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Best USAA credit cards

Solid rewards cards from the bank of choice for military families.

Updated . What changed?

Fact checked
USAA Savings Bank
USAA has carved out a niche as the premier bank for military families. Its hallmark is its special interest rate for active military personnel, but a few of its cards offer strong rewards as well. Standouts include the USAA® Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature® Card and USAA® Rewards™ American Express® Card.

We compared a variety of factors across USAA credit cards, including rewards options, earning potential, interest rates, fees, introductory APR offers and other common credit card features. The USAA cards that stood above the others when it came to performance were selected for highlight in their respective category.

Best USAA credit cards

Many USAA cards aren’t as powerful as products you’ll find from other major providers. But the bank offers solid cards for cashback and everyday rewards, and it’s an especially good choice if you’re a military member on active duty.

USAA® Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature® Card

USAA® Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature® Card logo
Credit recommended (670-850)
Read review
670
Min. credit score
$0
Annual fee
Up to 1.5%
Cash back
n/a
Welcome offer
This card is a good choice for most individuals and families, as it offers a simple flat cashback rate on all purchases.
  • Annual fee: None.
  • Rewards: 1.5% cash back on all purchases. A simple, solid rate for most families.
  • Deployment and PCS rate. Receive a 4% fixed APR on all balances for up to 12 months when you're on deployment or PCS. After that, receive an ongoing APR on all balances of 11.9% to 25.9% variable.
  • SCRA Rate. If you have a balance when you enter active military duty, you'll receive a 4% fixed APR on the balance until one year after you complete active duty. After that, receive an ongoing APR on all balances of 11.9% to 25.9% variable.
Annual Fee $0
Purchase APR 11.9% to 25.9% variable
Balance transfer APR 11.9% to 25.9% variable
Welcome offer N/A
Rewards 1.5% cash back on all purchases

USAA® Rewards™ American Express® Card

USAA® Rewards™ American Express® Card logo
Credit recommended (670-850)
Read review
670
Min. credit score
$0
Annual fee
Up to 3x
Points
2,500
Points welcome offer
This card offers strong rewards for dining, gas and groceries. And unlike similar everyday cards, your points aren't capped. You can redeem points for airfare, merchandise, cash and more.
  • Annual fee: None.
  • Bonus points. Get a relatively easy-to-earn signup bonus of 2,500 points with your first purchase.
  • Rewards: More for everyday purchases. Earn 3x points for dining out, 2x points for gas and groceries and 1x points on all other purchases.
  • Deployment and PCS rate. Receive a 4% fixed APR on all balances for up to 12 months when you're on deployment or PCS. After that, receive an ongoing APR on all balances of 9.9% to 25.9% variable.
  • SCRA Rate. If you have a balance when you enter active military duty, you'll receive a 4% fixed APR on the balance until one year after you complete active duty. After that, receive an ongoing APR on all balances of 9.9% to 25.9% variable.
Annual Fee $0
Purchase APR 9.9% to 25.9% variable
Balance transfer APR 9.9% to 25.9% variable
Welcome offer 2,500 points with your first purchase
Rewards 3x points on dining, 2x points on gas and groceries and 1x points for all other purchases

USAA® Rate Advantage Visa Platinum® Card

USAA® Rate Advantage Visa Platinum® Card logo
Credit recommended (670-850)
Read review
670
Min. credit score
$0
Annual fee
n/a
Rewards
n/a
Welcome offer
If you have excellent credit and plan on carrying a balance on your card, the USAA® Rate Advantage Visa Platinum® Card might be perfect for you. That's because it offers an APR on all balances as low as 6.9% variable. That's quite a good rate, considering the average credit card APR is around 16%.
  • Annual fee: None.
  • Potentially low APR. You may qualify for an APR on all balances as low as 6.9% variable.
  • Deployment and PCS rate. Receive a 4% fixed APR on all balances for up to 12 months when you're on deployment or PCS. After that, receive an ongoing APR on all balances of 6.9% to 23.9% variable.
  • SCRA Rate. If you have a balance when you enter active military duty, you'll receive a 4% fixed APR on the balance until one year after you complete active duty. After that, receive an ongoing APR on all balances of 6.9% to 23.9% variable.
Annual Fee $0
Purchase APR 6.9% to 23.9% variable
Balance transfer APR 6.9% to 23.9% variable
Welcome offer N/A
Rewards N/A

