Editorial Review

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%.

Melissa LambarenaMay 20, 2020

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THIS PAGE MAY BE OUT OF DATE

This page includes information about one or more products not currently available on NerdWallet:

  • Chase Freedom®

  • Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer

  • U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card

As a result, offers described on this page may be out of date. See our NerdWallet’s Best Credit Cards page for updated offers.

Our Take

4.2

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.

US Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Credit Card

U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card

Annual Fee

$0

Regular APR

13.99% - 23.99% Variable APR

Intro APR

0% Intro APR* balance transfers for 12 billing cycles

Recommended Credit Score

Quick FactsView rates and fees

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • High rewards rate

  • Bonus cash back categories

  • No annual fee

  • Intro APR period on Balance Transfers

Cons

  • Complex rewards require maintenance

  • Foreign transaction fee

Alternate Pick: Simple rewards

Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer

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. There's no sign-up bonus, though.

Read our review

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.

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: $150 bonus after spending $500 in eligible net purchases within the first 90 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 first quarter of 2020, these categories include 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.)

  • 2% cash back in one "everyday" category that you choose. (In the first quarter of 2020, these categories include grocery stores, gas stations and restaurants.)

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

You must opt in to 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% on Balance Transfers for 12 billing cycles, and then the ongoing APR of 13.99% - 23.99% 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.

Other perks: Auto rental collision damage waiver, roadside assistance and extended warranty protection, among others.

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 $100 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.

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®.

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® have plenty going for them, too, not least of which is a less complicated rewards system overall.

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®, 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 that 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 – 18 month BT offer 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 3% back on dining and entertainment, 2% at grocery stores 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 $150 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® 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 top credit cards.

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.

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