Paying down existing debt can be an enormous financial challenge—but it does not have to be an impossible one. There are several methods for attacking credit card debt, including transferring it to a balance transfer card offering a zero-interest introductory period. If you find yourself in this situation, the U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card could be worth it, since it offers one of the longest zero-interest periods on the market for both purchases and balance transfers.
With a 0 percent intro APR on balance transfers for 20 billing cycles, cardholders can consolidate other high-interest balances into one and tackle debt head on. Just note that a variable rate of 15.24 percent to 25.24 percent kicks in after the introductory period.
Details of the U.S. Bank Visa Platinum Card
Before you decide if the U.S. Bank Visa Platinum Card is worth it for you, here’s the card’s main highlights:
- Rewards rate: None
- Welcome bonus: None
- Annual fee: $0
- Purchase intro APR: 0 percent intro APR for 20 billing cycles
- Balance transfer intro APR: 0 percent intro APR for 20 billing cycles (must be made within the first 60 days)
- Variable APR: 15.24 percent to 25.24 percent
When is the U.S. Bank Visa Platinum Card worth it?
The U.S. Bank Visa Platinum Card does not come with a long list of benefits, but the ones it does offer are impressive enough to pay attention to. The biggest appeal of this credit card is, of course, the exceptionally long zero-interest introductory rate on purchases and balance transfers—which can benefit your finances in a couple of ways.
You need to pay down an existing credit card balance
The latest data from Bankrate shows the average credit card debt in the U.S. is $5,525 per person, with an average of three credit cards in each person’s wallet. If you have a goal of ridding yourself of credit card debt, transferring your balance to a zero-interest card is one method.
Considering the U.S. Bank Visa Platinum Card has one of the longest balance transfer offers on the market, it can help you achieve this goal even faster. Just be sure you can comfortably afford to pay off your debt within 20 billing cycles, as you’ll incur a variable interest rate between 15.24 percent to 25.24 percent after the fact.
Keep in mind that, with this card, balance transfers must be made within 60 days of account opening, and missing this window will result in the loss of the zero-interest offer. There’s also a fairly common 3 percent balance transfer fee ($5 minimum) that you’ll need to factor into your debt payoff strategy.
You have an upcoming large purchase
An additional benefit of the U.S. Bank Visa Platinum is its matching 0 percent intro APR on purchases for 20 billing cycles (followed by the same variable APR between 15.24 percent to 25.24 percent). You can enjoy the benefit of paying no interest on any purchase during this promotional period, whether or not you’re using the card to pay off existing debt.
If you know you have a large upcoming purchase, such as a new mattress, an appliance or any item you may not have the cash on hand for, you can use the U.S. Bank Visa Platinum to avoid costly interest charges and take a little more time to pay.
If you’re working to pay down a credit card balance, though, you should limit the amount of new purchases you make with your credit card to avoid further digging yourself into debt.
Cellphone protection from your credit card is important to you
With the U.S. Bank Visa Platinum Card, you can get up to $1,200 in annual coverage when you pay your cellphone bill with the card each month. More specifically, that’s $600 in cellphone protection per eligible damage or loss claim. If you’re a little clumsy with your personal device, currently pay for outside cellphone insurance and could greatly benefit from this perk, the U.S. Bank Visa Platinum could be the right card for you.
You need a low-cost credit card
The U.S. Bank Visa Platinum Card has no annual fee, which makes it a more affordable balance transfer credit card option. Additionally, the 3 percent balance transfer fee (minimum $5) is a tad lower than the 5 percent fee charged by similar cards.
When is the U.S. Bank Visa Platinum Card not worth it?
The card’s zero-interest offer is strong and enticing on its own, and the lack of an annual fee is a welcome addition. However, the U.S. Bank Visa Platinum Card is significantly limited in other areas.
You like a rewards program or welcome offer
If you’re interested in earning cash back or other rewards on your purchases, you’ll be disappointed in the U.S. Bank Visa Platinum Card’s lack of a rewards program and welcome bonus.
There are credit cards available that offer both zero-interest promotional periods and an ongoing rewards structure (think: the Citi® Double Cash Card), so it’s worth it to investigate other balance transfer card options.
You need a credit card for overseas travel
If you’re a frequent traveler and spend time outside of the U.S., you may be more interested in a credit card that doesn’t charge an additional fee on purchases made abroad—especially if you don’t already own a credit card with no foreign transaction fees.
The U.S. Bank Visa Platinum Card unfortunately charges a 3 percent foreign transaction fee (or 2 percent if the transaction is made in U.S. dollars while abroad).
Should you get the U.S. Bank Visa Platinum Card?
If you need as much time as possible to pay down an existing credit card balance (or a large purchase) and want to avoid additional interest charges, you should seriously consider the U.S. Bank Visa Platinum Card. Plus, with no annual fee, it makes it a less expensive card to carry versus other balance transfer card options.
Yet if a card’s ongoing value is important to you, you might look for other options that include ongoing rewards, a welcome bonus or worthwhile card benefits. As noted above, the no-annual-fee Citi Double Cash offers a slightly shorter 18-month intro APR on balance transfers (14.74 percent to 24.74 percent variable APR after), as well as ongoing rewards that encourage responsible card usage: 1 percent cash back as you buy, plus another 1 percent back when you pay for your purchases.
If you’re more so hooked on the U.S Bank Visa Platinum’s cellphone protection perk, note that the Wells Fargo Reflect℠ Card offers an almost identical benefit, along with an (overall) slightly higher zero-interest offer—0 percent intro APR for 18 months on qualifying purchases and balance transfers (up to 21 months with on-time minimum payments during the intro period), followed by a variable APR between 14.49 percent to 26.49 percent.
The bottom line
If your goal is to find and take advantage of an exceptionally long zero-interest offer on purchases, balance transfers or both, the U.S. Bank Visa Platinum Card could make this a reality.
The card’s 20-billing cycle introductory period is one of the longer promotional offers available and could provide much needed breathing room for paying off credit card debt. Of course, if you have different financial goals in mind, such as earning rewards or a one-time bonus, we encourage you to consider Bankrate’s list of the best balance transfer credit cards.