USAA is a leading U.S. financial services company that provides several consumer cards for you to choose from. These cards cover multiple categories, from the best travel credit cards to the best cashback cards.
In this guide, we’ll compare credit cards from USAA to see which ones offer the best benefits depending on your lifestyle and financial situation. If you’re interested in applying for a new USAA credit card, here are some fantastic options.
Latest USAA personal card offers
USAA Rate Advantage Visa Platinum® Card
Cardholders enjoy no annual fee, no foreign transaction fees, and no penalty APRs
Why We Like It
The USAA Rate Advantage Platinum Visa Card is a good option for eligible members paying down debt and looking for lower interest rates.
Cardholders enjoy no annual fee, no foreign transaction fees, and no penalty APRs.
USAA Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature Card
No liability on unauthorized purchases
Why We Like It
The USAA Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature Card is a military-friendly card that offers cash back rewards and other benefits.
Cardholders will enjoy extended warranty protection on purchases, mobile wallet features, and no foreign transaction fees.
Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every time.
Up to 5% cash back
Why We Like It
The USAA Cashback Rewards Plus American Express Card offers members generous cash back rewards on all qualifying purchases with no annual fee.
Enjoy 5% cash back on gas and military base purchases and 2% cash back on supermarket purchases for the first combined $3,000 spent annually.
Earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases throughout the year. Terms apply.
What is USAA?
USAA is a U.S.-based financial services company offering a wide range of products and services, including insurance, banking accounts, investment opportunities, and credit cards.
Founded in 1922 by a group of 25 Army officers, USAA started off as an automobile insurance company. Membership in the organization doubled to 30,000 during the Great Depression and continued to grow through the following decades. By 1969, USAA had grown to over one million members. The USAA Federal Savings Bank opened in 1983, and USAA.com was established in 1999.
Today, USAA serves over 12 million members and has a net worth of over $31 billion. The company has over 35,000 employees working in 11 U.S. offices and three international offices. The primary focus of USAA is to be the best provider of financial services, including credit cards, for the U.S. military community.
To qualify for a USAA credit card, you must be a USAA member. USAA membership is open to current and former military members, as well as their spouses and children. Since membership is specific to the military community, USAA cards are some of the best credit cards for military members.
What are the different types of USAA credit cards?
USAA offers a variety of credit card options for consumer use, including many no annual fee cards. The best no annual fee credit cards also provide additional benefits, so whether you’re interested in earning cash back, getting travel rewards, or finding a card with low interest rates — there’s a card for everyone. Consider the benefits of each card to find which would most align with your spending habits and financial needs.
USAA cashback cards
Cashback credit cards provide helpful earning potential when you use them for everyday spending. These types of cards are typically separated into cards that earn a flat, unlimited rate on every purchase and cards that earn bonus cash back on specific purchases, like gas and groceries.
If you don’t want to worry about bonus categories, consider a cashback card with a flat earning rate that you can use on every purchase you make. Or, if bonus categories align with your normal spending habits, go with a card that earns more cash back from those purchases.
USAA offers these cashback cards:
USAA travel cards
If you want to redeem your credit card rewards for travel, a USAA travel rewards card would likely make sense for you. Travel rewards credit cards often come with generous sign-up bonuses and earn points on every purchase; some even offer bonus points, depending on the types of purchases. For example, you may earn 1X points for every $1 you spend on most purchases, but a certain card could also offer 2X points on dining or gas station purchases.
When you use travel cards consistently on purchases in bonus categories, you’ll quickly rack up rewards you can redeem for travel, cash back, gift cards, and more. This is one of the best ways to fly for free using travel rewards.
Travel cards also provide additional benefits that bring a lot of value if you take advantage of them. For instance, the USAA Rewards American Express Credit Card offers 2,500 bonus points after your first purchase. And, you can always contact the card’s concierge services if you need help with venue reservations, getting event tickets, or making shopping purchases.
USAA offers these travel cards:
- USAA Rewards American Express Card
- USAA Rewards Visa Signature Card
- USAA Military Affiliate Visa Signature Card
- USAA Military Affiliate American Express Card
Low-interest USAA credit cards
Low-interest credit cards can provide you with a line of credit that won’t accrue interest at a high rate if you carry a monthly balance. These types of cards don’t typically come with any earning potential, but they can help you cover necessary expenses if you’re on a tight budget. Some low-interest cards come with introductory APR offers on balance transfers or new purchases, but USAA does not offer these promotions at this time.
