U.S. Bank Shopper Cash Rewards Review: Up to 6% Back at Top Retailers

It earns eye-popping rates at some of the biggest brands in America, including Amazon, Target and Walmart, plus 3% back in other popular categories. But there's a rewards cap and an annual fee — and it's not the easiest card to manage.

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Our Take

4.8

NerdWallet rating 
The bottom line:

If you’re willing to actively and consistently manage this card, it can generate more than enough rewards to cover its annual fee.

Jump to: Full Review
U.S. Bank Shopper Cash Rewards™ Visa Signature® Card  - NerdWallet Exclusive
Annual fee
$0 intro for the first year, then $95
Regular APR
18.24%-28.24% Variable APR
Intro APR
N/A
Rec. credit score
690-850 (Good - Excellent)
Apply now

on US Bank's website

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • High rewards rate

  • Bonus categories

  • New cardholder bonus offer

Cons

  • Has annual fee

  • Complicated rewards

Alternate Pick: 2% back on every purchase
Wells Fargo Active Cash Card
NerdWallet rating 
Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card
Straightforward, easy to manage

The Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card earns a solid 2% cash back on everything you buy — no reward caps, no quarterly activation, no category tracking, and an annual fee of $0. It also comes with a sign-up bonus: Earn a $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months.

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

$0

Annual fee

$0

Regular APR

18.24%-28.24% Variable APR

Regular APR

17.74%-27.74% Variable APR

Regular APR

14.99%-25.99% Variable APR

Intro APR

N/A

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
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Full Review

If you find yourself spending a lot of money at major retailers, the U.S. Bank Shopper Cash Rewards™ Visa Signature® Card - NerdWallet Exclusive could be a perfect fit. With it, you can earn an astounding 6% cash back at two retailers you chose from a list that includes some of the world's largest merchants — big names like Walmart, Target, Amazon, Apple, Disney, Home Depot and more. The 6% rate applies to purchases made in-store and online.

That can make it an attractive alternative to juggling store credit cards. And depending on where you shop for things like groceries, electronics, home improvement items and other household goods, this could become the most valuable card in your wallet. Plus, there's a 3% cash-back tier that can further accelerate your earnings, not to mention a lucrative sign-up bonus.

The big rewards come with strings, though. Unlike most cash-back cards, the U.S. Bank Shopper Cash Rewards™ Visa Signature® Card - NerdWallet Exclusive charges an annual fee, plus it limits the amount of spending that qualifies for the 6% and 3% rewards. And while that list of 6%-eligible retailers includes two dozen stores, you don't earn 6% at all 24 — just two stores per quarter, which you must select before you do any spending. Lastly, you must actively manage your categories, choosing where you want to earn your bonus rewards each quarter. Fail to do so, and you'll earn just 1.5% on every purchase.

But if you don't mind a little maintenance, the U.S. Bank Shopper Cash Rewards™ Visa Signature® Card - NerdWallet Exclusive can be a versatile pick.

U.S. Bank Shopper Cash Rewards™ Visa Signature® Card - NerdWallet Exclusive: The Basics

Card type: Cash back

Sign-up bonus: Get a $250 bonus after you spend $2,000 in eligible purchases within the first 120 days of account opening.

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

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; see below for full list). 

  • 3% cash back on your first $1,500 in eligible purchases each quarter in your choice of one everyday category.

  • 1.5% cash back on all other eligible purchases.

  • 5.5% cash back on prepaid car and hotel reservations booked directly in the Rewards Center.  

  • Ace Hardware.

  • Apple.

  • Amazon.com.

  • Anthropologie.

  • Bed, Bath, & Beyond.

  • Best Buy.

  • Chewy.com.

  • Crate & Barrel.

  • Disney.

  • Home Depot.

  • Ikea.

  • Kohl's.

  • Lowe's.

  • Lululemon.

  • Macy's.

  • Menards.

  • Nordstrom.

  • Pottery Barn.

  • QVC.

  • Restoration Hardware.

  • Target.

  • Walmart.

  • Wayfair.com.

  • Williams Sonoma.

Redemption: Rewards can be redeemed for a statement credit; a deposit to a U.S. Bank savings, checking or money market account; a U.S. Bank Rewards Card ($25 minimum redemption); or a merchant gift card. Cash rewards do not expire as long as the account remains open.

APR: The ongoing APR is 18.24%-28.24% Variable APR.

Foreign transaction fee: 3%.

Other benefits: 

  • Access to hundreds of discounts through U.S. Bank’s Online Shopping portal.

  • Depending on availability, some cards will have LED-powered technology that lights up the U.S. Bank logo during contactless transactions. 

  • Some Visa Signature benefits, including purchase security up to $500 per claim, extended warranty up to one additional year and return protection reimbursement up to $250 per item.

Benefits of the U.S. Bank Shopper Cash Rewards™ Visa Signature® Card - NerdWallet Exclusive

Sky-high rewards at major retailers

A 6% cash-back rate is attention-getting in its own right, but it gets more interesting when you consider some of the merchants where you can earn that rate.

The inclusion of Walmart and Target, for example, positions this card as a major rival to the venerable Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express — long a favorite of heavy grocery spenders because it earns 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 spent per year. (Terms apply; see rates and fees.) But that card specifically excludes superstores like Walmart and Target from its 6% rate. So if that's where you do your grocery shopping, the U.S. Bank Shopper Cash Rewards™ Visa Signature® Card - NerdWallet Exclusive is the superior pick.

