2018 Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature Review
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The Verdict: If you're looking for a simple yet rewarding cash back credit card with no annual fee, and you're eligible for USAA membership, the USAA® Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature® is a good choice. Offering 1.5% cash back on all purchases, the USAA Preferred Visa is nearly 50% more generous than the average cash rewards credit card. And its lack of an annual fee makes it $15.55 per year cheaper than the average credit card overall.
But not just anyone can get USAA® Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature®. For starters, you must be a current or former member of the U.S. military or the adult child of a USAA member to join USAA. You also need good or excellent credit to qualify for the card itself.
In addition to those restrictions, it's important to note that USAA Preferred Cash Rewards is not an offer without flaws. There's no initial bonus, which puts USAA Preferred Cash at a nearly $129 disadvantage relative to the average cash rewards card . And even though you need good credit or better for approval, you could receive a regular APR that's higher than even the average card's penalty rate. Fortunately, you can avoid wasting money on interest by paying your bill in full every month. You'll also get a break on finance charges during active duty, deployment and PCS.
All things considered, the USAA Preferred Cash Rewards Visa offers a lot to like but probably won't blow your socks off. Still, you should definitely read on to find out.
- 5% Cash Back on All Purchases: You don't have to worry about keeping track of or signing up for bonus rewards categories with this card. You simply earn almost 50% more than average on every purchase you make. Cash rewards cards offer 1.04% back, on average, according to WalletHub's latest Credit Card Landscape Report.
- No Annual Fee: This means no pressure to make purchases just to break even. Any cash back you earn will go right into your pocket, so to speak. That makes USAA Preferred Cash an especially good option for infrequent credit card users, who may want a card more for emergencies than everyday purchases.
- No Foreign Transaction Fee: Military families move around a lot, often spending plenty of time abroad. So it's certainly a good thing that you won't have to pay extra on purchases processed internationally with this card. After all, the average credit card foreign transaction fee - 1.60% of each purchase – would more than cancel out USAA Preferred's cash rewards.
- Special 4% Military APR: This applies to a balance you owe when you begin active duty, until its paid off or you celebrate your first anniversary of ending active duty. It also applies to all balances for up to 12 months in the event of deployment or permanent change of station. All USAA credit cards have this feature.
- Very High Regular APR Possible: You need at least good credit to get this card. The average APR among credit cards for people with good credit is 19.51%. Yet it's possible to receive an APR that's nearly twice as high from USAA Preferred Cash. Its APR could be anywhere from 13.4% to 27.4% (V), depending on your creditworthiness. For additional context, credit cards for people with excellent credit average an APR of 13.98%. And among all cards, the average penalty APR is just 26.16%.
- No Initial Bonus: This means you lose out on roughly $129 relative to the average cash back credit card, the best of which pair an even bigger bonus with an ongoing earning rate comparable to the Preferred Cash Visa's.
Other Things to Consider
- Good or Excellent Credit Required: This probably rules out about 45% of potential applicants, according to WalletHub data. Of course, USAA will consider other factors, too. This includes your income and existing debt. They have to confirm you can afford a new line of credit, after all. But it's still a good idea to check your latest credit score for free before you apply.
Travel Insurance & Other Secondary Benefits: When you make purchases with USAA Preferred Cash, you automatically receive certain perks. For example, you get coverage for accidents and lost luggage while traveling if you charge your travel expenses to the card. This travel insurance policy is rated 18th best among those offered by major credit cards, according to WalletHub's analysts.
Similarly, when you rent a car with your card, you'll enjoy the 4th ranked credit card rental car insurance policy. There are other such perks, too, including price protection and an extended warranty USAA's coverage ranks in the middle of the pack in those categories.
- Undisclosed Spending Limit: You won't learn what your credit limit will be until you're approved. Some cards at least provide a minimum amount in their terms and conditions.
- USAA Eligibility Test: If you've never served in the military and didn't inherit USAA eligibility from your parents, you probably won't be able to qualify. You can find the specific requirements on USAA's website.
Compared to the Competition
Lots of people with good or excellent credit want to earn cash back on every purchase they make. So plenty of banks and credit unions offer credit cards that cater to this desire. And that competition leads to some really good deals. Below, you can see if USAA® Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature® is one of the best by comparing it to some of the most popular alternatives.
USAA® Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature®
Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer
Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® Card
Chase Freedom Unlimited®
|Rewards Rate||1.5% Cash Back||1% + 1% Cash Back||1.5 - 1.8% Cash Back||1.5% Cash Back|
|Purchase Intro APR||Not Offered||Not Offered||0% for 12 months||0% for 15 months|
|Transfer Intro APR||Not Offered||0% for 18 months|
Transfer Fee: 3% (min $5)
|0% for 12 months|
Transfer Fee: 3% intro for 12 months
|0% for 15 months|
Transfer Fee: Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
|Regular APR||13.4% - 27.4% (V)||14.99% - 24.99%* (V)||14.49% - 26.49% Variable||16.49% - 25.24% (V)|
|Editors’ Rating||3.5 / 5||5.0 / 5||4.8 / 5||4.5 / 5|
|Details, Rates & Fees||Learn More||Learn More||Learn More||Learn More|
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