USAA Cash Rewards Visa Signature Card: Military Benefits and Cash for Spending

By Christina Majaski. Last updated 30 June 2017. 0 comments

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This offer is currently unavailable. For a similar card from USAA, check out the USAA Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature.

The USAA Cash Rewards® Visa Signature® card offers a cash back rewards program, along with the military benefits USAA products are known for. However, its tiered base program may be confusing so check out the details before you consider applying.

Why We Like This Card

  • No spending categories for cash back rewards
  • Special military benefits

How This Card Works

The rewards program is tiered based on your annual spending. For example, if you use your credit card for total purchases up to $5,000 within the year, you are awarded 0.45% cash back. If your purchases are over $5,000 but less than $10,000, you earn $22.50 plus 0.85% cash back. Purchases over $10,000 but less than $17,000 earn $65 plus 1% cash back, and purchase totals over $17,000 per year are awarded $135 plus 1.25% cash back. There is no annual fee.

Cash back is awarded in January for purchases made in the previous year. You can earn an unlimited amount of cash back without limitations, and your rewards do not expire.

In order to apply for the card, you must be a USAA member, which requires participation in the military or to be a family member of one.

Other Benefits

MemberShop. USAA provides a free online shopping center with popular retailers such as Macy's and Overstock.com, where you can earn additional rewards for your purchases, on top of the rewards you earn from using your credit card.

4% APR rates. USAA offers military personnel an APR of 4% on balances for up to 12 months during deployment or PCS. After 12 months, your rate will return to your card variable APR of 10.65% - 26.65%. You can also qualify for the 4% SCRA rate when you have a balance at the time of entering active military duty for one year after completing active duty.

Finance charge rebate. Get a rebate for finance charges accrued while serving in a qualified military campaign.

Chip technology. Include a microchip for added security and protection when using your credit card. Credit cards with chips are accepted worldwide, and are often preferred over credit cards with only the magnetic stripe, especially with European retailers.

Pros

No spending categories. Although based on tiers according to your spending, the card does not include any special spending categories or categories that change every quarter. Any type of purchase you make with the card, whether groceries, department stores, or dining, is awarded cash back.

Military benefits. An important distinction between the USAA credit cards and others, is that USAA provides products specifically for military personnel and their family members. This not only means you receive rates and benefits specific to your situation, service, and lifestyle, but you are able to communicate with USAA experts who are familiar with service members. (See also: Best Credit Cards for Military Personnel and Families)

No foreign transaction fee. If you frequently use your card abroad or on foreign purchases, the foreign transaction fee that's found on most rewards cards will cancel out the cash back you earn from your purchases. Fortunately, this card does not charge a foreign transaction fee, allowing you to maximize on your rewards as you make purchases abroad.

Cons

No sign-up bonuses. Many cash rewards credit cards offer new cardmembers a sign-up bonus if a certain spending requirement is met. For cards without annual fees, this bonus can be as much as $100. There is also no promotional APR offered, which can help you save money if you need to transfer a balance or make a large purchase without paying interest. (See also: Cards with the Best Cash Sign Up Bonuses)

Tiered rewards program. If your annual spending is less than $17,000, you won't get the full benefit of the cash rewards. You might want to consider another card, with a flat rate cash back on all purchases, regardless of how much you spend annually.

Annual rebates. Rewards are awarded once per year in January, based on your purchases in the prior year. Most rewards credit cards allow you to redeem or claim your rewards when you have accumulated a certain amount, usually as low as $20.

Who This Card Is Best For

The USAA Cash Rewards Visa is best for military personnel and their family members who prefer earning cash back on all purchases rather than on specific categories. It's also best if the majority of your spending is domestic, and particularly ideal if you spend over $17,000 per year to earn the highest rate of rewards offered.

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