Laurel Road Student Loan Cashback℠ Card Review

Laurel Road Student Loan Cashback℠ Card Review article image.

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Are you one of the 14% of U.S. adults with a student loan? Chip away at your balance using the Laurel Road Student Loan Cashback℠ Card, which earns you 2% cash back you can redeem toward paying down any eligible student loan. This card also features an introductory 0% annual percentage rate (APR) on balance transfers, which can help you tackle high-interest credit card debt.

Introductory 0% APR on balance transfersRelatively meager cash back rewards outside of student loan repayments
No annual fee or foreign transaction feeEven for those with student loans, there are better cash back cards available
Generous intro bonus for new cardholdersIntro bonus has a high spending requirement
Useful travel, purchase protection and extended warranty features
Laurel Road
P.O. Box 191
855 Main Street, Bridgeport, CT 06601

Experian Review

The Laurel Road Student Loan Cashback℠ Card offers 2% cash back toward student loans or 1% cash back as a statement credit on every purchase you make. It also features a 12-month intro 0% APR offer on balance transfers, an intro bonus that puts $500 toward your student loans for new cardholders if you spend $5,000 within 90 days of account opening, plus travel and protection perks—with no annual fee.

Earn 2% Cash Back Toward Eligible Student Loans

You can redeem 2% cash back on purchases toward student loans with eligible loan servicers or redeem 1% cash back as a statement credit.

How do the student loan rewards add up? Suppose your student loan balance is $38,792 (the average in 2020, according to Experian data) at 3.73% interest (the going rate for a federal undergrad loan) with a monthly payment of $393 (the current average). According to Laurel Road's loan calculator, spending $1,800 on the card each month earns $396 in cash back the first year—more than the amount of one loan payment.

Laurel Road works with both federal and private lenders, and says 95% of student loan servicers participate, including FedLoan Servicing, Navient, Nelnet and Great Lakes. Visit the Laurel Road site to make sure your loan servicer participates before you apply for the card.

Pay Down High-Interest Debt With a Balance Transfer

High-interest credit card balances can make it harder to pay off your student loans. The Laurel Road Student Loan Cashback℠ Card can help with an introductory 0% APR on balance transfers for the first 12 monthly billing cycles. (After that, your variable APR is 13.99% to 22.99%.) Balances must be transferred within 60 days of account opening to qualify for the 0% rate.

Transfer a balance and pay it off within 12 months to save on interest and free up cash for your student loans. The balance transfer fee is $10 or 3% of the amount transferred, whichever is greater. And be sure to make your payments on time: A late payment could cost you the introductory 0% APR.

If you use this card for balance transfers, avoid using it for purchases for the first 12 months. Purchases incur the regular APR unless you pay off your entire balance—including the transferred amount—every month. Without making purchases, however, you won't earn cash back toward your student loan or the card's introductory bonus.

Up to $500 Intro Bonus

Cash back isn't the only way the Laurel Road Student Loan Cashback℠ Card helps pay down your student loans. Spend $5,000 within 90 days of account opening and earn a new cardholder bonus of $500 (if redeemed toward student loans with an eligible servicer) or $250 (if redeemed for statement credit).

No Annual Fee or Foreign Transaction Fee

The Laurel Road Student Loan Cashback℠ Card has a lot to offer travelers. There's no foreign transaction fee on international purchases, and the card comes with Mastercard Global Service, which provides worldwide 24-hour assistance with lost and stolen card reporting, emergency card replacement and emergency cash advances.

The card also includes access to Mastercard Travel & Lifestyle Services, providing benefits, amenities, upgrades and premium travel offers from hotels, airlines, tours, cruises, car rentals and more. Rent a car with the card, decline the rental company's insurance, and Mastercard MasterRental+ purchase assurance covers damages, theft and towing.

Protect Yourself and Your Purchases

In addition to car rental coverage, the Laurel Road Student Loan Cashback℠ Card can help you protect your identity. Mastercard ID Theft Protection monitors the surface, deep and dark web; alerts you to possible identity theft; and provides resolution services if you're victimized.

Use the card to buy an item with an original manufacturer's (or U.S. store brand) warranty of 12 months or less, and the extended warranty feature doubles that warranty up to 12 months. If an item bought with the card is damaged or stolen within 90 days of purchase, it may be eligible for replacement, up to $1,000 per loss and $25,000 total per cardholder account per 12 months.

Authorized-User Policy

Add an authorized user to this card by calling Laurel Road. Laurel Road will report the account to credit bureaus in the authorized user's name as well as yours, which could help them build their credit history. Choose an authorized user you trust, as you'll be responsible for their charges.

Is This Card Right for You?

The Laurel Road Student Loan Cashback℠ Card's two biggest perks—cash back toward a student loan and an introductory 0% APR on balance transfers—are somewhat at odds. If you transfer a balance, then make a purchase with the card before 12 months are up, you'll have to pay off your entire transferred balance before your payments apply to your purchase balance. Letting purchases accrue interest while you slowly pay off your transferred balance can cost you. But without making purchases, you won't earn the card's intro bonus or rewards towards your student loan.

That's why alternative cards may be more suitable depending on your needs.

For instance, those looking for a zero-interest period during which they can pay down purchases or a transferred balance would be wise to check out the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card (Rates & Fees). This card has a 0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases and qualifying balance transfers, and its 2% cash rewards on all purchases can easily be put toward your student loan payments. Once the introductory APR period is over, the card's ongoing APR jumps to 20.24%, 25.24%, or 29.99% Variable APR. Balance transfers made within 120 days from account opening are charged a 3% intro balance transfer fee, which climbs up to 5% thereafter, with a minimum fee of $5 at either rate.

You don't need the Laurel Road Student Loan Cashback℠ Card to put more money toward your student loan. You can always revise your budget to free up more cash or use cash back rewards from another credit card toward your student loan balance. Your employer might even help you pay off the loan. However, if your student loan servicer participates with Laurel Road, and you like the idea of automatically chipping away at your loan balance, this card could give you the psychological boost that helps you focus on paying off student debt.

Just be sure you don't charge more than you can comfortably pay off each month. Carrying a high credit card balance can cause your credit utilization ratio and debt-to-income ratio to balloon and make it more difficult to qualify for credit in the future.

Check Your Credit Before You Apply

Most rewards cards require good to excellent credit. Before applying for this or any other cash back card, take a close look at your credit. You can view your credit reports from all three credit bureaus through Also, you can check your FICO® Score for free with Experian to see how you measure up. To see additional credit card offers, you can also use Experian CreditMatch to get matched with cash back credit cards based on your credit profile.