USAA Military Affiliate Card

USAA Military Affiliate Card logo
Credit recommended (670-850)
Read review
670
Min. credit score
$0
Annual fee
Up to 1x
Points
2,500
Points welcome offer
Through USAA's military-affiliate program, you can get a credit card emblazoned with your favorite military group's design. You'll also receive an intro APR on balance transfers.
  • Annual fee: None.
  • Signup bonus: 2,500 bonus points. To earn them, simply make your first purchase.
  • Intro APR: 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 12 months following your account opening. After that, your balance transfer APR will be 10.9% to 25.9% variable.
  • Rewards: Depends on provider. With the Visa version, you'll earn 1x points on all purchases. With the American Express version, you'll earn accelerated points on gas and groceries and 1x points on all other purchases.
Annual Fee $0
Purchase APR 10.9% to 25.9% variable
Balance transfer APR 0% intro for the first 12 months (then 10.9% to 25.9% variable)
Welcome offer 2,500 points when you make your first purchase
Rewards 1x points on all purchases

USAA® Cashback Rewards Plus American Express® Card

USAA® Cashback Rewards Plus American Express® Card logo
Credit recommended (670-739)
Read review
670
Min. credit score
$0
Annual fee
Up to 5%
Cash back
n/a
Welcome offer
This card offers a terrific 5% cash back on gas and military base purchases on your first 3,000 in purchases annually, and a solid 2% back on groceries on your first $3,000 in purchases annually. Plus, this card doesn't require an annual fee to use.
  • Annual fee: None.
  • Rewards: Earn 5% cash back on gas and military base purchases on your first 3,000 annually, 2% back on groceries on your first 3,000 annually, and 1% back afterward and on everything else.
  • Foreign transaction fees: None.
Annual Fee $0
Purchase APR 11.9% to 25.9% variable
Balance transfer APR 11.9% to 25.9% variable
Welcome offer N/A
Rewards 5% cash back on up to $3,000 in combined annual gas and military base purchases, 2% on up to $3,000 at supermarkets annually and 1% on all other purchases

What’s changed in 2020?

Without any enormous changes to speak of across the USAA credit card line, our top USAA choices remained largely the same. They continue to offer a solid selection of cards catered specifically to USAA members.

Compare USAA credit cards

Want a side-by-side comparison of your USAA options? Select your credit score below and click “Show cards” to start comparing.

Name Product Filter values Rewards Purchase APR Annual fee
USAA® Rate Advantage Visa Platinum® Card
N/A
6.9% to 23.9% variable
$0
Enjoy USAA's lowest rate card. Pay no annual fee, no penalty APR and no foreign transaction fee.
USAA® Rewards™ Visa Signature® Card
2x points on gas and dining and 1x points on all other purchases
9.9% to 25.9% variable
$0
Get 2,500 bonus points with your first purchase. Pay no annual fee, no penalty APR and no foreign transaction fee.
USAA® Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature® Card
1.5% cash back on all purchases
11.9% to 25.9% variable
$0
Earn 1.5% cash back on every purchase with no limits or category restrictions. Pay no annual fee, no penalty APR and no foreign transaction fees.
USAA® Rewards™ American Express® Card
3x points on dining, 2x points on gas and groceries and 1x points for all other purchases
9.9% to 25.9% variable
$0
Earn 3x points on dining, 2x points on gas and groceries and 1x points for all other purchases.
USAA® Cashback Rewards Plus American Express® Card
5% cash back on up to $3,000 in combined annual gas and military base purchases, 2% on up to $3,000 at supermarkets annually and 1% on all other purchases
11.9% to 25.9% variable
$0
Earn 5% cash back on the first $3,000 in gas and military base purchases annually on these categories combined. Earn 2% on the first $3,000 on supermarket purchases per year. Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.
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How to apply for a USAA card

To apply for a USAA card:

  1. Visit the USAA website and click Products on the top menu bar.
  2. Click on Credit cards under the Banking column of the drop-down menu.
  3. Browse USAA credit cards by feature. When you find one you’re interested in, click on the Get started button.
  4. If you have an account, enter your username and password. If not, click Join online. USAA will verify your eligibility for its products.

