USAA Rate Advantage Visa Platinum Credit Card Review

Rating:
3.7/5
3.7 stars out of 5

The Smart Investor has collected card information independently. Issuers did not provide the details, nor are they responsible for their accuracy. The review is not a recommendation, the actual rates/fees may be different.

The USAA Rate Advantage Visa Platinum Credit Card provides VERY low interest rates and has no annual fee. Customers with exemplary credit can take advantage of the 6.90% APR as of 2020, which is one of the lowest in the marketplace. It’s also important to consider this card as a great way to build credit.

The USAA Rate Advantage Credit Card has one main disadvantage – in spite of it provides great rates and terms – there are no points, cash back or miles rewards. Also, there is no sign up bonus for new cardholders.

Not Available To The General Public

United Services Automobile Association (USAA) serves as a credit union for U.S. military veterans and their families. Military families favor USAA over other institutions because it provides excellent customer service and product features and prices unavailable through banks. The Rate Advantage Visa Platinum Credit Card is another way that USAA says “thank you for your service.”

Any USAA member is immediately eligible to apply, as are their immediate family members. If not already a USAA member, current service members or veterans must open a USAA account before applying. Once the account is open, immediate family members may apply even if the USAA account holder does not.

Students in officer candidate programs like ROTC or OTC are eligible to join USAA and apply for the card. The same applies to adult children of a USAA member who have had an auto or property insurance policy. Widows or widowers of USAA members are also eligible.

USAA Rate Advantage Card

On USAA Secure Website

Our Bottom Line

  • Good Enough for a Night Out

Credit Rating Requirements

  • Good – Excellent Credit

PROS

  • Low Fee on Balance Transfers
  • Low APR

CONS

  • No Points, Cash Back or Miles Rewards
  • Only Relevant for military members and their family

Highlights

  • Great way to build credit while customers can also take advantage of the modest-low APR it offers
  • 6.90% - 23.90% APR
  • 3% Balance Transfers: In comparison to other cards, the Citi ThankYou Preferred Card’s balance transfer fee is highly competitive.
  • No annual fee card which is a boon for those with poorer credit histories or who need to establish credit.
  • To qualify for the card, you must be an active military member, a veteran who was honorably discharged or an eligible military family member.

Here’s a summary of the main pros & cons (click to see explanation or scroll down):

Pros

Cons

USAA Rate Advantage Visa Platinum Card – Benefits

Let’s take a closer look at the benefits and drawbacks of the USAA Rate Advantage Visa Platinum Card – and whether or not it’s right for your wallet…

  • Low variable APR

The interest rates are tiered according to qualifying factors, allowing customers to get the best available rate for their credit profile. Customers with exemplary credit can take advantage of the 6.90% APR as of 2020, which is one of the lowest in the marketplace. It’s also important to consider this card as a great way to build credit.

Those with less than stellar credit scores may not qualify for the lowest rate, but if they qualify for the USAA Rate Advantage Visa Platinum Credit Card, the rate will be far better than most subprime credit cards. 

It can also be a great option for young adults. They can build their credit histories without being burdened with high fees and interest rates.

  • No Annual Fee

A no annual fee card is a boon for those with poorer credit histories or who need to establish credit. Annual fees are often $100+ dollars. Those with good credit should avoid annual fees unless it’s a rewards card.

  • No Foreign Transaction Fee

No foreign transaction fees is a great help to service members who travel overseas. Since military members often spend years abroad, this card can provide big savings. It’s also helpful for veterans and their family members who are living or traveling abroad.

  • Enhanced Cardholder Protection

Traveling can lead to all sorts of hassles. Since USAA members tend to travel, this card comes with travel accident insurance and baggage delay insurance. It’s also a wise move to make major purchases with this card. 

Your items will be covered under the USAA extended warranty program. The card also comes with identity theft support and zero liability for unauthorized purchases, so you know thieves won’t get their hands on your hard-earned money.

This card also utilizes high-tech security features. Customers can opt for logon options that are as secure as they are efficient. These include biometrics, quick logon, cyber code text, and computer recognition.

  • Military affiliate card designs

Active duty personnel, veterans and their families love to show their pride in the American armed forces. 

