U.S. Bank Cash+ Plus Visa Signature Card Review – More 5% Cash Back

There’s a new entrant in the world of 5% cash back credit cards. The U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa Signature card actually lets you choose and change the categories in which you can earn 5% and 2% cash back. Here’s how it works. Each quarter, you can enroll to choose one 2% back category from a list of three options: gas stations, grocery stores, or drugstores. You then get to choose two different 5% back categories from a list of other categories like bill payment, restaurants, or departments stores. Here’s a helpful visual I took from their website which includes all the 5% options:

You can pick the same categories each quarter, or switch them up once a quarter based on your planned spending. The “Bill Payment” category looks pretty useful to me, especially as I pay my insurance bills annually or semi-annually in a lump-sum.

Bill Payment: 5%
Examples include service providers like Comcast, DIRECTV, AT&T and State Farm insurance.

Get cash back every month when you use your U.S. Bank Cash+™ Card to pay for the following common household bills — phone, internet, cable/satellite TV, utilities and insurance. Please note: Purchases made outside of these specific categories do not qualify.

1% cash back on everything else, with no annual fee. As you can see, this card is competitive on its own but with such flexibility I see it as a great complement to the other 5% cash back cards like the Chase Freedom, Citi Dividend, and Discover More cards. If you have multiple cards, simply choose a category that isn’t covered by your other cards. My credit card “swiss army knife” now has another tool.

Another under-appreciated perk? There is no limit on the 5% cash back (or the 2% and 1% back). Most other cards have a cap of $1,500 of spending each quarter, which works out to $75. Let’s say you are buying $5,000 in appliances one quarter, now you can get 5% back on the whole amount if you chose Home Improvement, good for a full $250 cash back. Or say you’re spending $2,500 on airfare and hotels, pick those categories for a full $125 cash back.

Actually, you can do even better because they also offer a $25 Prepaid Visa card each time you redeem $100 or more cash back in a single redemption. Essentially, this means you can get up to 25% extra cash back, making the 5%/2%/1% rewards boosted up to 6.25%/2.5%/1.25% if you cash out at the right time. The way they set it up is more complicated than I would like, but I’ll take it.

Finally, a reader notes that if you have a Platinum Checking account relationship with US Bank, you’ll get yet another additional 50% bonus on credit cards rewards earned. The Platinum level requires $25,000 in deposits, investments, or credit balances including mortgages and home equity loans to avoid a monthly fee. But if you already bank or have a mortgage with them, the rewards bonus may be better than the 1% APY you’d get on your money somewhere else.

Comments

  1. How are the rewards for this card compared to say the citi thankyou points system? I can’t find where they show the rewards. Is there a student loan rebate option?

  2. Ignore my last comment, seems it is a straight cashback card – no points, duh

  3. Thanks for the heads up on this, very attractive offer. Genearl question for you since I know you have opened a ton of credit cards over the years – do you cancel them when they are of little to no use anymore or leave them open and inactive indefinitely? I have never really understood the impact on credit score, and in general do not really like the idea of having our 5-6 lines of credit open at any given time.

    Primarily asking because it is possible that I will buy a house in the next few years and would hate to have my FICO impacted by trying to chase a couple hundred extra bucks in the form of reward $.

  4. Thanks for posting the list of possible categories, I was trying to find that for this card. Do you happen to know how much the 5% category choices vary from quarter to quarter?

  5. @Nate – Yup, straight cash back. :)

    @Patrick – You may find this post useful:

    How Opening and Closing Credit Card Accounts Affects Your Credit Score

  6. @Jim – That’s a good question. I’m currently under the impression that the category list stays the same, and you are simply able to pick different ones out of the same basket each quarter. I’m not 100% sure on this though, so I’ll try to confirm.

  7. Still waiting on a response, but here’s my supporting evidence.. Here’s a sample screenshot of Q2 categories from earlier in the year:

    http://www.mymoneyblog.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/uscashplus_q3.jpg

    which seem the pick from the same basket as Q4 categories listed above:

    http://www.mymoneyblog.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/uscashplus_q4.jpg

    I’m also intrigued by the “Bill Payment” category:

    Bill Payment: 5%
    Examples include service providers like Comcast, DIRECTV, AT&T and State Farm insurance.

