If you are currently serving in, or affiliated with, the Armed Forces, USAA Bank has an array of credit cards to choose from. Select cards offer cash back and reward points, while others are geared towards those who are rebuilding credit or looking to support a specific cause.
Cash Back Cards
USAA offers five credit cards that enable cardholders to earn an unlimited amount of rewards, redeemable for statement credit or cash back. Account holders do not pay an annual fee, and no penalty APRs, balance transfer, or cash advance fees apply.
Cashback Rewards Plus American Express® Card
Cardholders earn rewards based on the following three-tier model:
- 5 percent on gasoline and military base purchases (limited to $3,000 annually, then 1 percent)
- 2 percent on grocery purchases (limited to $3,000 annually, then 1 percent)
- 1 percent on all other purchases
Nerd Wallet recommends this card for occupants of military bases because it allows you to earn a hefty sum of cash back on everyday purchases.
Preferred Cash Rewards World MasterCard®
This card allows you to earn an impressive 1.5 percent on qualifying purchases, and your earning potential is unrestricted.
If you're planning to stay in the service for only a few years but plan on keeping your card after that, Nerd Wallet recommends this card instead of the Cashback Rewards Plus American Express® Card.
Cash Rewards® American Express®
Cardholders earn 2.25 percent on gas and groceries. All other purchases earn 1.25 percent .
Cash Rewards® World MasterCard®
As a cardholder, you will earn 1.25 percent on all purchases.
Cash Rewards® Visa®
Similar to the MasterCard, this card allows you to earn 1.25 percent on all purchases.
Rewards Points Credit Cards
Through the rewards points credit cards offered by USAA, you can enjoy unlimited earning potential and no annual fee. However, they are not the most competitive rewards cards on the market.
"USAA rewards credit cards don't earn points as quickly as other cards. But when you do collect enough rewards to redeem them for travel, you'll likely get a good deal," says Nerd Wallet.
USAA Rewards™ American Express®
As a new cardholder, you will receive 2,500 bonus points when you make your first purchase. In addition, gas and grocery purchases earn two points per dollar spent, and all other purchases earn one point.
USAA Rewards™ World MasterCard®
Your first purchase will automatically earn you 2,500 bonus points using this card. All subsequent purchases earn two points per dollar spent if they are for gas and groceries, and one point for all others.
Despite the limited earning potential, several account holders left reviews on Credit Karma to express their overall satisfaction with the card. Many attributed this to the streamlined application process and exceptional customer service they received from USAA Bank.
USAA Rewards™ Visa®
When you open a USAA Rewards™ Visa®, you will accrue 2,500 bonus points on the first purchase and one point per dollar spent for all other transactions.
Low Rate Credit Cards
USAA offers two credit cards with an APR as low as 6.9 percent :
- USAA Rate Advantage Platinum MasterCard®
- USAA Rate Advantage Platinum Visa®
Cardholders enjoy a competitive rate on all transactions, including cash transfers and zero balance transfer fees.
Although these cards do not come with many perks, the low APR of 6.9 percent is quite remarkable and deems the card worthy of consideration, notes Credit Card Insider.
Cards for Rebuilding Credit
If you're looking to rebuild your credit, these USAA cards are worth considering:
- USAA Classic American Express®
- USAA Classic Platinum MasterCard®
USAA Classic Platinum Visa®
If your credit rating is average, these cards may be suitable for you, as they can boost your credit score if you make timely payments within the first 12 months. You may also become eligible for a premium credit within the first year if you demonstrate responsible debt management.
Unfortunately, these cards do not grant cardholders the opportunity to make balance transfers or obtain cash advances. In addition, account holders are subject to a $35 annual fee.
Secured Credit Cards
USAA offers the following secured cards that help you rebuild your credit:
- USAA Secured Card Platinum MasterCard®
- USAA Secured Card American Express®
- USAA Secured Card® Platinum Visa®
The credit limit ranges from $250 to $5,000 and is determined by the amount you choose to deposit into a USAA Bank 2-year Certificate of Deposit (CD).
