US Bank Cash+ Credit Card: The Best 5% Card?

The U.S. Bank Cash+ card looks great, it really does. It’s one of the best 5% back credit cards out there right now, and its ongoing rewards unparalleled. If you’re looking for flexibility in your bonus categories and high rates, you can’t do much better. There are, however, a few cases where other cards might win out. But for all that, the Cash+ is a welcome addition to the rotating bonus category family, and might just be the favorite son.

Example image of U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card

U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card

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  • High rewards rate
  • Bonus cash back categories
  • No annual fee
  • 0% for 6 mos on transfers


  • Needs excellent credit

Sign-up Bonus


Intro APR Promotions

Purchase: None

Transfer: 0% for 6 mos


  • Min APR: 13.99%
  • Max APR: 23.99%
  • Cash Advance APR: 23.99%, Variable

Annual Fee


Card Details

  • Earn 5% cash back on two categories that you choose, like department stores, many more
  • Earn 2% cash back on gas, groceries or drug stores - choose one
  • Earn 1% cash back on everything else
  • Get a $25 Cash+ Bonus each time you redeem $100 or more cash back in a single redemption
  • No Annual Fee

5% as a starting point

The US Bank Cash+ offers 5% cash back on bonus categories that change every quarter up to $2,000 spent per quarter, a hard number to beat in the credit card world. You can choose two 5% categories from a rotating list that shifts quarterly, and purportedly include broad categories like airfare, bill payments and restaurants (you have to sign up to see the full list.) You’ll also get an unlimited 2% rewards on gas, groceries or drugstores – you pick ‘em. Best of all, the rewards are unlimited – you aren’t subject to the quarterly or annual caps that restrict the Chase Freedom, Discover it and Citi Dividend Platinum Select.

The U.S. Bank card seems to have this 5% bonus thing figured out. But it gets better: Once a year, if you save up $100 worth of rewards, US Bank will throw in an extra $25. This means that if you’ve saved up 10,000 bonus points (normally worth $100 cash back) you can redeem for $125. Of course, you do have to rack up those rewards, but if you do, you’ll find it well worth your while. Plus, there’s no annual fee, so you needn’t worry about bleeding charges if you don’t use it as much as you’d planned.

Cash+ vs. Chase Freedom: 5 on 5

The Cash+ actually stacks up quite well against the reigning 5% cash back champ, the Chase Freedom. The Freedom gives 5% back on rotating bonus categories, but those categories are preset, and capped at $1,500 in purchases a quarter. In terms of ongoing rewards rate, the Freedom has nothing on the Cash+; its advantage is the Get a $100 Bonus after spending $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. signup bonus. The Cash+ has great ongoing rewards, but lacks the head start of a bonus.

The Freedom’s bonus categories for 2014 are:

  • Q1 (January 1 – March 31): Gas stations, movie theaters and Starbucks stores
  • Q2 (April 1 – June 30): Restaurants and Lowe’s home improvement stores
  • Q3 (July 1 – September 30): Gas stations and Kohl’s
  • Q4 (October 1 – December 31):, and select department stores

Clearly, the Cash+ gives you more flexibility and a higher earn rate in ongoing rewards. It’s not without its drawbacks. Its 0% introductory APR offer of 6 months on balance transfers doesn’t quite compare. The Freedom gives you 15 months of no interest on purchases as well as transfers. Moreover, it doesn’t have a bonus rewards mall.

That one deserves some explaining. Chase, Bank of America and other card issuers have online bonus malls where, if you click through from their site to another merchant’s, you can earn anywhere from 2% to 30% back on your purchases. The Chase Ultimate Rewards Mall, for example, gives 15% back on, 6% on and The North Face, and many, many more. If you’re a prolific online shopper, having access to an online bonus mall can prove quite lucrative.

Moral of the story? Get the US Bank Cash+ if:

  • You think the Freedom’s bonus categories aren’t that great for you
  • You plan to hold the card for more than 2 years

Get the Freedom if:

  • The bonus categories dovetail with your spending
  • You’d get some good mileage out of having access to the Chase Ultimate Rewards mall and its discounts
  • You plan to hold the card for 2 years or fewer

It comes down to signup bonus vs. ongoing rewards: the Chase Freedom delivers a lot of value very quickly, while the Cash+ has less short-term value but more staying power.

