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Anyone who has done their fair share of research when picking a cash back credit card should have come across the highly-acclaimed U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa Signature card, which has positioned itself as an attractive option. It certainly has great potential in the hands of a prudent consumer, but prospective applicants should consider the many changes that have occurred to the card’s program.

Launched in June 2012, the U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa Signature card adopted a cash back program that was very similar to the popular Chase Freedom® and Discover More cards, which offer bonus cash back on quarterly categories.

Cash+ cardmembers can choose 2 of 12 purchase categories that earn 5% cash back (subject to a $2,000 quarterly combined spending limit), 1 of 3 categories that earn 2% cash back, and everything else earns 1% cash back.

In the 5% cash back categories alone, a cardmember can earn $400 in cash back per year.

While most financial products are offered on a “take it or leave it” basis, the customization capability of the Cash+ card is a definite selling point to consumers who seek control over their finances.

The ability to choose your 5% cash back categories from quarter to quarter allows much more leeway to maximize cash back earnings. Meanwhile, the other cards have quarterly cash back categories that are strictly determined by the card issuers — not by customers.

For example, a cardholder who is about to make a major furniture or electronics purchase can select the “furniture” or “electronics stores” to earn 5% cash back. Otherwise, “cell phone” and “restaurants” make for great choices regardless of the season.

Becoming less attractive

A major concern arises from U.S. Bank’s right to change the category pool from quarter to quarter. At launch, airlines and automated bill payments were two very attractive categories within that pool. However, they were probably too good because they’re no longer available.

Additionally, there was no quarterly spending limit for bonus cash back categories when the card was launched. Placing a spending maximum hinders the amount of cash back that can be earned.

U.S. Bank makes an even more compelling case for the Cash+ card with a bonus $25 prepaid card when you redeem at least $100 in cash back at once. Originally, this bonus was available for each time that you redeemed $100 more. But now, it’s only valid once a year.

With such an enticing cash back program, it’s hard for anyone not find a reason to get the Cash+ card. Unfortunately, U.S. Bank has made it very difficult for many consumers to apply for the card. You can only apply for the Cash+ card by visiting a U.S. Bank branch, whereas an online application available previously.

Despite the many unwelcomed changes to the U.S. Bank Cash+ card, it remains a highly competitive compared to others. So, it’s not surprising to see why it’s often considered the best cash back credit card. (The only worthy opponent would be the American Express Blue Cash Preferred card, which is simply too good for grocery shoppers.)


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  • Moscato SugarRush

    A good alternative actually is the sallie mae world mastercard

    5% on gas and groceries

  • Hub

    This card is only a good choice if US Bank would keep their promise of rewarding its customers! I have a very good credit score and wanted to get a the US Bank Cash+
    Visa Signature Card to earn rewards. The 5% offer sounded pretty good
    in the ads – wow, I thought, you are able to choose the category where
    you purchase the most goods in. Not until after I had signed up did I
    notice all the odd categories that US Bank actually gives you to choose
    from. Many of these pre-set and static reward categories are nothing
    like other reward cards from Citibank, Chase or Discover, (such as for
    online purchases or travel purchases.)

    Oh no, they are the same
    lame narrow choices such as car rentals, sporting goods stores or
    furniture stores – surely nothing for most people to get excited about.

    just received my latest statement and found that none of the many
    purchases I made in electronic stores (the category I had chosen) were
    rewarded with the promised 5%! I sent an email via my US Bank internal
    account messaging system but did not get a response at all. After about
    two weeks I decided to call their phone number to get an answer. After
    being on hold for about ten minutes (while the operator discussed the
    situation with her supervisor) I was told that all these purchases were
    made at stores that are categorized as “software stores” not electronic
    stores and I, therefore, will not receive rewards for any of the items
    purchased at Sears, eCost, Calumet and eBatts! Since when are any of
    these venues considered software related sellers? Well, how convenient
    for US Bank though – they arbitrarily assign different labels/categories
    to stores if the rewards amount gets too high (I purchased electronic
    items such as a camera, batteries, etc for several thousand dollars and
    would have received more then $200.)

    US Bank wants us to pay
    items with their card yet they are not really interested in fulfilling
    their reward promise. I urge you not to use this card – you will get
    some cash back for small, insignificant purchases just to keep you
    hooked but do not expect to get rich here! Use a rewards card where
    you know that the promised benefit will surely end up in your account at
    the end of the month! The Cash+ Visa Signature Card is not one of
    them. I have years of experience with those cards I have mentioned
    earlier. They deliver what is promised and, in case of a problem, they
    will even err in your favor – as happened many times before with me.
    Just say no – it is not worth the trouble and a waste of your time.