Until you upgrade to a more prestigious card, you will have an opportunity to grow your money with the CD that contains the collateral funds for your secured credit card, notes Nerd Wallet. Furthermore, you will not incur excessive fees, unlike other secured products on the market, including the Surge and Matrix Credit Cards that are accompanied by a $10 monthly maintenance fee and $125 annual fee.
Credit card expert Beverly Harzog also notes the low variable rate of 9.9 percent, which is comparable to the APR for the top-rated secured Navy Federal card.
However, account holders are subject to a $35 annual fee.
These cards allow you to earn rewards while supporting your favorite military causes. Rewards can be redeemed for cash, merchandise, gift cards, travel, or donation to military affiliate groups. They also offer an introductory APR of 0 percent on all balance transfers and convenience checks that post to your account within the first quarter.
However, MoneyCrashers notes, "Similar cards that award gas and grocery store purchases, such as the Chase Freedom and BankAmericard Cash Rewards cards also have no annual fees, but they offer sign-up bonuses worth at least $100." Therefore, the introductory bonus is not as competitive as many of the other rewards cards currently available on the market.
USAA Military Affiliate American Express®
When you are approved for a USAA Military Affiliate American Express®, you will receive 2,500 bonus points when you make your first purchase. All other purchases earn one point per dollar spent, except for gas and grocery purchases, which earn two points.
USAA Military Affiliate World MasterCard®
Cardholders earn 2,500 bonus points on the first purchase and one point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
All USAA credit cards include a host of benefits for those serving in the armed forces.
This inclues an APR of 4 percent for the first 12 months of deployment or permanent change of station (PCS). This rate also applies to all existing balances from the date you enter active duty to a year following the completion of your assignment under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act.
You will also have access to the following protections as a USAA credit card holder:
- Zero-liability for unauthorized purchases
- Identity theft resolution services
- Travel assistance
- Travel accident insurance
- Rental car collision damage waivers (limited to 31 days)
- Extended warranties (up to one year)
- Price protection
- Concierge services
Online account management and ApplePay are also available to USAA credit card holders.
Compare Your Options
The following table compares your USAA credit card options.
|Variable APR||Annual Fee||Reward Type|
|Preferred Cash Rewards® World MasterCard®||11.90-25.90%||$0||Cash back|
|Cashback Rewards Plus American Express® Card|| |
|Cash Rewards® American Express®||9.90-25.90%||$0||Cash back|
|Cash Rewards® World MasterCard®||9.90-25.90%||$0|| |
|Cash Rewards® Visa®||9.90-25.90%||$0||Cash back|
|USAA Rewards™ American Express®||9.90-25.90%||$0||Rewards points|
|USAA Rewards™ World MasterCard®||9.90-25.90%||$0||Rewards points|
|USAA Rewards™ Visa®||9.90-25.90%||$0||Rewards points|
|USAA Rate Advantage Platinum MasterCard®||6.90-23.90%||$0||N/A|
|USAA Rate Advantage Platinum Visa®||6.90-23.90%||$0||N/A|
|USAA Classic American Express®||17.90-23.90%||$35||N/A|
|USAA Classic Platinum MasterCard®||17.90-23.90%||$35||N/A|
|USAA Classic Platinum Visa®||17.90-23.90%||$35||N/A|
|USAA Secured Card Platinum MasterCard®||9.90-19.90%||$35||N/A|
|USAA Secured Card American Express®||9.90-19.90%||$35||N/A|
|USAA Secured Card Platinum Visa®||9.90-19.90%||$35||N/A|
|USAA Military Affiliate American Express®||10.90-25.90%||$0||Rewards points|
|USAA Military Affiliate World MasterCard®||10.90-25.90%||$0||Rewards points|
How to Apply
Before selecting a card that best suits your needs, carefully review the terms and conditions. Once you have done so, complete an online application via the website or call 800-531-8722 to apply via telephone with a banking representative.