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USAA Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature® Review

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USAA® Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature® Card

A Solid Cash-Back Option Without the Hassle 

The USAA® Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature® Card card offers unlimited cash back at a rate of 1.5%. There’s no cap on the amount of cash back you can earn in a year. What’s more, your earnings are credited to you as you go, unlike with some USAA cards that only credit your cash back annually. And with no annual fee, the USAA® Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature® Card card doesn’t put you at risk of paying more for the card than you earn in rewards. 

If you qualify for USAA membership you can choose from a range of credit card options. However, these cards lack some of the bells and whistles that other credit card companies use to entice customers. Like most USAA cards, the USAA® Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature® Card card doesn’t come with a sign-up bonus. That means you won’t get a statement credit or a boatload of points when you become a cardholder. 

If you love to churn credit cards in search of the highest rewards, the USAA® Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature® Card card probably isn’t your best bet. But if slow-and-steady-wins-the-race is more your style, you could do a lot worse than this card. It’s a USAA card that offers cash back benefits comparable to non-military cards, but with the consumer protections that USAA members have come to expect. 

What are those perks and protections? For one thing, there’s no annual fee. There’s also no penalty APR, so if you fall behind on monthly payments your card won’t bump you up to a sky-high APR that would lead you deeper into a credit card debt hole. Plus, there are special features for active duty servicemembers. 

The USAA® Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature® Card card comes with a generous Deployment/PCS rate of 4%. That means you’ll pay a 4% APR on all your card balances for up to 12 months during deployment or permanent change of station. After the 12 months are up the regular APR will apply. 

In accordance with the Servicemember’s Civil Relief Act (SCRA), the USAA® Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature® Card card offers a special 4% rate that applies to any balance you have on your account when you enter active military duty. It applies to your balance until one year after you complete active duty, so you’re not racking up too much debt in the meantime. And if you serve in a qualified military campaign, USAA will rebate all finance charges accrued while you serve in the campaign. 

Smart Features

1.5% cash back – This 1.5% cash back deal applies to all purchase categories, with no cap on what you earn. You can redeem your cash rewards any time, on your computer or using the mobile app associated with the card. 

No foreign transaction fee – Traveling outside of the U.S. with your card? Don’t worry about paying foreign transaction fees on your purchases.  

  • Smart Tip: Before you head overseas, notify USAA Bank. You can do this by logging in to your USAA account online, going to the “My Accounts” page and selecting the card in question. Once you select the card you’ll be able to add or modify a travel notification.   

No annual fee – Unlike some cards, the USAA® Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature® Card card doesn’t come with an annual fee. You won’t have to worry about earning less in rewards than you pay in fees.  

Concierge service – Need help making travel plans or restaurant reservations? The Visa concierge service is there for your use at any time. 

Extended Warranty – This feature extends the warranty you get from the manufacturer or store where you purchase an item with your card for up to one year. 

Who It Benefits

Only USAA members qualify for the USAA® Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature® Card card, so the first thing to know is that you can’t benefit from the card if you’re not a USAA member. Those USAA members who will benefit the most from the USAA® Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature® Card card are members who are looking for a good all-around cash back card. There are other USAA cards that are better for balances transfers or that offer a higher percentage of cash back for on-base purchases. But if you’re looking for a utility player for your wallet, the USAA® Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature® Card card is a good option. 

How It Works

The process for earning cash back with the USAA® Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature® Card card is a simple one. You earn cash back as you swipe and you don’t have to wait to redeem your rewards. You can redeem them whenever it’s convenient for you, via the app or your USAA account online. 

Want to execute a balance transfer to your USAA® Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature® Card card? There’s a balance transfer fee of 3% of the amount of each balance you transfer, up to a maximum fee of $200 per transfer. 

The card comes with a late penalty fee of up to $35 and a returned payment fee of up to $35. However, there is no fee for going over your credit limit (though we don’t recommend it). 

What’s the Catch

The USAA® Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature® Card card doesn’t come with a catch, per se. There are the usual fees for late and returned payments, but the card is less punitive them some. There’s no penalty APR if you miss a payment, for example. 

To the extent that there is a catch to the card it lies in the lack of any sign-up bonus or statement credit. There’s also no 0% APR on balance transfers, so it’s not ideal if you want to transfer hefty balances from other cards and pay them off without accruing new interest. 

Just the Math Please

Rewards

You’ll earn cash back on every purchase you make, as you make it. You’ll earn cash back at a rate of 1.5% of each purchase. There is no cap on the amount of cash back you can earn and no time limit for claiming your rewards. 

Balance Transfers

If you transfer a balance to the USAA® Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature® Card, you’ll pay a 3% balance transfer fee on each balance, up to $200 per balance. You’ll pay your regular APR on that transferred balance. The APR on the USAA® Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature® Card card is 13.65%-27.65% Variable and can vary with Prime Rate. 

Rates and Fees

Annual Percentage Rate (APR) for Purchases

13.65%-27.65% Variable depending on your credit score. This APR can vary according to movement in the Prime Rate. 

APR for Balance Transfers

Your APR on any transferred balances will be the same as your regular APR – that is, between 13.65%-27.65% Variable depending on your creditworthiness. This APR will vary with the market based on the Prime Rate. 

APR for Cash Advances

The APR range for cash advances is the same as the regular APR range 13.65%-27.65% Variable. Where you fall on that range will depend on your credit score. This APR will vary with the market based on the Prime Rate.

Penalty APR and When It Applies

There is no penalty APR with the USAA Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature card. 

How to Avoid Paying Interest on Purchases

Your due date is at least 25 days after the close of each billing period. Visa will not charge you any interest on purchases if you pay your entire balance by the due date each month. 

Annual Fee  

$0

Transaction Fees

  • Balance Transfer 3% of the amount of each transfer, up to a maximum of $200 per balance. 

  • Cash Advance 3% of each cash advance, up to a maximum fee of $200 for each convenience check. The fee is waived when you’re transferring funds electronically to a USAA deposit account.

  • Foreign Purchase Transaction None

Penalty Fees

  • Late Payment Up to $35

  • Returned Payment Up to $35

How It Stacks Up

USAA offers over two dozen credit cards, each with its own set of perks and limitations. Compared to the USAA Rewards™ American Express® Card, which offers 2,500 bonus points after your first purchase, the USAA Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature® looks paltry in the bonus department. Compared to the USAA Military Affiliate credit cards, which offer a 0% balance transfer APR, the USAA Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature® is an inferior option for a balance transfer. 

In other words, the USAA® Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature® Card is for people who want to prioritize cash back over points or APR deals, and who don’t need the 5% cash back for military-base purchases that they would get with the USAA Cashback Rewards Plus American Express® Card. If you’re looking for a USAA cash back card that can compete with non-USAA cash back offers, the USAA® Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature® Card is a solid choice. 

Bottom Line

USAA members who are looking for a straightforward cash back card could do worse than the USAA® Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature® Card. The card offers competitive 1.5% cash back on all purchase categories. Your cash is redeemable whenever you want to access it. 

The USAA® Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature® Card also comes with some of the consumer protections for servicemembers that make USAA cards such a safe bet for members. If you think active duty, deployment or PCS could be in your future it’s a good idea to opt for a card that will protect you from accruing massive interest charges while you’re serving. 

With no annual fee and no penalty APR the USAA® Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature® Card is free of some of the less popular credit card features. However, it lacks a flashy sign-up bonus and doesn’t come with a 0% APR on balance transfers. 

On the whole, the card is a solid choice for USAA members who want to feel like they’re getting something for their purchases but don’t want to have to put the effort into tracking points or keeping up with rotating categories of cash back offers.