Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® Review

Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® snapshot

The Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® is a no annual fee credit card and earns 1% cash back on all your purchases. Pay on time to boost your cash back to a total of 1.25% for that month. Like all Capital One® credit cards, it comes with no foreign transaction fees, which makes it an option for students planning to study abroad. The recommended credit needed for this offer is average, fair, or limited credit. However a quick reminder your credit score alone doesn’t guarantee you’ll qualify for any credit card offer. Credit card issuers use a variety of different types of credit scores along with other criteria to make their credit decisions.

If you carry a balance its variable Annual Percentage Rate (APR) for purchases of 26.96% can make it expensive for purchases charged to your card. On the plus side Capital One® offers to raise your credit limit after you make your first five monthly payments on time. With responsible use by you, the on-time payments and higher limit, as long as you keep your balance low in relation to your credit limit, may help to improve your credit score over time.

Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® highlights

Annual fee:$0
Foreign transaction fee:None
Annual Percentage Rate (APR) for Purchases and Balance Transfers:26.96% (Variable)
This APR will vary with the market based on the Prime Rate
Rewards:Earn 1% cash back on all your purchases. Pay on time to boost your cash back to a total of 1.25% for that month
Additional Notes:Terms apply

Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® basics

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It can be difficult for young adults starting out in the world of credit cards and lending to be approved for their first credit card since they don’t have a history of on-time payments and responsible management of debt. Student credit cards like the Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® card offer students with little credit history the chance to demonstrate they can use debt responsibly, for example, by making their monthly payments on time.

Generally for higher-risk customers, credit card issuers usually charge a higher interest rate. That high interest rate makes it imperative to pay off the card’s balance in full each and every month to avoid adding more debt to your credit card balance.

As a Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® cardmember, you have access to Eno®, your Capital One® assistant, to manage your account via text, receive alerts, and shop safer online. Capital One® also offers credit profile monitoring with the CreditWise® app, free for everyone. 

Building Credit with Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One®

After your first five months of on-time payments, Capital One® offers access to a higher credit line on the Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One®. Over time that could help with building credit. The history of on-time payments can contribute towards a good score, but the credit bureaus also like to see that you don’t use too much of your available credit. How much you owe compared to how much credit you have is your utilization ratio.

According to Credit Sesame data, Americans are using 70% or more of their available credit. A good utilization rate is 10% or lower.

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If you owe $200 and your credit limit is $500, your utilization is 40%. If you owe $200 but your limit is $1,000, your utilization is only 20%. Utilization counts for 30% of your FICO® Credit Score, so it’s important to keep it as close to zero as you can. When your credit limit goes up, the key is to keep your debt from going up at the same time.

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Since Capital One® charges no foreign transaction fees on purchases made outside the United States, the Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® is worth considering by any student planning to study abroad (or travel outside the U.S. during breaks), since foreign transaction fees on some credit cards can be as high as 5% of each purchase transaction — if you travel internationally find a card that does not charge these fees, if at all possible!

Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® rewards

The Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® has rewards structure where your cash back rate can get a boost. First, you earn 1% cash back on all your purchases. Pay on time to boost your cash back to a total of 1.25% for that month. The cash back can be requested in the form of a check or as a statement credit directly to the credit card account. Or you can redeem for gift cards, credits for previous purchases and more. Keep in mind the rates for redemption options may vary depending on how you redeem your cash back rewards.

Each month that you pay at least the minimum amount due shown on your credit card statement on time, you can earn an additional 0.25% cash back. Once you qualify for the additional cash back it will be applied to your rewards balance within two billing cycles.  With this additional cash back the Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® can effectively earn you a total of 1.25% cash back on purchases made with the card as long as your account is not past due on the last day of the billing cycle.

prosandconsJourney® Student Rewards from Capital One® pros

As we see it the Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® has four main advantages: cash back rewards program, no annual fee, no foreign transaction fees and access to a higher credit line. If you ever travel outside the United States, it’s imperative to have a card for purchases that lets you avoid high foreign transaction fees; with the Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® you’ll pay no foreign transaction fees on your purchases. And get access to a higher credit line after making your first 5 monthly payments on time. Higher credit limits can improve your credit score over time as long as your balances are a smaller percentage of your total available credit.

 Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® cons

On the other hand, the Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® has some drawbacks to consider before applying: a variable APR on purchases of 26.96%. The high interest rate charged on purchases that are paid for over time make this an expensive way to finance large purchases. If you know you need to pay for a purchase over time, it may be better to look for a card with a low or 0% introductory APR on purchases. A total of 1.25% cash back on purchases is good, for that month when you pay on time, but there are other no annual fee options with potentially more lucrative rewards programs.

Should you get this card?

You may want to take a look at this card as a starter card. With no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees, the Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® may be worth considering for students with average or limited credit as a tool to build up a history of on-time payments and responsible management of credit. However, once you’ve deepened your credit report and strengthened/raised your credit score, you should carefully consider moving to a more lucrative rewards-earning credit card or one with a lower APR on purchases.

Terms and conditions apply.


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Published March 8, 2016
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