Chase Freedom®U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card
Chase Freedom Credit Card
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on Chase's
secure website

US Bank Cash+(TM) Visa Signature(R) Card Credit Card
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on US Bank's
secure website

Signing Promo
Get a $100 Bonus after spending $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.None
Intro APR Promo
0% APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers
Bal Trans:0% for 6 mos
Annual fee
  • Earn a $100 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn a $25 Bonus after you add your first authorized user and make a purchase within this same 3-month period
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers. After the intro period, a variable APR of 13.99-22.99%
  • 5% Cash Back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases between 1/1/15—3/31/15 at grocery stores (not including Walmart® and Target® purchases), movie theaters, and Starbucks® stores
  • You'll enjoy new 5% categories every 3 months like restaurants, gas stations, and It's free and easy to activate your bonus each quarter!
  • Unlimited 1% Cash Back on all other purchases
  • No annual fee and rewards never expire as long as your account is open
  • Earn 5% cash back on two categories that you choose, like department stores, many more
  • Earn 2% cash back on gas, groceries or drug stores - choose one
  • Earn 1% cash back on everything else
  • Get a $25 Cash+ Bonus each time you redeem $100 or more cash back in a single redemption
  • No Annual Fee

  • disqus_DsgjD5eIlg

    Great article, I wanted to make note that if you have a US Bank gold checking then you get an extra .25% back on all cash rewards programs. That beats out Chase’s .1% + .10$ in my opinion. I just got the Cash + and am very satisfied with it.

  • Thomas Nichols

    Get Both! Then you have many 5% categories! I use the Chase card for everyday smal purchases, and get that extra $0.10 on every purchase, so every day coffies, lunch, and so on. Then get use 5% on the chase categories, and on the Cash+ categories. So the Cash+ becomes your “bigger purchase” card, and the Chase Freedom the “Every Day Card”

  • Thomas Nichols

    And regarding Chase’s .1% and $.10, I regularly buy an $0.80 Burger from arctic circle, and I get 1.1% back, and $0.10 Back. Thats $0.11 Back on an $0.80 Purchase (Rounded up.) That’s 12.5% cash back. On small everyday purchase, that $0.10 really does make a difference.

    • Guest

      You mean $0.011

  • pfdeals

    I like Cash+, partly because I already have a USBank checking account, but both are great cards and much better than Amex’s membership rewards programs.

  • Jonathan L. Bowen

    I honestly don’t see the comparison here for people like me who don’t care about carrying a balance or any of that nonsense. The US Bank Cash+ card is FAR superior. When we were given Bill Pay as an option (that has since been removed for next quarter), it wasn’t even close. I was getting 5% back on a huge chunk of my credit card bill. But even without that, I’d rather have two 5% categories I can choose that are relevant to my life than something as stupid as “gas, drugstores, and Starbucks.” I don’t go to Starbucks and I don’t spend enough on gas to care about their 5%, because I already have a Bank of a American card giving me a permanent 3% on gas (up to $1,500 spending limit per Q). I’d rather get my 2% groceries always, then have my two 5% categories, and then on top of that get $25 just for redeeming $100, which is nothing. I reach that easily every other month just with normal spending.

  • Bob Doe

    Cash+ also gives a 25% bonus on every purchase if you have U.S. Bank a gold checking package and a 50% bonus if u have the platinum checking package! So if you have gold your getting 6.25% cash back or platinum 7.5% back with the 5% categories plus the bonus.

  • Meng Li

    Why my Chase freedom card doesn’t give a 0.1% +$0.10 back on every purchase? Instead, I get a 10% bonus based on obtained points if I have a checking account with Chase.

  • Joshua Havelka

    Chase got rid of the $.10 per purchase. That was one of the best things about the card. I loved making small purchase to rack up the $.10. There was even a time when I put $10 into my diablo account, and did 10 $1 transactions. I guess it was people like me who ruined it.

  • Adseka

    This card just got moved to the back of my wallet. It was a great cash back card until they moved restaurants to the 2% category. I, too, will hang on to it in the hopes they bring restaurants back, but I definitely won’t use it as much.

  • Brian S

    US Bank Cash plus is offering 5% cash back from purchases
    from “electronic stores” and state: “Make even smarter buys when you earn cash
    back on the latest tech products, including televisions, computers and phones.” They also state in the fine print “Purchases
    which fall into the eligible Purchase Category will receive the stated Rebate.
    U.S. Bank makes every effort to include all relevant merchant category codes in
    its listed Purchase Categories.”
    However, this last statement is false.
    The only merchant code that qualifies 5732 for “electronic sales/repair”. This is a very narrow definition and does not
    meet their claim that they “make every effort to include all relevant merchant
    category codes”. For example, they do
    not include 5045 for “computer stores/services” when clearly they lead
    customers to believe that computers should qualify as electronics. Stay away from this credit card. The categories are narrowly defined and not
    user friendly.

  • Abdul G Habibuzaman

    Does the US Bank Cash+ card work at local grocery stores (not the big chains) for the 5% cash back OR is it only for the big chain grocery stores ?