If you’re a student who is eager to build a positive credit history that will benefit you later in life, the Journey® Student Credit Card from Capital One® should be at the top of your list. This card comes with no annual fee and may be easier to qualify for if you have a limited credit history. You also get the chance to earn cash back on every purchase you make — and even a boost of extra cash back if you pay your bill on time each month.
If you believe you’re ready to learn to use credit responsibly with a student credit card, keep reading to learn how this card works and who it’s good for.
Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One®: Smart Cash-Back Credit Card for Students
According to Capital One, the Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® is available to consumers with “average” credit. Credit score ranges from myFICO peg “fair” credit as any score between 580 and 669 and “good” credit as scores between 670 to 739. It’s safe to say you may be able to get approved for this card even at the lower range of these scores, which could be a big benefit if you’re having trouble getting approved for other cards you’ve applied for.
We also love that the Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® gives you 1% cash back for every dollar you spend along with a .25% boost if you pay your bill on time each month. This student credit card also comes with no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees when you make purchases abroad or online with overseas vendors.
The Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® may start you out with a low initial credit limit depending on your credit score and history. However, they offer the option to gain access to a higher credit line after you make five on-time payments in a row. With that in mind, don’t be too disappointed if you apply and receive an initial limit of just a few hundred dollars. With time and responsible credit use, you may be able to boost your limit quite a bit.
Other benefits the Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® offers include zero liability for fraudulent purchases made with your card and access to CreditWise® credit monitoring from Capital One. You can also set up your account to notify you when your payment is due or when a purchase is made, and you can even set up some of your bills on autopay.
In summary, the Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® is a no-frills cash-back credit card that can be ideal for individuals who are building credit for the first time. Not only do you have the potential to qualify with fair credit, but you can earn up to 1.25% cash back on all your purchases with no annual fee. If you’re a student who can’t qualify for other cards with better benefits, this deal is hard to beat.
Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One®: Where it Falls Flat
While it’s hard to complain too much about a cash-back credit card that offers more than 1% back on all purchases with no annual fee, there is one glaring problem you’ll face with this card. It comes with a 26.46% variable APR, which is considerably higher than the average credit card interest rate of around 17%.
If you plan to carry a balance on your credit card, the Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® could leave you with a mountain of financial problems. A variable rate of 26.46% means a large portion of your monthly payment will go toward interest each month, and that could make paying off large balances an increasingly difficult proposition. If you eventually receive a higher credit limit and wind up maxing your card out, you could even enter a debt spiral that is difficult to overcome.
With that in mind, it’s smart to consider why you’re signing up for this student credit card. If you’re signing up to build credit, you should use the card only for purchases you can pay off right away. With this strategy, you can add depth to your credit history while keeping your credit utilization low and avoiding excessive interest payments.
If you want access to credit because you need to borrow money, on the other hand, you may want to consider other options like low interest credit cards and personal loans. Either one might help you qualify for a much lower interest rate that could save you money, although you’ll want to do an “apples to apples” comparison that takes fees into account as well.
The Bottom Line
The Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® is a solid student credit card that should be considered if you have fair credit and need help qualifying for a starter credit card. Not only is it available to consumers with average credit scores, but anyone who is approved can earn 1.25% cash back on their purchases with on-time monthly payments. This gives you the ability to improve your credit score and earn cash back with no annual fee, which is hard to beat.
Still, the 26.46% variable APR is disconcerting, particularly for anyone who may be inclined to carry a balance from time to time. For that reason, we believe the Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® is best for:
- Consumers who can’t get approved for other credit cards but want to build credit
- Anyone who wants to build credit with an unsecured credit card (instead of a secured credit card that requires a cash deposit)
- People with the discipline to pay their credit card balances each month
If you don’t meet the criteria above or know you’ll carry a balance each month, it’s important to consider other options in the credit card and personal loan space. You should start by looking for loan and card options with a considerably lower interest rate, but make sure to compare annual fees and additional ongoing costs as well.
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