U.S. Bank Cash+ Review: 5% Cash Back That You Can Customize

You get to choose two categories each quarter that earn 5% cash back (up to a spending cap) and one category for unlimited 2% cash back. Everything else earns 1%.

Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This may influence which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money.

Our Take

4.3

NerdWallet rating 
The bottom line:

This card is a good match for avid rewards optimizers — those who juggle cards strategically to get the best return for every dollar. It works fine as an everyday card, but keep in mind that it requires some work on your part.

Jump to: Full Review
U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa Signature® Credit Card
Annual fee
$0
Regular APR
18.24%-28.24% Variable APR
Intro APR
0% intro APR for 15 billing cycles on purchases and balance transfers
Rec. credit score
690-850 (Good - Excellent)
Apply now

on US Bank's website

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • No annual fee

  • Bonus categories

  • High rewards rate

Cons

  • Complicated rewards

Alternate Pick: Simple rewards
Citi® Double Cash Card
NerdWallet rating 
Citi® Double Cash Card
No categories to mess with

If you'd prefer a card with a solid rewards rate on everything, rather than an array of categories to keep track of, this is a great choice. You get 2% cash back on every purchase: 1% when you buy it and 1% when you pay it off.

Read our review

Compare to Other Cards

NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
Annual fee

$0

Annual fee

$0

Annual fee

$0

Regular APR

18.24%-28.24% Variable APR

Regular APR

17.74%-27.74% Variable APR

Regular APR

15.74%-26.74% Variable APR

Intro APR

0% intro APR for 15 billing cycles on purchases and balance transfers

Intro APR

0% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months

Intro APR

0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers

Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score
Get more smart money moves — straight to your inboxBecome a NerdWallet member, and we’ll send you tailored articles we think you’ll love.

Full Review

The U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa Signature® Card stands out from competitors in the 5% cash-back space by giving you the freedom to choose the categories where you'll earn that top rate.

Similar cards offer 5% cash back in rotating bonus categories up to a quarterly spending cap — but those categories are determined by the issuer and can be hit-or-miss. That makes the U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa Signature® Card a more flexible and potentially more lucrative option. And that's not its only differentiating factor.

The card lets you select two 5% cash-back categories each quarter from a list of 12, and it features a higher combined quarterly spending cap than the competition. Plus, you'll choose a 2% cash-back category every quarter from a list of three, and there's no spending cap on that category. Finally, you get 5% back on certain travel bookings through U.S. Bank

To be sure, it's not the simplest rewards structure. You'll have to put in some work in terms of category tracking and activation. But if you value choice and high rewards-earning potential on everyday spending, it can be an ideal pick.

U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa Signature® Card: Basics

Card type: Cash back.

Annual fee: $0.

Sign-up bonus: $200 bonus after spending $1,000 in eligible purchases within the first 120 days of account opening.

Rewards:

  • 5% cash back on the first $2,000 in combined eligible net purchases each quarter in two categories you choose. (In the second quarter of 2022, these categories include TV, internet and streaming services; home utilities; ground transportation; select clothing stores; cell phone providers; electronics stores; gyms; fast food; sporting goods stores; department stores; furniture stores; and movie theaters.)

  • 2% cash back in one "everyday" category that you choose. (In the second quarter of 2022, these categories include grocery stores, gas stations and restaurants.)

  • 5% cash back on prepaid air, hotel and car reservations booked directly in U.S. Bank's Rewards Center.

  • 1% cash back on all other eligible net purchases.

You must opt in to the 5% and 2% bonus categories each quarter to earn the higher rewards rates; otherwise, you'll earn only 1% back on all purchases.

Rewards can be redeemed for statement credit, a U.S. Bank Rewards gift card or a deposit into an eligible bank account with U.S. Bank. You can redeem rewards at any amount, unless you’re redeeming for a gift card. These Visa gift cards require a $20 minimum redemption, and you can redeem them only in $5 increments.

Interest rate: 0% intro APR for 15 billing cycles on purchases and balance transfers, and then the ongoing APR of 18.24%-28.24% Variable APR.

Balance transfer fee: 3% of the amount of each transfer or $5, whichever is greater.

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

Why you might want the U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa Signature® Card

5% rewards categories you can customize

With the U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa Signature® Card, you can select bonus categories based on your spending. You can also repeat the same bonus categories each quarter, as long as they're still available as choices for that quarter. In the first quarter of 2020, for example, you could choose from among 12 categories for 5% back, including home utilities, cell phone providers, ground transportation, department stores, fast food and movie theaters.

Keep in mind that the U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa Signature® Card lets you pick two 5% cash-back categories each quarter. Competing cards sometimes offer multiple 5% categories per quarter, but not always. And even when they do, those categories are still chosen by the issuer.

