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USAA® Rate Advantage Platinum Visa® Review

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USAA® Rate Advantage Visa Platinum® Card

A Low-Rate Card – If You Qualify 

The USAA® Rate Advantage Visa Platinum® Card offers the lowest APR of any of the credit cards in the USAA card suite. The APR range for the USAA® Rate Advantage Visa Platinum® Card is 8.65%-25.65% Variable. 

Why would a consumer want to opt for a card with a low interest rate? The main reason would be to limit the cost of carrying a balance. If you know that you won’t be paying your balance in full and on time at the end of each billing cycle, you might want to opt for a card with a low interest rate. That way, you’ll accumulate credit card debt more slowly. 

The USAA® Rate Advantage Visa Platinum® Card card is available to USAA members with good to excellent credit. However, applicants with excellent credit will have a better shot at scoring that 8.65% variable APR. 

If you opt for the USAA® Rate Advantage Visa Platinum® Card, you won’t owe an annual fee and you won’t pay any foreign transaction fees. However, you won’t get a special sign-up bonus and you won’t earn points or cash back with the money you spend on the card. 

Smart Features

Low APR for those who qualify – The USAA® Rate Advantage Visa Platinum® Card card’s starting variable APR of 8.65% is a great deal if you have to pay interest. For those who know that they’ll be carrying revolving debt, opting for a card with a low interest rate is a no-brainer. If you don’t qualify for the lowest APR, you could receive up to a 25.65% variable APR.

  • Smart Tip: Even if you have no other option but to carry a balance on your card, it’s always a good idea to pay as much as you can each billing period - and pay on time.

No foreign transaction fee – If traveling outside of the U.S. is in your future, you’ll have peace of mind with the USAA® Rate Advantage Visa Platinum® Card card because the card doesn’t charge a foreign transaction fee. 

No annual fee – We’re guessing that if you’re in the market for a low-interest credit card it’s because you have some credit card debt. If that’s the case, it makes sense to look for a card with no annual fee. You want to put your money toward your debt, right? The USAA® Rate Advantage Visa Platinum® Card card comes with no annual fee. 

No penalty APR – Another feature that makes the USAA® Rate Advantage Visa Platinum® Card card an appealing option for those carrying credit card debt is that the card won’t charge a penalty APR if you fall behind on payments. With many cards, one missed payment will trigger a big interest rate increase to a penalty APR that cardholders have to pay for at least six months, even if they never miss another payment.

Special military benefits – As consumers have to come to expect from USAA cards, the USAA® Rate Advantage Visa Platinum® Card card offers special benefits to its military cardholders. In case of deployment or Permanent Change of Station (PCS), your APR on your balance goes down to just 4% for 12 months. The same offer stands if you enter active duty, as a condition of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act. 

Who It Benefits

Traditional personal finance wisdom holds that carrying a credit card balance is something to be avoided. Realistically, not everyone can follow this advice. If you’re in credit card debt or you know that you’ll be taking on some credit card debt in the near future for, say, moving expenses or needed car repairs, a low-rate credit card can soften the blow.

The lower your APR on your credit card, the more slowly your credit card debt will grow and the easier it will be for you to get out of debt. The USAA® Rate Advantage Visa Platinum® Card card is therefore of greatest benefit to USAA members who can qualify for its single-digit APR and who need a low APR to help them manage their revolving debt. 

If you’re a USAA member who doesn’t have credit card debt and doesn’t plan on accruing any, you’ll probably want something more from your credit card – something like points or cash back. 

How It Works

The USAA® Rate Advantage Visa Platinum® Card card is a fairly straightforward credit card. You can become a cardholder without paying an annual fee, and you won’t get an introductory bonus so you don’t have to worry about spending a minimum amount within your first three months as a cardholder to maximize a bonus, as you would with some cards. You also don’t have to worry about maximizing and claiming points or cash back, since you won’t be earning any with the USAA® Rate Advantage Visa Platinum® Card card.

If you miss a payment, you won’t be bumped up to a penalty APR. However, your first late payment in a six-month period will trigger a late payment fee of $25. Subsequent late payments will trigger a fee of $35. 

If you transfer a balance from another card to your USAA® Rate Advantage Visa Platinum® Card card you will pay a balance transfer fee of 3% of each balance you transfer, up to $200 per balance. 

What’s the Catch

The catch with the USAA® Rate Advantage Visa Platinum® Card card is more about features the card lacks than features the card has. There is no bonus offer, point rewards system or cash back on offer. There is also no 0% APR on balance transfers, so if you have hefty balances from previous cards that you want to transfer you might be better off with a card that offers a 0% APR on transferred balances. 

And while the 8.65% variable minimum APR on the USAA® Rate Advantage Visa Platinum® Card card might catch your eye, remember that not everyone who applies for the card will get an APR that low. If your credit score isn't the best, you could end up with an APR at the maximum end of the card's APR range. That would mean paying an APR of 25.65% variable, which is higher than the maximum APR on some other USAA credit cards.

Just the Math Please

Rewards

The USAA® Rate Advantage Visa Platinum® Card card does not offer rewards in the form of cash back or points. 

Balance Transfers

If you transfer a balance to the USAA® Rate Advantage Visa Platinum® Card card you will pay a 3% balance transfer fee, up to a maximum of $200 per balance. The same goes for cash advances. Your APR on transferred balances will be the same as your regular APR on the card. 

Rates and Fees

Annual Percentage Rate (APR) for Purchases

8.65%-25.65% Variable depending on your credit score. This APR is variable, which means it can fluctuate 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 – 8.65%-25.65% Variable, depending on your credit score.  

APR for Cash Advances

The APR range for cash advances is the same as the regular APR range 8.65%-25.65% Variable and also varies based on the Prime Rate. Your APR will depend on your credit score.

Penalty APR and When it Applies

There is no penalty APR with the USAA® Rate Advantage Visa Platinum® Card card. However, there is a late payment fee of $25 for your first time paying late within a six-month billion period. Otherwise, the late payment fee is $35. 

How to Avoid Paying Interest on Purchases

Your due date is at least 25 days after the close of each billing period. If you pay your entire balance by each month’s due date you will not accrue interest charges. 

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

Compared to its fellow USAA cards, the USAA® Rate Advantage Visa Platinum® Card card has the lowest baseline APR. If you know you want a USAA card and you’re looking for the lowest APR available, the USAA® Rate Advantage Visa Platinum® Card card is worth considering. Remember that you won’t qualify for that 8.65% variable APR if you don’t have an excellent credit score. 

Are there other low-APR cards that could be better? Some cards, such as the Chase Slate® Card, offer a higher interest rate but make up for it by offering a 0% introductory APR for 15 months on both purchases and balance transfers. If you have a lot of balances to transfer, you’re probably better off with a card that has a 0% APR offer rather than opting for the USAA Rate Advantage Platinum Visa® card. 

Bottom Line

If you have a high credit score and you want to leverage that score to get a low APR for your revolving debt, the USAA® Rate Advantage Visa Platinum® Card card is a solid choice. If you don’t plan on carrying a balance from month to month, you might be better served by a USAA card that offers perks like points or cash back.