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U.S. Bank has launched a new cash-back credit card that offers industry-leading rewards rates at some of the largest and most popular retailers in the world, including Walmart, Target and Amazon.
The U.S. Bank Shopper Cash Rewards™ Visa Signature® Card - NerdWallet Exclusive became available from the issuer on Oct. 24, 2022, and has an annual fee of $0 intro for the first year, then $95. It will earn the following rewards:
6% cash back on your first $1,500 in combined eligible purchases each quarter at two retailers you choose (from a list of 24).
3% back on your first $1,500 in eligible purchases each quarter on your choice of one everyday category (including gas and EV charging stations, bills/home utilities, or wholesale clubs).
1.5% back on all other qualifying purchases.
5.5% back on reservations for hotels and prepaid car rentals when you book through the U.S. Bank Rewards Center.
To qualify for the card's 6% and 3% rates, you'll have to enroll in your chosen categories every quarter; otherwise, you'll earn only the base rate of 1.5%.
More about that 6% back category
The headlining feature of this card is its eye-popping 6% cash-back rate, which you can earn at a long list of popular merchants, including:
The ability to earn a rate that high on such marquee brands is unique. Even on some of the best co-branded store credit cards from those retailers, reward rates tend to top out at about 5%.
In fact, this card is a worthy rival of the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, which has been a long-running favorite credit card for groceries, thanks to its 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 in spending per year. (Terms apply; see rates and fees.)
But American Express notably excludes big-box retailers like Walmart and Target from the U.S. supermarket category, even though many people get groceries from those superstores. (Walmart is the biggest grocery seller in the country.) If you do most of your grocery shopping at those kinds of stores, the U.S. Bank Shopper Cash Rewards™ Visa Signature® Card - NerdWallet Exclusive may be a perfect fit.
Another strength of the card is that it's highly customizable, so it doesn't just have to be for grocery-getters. For example, timing a big home improvement purchase when you selected Home Depot as a quarterly bonus category would also help you maximize rewards.
If you maxed out the card's 6% rate every quarter, you'd snag $360 in cash back per year, and that's not taking into account the card's other reward categories.
Maintenance is required
The card's customization ability, though, comes at a cost, as it requires some upkeep to maximize.
As noted, you must remember to select your bonus categories every quarter, but you'll also have to keep in mind the card's reward caps. The 6% rate is capped at $1,500 in spending per quarter across combined purchases at the two retailers you selected; after that, you'll earn only 1.5% back in those categories for the quarter.
A 1.5% rate is still higher than what a lot of rewards credit cards offer on non-bonus-category "other spending," but it's also a far cry from 6%. And you might instead appreciate the competing Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, which has only an annual cap, not a quarterly one.
The 3% bonus category on the U.S. Bank Shopper Cash Rewards™ Visa Signature® Card - NerdWallet Exclusive is also capped at $1,500 in quarterly spending, but you get to choose only one of those categories per quarter. Any quarterly spending in those categories beyond that cap earns only 1.5% back.
Oh, and there's another rewards tier for eligible travel spending you might do through U.S. Bank's Rewards Center. And speaking of travel, the card charges a 3% foreign transaction fee, meaning it's not the best companion if you're going abroad.
That's a lot of tiers, rates, caps and rules to keep track of. But if you're willing to put in the work, the U.S. Bank Shopper Cash Rewards™ Visa Signature® Card - NerdWallet Exclusive can be lucrative indeed.
» MORE: Best U.S. Bank credit cards