Who Is This Credit Card Best For?
Prioritizes sticking to their budget while buying what they want and need See more cards
Attacks existing balances while avoiding new debt See more cards
Takes improving their finances seriously and wants recognition for using credit responsibly See more cards
This card is only available to people who qualify for membership with USAA, which includes current or former military members, and their spouses, children, stepchildren, and in-laws (son or daughter). This card may be a good way to save on interest costs if you are eligible, tend to carry a balance, and have excellent credit.
If you only have good credit, you may still qualify for this card but the APR range on this card is a mile wide. You could end up paying an interest rate anywhere between the single digits and upwards of 23%. If you’re more towards the “good” end of the credit spectrum rather than the “excellent” end, chances are you’ll get a rate at the higher end of the range. In that case, we’d recommend another low-interest credit card for you instead.
Low interest rate for those with excellent credit
No foreign transaction fee
- Low interest rate for those with excellent credit: You could qualify for an interest rate under 10%, which is one of the lowest rates available for a credit card. The catch is you’ll probably only qualify for that rate if you have excellent credit.
- No foreign transaction fees: If you’re on the road or on tour, you won’t be charged fees for use abroad. However, this is a standard feature for cards issued by USAA, PenFed, and Navy Federal, which serve military members.
- No rewards or new cardholder bonus: There are credit cards with rates under 10% that still offer a rewards program or bonus for new cardholders. This isn’t one of them—rather, your only reward is the money you’ll save with a lower interest rate if you carry a balance.
- Membership limitations: You must be a member of USAA to apply for this card. Membership is only open to members of the armed services (including reservists, cadets, and midshipmen), veterans, and their children and spouses. Other cards for service members aren’t as restrictive when it comes to defining family members.
How to Get the Most Out of This Card
This card is a great Plan B if you don’t have a fully-stocked emergency fund yet, or you need to make a large purchase, because it has no annual fee and a low interest rate. It’s always best to pay your balance off as soon as possible. A low interest rate will direct more of your payment toward the balance rather than interest.
If you’re able to pay off your card in full each month right now, consider opening a low-interest-rate rewards card instead.
USAA offers some travel perks that we think are particularly useful, especially for military families. In order to get this coverage, you’ll need to have paid for the trip with your USAA credit card.
- Insurance for trip cancellation and interruption: If you’re on a trip and it’s canceled or interrupted due to things outside your control such as weather or sickness, you could be reimbursed for up to $1,500 per person.
- Insurance for delayed luggage: Similarly, if your baggage is delayed for four or more days, you could get up to $100 per day for three days to cover incidentals.
- Travel accident insurance: If you are injured or die while on a “common carrier” such as an airplane, bus, or train, you or your family members could be reimbursed through this travel accident insurance policy for up to $500,000.
- Rental car collision insurance (secondary to your own policy)
- Travel and emergency hotline
- Extended warranties
- Concierge for booking event tickets, travel, and other services
One thing USAA is good at is attracting loyal customers and keeping them happy. It performed extremely well in the J.D. Power 2020 U.S. Credit Card Satisfaction Study. USAA received the highest score of any national card issuer, but was not officially ranked due to the unique nature of the company.
For military members, USAA provides resources and support for military-specific financial needs, such as deployment, PCSing to a new base, and leaving the military. There aren’t any USAA banks in the Middle East, after all, and USAA is willing to work with you wherever the military sends you. You don’t have to be deployed to take advantage of some of its communication features, however, such as its mobile app or its customer service support line.
USAA doesn’t provide some of the security features that other credit card companies offer, such as the ability to lock your card from the mobile app or Social Security number monitoring. USAA does offer fraud monitoring and alerts, as well as zero fraud liability. USAA also provides identity theft resolution services and up to $1,000 in reimbursement for eligible expenses if your identity is ever stolen.
The USAA Rate Advantage Visa Platinum Card doesn’t come with any fees you wouldn’t expect. On the contrary, it has few fees, including zero foreign transaction fees.