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Journey Student Rewards from Capital One: Students Can Build Credit at Home or Abroad

College students can use this credit card to build credit and earn cash back.

The Journey Student Rewards from Capital One* is designed for students looking to build credit with responsible use while earning cash back on purchases.

Though it doesn't offer the best rewards of any student credit card, the Journey Student card has a few compelling benefits. With no foreign transaction fees, it's a good choice for students studying abroad. It also makes a good first credit card, with extra cash back incentives for making on time payments. That noted, this card has a particularly high APR at 28.49% variable,  so you'll want to make sure you pay off the balance in full every month.

Otherwise, there's not much else that's noteworthy about this card: no introductory APR, no welcome bonus, no travel perks. But it's a decent stepping stone for improving credit and setting the stage for a credit card with better rewards and perks.

In this article

Journey Student Rewards from Capital One

5.5/10 CNET Rating
Card Highlights
Intro OfferN/A
APR28.49% (Variable)
Intro Purchase APRN/A
Recommended Credit Average, Fair, Limited
Reward Rates
  • 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
Annual Fee$0
Additional Details
Intro Balance Transfer APRN/A
Balance Transfer APR28.49% (Variable)
Balance Transfer Fee $0 at this Transfer APR
Late Payment Fee Up to $40
Foreign Transaction Fees None
Penalty APR None
Rewards & Redemption Details
  • 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 model is simple and straightforward: Earn 1% on all purchases with the Capital One Journey Student Rewards Card -- with no limit. There are no bonus categories, unlike with most rewards credit cards, which means less to manage and track.

There is, however, a secondary reward: When you make your monthly payment on time, you'll earn an additional 0.25%, for a total of up to 1.25% cash back. Though other student cards offer higher cash back rates, we appreciate the incentive for students getting started with building credit. Ontime payments are a major component of a credit score.

Building credit with the Capital One Journey Student Card

This card is designed to help students build credit. As such, there are some best practices for cardholders to bear in mind. As with any credit card, using 30% or less of your credit limit will have the best impact on your credit score. Known as a "credit utilization ratio," this ratio makes up  a major part of your credit score. 

That noted, if you find that your monthly spending is regularly exceeding the 30% guideline, you could proactively reach out to Capital One to discuss a credit limit increase.

Otherwise, after six months, Capital One will automatically review your account. If you have been making your payments on time and keeping your balance in check, you may automatically earn a higher credit limit. 

By making your payments on time and keeping your balance relatively low, you should be able to increase your credit score over time.

Alternative cards

Though we appreciate the simplicity of the Journey Student Rewards card, you can earn more cash back with student credit cards that offer more complicated rewards programs.

Discover it® Student Cash Back

The Discover it® Student Cash Back* is the best way to earn the most cash back for most students. You earn the standard 1% on all purchases, and 5% on everyday purchases at select rotating locations each quarter when you activate, on up to $1,500 of spending each quarter, then 1%. Select locations have included grocery stores, gas stations, restaurants, Target, Walmart, Amazon and more. Just as significant is the Unlimited Cashback Match welcome bonus, which doubles your cash back earned at the end of your first year.

To learn more about the rotating category and other perks, see our full review of the Discover it Student Cash Back card. 

Capital One SavorOne Student Cash Rewards Credit Card

The Capital One SavorOne Student Cash Rewards Credit Card offers the same 1% on all of your purchases, but with a handful of important bonus categories.

You'll earn 3% cash back on dining at restaurants, grocery stores (excluding superstores like Target and Walmart) and for entertainment. Entertainment includes movie theaters, sports promoters, theatrical promoters, amusement parks, tourist attractions, aquariums, zoos, dance halls, record stores, pool halls and bowling alleys. There's also no annual fee.

What's more is you'll get a pretty solid welcome bonus as far as student credit cards go. For a limited time, if you spend $100 in the first three months of opening your account, you'll earn a $100 cash bonus.


What if I don't have a credit history?

Capital One Journey Student Card lists their acceptable credit history as "fair" -- which would be a credit score between 580 and 669. However, it is not unusual for a student to get approved for a student credit card despite not having previous credit accounts.

What happens when you graduate?

Once you graduate, you are eligible to upgrade to a non-student credit card. These cards often offer better rewards and perks. You'll likely need to provide your income and housing payment information to your credit card issuer first.

What kind of school do you need to be enrolled in?

Capital One considers anyone currently enrolled at an accredited university, community college or other higher education institution to be a student. You may also be admitted and planning to enroll in the next 3 months.

Our methodology

CNET reviews credit cards by exhaustively comparing them across set criteria developed for each major category, including cash back, welcome bonus, travel rewards and balance transfer. We take into consideration the typical spending behavior of a range of consumer profiles -- with the understanding that everyone's financial situation is different -- and the designated function of a card.

*All information about the Journey Student Rewards from Capital One and Discover it Student Cash Back has been collected independently by CNET and has not been reviewed by the issuer.

The editorial content on this page is based solely on objective, independent assessments by our writers and is not influenced by advertising or partnerships. It has not been provided or commissioned by any third party. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products or services offered by our partners.