A generous spending cap for those rewards

With most other 5%-back cards, there's a quarterly spending cap of $1,500 for bonus categories, meaning your bonus earnings top out at $75 in a three-month period (not including the 1% back you'd get on "all other spending.") But the U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa Signature® Card has a higher ceiling on spending eligible for 5% rewards. You'll earn 5% cash back on your first $2,000 in eligible purchases each quarter on the combined two categories you pick. That's potentially an extra $400 in bonus rewards per year, assuming you hit the spending cap each quarter.

Extra bonus rewards categories

The U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa Signature® Card allows you to select an additional category in which you get unlimited 2% cash back. The 2% options in the first quarter of 2020 were gas stations, restaurants and grocery stores. Again, unlike the 5% spending categories, these rewards aren't capped.

On top of the categories you select, the U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa Signature® Card earns 5% cash back on prepaid air, hotel and car booking made through the issuer's Rewards Center. You don't have to opt in to be eligible for the 5% travel rewards.

How it compares with other 5% cash-back cards

If you’re thinking about getting the U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa Signature® Card, you may already know about two of the other biggest players in the 5% game: the Discover it® Cash Back and the Chase Freedom Flex℠.

Those cards also offer elevated rewards in rotating bonus categories, but the U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa Signature® Card differs in key ways:

  • Its 5%-back categories are customizable, and you can pick two of them each quarter.

  • The combined quarterly spending cap for those 5% rewards is $2,000, as opposed to $1,500.

  • You also get an unlimited 2% back in one everyday category.

But this doesn't mean the U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa Signature® Card is the clear winner for all spenders. The Discover it® Cash Back and the Chase Freedom Flex℠ have plenty going for them, too.

Here’s how all three stack up:

Why you might want a different card

The rewards system is complex and requires maintenance

The bonus categories on the U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa Signature® Card are less of a mystery compared with, say, those of the Chase Freedom Flex℠, which doesn't announce its categories until a new quarter is near. But you still have to keep track of categories and remember to opt in each quarter, and the additional 2% categories make the card more complicated than its direct competitors. (Will you remember, for instance, that "fast food" is a 5% category, while "restaurants" is a 2% category?)

One other consideration: In recent years, the Chase and Discover products have frequently offered 5% rewards at restaurants, gas stations and grocery stores — "everyday" categories that the U.S. Bank card limits to 2% cash back.

If you prefer a much-lower-maintenance option that you don’t have to think about, the Citi® Double Cash Card earns a flat 2% on all purchases: 1% when you buy, and 1% when you pay them off. There are never any categories to remember. It has a $0 annual fee.

It's an expensive travel companion

The U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa Signature® Card has broad merchant acceptance overseas, but its foreign transaction fee could strain your travel budget. The Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card earns 8% cash back on Capital One Entertainment purchases; 5% on hotels and rental cards booked through Capital One Travel; 3% cash back on dining, entertainment, popular streaming services and at grocery stores (excluding superstores like Walmart and Target); and 1% on all other purchases. Plus, it skips the foreign transaction fees. It has a $0 annual fee, broad international merchant acceptance and a sign-up bonus: Earn a one-time $200 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening.

You must bank with the issuer for cash redemptions

You can redeem your rewards for straight-up cash only if you have a bank account with U.S. Bank. Credit cards like the Discover it® Cash Back and the Chase Freedom Flex℠ let you redeem your rewards for deposits into eligible bank accounts at other institutions.

If you're looking for more potential alternatives, visit NerdWallet's roundup of the best credit cards to have.

Is the U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa Signature® Card right for you?

Getting to choose your own bonus categories gives you an advantage, and if maximizing rewards is a top priority, the U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa Signature® Card is a good fit for your style. But if you prefer simplicity, you’re better off exploring other rewards credit cards.

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.
Frequently asked questions

The U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa Signature® Card, earns 5% cash back on the first $2,000 in combined eligible net purchases each quarter in two categories you select yourself. The categories can change each quarter, but in the last quarter of 2020, they included select clothing stores, electronics stores, sporting goods stores, gyms and fitness centers, furniture stores, home utilities, cell phone providers, ground transportation, department stores, fast food, movie theaters and TV, internet and streaming services. In addition, you earn 2% cash back in one "everyday" category (groceries, gas or restaurants) that you also choose. All other purchases earn 1% cash back.

Log into your account online and opt into the 5% and 2% bonus categories you want. Or you can call the number on the back of your card. You can choose your categories for a quarter as early as 45 days before the quarter begins, up until five days left in the quarter. You'll earn bonus rewards only on purchases you make after you opt in. If you don’t make any selections, then you earn 1% back on all purchases.

You can redeem rewards as a statement credit, a U.S. Bank Rewards gift card or a deposit into an eligible account with U.S. Bank.

To get your rewards as cash, you must have a bank account with U.S. Bank. Otherwise, you can redeem as a credit on your statement, which effectively leaves more cash in your pocket. Many other credit card issuers allow you to take your rewards as a deposit into any bank account, regardless of where it is.

If they are not used, rewards expire 36 months after they are earned. If the account is closed, you forfeit any unused rewards.