U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa Signature Card review: Choose your own 5% cash-back categories
Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here.
U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa Signature Card overview
U.S. Bank is one of the largest retail banks, and it offers plenty of credit cards as well. One of its strengths is in cash-back rewards cards. I know many award-travel enthusiasts who like earning some of their rewards as cash back, if only to help pay for travel that they can't book with points and miles. This card is one of the rare products that allows you to choose which kinds of purchases are eligible for bonus rewards. Card Rating*: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
*Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG’s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
Anyone who's looked for a cash-back credit card is familiar with cards that offer 5% cash back on purchases from featured merchants or merchant categories. Cards in this category include the Chase Freedom (No longer open to new applicants), Discover it Cash Back and the ABOC Platinum Rewards Mastercard®.
With these cards, the featured merchants and merchant categories are chosen by the card issuer. You have no choice in the matter. Furthermore, the cards limit your 5% cash back in rotating categories to the first $1,500 spent on purchases each quarter.
The U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa Signature Card, however, lets you choose your categories and its limit is 33% higher -- $2,000 of eligible spending each quarter. Unlike its competitors, it also offers up to 2% bonus cash on another category of your choosing, instead of just 1% on all other purchases.
Who is this card for?
The U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa is clearly for those who want to earn cash back, either instead of or in addition to travel rewards. This is also a card for those who prefer to customize their rewards rather than having to live with rotating bonus categories set by a card issuer.
And because you can pick both your 5% bonus categories and your 2% bonus categories, this card is good for those who don't want to carry around a wallet full of cash-back cards -- one for every kind of possible bonus. However, cash-back maximizers might still want to hold another card that offers 1.5%, 2% or more on non-bonus purchases.
Sign-up bonus: $150 in cash back that's easy to earn
This card offers new applicants $150 in cash back after spending $500 in net purchases within 90 days of account opening. This is considerably less spending than the $1,000 to $3,000 in spending requirements that you might find with other rewards cards.
Main benefits and perks
The real benefit of this card is its cash-back rewards, but there are some other solid perks and benefits. New accounts receive 12 months 0% APR financing on balance transfers (then a variable APR of 14.74% to 24.74% applies), with a 3% (or $5 minimum whichever is greater) balance transfer fee. Cardholder benefits include auto rental collision damage waiver coverage, travel and emergency assistance, roadside dispatch services and access to the Visa Signature Luxury Hotel Collection.
You also receive extended warranty protection, warranty manager service and Visa Discounts. As part of the Visa Signature program, you also get a concierge service, purchase security and event access, offers and discounts.
How to earn cash back
You earn 5% cash back by selecting from one of 12 merchant categories each quarter. You'll receive the 5% cash back on your first $2,000 of eligible spending each quarter. The categories include:
- TV, internet & streaming services
- Fast food
- Cellphone providers
- Department stores
- Home utilities
- Select clothing stores
- Electronics stores
- Sporting goods stores
- Movie theaters
- Gyms/fitness centers
- Furniture stores
- Ground transportation
You can also opt to receive 2% cash back from one of three categories:
- Grocery stores
- Gas stations
How to redeem cash back
Once earned, your cash back may be redeemed as a statement credit, a reward card or a deposit to your U.S. Bank savings, checking or money market account. There's no minimum redemption requirement except if you get U.S. Bank Visa Rewards Cards, which are subject to a $20 minimum and issued in $5 increments
Facts about the U.S. Cash+ Visa Signature Card
Here are a few features, facts and figures about the U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa.
1. You can earn up to $400 per year at 5% cash back. That's what you get annually if you earn 5% cash back on the full $2,000 in eligible spending each quarter. This doesn't include the unlimited 2% and 1% cash-back opportunities.
2. The clothing category is limited. All other eligible merchants in the 5% categories are determined by the merchant category code used, but the clothing category is limited to: Aeropostale®, American Eagle Outfitters, Ann Taylor®, Banana Republic, Eddie Bauer®, Express®, Forever 21®, GAP, J.Crew®, Jos A Bank™, Old Navy, Talbots® and The Limited®.
3. Restaurants and fast food are different. With most credit card bonuses for dining, there's no distinction between fast food and more formal fare. But with this card, the "fast food" category is eligible for 5%, but the "restaurants" category is only eligible for 2% cash back. Fast food includes so-called fast casual restaurants such as Chipotle Mexican Grill and delivery places such as Domino's.
4. Discount stores are not department stores. You might think of Walmart, Target and Costco as department stores, but U.S. Bank doesn't. Also, Sears in-store purchases count as department store purchases but not those from Sears.com.
5. U.S. Bank is big. It's the fifth-largest bank in the U.S. and it has more than 3,100 branches and 4,800 ATMs. If you're already a U.S. Bank customer, it's that much easier to manage this card with your existing online login.
If you're looking to earn points and miles toward free travel, this isn't the card for you. But if you want to supplement your travel rewards with some cash back, this card can be a worthy contender. It doesn't offer great levels of cash back on all purchases, but it does let you choose the purchases on which you'll receive a bonus.