USAA® Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature® Card review

A good option for military members looking for a solid flat-rate cash back credit card.

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Snapshot

Bottom line

The USAA Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature is a solid choice for those looking for  flat-rate card back. It’s no-frills benefits and low interest adds to it’s overall appeal. However, it may be too streamlined for those looking for more benefits out of their credit card.

USAA Image
See Rates & Fees, Terms Apply

USAA® Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature® Card

Rewards rate

1.5%

Annual fee

$0

Intro offer

2,500 points

Regular APR

12.65% to 26.65% Variable

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent  (670 - 850)

USAA® Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature® Card Overview

The USAA Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature offers a handful of attractive benefits for its cardholders, most notably its unlimited 1.5 percent cash back on all purchases. Most non-rotating cash-back cards offer 1 percent, so the extra half percentage point definitely is a score in its favor.

What are the advantages and disadvantages?

Pros

  • There’s no limit to the amount you can earn.
  • This card has minimal fees; there’s no annual fee; no penalty APR; and no foreign transaction fee.
  • USAA and Active duty service members get extra benefits.

Cons

  • There’s a cash advance fee and a balance transfer fee of 3 percent.
  • There is no sign-up bonus.
  • You could get more competitive cash back rewards if you choose a card with rotating categories.

Current welcome offer

Currently there’s no welcome offer attached to this card beyond the balance transfer offer. However, active-duty military service members receive a special APR on an existing balance until one year after completing active duty.

Rewards rate

This is a great flat-rate credit card option for active military and veterans. All cardholders earn 1.5 percent cash back on all qualifying purchases, with no category restrictions. This can be a good way to streamline all your cash back, especially for those with very active lifestyles. It also pairs well with other cards that have bonus categories.

How you earn

You earn 1.5 percent cash back on all qualifying purchases, which is standard for a flat-rate rewards card and earn cash back on categories that usually are excluded such as superstores, transit and home improvement. Still, there are a few options that go up to 2 percent such as the PayPal Cashback Mastercard and Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards credit card.

How to redeem

The goal of the USAA Preferred Cash Visa Signature is simplicity, and the redemption options are no different. Your only choices are statement credit or deposit it directly into your USAA checking or savings, which you can then start redeeming as cash back in dollar increments. This could easily be seen as a drawback as it lacks the gift card and travel redemption like similar flat-rate cards. While this is less than a typical card, it gives you the choice of direct cashwhich you can put towards anything you want, or use your rewards to help pay off your monthly bill.

How much are the USAA Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature rewards worth?

With the 1.5 percent rewards rate on purchases, every point is worth 1.5 cents per dollar. If you spend $500 a month using the USAA Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature card, you’ll earn around $90 in cash back by the end of your first year.

Other cardholder perks

Although straightforward with its rewards, the USAA Preferred Cash Visa Signature has a good selection of protections and benefits. However, these benefits are standard for most Visa cards so, if you’re looking for something extra like travel and dining credits, you may need to go for a more traditional rewards card.

Price protection

With the price protection feature of this card, you may be eligible for a refund 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 protection, which doubles the original manufacturer’s warranty up to a maximum of twenty-four months on most items you purchase.

Worldwide car rentals

Another valuable travel benefit includes worldwide rental car insurance when you use your card for the entire rental cost. Coverage consists of physical damage and theft of the vehicle; reasonable loss-of-use charges incurred from the rental car company if the car becomes inoperable; and towing charges to the nearest collision repair facility.

Concierge service

Not to be outdone by some of the higher-end travel cards, USAA Cash Rewards Visa Card cardholders get 24/7 concierge service access. This handy perk could be a lifesaver for people with busy schedules as the concierge will handle everything from pre-trip planning services to on-site assistance with everyday household needs.

Rates and Fees

Cardholders will save on some common fees. With this card, there’s no annual fee or penalty APR. You also won’t be charged a foreign transaction fee, which is especially attractive if you’re in the military and stationed overseas. You also 15 months of 0 percent APR on balance transfers and convenience checks before the 14.15 to 28.15 percent interest kicks in, which is less than the current national average.

The card charges a $25 late fee the first time you miss a payment and then it goes up to $35. The returned payment fee is also $35 but there is no over-the-limit fee. For balance transfers and cash advance, you will be charged 3 percent of the amount.

How USAA Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature card compares to other military credit cards

While the relatively low interest (14.15 to 28.15 percent) along with the 1.5 percent rewards rate can be appealing for those who spend outside traditional categories, the benefits and perks are limited. For those who want more from their card, it may be better to look at alternatives.

USAA Image

USAA® Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature® Card

See Rates & Fees, Terms Apply

Annual fee

$0

Intro offer

2,500 points

Rewards rate

1.5%

Recommended credit

Good to Excellent(670 - 850)
USAA Image

USAA® Cashback Rewards Plus American Express® Card

Annual fee

$0

Intro offer

N/A

Rewards rate

1%–5%

Recommended credit

Good to Excellent(670 - 850)
Navy FCU Image

Navy Federal Credit Union Visa Signature® Flagship Rewards Credit Card

Annual fee

$49 Annual Fee

Intro offer

40,000 points

Rewards rate

2X–3X

Recommended credit

Excellent(740 - 850)

USAA Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature card vs. USAA® Cashback Rewards Plus American Express® Card

The USAA Cashback Rewards Plus American Express is a great addition for those on active duty as rewards 5 percent cash back on military base and gas station purchases. It also has a lower interest rate than the USAA Preferred Cash Rewards Visa—11.90 to 25.90 ongoing APR.

It has similar drawbacks to the Preferred Cash Rewards card with its lack of welcome bonus and intro APR offers. However, it also charges foreign transaction fees, cutting into your earnings should you be stations. Still, if most of your spending is on the military base, it will be higher than the 1.5 percent you would with the Preferred Cash Visa.

USAA Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature card vs. Navy Federal Credit Union Visa Signature® Flagship Rewards Credit Card

Despite the name, Navy Federal caters to all military branches and veterans. With their Navy Federal Credit Union Visa Signature Flagship Rewards credit card, cardholders can earn 3X points on travel and 2X points on all other purchases. It also comes with perks like Global Entry or TSA credits and collision damage waivers on top of the Visa Signatures it shares with the USAA Preferred Cash Rewards card.

Yet, these extra perks come at a price of $49 annual fee (waived the first year). Some may prefer a no annual fee card, but those who travel often and take advantage of the extra perks will find the fee easy to offset.

Best Cards to pair with the USAA Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature Credit Card

The easiest was to take advantage of the USAA Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature Credit Card’s flat rewards rate is to pair it with a more traditional rewards card. You’ll especially want to look for one with a wide range of specialized categories at higher rewards rates. You also receive more traditional perks like a welcome bonus and intro APR offers.

For example, the Discover it Cash Back credit card offers 5 percent cash back in different categories throughout the year. One quarter, you may earn on grocery stores and fitness and then the next you could earn on Amazon and digital wallet purchases. You could focus on specific categories with Discover it Cash Back and use the USAA Preferred Cashcard for all other purchases while taking advantage of the intro APR offer on purchases.

Bankrate’s Take – Is the USAA Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature worth it?

With such a wide variety of perks, this card could be a good fit for many types of consumers. Along with service members who are about to be deployed, this could also be a worthwhile choice for other USAA members. They can optimize their cash-back rewards by shopping at the USAA MemberShop which gives members more cash back rewards, in addition to what the card already offers. Remember, though, you must qualify for USAA membership in order to grab this credit card.

Frequently Asked Questions