USAA Visa Credit Cards

USAA Visa Credits Cards

Visa Credit Cards are the most popular cards USAA members receive, based on volume, simply because of the diversity of options for receiving rewards for your purchases. USAA offers 4 different cards from Visa that are designed for different goals, such as low-interest rate cards, maximizing rewards points, cash-back, and a card designed specifically to help you build credit. I will go through each credit card, to guide you through the things you need to know most.

Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature® Card

We discussed Rewards cards in the “USAA American Express Rewards Card” blog, so now it’s time to understand what cash means and how it’s different. Cash Back is the percentage of each purchase you earn when you make Qualifying Purchases with your Account that you may later redeem for cash. This specific card gives you 1.5% cash back on every purchase you make (check the qualifying purchases for what you can’t do). For example, if you spend $1,000  on this card and pay it off on time, you’ll receive a $15 cashback that will be uploaded to your rewards account in USAA. If you charge $10,000 per year on your card, you’ll receive $150 cash to use on whatever you want to use it on.

What Are The Fees For Cash Rewards Visa Signature Card?

You pay no annual fee for owning this card, as long as you keep your account in good standing, which is a polite way of saying, don’t spend more than you have. If you’d like to use a money transfer from our credit card to another account, you’ll pay 3% of the total transfer as a processing fee for USAA. You can use this card anywhere in the world that accepts Visa, and you won’t be charged a foreign transaction fee. This is one of the many reasons to use USAA over many of its competitors. You should never put yourself in a position to have a late payment, but if you make the mistake once, you’ll only pay a $25 fee if its less than 6 months late. If you’re anything like me, you have so many bills, like cable, phone, water, electricity, sanitation, rent, or mortgage, that it’s easy to forget about a bill. Ask USAA about automatic payments, so you don’t forget about a bill.

Visa Rewards Card Fees
Annual $0
Balance Transfer You will pay 3% of the total amount that you decide to transfer for accounts
Cash Advance 3% of the amount of each cash advance. Fee waived when transferring funds electronically to a USAA deposit account.
Foreign Transaction None
Late Payment up to $35. The 1st-time offense is $25 within the 6-month payment window
Returned Payment up to $35.
Over-the-Credit Limit If you accidentally (or intentionally) over-charge your card due for whatever reason, you won’t be charged an extra fee.

Interest Rates and Charges

You’ll have to pay an interest rate somewhere between 13.40-27.40% for any purchase, balance transfer, or cash advance that you put on your card. You will pay no minimum interest charge with this card, meaning if you pay your balance off before the interest kicks in, you don’t pay interest on your purchase. One shady practice from a lot of banks (USAA excluded) is charging a penalty APR if you go over on your account. For example, if you overdraft your credit limit, companies can charge you double the interest you would have paid, and they can continue to charge that increased rate for as long as they want. If you want to avoid paying interest on your purchases, simply pay off the bill 25 days after the close of each billing cycle. A simple practice I use is to pay off my credit card each month in full to avoid these fees.

*As you pick a credit card, protect yourself when you travel with insurance in case you get your identity stolen:

How Are Rewards and Cash Back Credit Cards Different?

To be honest, I didn’t know this answer until I did my research a few years ago, so don’t stress if you’re as confused as I was. Rewards cards offer points on purchases in varying categories, such as gas, dining, groceries, and travel, based on each $1.00 you spend. Cash Back cards offer cash as the reward based on a percentage of the purchase you make. Cashback cards make a lot of sense for the people who spend a lot of money and don’t want to worry about the hassle of making sure it fits into the best category for rewards. Cashback cards give you the flexibility to know that every dollar you spend will collect in your account as cash.