Cardholders can choose between many military affiliate designs that show their patriotism and support for the armed forces. Designs are available to show pride for all of the armed services.

  • Special rates for deployed and newly active personnel

Troops on deployment have enough on their minds without worrying about high-interest rates. For the first 12 months of deployment, card members receive a 4% interest rate for all balance types. 

USAA members who start on active duty are eligible for a 4% interest rate on current balances for the first year of service.

  • Mobile banking features

Online and mobile account management are user-friendly and easily integrated with your mobile device. 

The available app makes it easy to track your account balance and check transactions from your phone. Customers can also check their credit score at no cost 24/7.

USAA Rate Advantage Visa Platinum Card – Drawbacks

  • No Points, Cash Back or Miles Rewards

The USAA Rate Advantage Credit Card has one main disadvantage – in spite of it provides great rates and terms – there are no points, cash back or miles rewards. 

In an era where credit card rewards are substantial, customers should have at least one card that provides the rewards that suit their spending habits.

  • No Sign-Up Bonus

The card doesn’t offer a sign-up bonus, a common perk often used to attract customers to a new card. Many cards offer sign-up bonuses as high as $500 once you surpass a certain amount of spending within the first few months. 

Other cards can provide sign-up bonuses in forms other than cash, for example the travel-specific Capital One Venture Rewards Card, which offers a sign-up bonus of 50,000 miles.

  • Only Relevant for military members and their family.

To qualify for the card, you must be an active military member, a veteran who was honorably discharged or an eligible military family member.

  • Balance Transfers Fee

The card also boasts a fair balance transfer fee of 3%.

Alternatives to USAA Rate Advantage Visa Platinum Card

There are other credit cards that do offer comparable miles rewards – here are a couple of popular travel cards which can use as an alternative to the USAA Rate Advantage Visa Platinum Card:

The VentureOne credit card from Capital one offers the users some great travel perks and a good flat rate on general purchases. Although it doesn’t have the highest earning rates, it is great for travel mile rewards.

When you initially sign-up for this card and spend at least $3,000 during the first three months, you can earn up to 50,000 miles which is equivalent to $500 in travel purchases. The card doesn’t have an annual fee, which is a pretty generous feature.

Now, earning miles with the card is a pretty straightforward affair as you shall be earning 2 miles per each dollar of purchase you make. This is better than other travel card rewards that only offer 1-1.5 mile per dollar of purchases. Also, you won’t pay a transaction fee when making a purchase outside of the United States.

The card has $95 annual fee.

  • Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Card

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Card has great rewards for those customers who are loyal to Marriott Hotel chains. With the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Card, every dollar spent at one of the thousands of Marriott Hotels earns the cardholder 6 points. This has no limit. You’ll also get 2 points for every $1 spent on other purchases.

There is an an initial sign-up bonus of 75,000 points after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months, as well as many other benefits such as free nights, airline points transferring, free qifi , baggage insurance and more.

However, this card has a $95 annual fee and a bit high APR of 15.99%-22.99%.

  • CitiBank Double Cash Card

CitiBank Double Cash card is a comparable cashback card.

The CitiBank Double Cash card offers 1% cash on all purchases and 1% cash back after paying for those purchases. You could make 2% back on all purchases as long as you pay your credit card bill. 

The card boasts a lengthy 18-month period of 0% fees on all balance transfers. After this period each transfer requires paying a variable APR between 13.99% to 23.99%.

CitiBank Double Cash rewards does not have an annual fee.

This card’s cash back is on all purchases. But to earn the ½ of the cash back, you need to pay your bill. If you plan on carrying a balance you will not unlock the full 2% initially.

Is the USAA Rate Advantage Visa Platinum Card Right for You?

The USAA Rate Advantage Visa Platinum card works great for USAA members and their families who are more interested in low fees and interest rates than rewards

Rewards cards can be helpful, but they require you to spend a certain amount of money in a certain way to fully benefit. If they don’t fit your spending habits, their other fees and interest rates may work against you.

Active duty personnel are very well served with this card, especially since the special interest rate for deployed personnel can save a bundle and make deployment easier. It’s also a great card for overseas use and has the security needed while on deployment. 

With great designs that display military pride, very few fees and one of the lowest interest rates available, the USAA Rate Advantage Visa Platinum is great for USAA members.