Credit Cards Credit Card Reviews

USAA Rate Advantage Visa Platinum Card Review

overall rating
2.8

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The USAA Rate Advantage Visa Platinum Card offers a single, relatively low APR on purchases, balance transfers, and cash advances. The card also keeps fees to a minimum, including charging no annual fee, foreign transaction fees, or penalty APR.

However, the card offers no rewards or one-time offer.

USAA Rate Advantage Visa Platinum® Card

Overall Rating
2.8
USAA Rate Advantage Visa Platinum® Card
On USAA Savings Bank's Secured Site.
Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 6.9% - 23.9% variable
Annual Fee $0
Rewards Earning Rate This card does not offer a rewards program.
Balance Transfer Fee 3% of the amount of each transfer.
Foreign transaction fee (%) 0%
how this card stacks up
When compared among all low cost cards in our database:
Low Fees
Security/Customer Experience
Low Interest
Rewards
Benefits
worst best

The USAA Rate Advantage Visa Platinum is not one of our top-rated credit cards. You can review our list of the best credit cards for what we think are better options.

Full Review of USAA Rate Advantage Visa Platinum Card

Pros
  • Very low APR if you have strong credit

  • Relatively few fees to watch out for

  • Decent benefits for a no-annual-fee card

  • USAA customer service is exceptional

Cons
  • No rewards or one-time offer

  • Must be a military family to apply

Pros Explained

  • Very Low APR If You Have Strong Credit: This credit card offers a single variable APR on purchases, balance transfers and cash advances that can be very low with rates as low as 6.90% for those with excellent credit, which is far lower than the norm, even for those customers. Of course, not everyone will qualify for the best rates and rates can potentially range as high as 23.90%. Still, that rate is still competitive, if not better, for those with less-than-stellar credit histories. You may even qualify for better rates than these if you have an existing balance on another card from before you began your service. In particular, if you qualify and submit a request within the correct time frame, certain existing balances you incurred before active duty may qualify for a 4% APR. (The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act only requires a reduced interest rate of 6% on credit cards when you qualify, so this 4% APR offer is a better benefit.)
  • Relatively Few Fees to Watch Out For: This credit card doesn’t charge an annual fee, foreign transaction fees, minimum interest charges or a penalty APR. The other fees with this card are either in line with, or slightly more favorable, than the industry norms. For instance, USAA waives the cash-advance fee if the cash advance is electronically transferred to a USAA deposit account.
  • Decent Travel and Purchase Benefits for a No-Fee Card: Some benefits offered with the USAA Rate Advantage Visa Platinum are far from universal for cards with no annual fee, especially when considered as a whole. These pluses include auto-rental collision damage waiver, baggage-delay reimbursement, extended warranty protection, trip cancellation and interruption coverage, and travel-accident insurance.
  • USAA Customer Service is Exceptional: While it’s rare to contact customer service for a credit card, you’re often in some distress when you do, having lost a card or had it stolen. That makes outstanding responsiveness and competence all the more important in a credit-card issuer. Since its offerings are limited to a certain population, USAA isn’t included in the rankings of J.D. Power’s 2019 U.S. Credit Card Satisfaction Study. If it were, though, it would top the list, with a score of 866 out of a possible 1,000—even higher than those for Discover and American Express.

Cons Explained

  • No Rewards or One-Time Offer: This card does not offer any credit card rewards or cash back. This isn’t uncommon for credit cards focused on offering low APRs, but it is still a drawback. The USAA Rate Advantage Visa Platinum does not offer a bonus of any kind. Most rewards credit cards offer a bonus of at least $100 or more to entice people to apply for the card.
  • Must Be From a Military Family to Apply: You can’t apply for this card unless you’re a USAA member. To qualify for membership, you must be an active-duty officer, trainee, officer-candidate, veteran, or enlistee in the Armed Forces or National Guard and Reserve, or be a former spouse or adult child of a USAA member. If you don’t meet any of these criteria, you’ll have to find another credit card.

This Card is Best For

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As its name implies, the USAA Rate Advantage Visa Signature card is designed for military families who seek a credit card that, above all, has favorable rates and fees. It’s especially suitable for customers who are highly creditworthy, for whom the card offers exceptionally low APRs. But even those with ho-hum credit scores are likely to get as good a rate with the USAA Rate Advantage Visa Signature card as with any other card.The card is also ideal for those who own no other credit cards with handy purchase and travel features. The USAA Rate Advantage Visa Signature provides extended warranty coverage on the items you buy, along with accident insurance, rental-car insurance, and emergency assistance when you travel—all at no annual fee. 

The card could also be a gateway to other financial products and services offered by USAA, including insurance, banking, investing, and loans. The company’s customer-service record is strong in all of these products and services, and it tends to rank highly, too, on the price and features of those offerings.  

USAA Rate Advantage Visa Platinum Card’s Outstanding Benefits

  • Baggage-delay reimbursement: Get reimbursed up to $100 per day for up to three days to get the essential items you need if your checked baggage is delayed for four or more hours when you pay for your passenger fare with your card.
  • Trip cancellation and interruption coverage: Get up to $1,500 per covered person for non-refundable prepaid passenger fare if your travel is interrupted or canceled when you buy your ticket with your card.

Standard Benefits

  • Auto-rental collision damage waiver
  • Concierge services for concert tickets, reservations, and travel
  • Extended warranty coverage
  • Travel accident insurance
  • Travel and emergency assistance 

Cardholder Experience

USAA has an outstanding reputation for customer service. The company received a score of 866 in J.D. Power’s 2019 U.S. Credit Card Satisfaction Study. This is the top score of all issuers surveyed, and significantly exceeded the average score of all national issuers, which was 806. USAA was not eligible to be ranked because it did not meet the study award criteria.