    Get cash back every month when you use your U.S. Bank Cash+™ Card to pay for the following common household bills — phone, internet, cable/satellite TV, utilities and insurance. Please note: Purchases made outside of these specific categories do not qualify.

    Those are some common expenses, especially as my State Farm bills are quite large as I consolidate my homeowners + auto there.

  8. I’ve had this credit card for a few months now, and the categories have remained the same. You can choose the same category quarter after quarter if you like. The Bill Payment category is awesome, I don’t know of any other card that provides this category. That’s been one of my 5% categories since I got this card.

  9. Definitely Nam, yes I have had the card a few months as well and the categories are the same this quarter as last. I don’t know that I have ever seen a bill payment cashback category that seems to cover so many different types of bills with unlimited cashback, crazy. I called and USB said that even car and home insurance was covered? I am testing this category for the first time this quarter to see if that is all true, but lots of categories and being able to choose new ones each quarter is sweet. Also, cashback redemption is very easy with USB in my experience =).

  10. Thanks for sharing your experiences, Nam and Jesse. I definitely will put my insurance charges on this card, works out great since State Farm doesn’t take American Express.

  11. Anyone know what credit bureau(s) the scores are pulled from during the application process?

  12. I haven’t applied for a credit card in ages. FICO is over 800 and owe nothing except for mortgages. Lots of credit history. Income under 100k but retired. Anxious to see why it takes 7-10 days. I too pay large State Farm Insurance Bills and food is going sky-high. Lack of cap on categories is appealing as well. Will keep you posted.

  13. Does anyone know where U.S. Bank has its headquarters. I tried finding locations on the bank’s website but it spun me around quite a bit and there seems to be a problem at my end. I am very interested in obtaining this card but wondered about locations. Thanks for any input. Really appreciate this website.

  14. Great tip on this. Thank you Jonathan!

    Chip

  15. “Finally, a reader notes that if you have a Platinum Checking account relationship with US Bank, you’ll get yet another additional 50% bonus on credit cards rewards earned.”

    The 50% bonus is only on the base 1% rewards, not the extra 1% or extra 4% catagories.

  16. Margaret : US bank is headquartered in Minnesota but they have local branches throught the West, Midwest and some Southern states.

    A 3rd party website gave list of states they have branches in :

    Arkansas Arizona California
    Colorado Iowa Idaho
    Illinois Indiana Kansas
    Kentucky Minnesota Missouri
    Montana North Dakota Nebraska
    Nevada Ohio Oregon
    South Dakota Tennessee Utah
    Washington Wisconsin Wyoming

    I don’t know how accurate that is.

  17. your signup link is broken

  18. Oh and just one more thing on this card, there is a conversion option as well. I had the Select Rewards FlexPerks USB card, and USB converted it into the Cash Plus without a credit check =). The conversion was done very quickly over the phone, nice.

  19. Would converting an old US Bank card to Cash+ cause its origin date to be reset?

  20. “Bill Payment: 5%
    Examples include service providers like Comcast, DIRECTV, AT&T and State Farm insurance.

    Get cash back every month when you use your U.S. Bank Cash+™ Card to pay for the following common household bills — phone, internet, cable/satellite TV, utilities and insurance. Please note: Purchases made outside of these specific categories do not qualify.”

    Does the phone category include cell phone bill too?

  21. still waiting to hear from my application on line. signed up Oct. 14th and it is now the 25th. 11 days when they toute 7-11. Hope I didn’t take a credit inquiry for zip service.

  22. my utility company will accept a credit card payment w/ western union ($2.25 fee per $600 payment – so if this works would be worth the fee) – how will this show up on the bill – will us bank know that it it a utility payment? Does anyone have experience w/ this? thanks,

  23. Got approved and selection of categories was easy. You can log in to the card site but must have to have an on line account with the bank to see statements etc. Signed up TW, utility bills (auto), and will see how fastfood category vs. restaurant category pans out. Interest rate was very good compared to other rates I’ve had in the past. So far so good.