Application restrictions

The USAA has a few simple requirements for credit card qualification:

  • You’re at least 18 years old.
  • You are an eligible military affiliate who qualifies for USAA membership. To qualify, you must:
    • Be in the US Military or honorably discharged.
    • Be in the process of joining the US Military.
    • Have a parent or spouse who is or was a member of the USAA.

Information you’ll need

  • Your name and residential address.
  • Your Social Security number and date of birth.
  • Your email address and phone number.
  • Financial information like your annual income and income source.

Find out whether you qualify for a USAA card

How many USAA cards can I have?

USAA doesn’t advertise a credit card limit on their website. However, some users on the MyFICO forums suggest that you can have multiple credit cards, but only up to a cap of $50,000 in total credit.

How to choose a USAA credit card

Consider these factors when deciding on a USAA credit card:

  • Don’t worry about annual or foreign transaction fees.
    At the time of this writing, all USAA cards have no annual fees. Previously, the exception was the USAA® Secured Visa Platinum® Card, but this product is currently not open for new applications. All of USAA’s cards come with no foreign transaction fees, making them great choices to take on trips abroad.
  • Do you want rewards?
    You’ll typically find rewards with USAA cards, with the exception of the USAA Rate Advantage Visa Platinum® Card.
  • Are you looking for a welcome offer?
    USAA’s military-affiliate cards, USAA® Cashback Rewards Plus American Express® Card and USAA Rewards™ cards have welcome offers.
  • Do you have excellent credit?
    If so, you may qualify for the bank’s lowest APRs — potentially as low as around 7% to 11% varible. If you don’t have excellent credit, you may receive an APR as high as around 26% variable.

How to choose the best USAA card

If you’re already a USAA member, you’re all set to pick out a card that works for you. Here are a few things to think about to help you make your decision:

  • Are you currently in the military or are you about to enter the military? A few cards, including the USAA® Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature®, offer specific benefits for being on active duty.
  • Do you want rewards? USAA has a few solid reward options, though their signup bonuses are weaker than other major card providers.
  • What design do you want? A few USAA cards let you choose your card design. Not necessarily a deal-breaker, but a fun thing to keep in mind.

Types of USAA cards

USAA offers a wide range of credit cards for eligible USAA members. Here’s a breakdown of your options:

Rewards cards

USAA rewards credit cards allow you to earn points when you use your card to make purchases on eligible products. You can redeem these points on travel, gift cards and more.

Typical benefits
  • Signup bonus. You can earn a large number of points after you meet the card’s spending requirements.
  • Earn points. Earn a certain number of points for every dollar spent on eligible purchases.
  • Military designs. You have a variety of military-themed card designs to choose from.
Credit cardBenefits
USAA® Rewards™ American Express® Card
  • Earn 3x points on dining
  • Earn 2x points on gas and groceries
  • Earn 1x points on other purchases.
  • Earn 2,500 bonus points after your first purchase
  • No annual fee
USAA® Rewards™ Visa Signature® Card
  • Earn 2x points on gas and dining
  • Earn 1x points on other purchases
  • Earn 2,500 bonus points after your first purchase
  • No annual fee

Cashback cards

USAA cashback credit cards offer a percentage of your eligible purchases as cash back. You’ll often receive this as a statement credit.