The U.S. Bank card's 6% rate is subject to a cap: $1,500 in combined quarterly spending across two categories (1.5% back on all other spending). If you were to max out that 6% rate on, say, groceries at Walmart and furniture at Ikea, you'd earn $90 for the quarter — nearly enough to cover the card's annual fee after the first year.

Useful 3% 'everyday' categories

Each quarter, in addition to choosing two merchants for the 6% category, you’ll pick one everyday category in which you can earn 3% for the quarter on up to $1,500 spent (1.5% after that). Those three possible categories are: wholesale clubs like Sam’s and Costco; gas and EV charging stations; and bills. U.S. Bank defines “bills” as cell phone, home utilities and TV/internet/streaming services. Rare is the card that offers utilities as a bonus rewards category, so consider making the U.S. Bank Shopper Cash Rewards™ Visa Signature® Card - NerdWallet Exclusive your designated card for the power and water bill, for example. 

Customizable

The fact that the U.S. Bank Shopper Cash Rewards™ Visa Signature® Card - NerdWallet Exclusive lets you change your two 6% retailers and one 3% everyday category every quarter gives you more control over where you earn rewards. Got a college-bound student leaving home in the fall? You could designate Bed, Bath and Beyond (for the dorm essentials) and Apple (for a new laptop) as 6% merchants for the quarter, plus gas stations as the everyday 3% category (for the cross-country drive to and from the college). And when the new quarter rolls around, you get to make three new selections that might better fit your household’s ever-changing needs. 

Drawbacks of the U.S. Bank Shopper Cash Rewards™ Visa Signature® Card - NerdWallet Exclusive

Annual fee and spending caps

After the first year, a significant annual fee kicks in for the U.S. Bank Shopper Cash Rewards™ Visa Signature® Card - NerdWallet Exclusive. Many other cards with cash-back rates as high as 5% don't come with annual fees. For example, the Chase Freedom Flex℠and Discover it® Cash Back feature rotating 5% bonus categories, and while those are also subject to $1,500 quarterly spending caps and require activation every three months, historically they've included specific merchants like Walmart, Target or Amazon. There's even a different card within the U.S. Bank portfolio — the U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa Signature® Card — which allows for custom 5% bonus categories for a $0 annual fee.

The annual fee and spending caps on the U.S. Bank Shopper Cash Rewards™ Visa Signature® Card - NerdWallet Exclusive also limit its appeal as a 1-to-1 substitute for many retailers' store cards. If you're looking for a credit card to use only at Best Buy, for instance, you could get a Best Buy-branded card that earns 5% back at that store with no annual fee, and you'd be better off. That's because with the U.S. Bank Shopper Cash Rewards™ Visa Signature® Card - NerdWallet Exclusive, even if you set "Best Buy" as a 6% category, the card's $95 annual fee after the first year means you're starting out behind. To beat what you'd earn with the no-fee store card, you'd have to spend $9,500 a year at Best Buy — but since only $1,500 in spending per quarter (or $6,000 per year) will qualify for that 6% rate, it'd be almost impossible to ever get ahead.

High maintenance

The flexibility of the U.S. Bank Shopper Cash Rewards™ Visa Signature® Card - NerdWallet Exclusive may feel less like freedom and more like a burden for some people. After all, there are 276 possible combinations of the 24 retailers in the 6% cash-back category, enough to overload anyone. 

You also have to choose your 6% and 3% categories every quarter. You won't earn those rewards rates until you do so (they aren't applied retroactively). If you forget, you’re stuck earning just 1.5%. You can set up email and text alerts through U.S. Bank to remind you when it’s time to activate new categories, but the onus is still on you.

🤓Nerdy Tip

U.S. Bank says that it can take up to three business days for your 3% and 6% selections to activate and you're eligible to start earning cash back in those categories.

And those spending caps might create another headache. The card's cash-back rate drops to 1.5% after you hit the $1,500 quarterly spending limit in the 6% and 3% categories, so if you've got a big purchase planned that you want to earn 6% on, you may need to track your spending to make sure you still have "room" for it under your quarterly limit. 

If the complicated rewards structure of the U.S. Bank Shopper Cash Rewards™ Visa Signature® Card - NerdWallet Exclusive makes your head spin, check out a card like the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card. It earns 2% cash back on every purchase, with a $0 annual fee, no rewards cap and no categories to activate. The Citi Custom Cash℠ Card is another option. You’ll get 5% back on up to $500 in your top spending category (from a list of several) each month, with little to no work on your part: The card automatically detects your highest-spend area each month. (After hitting the $500 cap, you’ll earn an unlimited 1% on all other purchases.)

Should you get the U.S. Bank Shopper Cash Rewards™ Visa Signature® Card - NerdWallet Exclusive?

For optimizers, the U.S. Bank Shopper Cash Rewards™ Visa Signature® Card - NerdWallet Exclusive is a dream come true. Matching your purchases with the retailers and everyday categories that you chose every quarter can mean significant cash back by the end of the year. For all of its appeal, though, this card is not simple to manage. For a more streamlined experience, look to other cash-back 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.