USAA Rate Advantage Platinum Visa

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A plain-vanilla card with an outstanding APR for some.

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For those who qualify, the USAA Rate Advantage Platinum Visa offers one of the lowest variable annual percentage rates of any major issuer in the U.S., and it’s the lowest of any USAA card. The less money you’re paying on interest, the more you have to pay toward your balance.

Review

Military personnel and their family members can  benefit from the low rate offered by the USAA Rate Advantage Platinum Visa. It carries an ultra-low variable APR of 7.90% for those who qualify. But those with just OK or poor credit might get walloped with the high end of the APR range. If you’re offered an APR rate at the higher end of the range — 24.90%, there’s no reason to get this card.

There’s one exception, though. Like other USAA credit cards, this one comes with a special 4% APR for up to 12 months when a service member has been deployed or receives a permanent change of station. There’s also no penalty APR, so late payments won’t affect your balance.

There’s also another intriguing feature: Like many credit cards, USAA Rate charges a 3% balance transfer fee. In this case, the fee is capped at $200.

That means no matter how much you transfer, the maximum you’ll pay is $200 to do so. This could be a real boon from someone carrying high-interest debt on another card and can qualify for a lower rate on this card.

Who should own this card

If you tend to carry a balance, but have excellent credit and can qualify for the lowest APR, this card could be an awesome addition to your wallet.

Advantages
  • There's no fee to own this card.
  • For those who qualify, the low APR is hard to beat.
  • There are no foreign transaction fees with this card.
  • If you make a late payment, it won't affect your APR, but you’ll have to pay a late fee of up to $35.
  • There’s a special APR of 4% for those actively serving, that lasts for up to one year.
  • The card will rebate all finance charges accrued to you while you were serving in an active military campaign.
Disadvantages
  • If you don’t qualify for a low interest rate, there are other cards that are likely to offer more benefits.
  • There are no perks or rewards with this card.
  • Eligibility is limited to those who have or have had an affiliation with the military, either through service, work or family.

Fees and APR

• The annual percentage rate is a variable 7.90% to 24.90% APR based on your creditworthiness for both purchases and balance transfers.
• There’s no annual fee.
• You’ll pay a balance transfer fee of 3%, but it’s capped at $200.
• This card has no foreign transaction fee for purchases made outside the U.S.
• Late payments won’t affect your APR, but you may have to pay a late fee of up to $35.

Extras and perks

If you rent a qualifying car for 15 days or less and pay using your USAA card, you’ll get insurance coverage for physical damage to the car or theft.

With the price protection feature, you may be eligible for a refund to your card of the price difference if you find a lower price on a new item you bought with the card within 60 days of your purchase.

This card offers extended warranty protections up to one year longer than the original manufacturer’s warranty.

Cardholders also receive access to a 24-hour concierge, emergency services including roadside assistance and trip cancellation or interruption insurance.

A complete list of the benefits of this card can be found here.

How this card compares

USAA Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature®
Card Details
  • Earn 1.5% cash back on every purchase
  • There's no limit on the amount you can earn
  • Redeem your rewards anytime online or with the USAA Mobile App.
Credit Needed Excellent
Regular APR 12.90%-26.90% (Variable)
Annual Fee $0
Purchase Intro APR N/A
Balance Transfers Intro APR N/A

The main difference between the USAA Rate Advantage Visa Platinum card and the USAA Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature card is the trade-off of a low interest rate versus rewards. If you qualify for the lowest end of the APR range, and you tend to carry a balance, you’d be better off with the Rate Advantage card over one that earns rewards.

Navy Federal Credit Union cashRewards
Card Details
  • Earn 1.5% cash back on all purchases.
  • Earn 3% cash back on at warehouse clubs through December 31, 2017.
Credit Needed Excellent
Regular APR 10.65% to 18.0% This APR is based on your creditworthiness and will vary with the market based on the Prime Rate.
Annual Fee No Annual Fee.
Balance Transfers Intro APR

The Navy Federal Credit Union cashRewards Credit Card has a low interest rate and pays 1.5% cash back on all purchases. But it doesn’t come with the deployment, active duty and permanent change of station interest rate, which may be important to you depending on your military status.

PNC Core® Visa® Credit Card
Card Details
  • No rewards.
Credit Needed Good
Regular APR 0% introductory APR for the first 15 billing cycles following account opening. After that, your APR will be 10.99% to 20.99%, based on your creditworthiness. This APR will vary with the market based on the prime rate.
Annual Fee No Annual Fee.
Balance Transfers Intro APR 0% introductory APR for the first 15 billing cycles following account opening. After that, your APR will be 10.99% to 20.99%, based on your creditworthiness. This APR will vary with the market based on the prime rate.

If you aren’t eligible for a credit-union backed card, the PNC Core Visa Credit Card offers a low variable interest rate. If you qualify for the low end of the range, it’s still well below the industry standard rate.

EDITORIAL NOTE

Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines, or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.