2018’s Best USAA Credit Card Review – WalletHub Editors
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USAA (a WalletHub partner) offers nearly 30 different credit cards to current and former members of the military, as well as their immediate family. That means determining whether you meet the organization’s membership requirements is only step one. After that, you’ll still need to identify the right credit card for your needs from the many available offers.
To help make the process as painless as possible, we compared all of USAA’s cards to find the best offers for the most common consumer needs. You can find our selections below, along with the best alternative from other issuers for each usage scenario. If you would like a personalized credit card recommendation or to check your latest credit score, just sign up for a free WalletHub account.
|Best for…||Best USAA Credit Card||Best Feature||Learn More|
|Initial Bonus||USAA® Rewards™ American Express® Card||2,500 bonus points after your first purchase||Editors’ Notes|
|Cash Back||USAA® Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature® Card||1.5% cash back on all purchases||Editors’ Notes|
|Military-Base Purchases||USAA® Cashback Rewards Plus American Express® Card||5% cash back on up to $3,000 in gas and military-base purchases each year||Editors’ Notes|
|Limited Credit||USAA Classic Platinum Visa®||4% rate for up to 12 months during deployment*||Editors’ Notes|
|Bad Credit||USAA® Secured Card Visa Platinum® Card||Security deposit placed in interest-bearing CD||Editors’ Notes|
Best USAA Credit Card: Initial Bonus
The USAA® Rewards™ American Express® Card is one of a handful of USAA credit cards that offer a 2,500-point first-purchase bonus. That’s worth about $22.50, according to our calculations. You’ll also earn 3 points per $1 spent on dining, 2 points per $1 spent on gas and groceries as well as 1 point per $1 spent on everything else. For context, 1.17 point per $1 spent is roughly what the average rewards card offers, according to our latest Credit Card Landscape Report. The USAA Rewards Amex does not charge an annual fee, and it requires at least “good” credit for approval.
Best USAA Credit Card: Cash Back
The USAA Preferred Cash Rewards Visa is a simple workhorse, giving you 1.5% cash back on all purchases without charging an annual fee. That’s the start of the recipe for a great everyday rewards card, but it’s missing a crucial ingredient. Other cards offer at least 1.5% cash back on all purchases, and the best of the bunch sweeten the deal with added benefits.
Best USAA Credit Card: Military-Base Purchases
It’s hard to beat the USAA Cashback Rewards Plus Amex if you live or work on a military base, especially if you drive a lot, too. It offers $150 bonus after you make $500 in purchases within the first 90 days of opening your account and on-going 5% cash back on the first $3,000 you spend on-base and at gas stations each year. You’ll also get 2% cash back on your first $3,000 in annual supermarket spending and 1% cash back on everything else. There is no annual fee.
Compared to the Competition: USAA Cashback Rewards Plus vs. PenFed Platinum Rewards
Best USAA Credit Card: Limited Credit
The USAA Classic Visa Platinum doesn’t bring much to the table, save for a realistic chance of approval if you have limited or fair credit. But it’s far from the only offer that can say that, and some of the others aren’t quite as expensive.
The USAA Classic Card has a $35 annual fee and does not offer rewards. Its best feature probably is the fact that USAA caps its typically high regular APR at 4% for up to 12 months for deployed or PCS (permanent change of station). But all USAA credit cards do the same.
Best USAA Credit Card: Bad Credit
The USAA® Secured Card Visa Platinum® Card is a solid option for people looking to rebuild their credit, due to its relatively low annual fee. But it’s certainly not the best secured card on the block. There are a handful of offers with no annual fee, and that’s where you should focus. It’s best to save as much as possible when recovering from bad credit.
If you’re unsure whether you can qualify for any of the credit cards mentioned above, check your credit score for free on WalletHub. And if you want more recommendations, make sure to check out our editors’ best card picks for all of the major card categories.
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