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If you’re a college student, you have unique credit needs. In particular, you probably don’t have an established credit history. How are you supposed to get a credit card without a credit score?
The answer is to choose an entry-level card like the Capital One Journey Student Credit Card. Here’s everything you need to know about the Journey.
The Capital One Journey Student Credit Card is a starter card for students or individuals with average or no credit.
This isn’t the card you use for the rest of your life. It’s a card you use for a few years until you’ve built better credit. At that point, you ditch the Journey for a different card.
While it’s listed as a student card, this card isn’t actually limited to students. Anyone can apply for the Journey Student card. If you need to boost your credit, you’re welcome to apply.
Every time you make a purchase with this card, you’ll earn 1% cash back on the transaction. If you pay your bill on time, you’ll earn an additional 0.25%, for a total of 1.25%. On the one hand, this isn’t as high as some other rewards cards, which can pay 2, 3, or even 4% on some categories.
That said, this is a starter card. You’re not going to get the same kinds of perks you’d expect from a card that requires a high credit rating. By comparison, most student credit cards don’t pay any cash back.
As you can see, this is a good card for building credit. That said, there are 26.99 reasons you might not want to use it; this card carries a hefty 26.99% variable APR, one of the highest interest rates on the market.
Whether or not this is a problem depends on how you’re using the card. As long as your bill is paid off at the end of each month, you won’t have to worry about interest.
On the other hand, if you carry a balance from month to month, that interest will rack up in a hurry. This can even happen to responsible borrowers.
You may need to charge an emergency car repair or other unexpected expenses. In that case, you’ll be paying a significant penalty.
The main appeal of the Journey Student Credit Card is its rewards program. Here’s an overview of how that program works and how you can claim your rewards.
The straightforward rewards program offers 1% cash back on all purchases. There’s no limit, there are no exceptions, and there are no boosted categories.
If you swipe your card, make an online purchase, or pay a bill with it, you earn 1%. This makes it easy to calculate how much you’re earning. Spent $100? You earned $1 cash back.
In addition to the base 1% rate, Capital One sweetens the spot with an additional 0.25% cash back every month you pay your bill on time.
If you always pay your bill, you’ll actually be earning 1.25% instead of the base rate.
Your cash back rewards are available at any time, as long as you’ve accrued at least $25. They can be applied as a statement credit, which is the option most people choose. However, you can also opt to receive a paper check.
You can also decide when to receive your rewards. This can happen automatically on a yearly basis, or you can set a payment threshold. In that case, when your rewards reach that threshold, you’ll receive your payment.
You can also request your rewards manually if you want an early payout.
The Capital One Journey Student card is built for students. The credit score requirements are minimal, and you don’t have to make a deposit like you would with a secured card.
There’s also no annual fee, an important feature for anyone who’s on a budget.
Each month, you’ll receive a $5 credit towards your statement, a $60 value over the first year.
This credit applies as long as you’re using your card to pay for most major streaming services. It’s like you’re getting $5 off your Netflix bill for 12 months.
Annual card fees of $50, $100, or more can be a major inconvenience if you’re on a student’s budget.
The same goes for foreign transaction fees, whether you’re traveling with friends or studying abroad.
The Capital One Journey Student card does not charge either of these fees, which makes it more affordable to use.
Make your payments on time for six months, and Capital One will automatically review your credit rating. If that rating is favorable, they may offer you a credit increase.
A higher limit isn’t just useful for spending more money. It actually causes your credit score to go up further, provided you’re not using a ton of it.
A lot of cash back rewards programs are complex. You might earn a base rate of 1%, but with 2% on travel expenses and 3% on dining.
This can make it tough to figure out what your rewards are going to be. With 1% cash back on all purchases, the Capital One Journey Card is simple.
Not only that, but the 0.25% bonus earnings provides a nice added value.
In addition to the card itself, Capital One Journey Student card members also get free access to CreditWise.
This is an app developed by Capital One for Apple and Android users. Once it’s synced with your account, you’ll be able to monitor your credit directly from your smartphone.
You can check your credit score anytime, anywhere. You’ll also get identity protection features.
For example, if someone tries to open a bank account using your Social Security number, you’ll get a push alert.
The Deserve® EDU Mastercard is designed primarily for foreign students and others without Social Security numbers.
Using the Deserve® EDU Mastercard allows you to establish a US credit rating and access other cards. You also get a subscription to Amazon Student Prime as a signup bonus.
The Discover it® Student Chrome card is another cash back rewards card that pays a rate of 1%.
However, it has a lower APR, and you get a $20 annual “Good Grade” reward if your GPA is 3.0 or higher.
That said, it’s only available to students, and you only get rewards on the first $1,000 you spend in each quarter. This effectively limits your rewards to $80 per year.
The Discover it® Student Cash Back card is one of the few student cards that pays above 1%. In fact, you can earn as much as 5% on select purchases.
This boosted rate is applied to a rotating category, which changes every quarter. So, this month, it might be entertainment, and next month, it might be travel.
Whether or not you benefit depends on what categories you’re spending in. But if you get lucky, you can earn 5% cash back on a significant portion of your spending. Not bad!
The Secured Mastercard® from Capital One® is a secured card, which means you have to put down a deposit first.
The minimum credit line is $200, and you can qualify with a deposit as low as $49. If you have very bad credit, you’ll need to put down a full $200.
That said, there’s no annual fee, and you get your money back when you close your account. Not only that, but you can increase your limit by depositing more money.
The grace period for the Journey Student Rewards card is 25 days. From the day your statement closes, you’ll have 25 days to pay your bill. On day 26, you’ll start accruing interest.
Nothing. You can keep using it if you want to. That said, you’ll probably be earning more money after you graduate.
And if you’ve been wise, you’ll also have a higher credit score. With better credit and higher income, you’ll probably want a card with richer rewards.
Yes. It has the Capital One Journey Student Credit Card, which we’re reviewing right now!
It depends on what you need. If you need a card for regular monthly expenses, it works reasonably well. You can get higher cash back rates elsewhere, but not without a higher credit score.
That said, it’s not ideal for carrying a balance. The APR is far too punishing.
No. Anyone can apply for one of these cards.
The Journey Student Credit Card reports to all three major credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.
No matter who is checking your score, the Journey card will impact it. Pay your bill on time, and this impact will be nothing but positive.
The Capital One Journey Student Credit Card can be a good choice or a terrible one depending on how you use it.
This card is designed to be used for regular monthly expenses to help you boost your credit score.
As long as you’re using it in that way, it works well and provides reasonably good rewards. Just stay away from carrying a balance, or you’ll have to pay a steep interest rate.