U.S. Bank Business Leverage Review: More Rewarding Options Exist

You'll earn 2 points per dollar spent on purchases made in the top two categories (from a list of 48) where your business spends the most each month and 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
May 5, 2022

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Our Take

3.9

NerdWallet rating 
The bottom line:

The card's personalized rewards categories may seem appealing, but they'll limit your rewards-earning potential. Other business credit cards can offer more value.

Jump to: Full Review
U.S. Bank Business Leverage™ Visa Signature® Card
Annual fee
$0 intro for the first year, then $95
Regular APR
16.74%-21.74% Variable APR
Rec. credit score
690-850 (Good - Excellent)
Apply now

on US Bank's website

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Personalized rewards

Cons

  • Has annual fee

  • Needs excellent credit

Alternate Pick: A decent rewards rate on all spending
Capital One Spark Cash Select - $500 Cash Bonus
NerdWallet rating 
Capital One Spark Cash Select - $500 Cash Bonus
No annual fee

Earn an unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases. Plus, there's a sign-up bonus: Earn a $500 bonus when you spend $4,500 in the first 3 months of account opening.. Annual fee: $0.

Read our review

Compare to Other Cards

NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
Annual fee

$0 intro for the first year, then $95

Annual fee

$95

Annual fee

$0

Regular APR

16.74%-21.74% Variable APR

Regular APR

16.24%-21.24% Variable APR

Regular APR

13.99%-21.99% Variable APR

Intro APR

N/A

Intro APR

N/A

Intro APR

0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months from the date of account opening

Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score
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Full Review

The U.S. Bank Business Leverage® Visa Signature® Card features personalized rewards categories that adjust automatically, offering convenience and novelty but little value compared with other cards. You would expect a card with a $0 intro for the first year, then $95 annual fee to eclipse rewards found on no-annual-fee business credit cards, but this one doesn't.

Rewards don’t accumulate as quickly as they do on other business credit cards, even those with no annual fees. Overall, the slow-to-earn incentives and costs of this card are enough reason to look elsewhere.

U.S. Bank Business Leverage® Visa Signature® Card: Basics

Card type: Small business and rewards.

Annual fee: $0 intro for the first year, then $95.

Sign-up bonus: Earn $750 in rewards when you spend $7,500 in eligible purchases on the account owners' card within the first 120 days of opening your account.

APR: The ongoing APR is 16.74%-21.74% Variable APR.

Foreign transaction fee: 3% if the purchase is made in a foreign currency; 2% if it’s in U.S. dollars.

Rewards:

  • 5 points per dollar spent on prepaid hotels and car rentals booked directly through the Travel Rewards Center.

  • 2 points per dollar spent on purchases made in the top two categories (from a list of 48) where your business spends the most.

  • 1 point per dollar spent on all other eligible purchases.

Categories include things like advertising firms, airlines, gas stations, grocery stores, hotels and restaurants, and your top two spending categories are automatically updated each month.

If you prefer to keep all accounts at one institution, you can get more points when you apply for a payments solutions account with U.S. Bank and register for Encore Relationship Rewards. You could earn up to 240,000 points annually on your net processing volume. A payment solutions account allows you to accept payments from customers in many forms.

Redemptions: 

You can redeem points for cash, gift cards, travel and merchandise. In most cases, points are worth a penny each, although redeeming for merchandise nets you a slightly lower rate of 0.9 cent per point.

For cash redemptions, you can redeem in $50 increments into a U.S. Bank checking or savings account. There's no minimum redemption requirement for statement credit, gift cards, travel or merchandise. Points expire five years from the end of the quarter in which they are earned.

Other perks:

  • Free employee cards.

  • Encore Relationship Rewards — up to 240,000 points annually — when you use a U.S. Bank payment solutions account to process card payments from your customers.

  • Visa Signature benefits, including auto rental collision damage waiver, extended warranty protection, travel accident insurance, lost luggage reimbursement and more. See a full list of benefits here.

