USAA® Rate Advantage Visa Platinum® Card: A great low-interest credit card if you qualify

You’ll get one of the lowest variable APRs around — if you can qualify for it.

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Snapshot

Bottom line

The low end of the card’s variable APR range is fantastic, making it a great low-interest credit card. But it doesn’t offer rewards and is not widely available to the public. And even if you qualify for the card, you may end up with a higher interest rate than some credit cards that offer rewards.

USAA Image

USAA® Rate Advantage Visa Platinum® Card

Rewards rate

N/A

Annual fee

$0

Intro offer

N/A

Regular APR

8.40% to 25.40% Variable

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent  (670 - 850)

USAA® Rate Advantage Visa Platinum® Card Overview

If you qualify for the card’s low-end APR, the USAA Rate Advantage Visa Platinum Card will not only offer the lowest APR of any USAA card, but also one of the lowest variable APRs available on the market. A low-interest credit card like this can help you save a lot of money if you can’t pay off large balances quickly.

The USAA Rate Advantage card is only available to USAA members, which means you must be an active, retired or separated member of the military or have a member in your immediate family to qualify. Eligible USAA members who qualify for the low end of the variable APR rate will get the best value out of this card. But if you fail to qualify for the card or a low interest rate, there are cards that could be more rewarding and may have better benefits for military members.

What are the advantages and disadvantages?

Pros

  • It has one of the lowest APRs around for those who qualify
  • Charges no annual fee or foreign transaction fees
  • Offers a variety of consumer and travel perks that bring convenience and cost-saving benefits to cardholders

Cons

  • If you don’t qualify for the low end of the card’s variable APR range, you could end up paying a lot in interest charges
  • There are no top-of-the-line perks like a sign-up bonus or the chance to earn rewards, unlike other credit cards

A deeper look into the current card offer

Quick highlights

  • Rewards rate: N/A
  • Welcome offer: N/A
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Purchase intro APR: N/A
  • Balance transfer intro APR: 0 percent for 15 months for balance transfers that post to your account within first 90 days
  • Regular APR: 8.40 percent to 25.40 percent, variable

Current welcome offer

The USAA Rate Advantage card doesn’t offer a sign-up bonus. This may be disappointing since sign-up bonuses can typically be found on many of the best credit cards. If you’re carrying a balance long-term or trying to pay off debt, earning a sign-up bonus via new spending may not be your top priority, but they’re great incentives that can quickly put upwards of $200 or more back in your wallet. That could be a relief to many at a time when inflation is having such a significant impact on our wallets.

If you’re looking for a low-interest credit card that also has a sign-up bonus, the Titanium Rewards Visa® Signature Card from Andrews Federal Credit Union* may be a solid pick for members of the military, family of existing Andrews Federal Credit Union members, and anyone willing to join the American Consumer Council. If you spend $1,500 in purchases within the first 90 days of opening your Titanium Rewards Visa Signature card account, you’ll earn a bonus of 10,000 points.

This isn’t the best sign-up bonus available, but the card comes with a variable APR rate of 10.99 to 17.99. Not too many credit cards come with a sign-up bonus and a great variable rate. This card’s APR is especially impressive because its range ensures everyone who qualifies for the card will end up with a relatively low interest rate (even the high-end APR is only slightly higher than the average credit card APR). Many low-interest credit cards like the USAA Rate Advantage card come with variable interest rate ranges that start low but end high, meaning not everyone will get a low interest rate.

Rewards rate

You won’t get a chance to earn rewards with the USAA® Rate Advantage card. Instead, it focuses on giving eligible users a great interest rate, which is helpful if you tend to carry a balance each month or you need to make a large purchase and need time to pay it off. But if you are able to pay your balances in full each month, a rewards credit card tailored to your spending habits is a great option that can put some cash back in your wallet.

Or if you want a combination of a low-interest credit card and chance at earning rewards, the Titanium Rewards Visa Signature Card from Andrews Federal Credit Union* might once again be a good fit. On top of the sign-up bonus and low-interest rate, it also offers 3X points on gas and grocery purchases and 1.5X points on all other purchases. That’s a great rate compared to many other credit cards, which tend to only offer 1X points or 1 percent cash back on purchases that fall outside bonus categories.

Other cardholder perks

The USAA Rate Advantage card doesn’t have top-of-the-line perks like a sign-up bonus or the chance to earn rewards. But it does come with a variety of consumer and travel protections that make the card more appealing to people looking for value beyond its low APR.

Consumer protections  and benefits

This card’s extended warranty protection doubles the warranty coverage up to one year longer than the original manufacturer’s warranty on products that come with warranties of three years or less, up to a maximum $15,000 of coverage per claim. For example, if you buy something with a three-month manufacturer’s warranty, USAA will double the coverage for a combined total of six months. A three-year warranty would only be extended by a maximum of one additional year of coverage, for a total of four years. This type of coverage can be found on many cards, especially cards with Visa Signature benefits.

Cardholders also receive access to a 24/7 concierge service which provides assistance in a number of areas, including travel, business and entertainment planning. This type of service can come in handy if you need help with certain tasks like making travel or restaurant reservations or obtaining tickets to concerts and sporting events.

Travel protections

The USAA® Rate Advantage card comes with a number of under-the-radar credit card perks that you’ll be glad to have when traveling. The card’s auto rental collision damage waiver provides up to 31 days of insurance coverage against damages from theft or collision on eligible automobile rentals made with the card. Even if you only rent a car occasionally, credit card car rental insurance is a useful benefit that can save you from purchasing this coverage from the car rental company.

The card also comes with trip cancellation or interruption insurance for you, your spouse and children, which provides up to $1,500 as reimbursement for travel fare costs should you have to cancel your trip or if it gets delayed due to unforeseen circumstances, such as illness or a change in military orders.