Why I Should Apply For the Preferred USAA Cash Back Signature Card

Instead of thinking about the differences between purchases and which gets you the most out of your purchase, this card gives you much more freedom to just live your normal life and get cash back for it. This is by far the most popular card for USAA members, because it doesn’t require a great credit score, so it’s open to more members. This is a great starter card for those Soldiers, Airmen, Seamen, and Marines, coming straight out of basic training with no credit line and no experience on your own. This card will also help you build credit in the process, just make sure you pay your bills on time every month.

USAA Rewards™ Visa Signature® Card

If you want to get the most out of an active lifestyle, the USAA Rewards Visa Signature Card is going to be your best option. For those of you that go out to dinner most nights and drive hundreds of miles each week for work or recreation, you could recoup some of the money you spend and use it on whatever you’d like. Similar to the American Express Rewards Card, the Visa Signature Card gives 2 points for Gas and 1 point for every purchase; however, the Visa offers 1 less point on dining options than the American Express Card.

Rewards Category Rewards Earned Qualifications
Dining 2 points Any restaurant that is licensed in the United States qualifies for redemption. (Wendy’s, MacDonalds, Applebees, Red Lobster, etc…)
Gas 2 points Any of the major gas stations in the country will qualify you for points.
Other 1 point This is a catch-all to give you points based on every dollar you charge to this card.
Bonus 2,500 points You get credited 2,500 points after your first purchase using this card

Fees

The fees are the same as the Preferred cashback card, so the only difference between the two cards rests in their rewards package.

Visa Rewards Card Fees
Annual Fee $0
Balance Transfer You will pay 3% of the total amount that you decide to transfer for accounts
Cash Advance 3% of the amount of each cash advance. Fee waived when transferring funds electronically to a USAA deposit account.
Foreign Transaction None
Late Payment up to $35. The 1st-time offense is $25 within the 6-month payment window
Returned Payment up to $35.
Over-the-Credit Limit If you accidentally (or intentionally) over-charge your card due for whatever reason, you won’t be charged an extra fee.

Why I Should Apply For the USAA Rewards Visa Signature Card

If the rates and fees are all the same for all USAA cards, then you need to focus on what you spend your money on the most. For example, if you have a family of 5 and you drive everywhere and ring up grocery bills that are in the hundreds every other week, this not for you. You should go with American Express Rewards Card, which you can find all the information for that card, here. With a lower APR and better rewards for groceries and the same for gas, the USAA Rewards American Express  Card. I could only see a point in getting this card if the places you travel to use Visa more than American Express. I know throughout my travels, Visa is more widely accepted than American Express Credit Cards.

USAA Rate Advantage Visa Platinum® Card

The Rate Advantage Visa Platinum Card is specifically designed for those who have no credit history or need to use this credit line to live comfortably. This card comes with no rewards in either cash or points because USAA doesn’t benefit much from this card being opened. The Rate Advantage Visa Platinum is the lowest offered APR of any card from USAA with an APR of 8.40%-25.40%. These rates are very good, but there is no added benefit from owning this card like there is with the others.

USAA Rate Advantage Visa Platinum Card Fees
Annual Fee $0
Balance Transfer You will pay 3% of the total amount that you decide to transfer for accounts
Cash Advance 3% of the amount of each cash advance. Fee waived when transferring funds electronically to a USAA deposit account.
Foreign Transaction None
Late Payment up to $35. The 1st-time offense is $25 within the 6-month payment window
Returned Payment up to $35.
Over-the-Credit Limit If you accidentally (or intentionally) over-charge your card due for whatever reason, you won’t be charged an extra fee.

Conclusion

USAA offers both American Express and Visa Credit Cards, but if you’re a world traveler and need to have access to credit anywhere you go, Visa is your best option. Of the cards I reviewed, the Preferred Cash Back Visa Signature Card is the one with the most flexibility and points structure. Receiving 1.5% of every dollar you spend in cashback is something you could use to pay for family vacations by the end of the year or pay off some bills you’ve accumulated. In the end, if you travel just inside the United States, American Express offers better rewards programs with similar fees and APR.

 

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