US Bank Cash Plus Visa Signature Credit Card Review

Last Reviewed: 6/24/2012

US Bank Cash Plus: New Card On The BlockThe US Bank Cash Plus Visa card is a newcomer on the scene, only a few weeks old as of the writing of this post (props to Rich M, dedicated PIQ reader, for bringing it to my attention!). My initial take on this card is extremely positive due to the ability to select two 5% cash back categories from a fairly long list. But read on for the details.

Quick Stats for the US Bank Cash Plus Visa

  • Base Rewards: 1% cash back
  • Bonus Category Rewards:
    • Earn 2% cash back on one of the following categories that you choose: gas, groceries, or drug stores.
    • Earn 5% cash back on two categories of your choice. See “Earnings” section below for a complete list of categories.
  • Sign-Up Bonus: None.
  • Annual Fee: None.
  • Redemption: Get $25 cash bonus when you redeem in increments of $100 or more.

Earning Cash Back With US Bank’s Cash Plus Visa

It goes like this: each quarter you select (1) 2% cash back category and (2) 5% cash back categories. Everything else earns 1% cash back.

The whole key to this card is the two 5% categories that you get to choose each quarter. While this card is still extremely new (just a couple of weeks old as of date of this post), their service agents (and I spoke to more than one), believe that the full array of categories will be available each quarter, not some sub-set. This is something I’ll keep an eye on, but if true, bodes very well for the future of this rising star.

5% Cash Back Categories Available Each Quarter

So here’s the list of categories:

  • Department Stores
  • Restaurants
  • Home Improvemement Stores
  • Electronics Stores
  • Airlines
  • Hotels
  • Bill payment (when you set up automatic bill payment for phone, internet, cable/satellite TV, utilities, and insurance)
  • Fast Food
  • Furniture Stores
  • Car Rentals
  • Charity (such as American Red Cross, United Way, etc)
  • Movie Theaters

Why The 2% Bonus Category Isn’t A Major Benefit

For the 2% category selection, you get to choose one from 3 major categories (gas, supermarkets, drug stores). We don’t get that excited about this benefit, since with cards like the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express you can get tremendous cash back rewards. Also, there are a few credit cards that give you 2% cash back on every purchase (albeit with an annual fee), like the Capital One Spark Card and Capital One Venture Card.

Updating US Bank Cash Plus Visa Every QuarterPain In The Arse Alert: One thing to watch out for: EVERY quarter you need to contact US Bank (either by phone or through your online account) and select your two 5% categories and your single 2% category. If you fail to do so, your rewards for that quarter will be 1% across the board. One good point is that you can set up text and email alerts to help you out.   I wonder if people will find themselves waking up the night before in cold sweats at having almost forgotten to make their selections.

Redeeming Rewards With the US Bank Cash Plus Visa Credit Card

Redemption is pretty straight-forward (not the religious sort—that requires all sorts of effort!) with the US Bank Cash Plus Visa. The key here is when you redeem in amounts of $100 or more, you’ll get a $25 bonus. Of course, you should ALWAYS redeem for exactly $100, and not a penny more, since that will give you the maximum 25% extra lift in the value of your cash back.

PlasticIQ’s Concluding Thoughts On US Bank Cash Plus Card

While it’s still early days and this card may have some as-yet-undiscovered warts (eww!), as of now it looks like a strong winner. The ability to shift and choose two 5% categories each quarter is very powerful, and there are some promising categories to choose from.

You can apply for the US Bank Cash Plus Visa Signature Card here.