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Best USAA Credit Cards of 2019

Gregory KarpJune 4, 2019

At NerdWallet, we strive to help you make financial decisions with confidence. To do this, many or all of the products featured here are from our partners. However, this doesn’t influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own.

NerdWallet's Best USAA Credit Cards of 2019

Our pick for

Everyday spending

USAA Rewards™ American Express® Credit Card

on USAA's website

Annual Fee

$0

Regular APR

12.15% - 28.15% Variable APR

Intro APR

N/A

Recommended Credit Score

Pros

The card is a contender for households that rack up spending on dining out (3X points) or groceries and gas (2X points). Along with those generous and unlimited rewards, the card has no quarterly rotating rewards categories to worry about and an annual fee of $0. Terms apply.

Cons

American Express is not as widely accepted internationally as Visa and Mastercard. You won’t find a 0% introductory APR offer. If you do most of your shopping at warehouse clubs or discounters, you won't earn the elevated rewards rate for groceries. The card’s bonus is low, compared with other rewards cards.
  • Earn 3X points per dollar spent on dining
  • Earn 2X points per dollar spent on gas and groceries
  • Earn 1X points for every dollar spent on all other purchases
  • Get 2,500 bonus points with your first purchase
  • Redeem points for cash, merchandise, gift cards and more
  • USAA membership is available to active and former military and their eligible family members

Our pick for

Active-duty military

USAA Cashback Rewards Plus American Express Card Credit Card

on USAA's website

Annual Fee

$0

Regular APR

14.15% - 28.15% Variable APR

Intro APR

N/A

Recommended Credit Score

Pros

The card offers 5% cash back for gasoline and military base purchases up to $3,000 annually (combined); 2% on supermarket purchases up to $3,000 annually; and an unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases. Military base purchases include items bought at commissaries, exchanges or shoppette locations on the base. Its annual fee is $0. Terms apply.

Cons

You won’t find upfront incentives to apply, such as a sign-up bonus or introductory 0% APR period. And if you don’t regularly shop or fuel up on a military base, rewards are lackluster. Caps on reward categories limit the card’s upside.
  • Earn 5% cash back on your first $3,000 in gas and military base purchases annually on these categories combined
  • Earn 2% on your first $3,000 on supermarket purchases per year
  • Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • USAA membership is available to active and former military and their eligible family members

Our pick for

Flat-rate cash back

USAA Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature® Credit Card

on USAA's website

Annual Fee

$0

Regular APR

14.15% - 28.15% Variable APR

Intro APR

N/A

Recommended Credit Score

Pros

Earn a solid, straightforward 1.5% cash back on your purchases and redeem rewards as soon as you earn them, as a statement credit or deposited into your USAA checking or savings account. No reward caps to worry about. The card will remain worthy for purchases made off the military base or after discharge.

Cons

Depending on your spending patterns, other cards may yield more cash back. If you’re seeking a sign-up bonus or 0% intro APR offer, look elsewhere.
  • 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 membership is available to active and former military and their eligible family members

Our pick for

Low interest

USAA Rate Advantage Platinum Visa® Credit Card

on USAA's website

Annual Fee

$0

Regular APR

9.15% - 26.15% Variable APR

Intro APR

N/A

Recommended Credit Score

Pros

This no-frills USAA card is the one to choose to save money on interest — especially if you can qualify for one of the lower APRs in the range. It also comes with an annual fee of $0, and no penalty APR. Like other USAA cards, this offers 4% APR for deployment or permanent change of station for up to 12 months.

Cons

This is a credit card with a single purpose, low interest. You won’t find rewards, sign-up bonuses or intro 0% offers.
  • Enjoy USAA's lowest rate card
  • No annual fee, no foreign transaction fees, no penalty APR
  • USAA membership is available to active and former military and their eligible family members

Our pick for

Rewards and wider international acceptance

USAA Rewards™ Visa Signature® Credit Card

on USAA's website

Annual Fee

$0

Regular APR

12.15% - 28.15% Variable APR

Intro APR

N/A

Recommended Credit Score

Pros

Earn 2X points per dollar spent on gas and dining with no caps and 1 point per dollar spent on everything else. The card also comes with a modest sign-up bonus. Redeem rewards points for cash, travel, merchandise or gift cards.