Typical benefits
  • Signup bonus. You can earn a cash back bonus after you meet the card’s spending requirements.
  • Earn cash back. Earn a percentage of your spending as cash back on various categories.
  • Military designs. You have a variety of military-themed card designs to choose from.
Credit cardBenefits
USAA® Cashback Rewards Plus American Express® Card
  • Earn 5% cash back on your first $3,000 in combined gas station and military base purchases annually (then 1%)
  • Earn 2% cash back on your first $3,000 in combined grocery purchases annually (then 1%)
  • Earn 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • No annual fee
USAA® Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature® Card
  • Earn an unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases
  • No annual fee

USAA APR cards

USAA offers one credit card designed for those looking for a low APR. Strangely, this card doesn’t offer an intro APR period.

Typical benefits
  • Low APR. This card offers a low variable APR of 6.9% to 23.9%.
  • Military designs. You have a variety of military-themed card designs to choose from.
Credit cardBenefits
USAA® Rate Advantage Visa Platinum® Card
  • Low variable APR of 6.9% to 23.9% on purchases and balance transfers
  • No annual fee

Military affiliate cards

USAA offers a few cards that let you choose a particular military affiliate for your design. Make purchases with this card and USAA will make a small donation to your chosen affiliate.

Typical benefits
  • Rewards. Earn points on eligible purchases.
  • Signup bonus. You’ll earn a modest signup bonus after making your first purchase.
  • Donations. USAA will make a donation to your chosen military affiliate for each purchase you make.
  • Military designs. You have a variety of military-themed card designs to choose from.
Credit cardBenefits
USAA Military Affiliate Card
  • Earn 1x points on all purchases
  • Earn 2,500 bonus points after your first purchase
  • No annual fee
USAA Military Affiliate Card
  • Earn 2x points on gas and groceries
  • Earn 1x points on all other purchases
  • Earn 2,500 bonus points after your first purchase
  • No annual fee

USAA credit card alternatives

The USAA is one of the more popular military credit card providers, but you have a few other options. Navy Federal and PenFed are two other big names in the military credit card space. You can compare all three providers using our full military card guide.

USAA rewards program

USAA rewards cards offer either cash back or points. If your card offers points, you can redeem them for rewards that include:

  • Airfare
  • Merchandise
  • Gift cards
  • Cash rewards
  • Donations to charities
  • Cruise tickets

How can you redeem rewards?

To redeem rewards, log in to your credit card account on the USAA website. Then navigate to the USAA Rewards Service Center. You can also call 800-900-8722 to redeem your rewards.

How much are rewards worth?

USAA points are worth 1 cent apiece, which is standard across the credit card industry. For some rewards, points might be worth less than that rate. For example, 6,000 points may be worth only $50 in cash rewards instead of $60.

Alternatives to USAA credit cards

If USAA isn’t the best choice for you, consider Navy Federal Credit Union, which opens membership to individuals affiliated with the military. A few of its cards include the Navy Federal Credit Union® Visa Signature® Flagship Rewards Credit Card, Navy Federal Go Rewards Card and Navy Federal Credit Union nRewards® Secured Credit Card.

For more options, check out our guide to military credit cards and the best cards for veterans.

How does USAA keep my credit card information secure?

USAA maintains a Cyber Threat Operations Center that constantly monitors online threats. It offers multiple tools for enhanced login security, such as CyberCode Text, Computer Recognition and Biometrics.

When you join USAA, you’re automatically enrolled in the bank’s security and fraud alerts program. If USAA spots suspicious activity on your account, it will notify you by text or email. Additionally, you can receive free CreditCheck Monitoring from Experian, which will alert you to changes in your credit reports.

USAA uses encryption software so your data is scrambled and safe from third parties. It also deploys virus and malware detection software.

Under USAA’s Zero Liability Policy, you won’t have to pay for unauthorized purchases on your account.

Full list of USAA Bank credit cards

Bottom line

USAA offers solid cards for cashback rewards and everyday purchases. Because of its special interest rates, it’s a strong choice for military members in active duty.

If you’re not sure whether a USAA product is right for you, check out top credit card providers to compare more options.

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