  24. Sorry, meant to say they checked Equifax for my application.

  25. Thanks, Dale!

  26. Well chose 5% fast food, 5% Bill Pay, and 2% groceries. Statement lists “Reward Dollars Activity” with two line items:
    Cash Rewards (Per US Bank this is the 1% everything else) and Bonus -Grocery, Bill Pyments, Fast Food (2% and 5% categories). There is no way to tell if your transactions are 1%, 2%, or 5% transactions. I did ask about Time Warner and was told they count. So of the $10.97 Reward Dollars my Time Warner charge of $145.75 accounted for most of it.

    I signed up for USA online banking so that I could pay this card on line each month (saves a stamp) and that was easy. I’ll check on the bank debit end and see how fast that gets accomplished.

    I agree that choosing the right 5% categories is the key. They can’t tell me if paying property taxes would count. There is a fee for charging property taxes in my county so you take a chance that you’ll lose that processing fee if the card doesn’t pick it up as a 5% bill pay rebate. Who knows.

  27. I’m fond of credit cards that allow me to link a bank account for payment and then automatically have the entire balance paid on each due date. Can I do that with this card?

  28. DollarBill says:

    Just received an email from US Bank announcing the 5%/2% catagories for the first quarter of 2013. “Bill Payment” remains a 5% catagory !

    BTW, I tested my card at my Walmart Supercenter (which carries groceries) and I did receive a 2% cash back bonus for my “Grocery Store” selection.

  29. Irritatingly received the regular 1% cash/non-signature card instead! Finally got someone on the phone who offered to convert it for me–after 32 days.

  30. Looks like you can no longer apply on-line for the Cash+ card unless you’ve been targeted with a “confirmation” code. Looks like you might be able to apply at a US Bank branch:
    https://www.usbank.com/credit-cards/cash-plus-signature.html

  31. Any chance to be able to sign up by phone?

  32. In case anyone was wondering I was able to call and sign up by phone.

    Thanks!

  33. Looks like the bills category is no more. It was good while it lasted. I wonder if the new bookstore option will include all amazon purchases since they show up as “Merchandise – BOOK STORES”, despite the usbank site specifically saying “NOOK® book purchases and Amazon Kindle book purchases”. That said, I’d probably have to go with the new cell phone option to still get that bill perk, and it would be hard to replace the restaurant option since in addition when you actually go out to eat, it often counts towards bars that also serve food.

  34. Right Nate, pretty shocking loss of the 5% bill payment category now that I linked up my bills to my new USBank cash plus CC. The new cell phone and bookstore categories are useless to me as I have a family plan cell service and go to the library for books.

    You feel in the dark much of the time regarding the calculation of the transactions. They clump “Bonus-Grocery, Bill Pmymts, Fast Food” into one Reward Dollars Activity line — that’s it. “cash rewards” is the only other line item and that’s the 1% category.As soon as I reached $110 Total Reward Dollars I redeemed it. Just got the rewards card for $25 and it can be used through 2015.

    High foreign transaction fee on this card. Cost $65 on some Viking River Boat tickets even though booked in the US. My local credit union guru assured me there would be no foreign transaction fee in Europe and that seems to be the best way to handle that.

    I am disappointed by this change of categories but will see how it goes. The no limit on purchases is helpful as BOA it is $1500 a quarter and most people don’t realize that.

  35. You can navigate on your USBank website to rewards center and keep clicking on blue highlighted text to get to a useful “rewards history” screen which shows (though confusing) the breakdown on what they are assigning with the rewards credits. They post two line item percentages on the 2%/5% category transactions which is very confusing.

    If anyone understands why they do it this way please let me know.

  36. Just received a notice in my bill, starting July 1, 2013, “you will onlly be able to redeem one $25 Cash+ Bonus per calendar year.”

    This combined with the loss of “bill payments” as a category makes this card less and less useful for me.

  37. The 5% is now limited to the first $2,000 per quarter of purchases in that category or $100 cash back per quarter. The $25 bonus is now limited to 1 per year. The account is not only available for application in a branch only, no web, phone or mail applications.

Speak Your Mind

*