Cons

Rewards are lackluster, even compared with a competing USAA card. You won’t find a 0% introductory APR offer. The card’s sign-up bonus is easy to get but meager compared with many other rewards cards.
  • Earn 2X points per dollar spent on gas and dining with no caps
  • Earn 1X points for every dollar spent on all other purchases
  • Get 2,500 bonus points with your first purchase
  • Redeem points for cash, merchandise, gift cards and more
  • USAA membership is available to active and former military and their eligible family members

Summary of Best USAA Credit Cards of 2019

Credit CardBest ForIntro APRRegular APRAnnual FeeLearn More
USAA Rewards™ American Express® Credit Card

USAA® Rewards™ American Express® Card

on USAA's website

Everyday spending

N/A

12.15% - 28.15% Variable APR

$0

on USAA's website

USAA Cashback Rewards Plus American Express Card Credit Card

USAA® Cashback Rewards Plus American Express® Card

on USAA's website

Active-duty military

N/A

14.15% - 28.15% Variable APR

$0

on USAA's website

USAA Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature® Credit Card

USAA® Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature® Card

on USAA's website

Flat-rate cash back

N/A

14.15% - 28.15% Variable APR

$0

on USAA's website

USAA Rate Advantage Platinum Visa® Credit Card

USAA® Rate Advantage Visa Platinum® Card

on USAA's website

Low interest

N/A

9.15% - 26.15% Variable APR

$0

on USAA's website

USAA Rewards™ Visa Signature® Credit Card

USAA® Rewards™ Visa Signature® Card

on USAA's website

Rewards and wider international acceptance

N/A

12.15% - 28.15% Variable APR

$0

on USAA's website

Credit CardBest ForIntro APRRegular APRAnnual FeeLearn More
USAA Rewards™ American Express® Credit Card

USAA® Rewards™ American Express® Card

on USAA's website

Everyday spending

N/A

12.15% - 28.15% Variable APR

$0

on USAA's website

USAA Cashback Rewards Plus American Express Card Credit Card

USAA® Cashback Rewards Plus American Express® Card

on USAA's website

Active-duty military

N/A

14.15% - 28.15% Variable APR

$0

on USAA's website

USAA Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature® Credit Card

USAA® Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature® Card

on USAA's website

Flat-rate cash back

N/A

14.15% - 28.15% Variable APR

$0

on USAA's website

USAA Rate Advantage Platinum Visa® Credit Card

USAA® Rate Advantage Visa Platinum® Card

on USAA's website

Low interest

N/A

9.15% - 26.15% Variable APR

$0

on USAA's website

USAA Rewards™ Visa Signature® Credit Card

USAA® Rewards™ Visa Signature® Card

on USAA's website

Rewards and wider international acceptance

N/A

12.15% - 28.15% Variable APR

$0

on USAA's website

Where USAA cards shine

USAA credit cards are designed specifically with military families in mind. Here are some highlights you can expect:

Extra-low APRs during deployment and permanent change of station. USAA provides a special 4% APR instead of the 6% APR required by the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA).

Versatile travel rewards. USAA rewards credit cards don’t earn points as quickly as other cards. But when you do collect enough rewards to redeem them for travel, you’ll likely get a good deal. USAA rewards points are generally worth one cent each when redeemed for travel.

For the most part, no annual fees. USAA cards offer a lot of long-term value, since most of them don’t charge annual fees.

Where USAA cards fall short

USAA credit cards aren’t the best pick for everyone. Here’s why you might want to consider another card:

You’re not a USAA member. If you don’t qualify for USAA membership, you’ll have to find a different card. The good news, though, is that if you do meet certain requirements, becoming a USAA member is free. Among the ways you can be eligible:

  • You’re in the U.S. military or were honorably discharged.
  • You’re joining the U.S. military.
  • Your parent is (or was) a USAA member.
  • Your spouse is (or was) a USAA member.

If this is you, consider applying for membership on the USAA website.

You want a flashy sign-up bonus. While some USAA cards do offer bonuses when you make your first purchase, they’re modest compared with other rewards cards. For the most part, USAA specializes in simple, no-fuss plastic with good long-term value. If you’re interested in getting the most rewards possible, you may want to check out NerdWallet’s Best Rewards Credit Cards instead.

Last updated on June 4, 2019

Methodology

NerdWallet's credit cards team selects the best cards in each category based on overall consumer value. Factors in our evaluation include fees, promotional and ongoing APRs, and sign-up bonuses; for rewards cards, we consider earning and redemption rates, redemption options and redemption difficulty. A single card is eligible to be chosen in multiple categories.