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5 Common Questions About USAA Credit Cards Answered

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USAA is short for the United Services Automobile Association. Twenty-five (25) army officers founded USAA in 1922 to insure their automobiles.

But it’s not all about auto insurance in 2020.

Today, USAA offers a suite of insurance, banking, and other financial services.

Its mission is to be the “provider of choice for the U.S. military community and their immediate families.” To achieve this goal, USAA focuses all its resources on military servicemembers and their families, and there are strict rules regarding who can become a member.

While it might seem like a specialized organization, USAA offers many of the same rewards credit cards that other large banking companies do. More on that below.

1. Who Can Apply for a USAA Credit Card? 

You must be a USAA member before you can apply for a USAA credit card.

A USAA Membership is available to active, retired, or separated veterans with a discharge type of “Honorable” from the U.S. military and their eligible family members.

Who qualifies as an eligible family member? A qualified family member can be:

  • A spouse, widow, widower, or an un-remarried former spouse of a USAA member who joined USAA before or during the marriage
  • Individuals whose parents joined USAA, including children of deceased parents if that parent joined USAA while living
  • Parents and siblings are NOT eligible to join USAA

You can find more information about who can join USAA by visiting their website.

2. What Types of Credit Cards Does USAA Offer?

USAA has several options in its line-up, including points rewards cards, cash back cards, and one low-interest rate card for those who expect to carry a balance from month to month.

Let’s walk through USAA’s credit card offers.

Rewards Points Cards

Rewards points cards allow you to earn points when you use your credit card to make purchases. You can apply the points you accumulate to your travel purchases, cash back, gift cards, and more.

Here are USAA’s rewards points cards:

  • USAA Rewards™ American ExpressⓇ Card
  • USAA Military Affiliate American ExpressⓇ Card
  • USAA Rewards™ Visa SignatureⓇ Card
  • USAA Military Affiliate Visa SignatureⓇ Card

The USAA Rewards American Express Card and the USAA Military Affiliate American Express Card are offered through American Express but have different rewards structures.

The USAA Rewards American Express Card offers 3X points for dining, 2X points for gas and groceries, and 1X points on all other purchases. For any standard purchase, one point is equivalent to $1.

So, with the USAA Rewards American Express Card, you would earn 3 points for every dollar spent in a restaurant, 2 points for every dollar spent on gas, and so on.

The USAA Military Affiliate American Express Card gives cardholders 2X points for gas and groceries and 1X points on all other purchases. Both cards have no annual fee and offer 2,500 bonus points after your first purchase.

The USAA Rewards Visa Signature Card and USAA Military Affiliate Visa Signature Card follow a similar rewards structure. The USAA Rewards™ Visa SignatureⓇ Card gives customers 2X points on gas and dining out and 1X points on all other purchases. With the USAA Military Affiliate Visa SignatureⓇ Card, you can earn 1X points on all purchases. Neither has an annual fee – a theme with the cards at USAA – and both boast a 2500 point bonus after the first purchase.

All rewards can be accessed within your USAA banking account and applied to many enticing purchases, as mentioned at the top of this section. It is even possible to transfer points into cash back and put it directly back into your account.

Cash back Rewards

Cash back rewards cards give you a certain percentage of your money back on purchases. Often, specific purchase categories have more associated rewards. USAA has two different cash back credit cards:

  • Cash back Rewards Plus American Express Card
  • Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature Card

The cash back Rewards Plus American Express Card is particularly appealing for active-duty military members.

It provides 5% cash back on your first $3,000 in combined gas station and military base purchases every year.

It also offers 2% cash back on $3,000 in grocery purchases yearly and unlimited cash back on all other purchases. The Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature Card has 1.5% cash back on all purchases with no category restrictions. Neither of these cards has an annual fee.

Low-Interest Rate Card

USAA does offer one low rate card for those who expect or want to carry a balance on their card and are looking for a low-interest rate.

This card is called the USAA Rate Advantage Visa Platinum Card.

It has variable APR rates ranging from 6.90% to 23.90%, no penalty APR, and no annual fee.

3. How do I apply for a USAA Credit Card?

To apply for a USAA credit card, you must first be a member of USAA. If you want to become a member of USAA, you have to fit into one of the following categories:

  • U.S. Military Members and Veterans
  • Precommissioned Officers
  • Spouses and Children (of the above)

If you do not fall into any of those categories, you will not be able to apply for a USAA credit card. Once you are a member of USAA, you can apply online or over the phone.

4. Can I Contact USAA if I Need Help With My Credit Card?

USAA has several points of contact if you need assistance.

Their website has a virtual assistant with an automatic chat function.

They also have two customer service phone lines for their banking services: 210-531-8722 or 800-531-8722.

5. What do I do if I Lose my USAA Credit Card?

If you lose your USAA credit card, contact USAA immediately. You can notify them on their website, mobile app, or by calling the customer service line listed in the section above. They’ll provide you with a replacement card.