USAA® Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature® Card review: Uncomplicated cash back

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In a Nutshell

The USAA® Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature® Card could be a great option for USAA members who want to earn an unlimited 1.5% cash back without having to worry about rotating categories. But if you aren’t eligible for USAA membership, or you’re looking for a card that offers a sign-up bonus, you’ll want to look elsewhere.

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Pros Cons
Unlimited 1.5% cash back rate No sign-up bonus
No annual fee No 0% APR promotion for balance transfers or big purchases
No foreign transaction fee Limited to USAA members
Special interest rate for existing balances while on active duty

 

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Key features of the USAA® Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature® Card

USAA is an organization that serves military members and their families. Members get access to exclusive insurance, banking and investing services, as well as other USAA credit cards.

If you’re looking for a simple cash back credit card, you may find the USAA® Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature® Card appealing. Here are some key things to know about this card.

Limited availability

To qualify for the USAA® Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature® Card, you’ll need to be a USAA member.

But not everyone is eligible to join the USAA — you have to be a current or former member of the U.S. military. Spouses and children of USAA members are also eligible. Check out the USAA® Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature® Card pre-eligibility page for more membership requirement information.

Unlimited 1.5% cash back

Simplicity is where the USAA® Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature® Card really shines. With this card, you’ll earn a flat 1.5% cash back on all purchases. There are no rotating categories to worry about and there are no limits on how much cash back you can earn.

And redeeming your cash is easy, too. You can redeem any amount you want in increments of $1 on your computer, by phone or on USAA’s mobile app.

But you can only redeem your cash back for just that: Cash (not things like gift cards or merchandise). You can apply cash back to your account as a statement credit or get a deposit into your USAA checking or savings account.

If you’re looking for a USAA card that offers more redemption flexibility, you may want to check out the USAA® Rewards™ American Express® Card. Points earned with this card can be redeemed for cash, merchandise, gift cards or travel, or you can donate them to your favorite military affiliate group.

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Low fees

The USAA® Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature® Card has no annual fee. That’s great because it means you don’t have to worry about earning a certain amount of cash back just to break even.

And while this card comes with a late-payment fee of up to $35, it has no penalty APR. It’s common for card issuers to significantly increase your APR when you’ve missed or been late on a payment, but USAA doesn’t do this to its customers.

Finally, the USAA® Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature® Card comes with no foreign transaction fee. That’s a big deal for service members stationed overseas.

Lower APR during deployment

Speaking of being stationed overseas, all USAA cards offer a special interest rate for military members while they’re on active duty.

The regular purchase APR for this card lands around 13.9% - 27.9%, depending on your credit profile and other factors. But once your active duty begins, you can submit a request and, if approved, USAA will drop the APR on any existing balance on your USAA card to 4%. And you’ll get to keep that 4% rate throughout the remainder of your active duty.

The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, or SCRA, limits interest rates to 6% or lower on credit card and other debt you’re carrying at the time your active duty begins. (There are exceptions, so visit the SCRA website to learn more.) USAA stands out by dropping that rate even further (to 4%) for your existing debts.

No sign-up promotions or intro APR offers

The USAA® Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature® Card doesn’t offer any cash back sign-up bonus.

This card also doesn’t offer an intro 0% APR period, whether you’re looking to transfer a balance or planning a big purchase. Other top cash back cards do.

Who this card is good for

If you’re looking for a flat-rate cash back card from USAA that has no cash back limits or category restrictions, then this could be the card for you.

Are there other cards that offer 1.5% cash back? Sure. But if you already have a bank account or any other relationship with USAA, you may prefer to stick with an organization that you already know and trust.

But even if you love USAA, you may want to think twice about getting this card if you spend a lot of money at your military base, the gas pump or your local supermarket. In that case, you may be better off choosing the USAA® Cashback Rewards Plus American Express® Card, which gives bonus cash back for each of these categories.

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Finally, if you aren’t an active or former military member (or an eligible family member), or if you’re looking for a sign-up bonus, the USAA® Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature® Card probably isn’t going to be a good fit.

Not sure this is the card for you? Consider these alternatives.

If the USAA® Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature® Card isn’t quite right for you, take a look at some other options.