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Journey Student Rewards from Capital One credit card review

Feb. 16, 2020
8 min read
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Journey Student Rewards from Capital One Overview

The Journey Student Rewards from Capital One is not rated as one of our best rewards credit cards for students. But with no foreign transaction fees, it might be a good fit for international travelers and students traveling abroad. Since this card is relatively easy to get, requiring just an average credit rating, it’s a great first credit card for some savvy students. Card rating*: ⭐⭐⭐

*Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG's editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.

This page includes information about the Discover products that are not currently available on The Points Guy and may be out of date.

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Student credit cards rarely represent the best value for rewards credit cards. They tend to offer fewer points with lower values than the harder-to-get cash-back rewards counterparts that are designed for people with more established credit histories.

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But here’s the benefit: Student rewards cards are typically easier to qualify for than other rewards cards. Plus, most of the best student rewards credit cards don’t have an annual fee, which is especially important for college kids on a tight budget. The Journey Student Rewards from Capital One fits these criteria. It’s available to students with average credit or a short credit history, making it very accessible as a starter credit card. The rewards may not be the best, but a number of other perks help it fit into a student’s lifestyle.

You can choose a due date that works best for you and you’ll qualify for a higher credit limit after you make five months of payments on time. With no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees, the Journey Student card can kickstart your lifetime journey of building good credit.

Related reading: TPG beginner’s guide: Everything you need to know about points, miles, airlines and credit cards

Who is this card for?

Going away to college for the first time marks an exciting endeavor in a young adult’s life. It’s important to carry the right credit card to begin building your credit history. A credit card also provides a convenient way to pay for everything from college books to meals with friends. If you’re going to be spending money anyway, you might as well choose a student rewards credit card that gives you cash back.

The Journey Student card is ideal for students who are just learning how to manage their credit. And if you’re traveling abroad, the Journey card is one of only a handful of student credit cards with no foreign transaction fees.

Related reading: Best credit cards for college students

Main perks and benefits

The Journey Student card from Capital One has benefits that are custom-built for students just starting their credit journey.

The main draw of the card, for many, is that it has no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees. Beyond that, the card provides tools that help you manage your money.

Eno®, your Capital One® assistant, makes it easy to manage your account via text. You can receive alerts when bills are due or to notify you of transactions, and receive fraud alerts and notifications of duplicate transactions so you can preserve the good credit you’re starting to build. You can generate a virtual pin number to shop safer online. Eno can also help you budget your money by offering insights on your spending every month.

The Journey Student card provides $0 fraud liability if your card is ever lost or stolen. You can monitor your credit through Capital One’s CreditWise app.

You can set your monthly due date and ramp up your rewards to 1.25% — up from 1% — each month you pay your bill on time. A higher credit limit will reduce your credit utilization ratio, which, in turn, can help increase your credit score over time.

Related reading: How Credit Scores Work

Earning and Redeeming Rewards

You’ll earn 1% to 1.25% cash back on every purchase every time you use your Journey card. Your rewards never expire, and there’s no limit to how much you can earn.

Rewards come in the form of a statement credit to lower your bill, and you can redeem them at any time through your Capital One online account or mobile app. You can choose to redeem them manually or set up automatic redemption when you reach a certain amount of cash.

Which cards compete with Capital One Journey for students?

Depending on their credit rating, students have many choices when it comes to credit cards. They can opt for regular rewards cards designed for people who are building their credit or cards specifically designed for students.

If we narrow down the competitors to student-marketed cards, the main competitors of Journey include Discover it Student Cash Back, the Citi Rewards+℠ Student Card, and the Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card for Students.

All three of these cards offer more generous rewards than the Journey card, with Discover it Student Cash Back leading the pack. Discover it Student Cash Back gives students 5% cash back on their first $1,500 in purchases in rotating quarterly categories after enrollment, and 1% cash back on everything else.

Discover also matches the cash back total after the first year of card membership, giving this card a lot of bang for the buck. Plus, good students earn a $20 statement credit for each school year their GPA is 3.0 or higher for up to five years. Like Capital One Journey, Discover’s student card has no foreign transaction fees — though bear in mind that Discover may not be as widely accepted as other card types outside the U.S.

The Citi Rewards+ Student Card has a novel rewards structure. The card rounds up your rewards points on all purchases to the nearest 10 points. If you buy a meal at your favorite fast-casual restaurant and it costs $11.49, you’ll earn 20 points. And a $4.33 latte will earn you 10 points – not four. Not bad.

Citi Rewards+ Student card also has a welcome bonus. You’ll earn 2,500 points after you spend $500 with your card within the first three months of account opening.

The Bank of America Cash Rewards credit card for Students also has an unusual rewards structure. You choose the category that earns 3% rewards. You’ll also get 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs and 1% everywhere else. This highly customizable card can help new credit holders get used to the idea of bonus categories. You’ll only earn 2% and 3% for the first $2,500 in combined purchases quarterly, yielding $75 in cash rewards, before you drop down to earning 1% on all purchases.

Bank of America offers a $100 online cash rewards bonus after you spend $1,000 in purchases within 90 days of account opening.

The Capital One Journey for Students does not have a sign-up bonus and offers fewer rewards than any of its competitors. The main benefit of the Capital One Journey card is the lack of foreign transaction fees and the tools it offers to help build your credit quickly.

The information for the Bank of America Cash Rewards credit card for Students has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Related reading: How college students can maximize travel rewards credit cards

Bottom line

In general, there are better student cards to apply for than the Capital One Journey Rewards for Students. Discover it Student Cash Back carries a generous rewards structure, a sign-up bonus and no foreign transaction fees. However, if your credit is only fair or average, it may be easier to qualify for Journey. Set up automatic payment for your bill, earn a credit limit increase and prepare to move on to a better rewards card as your credit score rises.

Featured image by Norbert Michalke/Getty Images
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.