USAA offers this low-interest credit card:
How does USAA compare to other credit card companies?
While USAA has a specific focus on providing services and credit cards for military members, it still competes with other large credit companies for its share of market space. Big companies like American Express, Barclays, and Chase are a few of USAA’s specific competitors. Let’s see how USAA matches up against the competition.
USAA vs. American Express
Both USAA and American Express offer multiple financial services, in addition to issuing credit cards. American Express provides savings accounts and payments processing services, while USAA focuses on different types of insurance, loans, and investment accounts.
USAA partners with Visa and American Express to process its card transactions, while American Express credit cards solely use the Amex payments network for transactions. The Amex payments network is accepted throughout 99% of the U.S., but Visa is accepted more widely around the world.
Overall, American Express has over 64,000 employees and USAA has more than 35,000.
USAA vs. Barclays
Barclays issues credit cards and offers other financial products, such as savings accounts and personal loans. USAA has the same offerings, but also delves into investments, insurance, and many other types of loans.
Barclays credit cards use both Visa and Mastercard to process their transactions. Visa and Mastercard are more widely accepted than Amex, so Barclays cards have a better worldwide acceptance rate when compared to USAA cards on the Amex payments network.
Barclays is based out of the U.K. and has more than 85,000 employees, while USAA is U.S.-based and has more than 35,000 employees.
USAA vs. Chase
USAA has a long history as a company, but it doesn’t quite match Chase’s history that dates back as far as 1799. Overall, though, the two companies do provide similar services. Both companies offer banking accounts, investment options, different types of loans, and multiple credit card products.
Similar to USAA, Chase is a card issuer, but not a payments network. Chase works with Visa and Mastercard for payments solutions around the world, while USAA works with Visa and Amex. This means Chase credit cards are more widely accepted because Visa and Mastercard are accepted in more locations than Amex.
Chase has more than 240,000 employees, which dwarfs the 35,000 at USAA.
Which USAA credit card should you choose?
The right USAA credit card for you depends on the purchases you make regularly. Since each card provides different benefits, the best card for someone else might not be the best card for you. Consider the benefits of each USAA card to determine which would be an ideal addition to your wallet.
If most of your purchases come from everyday expenses, like groceries, gas, or dining, look into a cashback credit card. This type of card is best for everyday spending because you earn cash back on every purchase. When you earn cash back on everything, you’re basically getting a discount on all your purchases.
For the frequent traveler, a travel credit card makes more sense. These cards earn rewards instead of cash back, and these rewards are designed to be redeemed for different things. One of the most popular redemption options is for travel, which includes airfare. So if you earn enough rewards, it’s easy to redeem them for discounted or free flights.
Remember, to qualify for any USAA credit card, you need to be an active or retired member of the military, or be an eligible family member. This military status or connection allows you membership into the USAA organization, but doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be approved for a USAA credit card.
FAQs about USAA credit cards
Who is eligible for USAA credit cards?
USAA credit cards and other products are available to any USAA member. To join USAA, you must be a current or former military member. You can also join if you’re the spouse or child of a USAA member.
What credit score do you need for a USAA card?
You likely need a good or excellent credit score to qualify for a USAA credit card. Good FICO scores start at 670 and excellent FICO scores are above 800.
How do you apply for a credit card from USAA?
You can apply for a USAA credit card by visiting USAA.com. Look for the credit card page that includes all the available USAA credit cards and click on the one you’d like to apply for. Keep in mind, you’ll need a USAA membership to be able to start a USAA credit card application. Only current or former military members and their families can join USAA.
Bottom line on the best USAA credit card for your wallet
USAA offers multiple credit card products to choose from, whether you’re looking for cash back, travel rewards, or a card with a low interest rate. Be sure to look over the benefits of each card to find the one that best suits your financial goals.
Keep in mind, USAA credit cards and other USAA products are for USAA members. Active-duty military members and military veterans can join USAA and so can their spouses and children. So if you’re not a current or former servicemember, you can still join USAA if your spouse or parent was or is in the military.