U.S. Bank Business Leverage® Visa Signature® Card: Why you're better off passing

LACKLUSTER REWARDS AND AN ANNUAL FEE

The U.S. Bank Business Leverage® Visa Signature® Card offers 2 points per dollar spent on purchases made in the top two categories (from a list of 48) where your business spends the most each month and 1 point on all other purchases. The categories adjust automatically each month, which is nice. But that's still a poor rewards rate — especially when you consider the card's $0 intro for the first year, then $95 annual fee. And unlike rewards on other cards, points expire five years from the end of the quarter in which they are earned.

If you have a lot of potentially top-earning expenses, other small-business credit cards can offer a better rate on all of your purchases instead of just two categories.

The Capital One Spark Cash Plus, for example, gets unlimited 2% cash back on all purchases — not just certain purchases — for an annual fee of $150. It also comes with a big sign-up bonus: Earn up to a $1,000 cash bonus; $500 once you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months, and $500 once you spend $50,000 in the first 6 months of account opening. It doesn't charge foreign transaction fees and cash-back rewards don't expire.

NO 0% INTRO APR OFFER

Since the U.S. Bank Business Leverage® Visa Signature® Card comes with lackluster rewards, you would think it would at least offer some breathing room on interest with a good 0% APR promotion — but it doesn't.

For rewards and an introductory offer, look to The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express. It offers an introductory 0% intro APR on Purchases for 12 months, and then the ongoing APR of 13.99%-21.99% Variable APR. Terms apply (see rates and fees). You'll earn 2 Membership Rewards points per dollar spent on all purchases on the first $50,000 in purchases per year, and 1 point per dollar thereafter. Terms apply. Points don't expire. Unless you spend $50,000 or more in top bonus categories with the U.S. Bank Business Leverage® Visa Signature® Card, this card will come out ahead on rewards — and its annual fee is $0. Terms apply.

FOREIGN TRANSACTION FEES AND MEAGER TRAVEL REWARDS

The U.S. Bank Business Leverage® Visa Signature® Card charges foreign transaction fees, making it a poor companion for international travel. It also has little in the way of travel rewards. Instead of offering a broad travel bonus category that includes all types of travel expenses, it comes with multiple narrowly defined categories. Airfare, hotel stays and car rentals, for example, would all fall under separate sections. That can make it harder to rack up rewards, since you can only earn double points on two categories each month. Frequent travelers are better off with a credit card that rewards a broad definition of travel that includes hotels, airfare, car rentals and more.

The Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card charges no foreign transaction fees and offers richer travel rewards. Earn 3 points per dollar spent on the first $150,000 spent on travel and select business categories each account anniversary year; and 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases. Chase's definition of travel is relatively broad, including airlines, hotels, car rentals, travel agencies, taxis and more. Points are also worth 25% more when you redeem them for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. This card has a $95 annual fee.

Is the U.S. Bank Business Leverage® Visa Signature® Card right for you?

The U.S. Bank Business Leverage® Visa Signature® Card may appear to have attractive incentives at first glance, but more rewarding options exist. Look to other small-business credit cards that can offer better ongoing rewards. A flat-rate rewards card, for example, can help you come out ahead with elevated rewards on all of your business expenses instead of only a few categories.

To view rates and fees of The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express, see this page.

on US Bank's website

Methodology

NerdWallet reviews credit cards with an eye toward both the quantitative and qualitative features of a card. Quantitative features are those that boil down to dollars and cents, such as fees, interest rates, rewards (including earning rates and redemption values) and the cash value of benefits and perks. Qualitative factors are those that affect how easy or difficult it is for a typical cardholder to get good value from the card. They include such things as the ease of application, simplicity of the rewards structure, the likelihood of using certain features, and whether a card is well-suited to everyday use or is best reserved for specific purchases. Our star ratings serve as a general gauge of how each card compares with others in its class, but star ratings are intended to be just one consideration when a consumer is choosing a credit card. Learn how NerdWallet rates credit cards.