Credit Card Reviews

USAA® Cashback Rewards Plus American Express® Card Review

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Members of the military and their families have long relied on USAA for financial products that offer service and value. The USAA® Cashback Rewards Plus American Express® Card is no exception. If you're a USAA member, this card offers bonus cash back rewards that can be very appealing. Qualifying purchases at gas stations and military bases can earn as much as 5% cash back—plus there's no annual fee.

Customer service contact info for USAA
1 (800) 531-8722
9800 Fredericksburg
San Antonio, TX 78288
Generous bonus cash back on gas and military base purchasesSpending caps on bonus cash back
No annual feeMust be a USAA member
No foreign transaction feesLow APR for active-duty service members

Experian Review

If you or someone in your household is in the military and you're looking for a credit card with cash back rewards, the USAA® Cashback Rewards Plus American Express® Card is one to consider. In addition to 1% cash back on all purchases, this card offers bonus cash back rewards targeted to military service members and their families. With a range of travel, convenience and security features, no annual fee, and no fees on overseas purchases, there's plenty to like about this card.

Great Cash Back Rewards and Special Features for Military Members

The standout feature of this card is the 5% cash back you get on your first $3,000 of gas and military base purchases annually. There's also 2% cash back on the first $3,000 spent each year on supermarket purchases. (Groceries purchased at a discount store such as Walmart, wholesale store such as Costco, or warehouse club such as Sam's Club don't count.)

Cardholders can also benefit from a reduced Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) interest rate. The SCRA already gives active-duty members of the military a reduced interest rate of 6% on credit card and other loan debt incurred prior to active duty. But USAA offers an even lower SCRA rate of 4% APR on any balance you're carrying on your USAA® Cashback Rewards Plus American Express® Card at the time you enter active military duty. The 4% APR applies for the remainder of your qualified period of active duty.

Want to show your military pride? USAA® offers several military affiliate card designs. Just fill out the application for the card and, upon approval, select the design you want.

Beyond the Bonus Cash Back Categories

In addition to the bonus cash back for gas, military base and grocery store purchases, you'll also receive 1% cash back on all other purchases. There's no limit on this cash back, and as long as your account is in good standing, you can redeem it at any time in increments as low as $1.

You'll have to decide for yourself whether the bonus rewards are strong enough to offset the relatively low 1% cash back elsewhere. If you don't drive, don't make a lot of purchases on military bases, or frequently buy groceries somewhere other than a supermarket, this might not be the best rewards card for you.

Protect Your Purchases, Travel Plans and Identity With This Card

The USAA® Cashback Rewards Plus American Express® Card offers several safety and convenience features that help protect your purchases, travel plans and identity. The extended warranty feature gives you an additional year of coverage on U.S. manufacturers' warranties for products purchased with your card. All you have to do is register the product, and you won't have to hunt through your files for receipts if you need to use the warranty.

Do you travel frequently? If you're planning an international trip, this card is a good companion since there are no foreign transaction fees. Whether you're traveling internationally or domestically, you'll also appreciate the card's accident insurance. Buy your plane, ferry, cruise ship, train or bus ticket with your USAA® Cashback Rewards Plus American Express® Card and you can receive up to $500,000 in coverage for loss of life or limb. You're even covered on courtesy ground transportation to and from the airport, port, train station and so on, as well as immediately before departure or immediately after arrival.

If your checked baggage is delayed four or more hours and you bought your fare with this USAA card, you can get reimbursed up to $100 a day for up to three days for essential items purchased to replace what was in your luggage. Covered items include clothing, toiletries and device chargers, so lost or delayed luggage doesn't have to ruin your trip.

USAA also offers several security features that help you manage your account quickly and securely. When you're accessing your account on a computer, use the CyberCode Text feature if you want an extra layer of security. You can also use computer recognition to tell USAA which computers you trust. If your account is ever accessed from an untrusted computer, you'll be prompted to either answer a security question or input a security code sent to your mobile phone.

The USAA mobile app, available for both Android and iOS, lets you conveniently manage your account anytime, anywhere. Pay your credit card bill, transfer funds, check available credit, set a variety of alerts and travel notifications, and report your card lost or stolen. Mobile wallet devotees can also add their USAA credit card to their mobile device to shop in-store or in-app using Apple Pay, Google Pay or Samsung Pay.

You can use the USAA mobile app securely thanks to biometric features that use your face, voice or fingerprint to verify your identity. You can also enable Quick Logon on your mobile devices to quickly access your account securely. Just enter your PIN and Quick Logon generates a one-time, unique security code you use to log in.

What if someone makes an unauthorized purchase on your account? Good news: This card has zero liability protection, so you're not responsible for any unauthorized purchases reported to the card issuer. If you're a victim of identity theft, you'll have access to a range of resolution services. USAA will handle everything from placing a fraud alert with the three major credit bureaus (Experian, TransUnion or Equifax) to replacing your card. They can also help you dispute any inaccurate information on your credit report due to fraud or identity theft.

Rates and Fees to Consider

The standard interest rate on the USAA® Cashback Rewards Plus American Express® Card is variable, depending on your creditworthiness. This means that if you have excellent credit, you could enjoy a rate significantly lower than the current national average of about 17%. If you have poor credit, however, you could pay a much higher rate.

Balance transfer fees are 3% of each transfer amount. You'll also pay a cash advance fee of 3% of the advance amount; however, this fee is waived if you transfer the funds electronically to a USAA deposit account. This card has no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees.

Keep in mind that as part of the American Express payment network, this card won't be as widely accepted as a Visa or Mastercard.

Additional Info

Purchase APR: 13.40% - 27.40% Variable based on your creditworthiness and other factorsGrace period: 25 days
Transfer APR: 13.40% - 27.40% Variable rate based on your creditworthiness and other factorsAnnual fee: $0
Cash Advance APR: 13.40% - 27.4% Variable rate based on your creditworthiness and other factorsBalance transfer fee: 3%
Minimum interest charge: NoneCash advance fee: 3% (waived when transferring funds electronically to a USAA deposit account)
Foreign transaction fee: None
Late payment fee: Up to $35
Returned payment fee: Up to $35

Authorized-User Policy

Are you thinking of adding an authorized user to this card? Consider that decision carefully. USAA gives authorized users the same authority as the cardholder to make purchases, balance transfers or cash advances; access account information; and authorize others to use the account. Don't choose an authorized user unless you're absolutely confident you can trust them to use the card wisely.

Is This Card Right for You?

Offering 1% cash back on all purchases, no annual fees or foreign transaction fees, and plenty of travel, security and convenience features, this card is comparable to many other rewards cards. What differentiates it is the ability to earn 5% cash back on purchases made at military bases and gas stations, plus the low SCRA rate of 4% APR on any balance carried on the card at the time you enter active military duty. If you're a service member who spends a lot at the base or on gas, or are preparing to enter active duty and have high credit card balances you want to transfer to this card, the USAA® Cashback Rewards Plus American Express® Card could be right for you.