is a 25% bonus each month for making on-time payments, making it possible to earn 1.25%.
- High APR: The annual percentage rate (APR) on this card, as with many student cards, is high by consumer card standards. Card issuers seek to offset the historically higher losses they experience with cardholders who have little or no credit history by charging them higher interest, so this tends to be a common, if unwelcome, feature. As with most credit cards, particularly those with high APRs, it's best to pay the balance off in full each month and avoid interest charges altogether.
This Card is Best For
Seeks to maximize cash back earnings across spending categories
Resists or refuses an annual fee on principle or due to cost
Currently enrolled in an accredited four year college or university
The Journey Student credit card from Capital One is an excellent option for college students looking for a basic cash back rewards card from a major issuer. It also offers strong security features and easy ways to increase the credit line and build good credit. It’s not for students who want to earn extra cash back in bonus categories such as groceries or gas. Cards like the Discover it Student Cash Back card are better in that regard.
Because there are a wide range of cards featuring cash back offers for students, if rewards are important to you it’s a good idea to compare several cards and determine which one best matches your personal spending patterns.
Rewards Earning Details
The Journey Student credit card from Capital One excels at incentivizing good credit habits, which is a novel approach in this segment of the market. You’ll earn an extra 0.25% in cash back on top of the regular 1% for every month that you make your payment on time. All purchases are eligible for 1% cash back.
Rewards Redemption Details
You can redeem your rewards for either a statement credit or a check. An interesting feature is the flexibility to set up thresholds for reward redemptions. For instance, you could decide to get a statement credit after you earn $25, $50, or whatever amount you've earned in six months.
How to Maximize Your Rewards
The best way to both maximize your rewards and build good credit is to be sure you make all your payments on time. The 0.25% bonus in cash back that you'll receive each month your payments are on time could easily add $20 to $30 in cash back over the course of a year without requiring excessive spending. And if you’re like most students, every little bit helps.
Remember to always keep your balances below 30% of your credit limit, and ideally even lower than that. Doing so will help you build a good credit score, because your credit utilization ratio (a measure of how much of the credit you have available to you that you’re using at any given time) is one of the key factors that credit bureaus use to determine your score. After your first five months of on-time payments, your credit limit could increase, which would allow you to put more purchases on your card without exceeding that 30% guideline.
- Secondary rental car collision insurance
- Travel accident insurance
- Travel and emergency assistance hotline
- Extended warranty
Capital One, the company that issues this card, ranked third in customer service in J.D. Power's 2019 Credit Card Satisfaction Study. Capital One earned 807 out of 1,000 points, just over the industry average of 806.
All Capital One cardholders (and even non-customers) can get access to CreditWise, which provides free VantageScore 3.0 credit scores and credit fraud monitoring. CreditWise monitors your report at TransUnion, one of the three major national credit bureaus, and alerts you to any significant changes, such as accounts that have been reported as delinquent. It will also notify you if someone might be misusing your Social Security number, based on information from Experian, another of the three major bureaus.
In comparison, the Discover it Student Cash Back card offers cardholders the more widely used FICO credit score. Discover's regular credit monitoring program also involves TransUnion, but it doesn’t provide the additional monitoring services, such as checking Experian credit reports, that Capital One does.
The Capital One customer service call center is available 24/7 at 877-383-4802. In addition, cardholders can text for answers 24/7 through Capital One's Eno "intelligent assistant" service.
Capital One credit cards come with a slew of security features. In addition to the ability to create virtual card numbers through the Eno service, cardholders have $0 liability for fraudulent purchases, receive immediate text alerts of suspicious transactions, and can lock their cards from the mobile app.
If you lose your card, Capital One will replace it for free, with standard delivery taking a few days.
Fees to Watch Out For
The Journey Student credit card from Capital One is a low-fee card without many unpleasant surprises. The fees that it does have, such cash advance and late payment fees, are within the range of industry standards.
The Journey Student credit card from Capital One is a good starter card for students. You can get some cash back and avoid many common fees, since it has no annual fee, foreign transaction fee, or returned payment fee. Also, its bonus for making on-time payments provides a bit of extra cash back as well as an added incentive for building good credit. However, its APR is relatively high, so if you are unable to pay your balance off in full each month, it could be costly.