If your checked baggage is delayed for more than four hours, the card’s baggage delay reimbursement can help. It covers you for up to three days, reimbursing you for up to $100 per day in essential items you purchase while waiting for your luggage to be returned to you.

You’ll also get travel and emergency assistance if you ever have a problem on your trip, as well as travel accident insurance, which provides insurance coverage for loss of life or limb, sight, speech or hearing suffered while traveling on a common carrier like an airplane or train.

Rates and fees

The USAA Rate Advantage card is a low-cost card to hold on to. It doesn’t charge an annual fee or foreign transaction fees. It currently comes with a 0 percent APR offer for 15 months on balance transfers and convenience checks that post to your account in the first 90 days (followed by a variable rate of 8.40 percent to 25.40 percent).

The intro APR offer is a great benefit if you need to transfer high-interest debt from another credit card, as it will help you avoid adding any more interest charges on to that debt for more than a year. And since you won’t be paying interest for the first 15 months, more of each monthly payment will go toward your principal balance, helping you pay off debt more effectively. Plus, the 3 percent balance transfer fee you’ll pay is in line with the fee you’ll find on other top balance transfer credit cards. But a number of cards like the Citi Custom Cash℠ Card  have intro APR offers that cover both balance transfers and purchases, which may be a better option for anyone who doesn’t want to deal with the hassle of using a convenience check.

The card’s variable APR rate of 8.40 percent to 25.40 percent means those who qualify for the low end of that range will enjoy great rates. The national average credit card interest rate is around 17 percent, and low-interest credit cards typically average around 14 percent. If you qualify for the USAA® Rate Advantage card and end up with an ongoing rate that falls around or below 14 percent, this is a great card. But it’s also worth considering another card if you don’t get a great low-interest rate.

A cash back credit card like the Citi Custom Cash Card is worth considering because of its short- and long-term value. It’s variable APR range of 16.99 percent to 26.99 percent is similar to the USAA® Rate Advantage card’s higher end, but it comes with a chance to earn rewards on your purchases and a $200 sign-up bonus after spending $750 within the first three months of account opening. So if you can’t qualify for a low ongoing interest rate, it may be worth opting for a card that offers rewards to offset some of your interest charges.

How the USAA® Rate Advantage card compares to other no-annual-fee cards

The USAA® Rate Advantage card’s main benefit is that it offers an incredibly low interest rate. But the card is only available to current and former members of the military, spouses, and children of USAA members. Plus, not everyone will be able to qualify for the low end of the card’s variable APR range. If the card or the low ongoing rate are out of reach for you, here are two alternatives that charge no annual fee but offer rewards.

USAA Image

USAA® Rate Advantage Visa Platinum® Card

Annual fee

$0

Intro offer

N/A

Rewards rate

N/A

Recommended credit

Good to Excellent(670 - 850)
Andrews FCU Image

Titanium Rewards Visa® Signature Credit Card

Annual fee

N/A

Intro offer

N/A

Rewards rate

N/A

Recommended credit

Good to Excellent(670 - 850)
Wells Fargo Image

Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card

Annual fee

$0

Intro offer

$200 cash rewards

Rewards rate

2%

Recommended credit

Good to Excellent(670 - 850)

USAA® Rate Advantage Visa Platinum® Card vs. Titanium Rewards Visa® Signature Card from Andrews Federal Credit Union

Depending on where you live, the Titanium Rewards Visa® Signature Card from Andrews Federal Credit Union could be the best alternative to the USAA Rate Advantage card. While the USAA Rate Advantage card will only be able to offer low interest rates to some of its members, the Titanium Rewards card has a variable APR range that ensures all of its members will be able to enjoy a low interest rate compared to many other credit cards.

The Titanium Rewards card also offers the chance to earn bonus rewards on everyday purchases like gas and groceries, followed by an above-average flat rate on all other purchases, which could give you a lot more ongoing value than the USAA Rate Advantage card.

Just be aware that if you live in California, the Titanium Rewards card is only available as a secured credit card,  so you would have to provide a security deposit of personal property or money. This will make the card less appealing for residents of the Golden State.

USAA® Rate Advantage Visa Platinum® Card vs. Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card

The Wells Fargo Active Cash Card is a great option for people who value simplicity in their credit card rewards. It’s one of the best flat-rate cash back cards, offering one of the highest flat rates on purchases and even a sign-up bonus — a rare feature for a flat-rate card that earns 2 percent cash rewards. The Active Cash doesn’t come close to matching the low end of the USAA Rate Advantage card’s variable APR range, but if you can pay your balances in full, you won’t need to worry about interest charges and can instead enjoy the value you get from earning a little bit of cash back on your purchases.

Best cards to pair with this card

If you qualify for a low ongoing rate and consistently pay your balance in full, you can pair your USAA Rate Advantage card with a flat-rate or bonus category cash back credit card. Use the cash back card that best fits your spending habits for all purchases you can pay in full before your grace period ends to avoid paying interest. If you need to make sizable purchases that you can’t pay off in full, use your USAA Rate Advantage card and take advantage of its low ongoing rate.

Bankrate’s Take: Is the USAA Rate Advantage Visa Platinum Card worth it?

Military personnel and their family members who qualify can benefit from the USAA Rate Advantage Visa Platinum Card’s low APR, but the card doesn’t offer many other standout features like a sign-up bonus or ongoing rewards. People with average or poor credit could also get walloped with the high end of the card’s APR range.

If you tend to pay your balances in full each month, this card could be a nice backup option to go along with a rewards credit card. But if you’re offered an APR rate at the higher end of the range, there’s no reason to get this card.

* The information about the Titanium Rewards Visa® Signature Card from Andrews Federal Credit Union has been collected independently by Bankrate.com. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.