You can contact USAA by calling 800-531-8722. When logged into your account, you may be able to communicate via chat messages as well as by sending secure messages through your account. USAA also has mobile apps for iOS and Android you can use to manage your accounts.

Security Features

USAA claims to have industry-leading security measures including secure and fast logon options such as biometrics, Quick Logon, CyberCode text, and computer recognition.

USAA also offers the usual industry capabilities to help you get back to normal if you’re a victim of identity theft. Those include identity-theft resolution services that help put fraud alerts on your credit reports with the three major credit bureaus, dispute inaccurate information due to fraud, and replace your credit and debit cards. They also offer personal identity-theft reimbursement of up to $1,000 for covered expenses you pay to help restore your identity after a qualifying stolen identity event.

Fairly Standard Fees

While some of the fees the USAA Rate Advantage Visa Platinum card charges are fairly standard, others are notably absent. The card has no annual fee, foreign transaction fees, minimum interest charges, account maintenance fees, or penalty APR.

Other fees are lower than the norm. The balance transfer- and cash advance fees are 3%, no matter the amount of the transaction, where many cards impose minimums for these, such as $5 or $10. Additionally, the cash-advance fee is waived if money is transferred electronically to a USAA deposit account.

Our Verdict

The USAA Rate Advantage Visa Platinum card is purpose-built to minimize fees and charges. The card foregoes such niceties as rewards and a one-time offer in order to keep a lid on the cost of carrying a balance, getting cash advances, and other transactions. In part, it accomplishes that goal by having a single—and, for many customers, notably low—APR for purchases, balance transfers, and cash advances. There are better cards, however, for military families who pay their bills every month and don’t anticipate needing cash advances and the like. If that describes you, a card that offers rewards might be a better fit. For instance, the USAA Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature, another card with no annual fee, has some slightly higher fees and rates than this card but provides the same benefits and adds 1.5% cash-back rewards on all purchases.

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For USAA Rate Advantage Visa Platinum® Card
on USAA Savings Bank's Secured Site.
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CURRENT CARD
USAA Rate Advantage Visa Platinum® Card
overall rating
2.8
Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 6.9% - 23.9% variable
Annual Fee $0
Investopedia Credit Card Rating Methodology
Investopedia is committed to delivering the best credit card recommendations in the industry. We’ll tell you when a card is good, we’ll tell you when a card is bad, and we’ll only call a card the best if we would recommend it to our friends or family members.
Overall Star Rating Explained
To rate credit cards we objectively assess, score and weight nearly 100 individual card features which roll up into five major feature sets: fees, interest, rewards, benefits and security/customer service. Here’s how we weighted those feature sets for the overall star rating of a card:
We have applied our proprietary rating methodology to every generally-accepted credit card in the U.S. domestic market to allow consumers to make fully informed choices. It’s important to note that for our overall score that we make a number of assumptions about how you would be using your credit card:
  1. While we make no assumption as to whether balances are carried on a given card we do assign varying weights to all credit cards’ introductory APR (if present) in addition to the regular, long term purchase and balance transfer interest rates.
  2. We utilize BLS (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics) income and average category spending data to calculate annual earnings rates for rewards cards that offer cash back, points or miles rewards at a set rate on all spending or in consideration of bonus rewards for certain spending categories, like gasoline, groceries, restaurants or travel.
  3. We determine the maximum points value of rewards cards by dividing the points, cash back or miles required to exchange for the retail price of the most valuable redemption option (for example, in the case of a card that offers a domestic roundtrip airline ticket as a redemption option vs. another redemption option of lesser value that requires the same amount of points or miles to acquire, we would base the rewards value on the airline ticket).
  • Cards that are selected best overall in their respective categories generally feature most if not all of the following attributes:
  • Low or Reasonable Fees Credit card fees come in many forms but the primary ones involve those for annual card membership and balance transfer. There are a myriad of reward and non-reward card options that charge no annual fee but for the many that do assess an annual fee the cost is often justified by their lucrative ongoing rewards and initial signup bonuses. Balance transfer fees are occasionally waived during introductory periods with certain cards, a factor which is heavily and positively weighted in our scoring model for cards offering this benefit. When charged, balance transfer fees range between 3% - 5%, which we grade accordingly. Other standard fees can generally be avoided, such as those for paying late or taking cash advances but we rate those relative to other cards in the market for reference, though with less weight assigned
  • Competitive Interest Many cards offer 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for varying lengths and then revert to a permanent or regular APR (based on a variable rate tied to the prime rate) that applies to any balances not paid in full. We rate both introductory APR percentage and length (in months) along with the midpoint of the variable regular APR interest rate range.
  • Valuable Rewards Credit card reward programs can be based on cash back, points or travel rewards (which can be generic or travel partner-specific, as with airline and hotel co-brand card programs). For cards that offer rewards we determine the value per dollar spent along with average redemption values and assign more favorable ratings to cards that offer superior consumer value. We also assign value to sign-up bonus offers and their initial spending requirements, when present.
  • Excellent Benefits Credit card benefits cover a range of offerings like concierge service, TSA Pre-check, auto rental coverage, travel accident insurance, lost luggage assistance and free credit scores. We rate cards on the number and level of over a dozen standard and upscale benefits and provide extra weighting emphasis for those travel-related perks that apply to premium travel cards when present.
  • Solid Security/Customer Service Security and customer service features like lost or stolen card replacement, being able to lock one’s card from an issuer app and 24 hour customer support are becoming more standard across the card market and we provide a significant amount of weighting to features in this area.
  • You can also read the full version of our methodology for a more in-depth look at how we assess cards and award them the best in various categories.