Reviews USAA Rate Advantage Platinum MasterCard review
USAA Rate Advantage Platinum MasterCard review

USAA Rate Advantage Platinum MasterCard review

Published: August 15, 2017
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Ratings Policy
Low Interest Rating:
0 rating
0 rating
0 / 5
Rates, Fees, Penalties: 2.9
Rewards: 0.0
Features: 4.0

In a nutshell:

USAA Rate Advantage Platinum offers a low APR that is hard to beat, but it lacks a zero percent introductory offer, and the card is not available to the general public.  This offer is no longer available.

Regular APR
6.9-23.9%

Introductory Purchase APR
None

Introductory Balance Transfer APR
None

Fees

  • No annual fee
  • 3% balance transfer fee (max $200)
  • 1% foreign transaction fee
  • 6.9-23.9% cash advance APR
  • 3% cash advance fee (max $200)

Penalties

  • $35 late payment fee
  • No penalty APR
  • $35 returned payment fee

Other Notable Features: Identity-theft services, deployment/permanent change of station (PCS) rate, special 4% SCRA rate, military campaign benefit, price protection, satisfaction guarantee coverage, worldwide automatic travel accident insurance, baggage-delay insurance

This offer is no longer available.

The USAA Rate Advantage Platinum MasterCard has a lot going for it. It offers a 6.9 percent APR, one of the lowest interest rates in the industry; no annual fee; low foreign transaction fee; no penalty APR; and no over-the-credit-limit fee.  It also has some excellent travel benefits, of the type usually reserved for premium cards. However, it’s biggest drawback is the lack of a zero percent introductory offer for new and transferred balances.

Also, like other USAA cards, the USAA Rate Advantage Platinum MasterCard is only available to eligible armed forces members and honorably discharged veterans – and their families – and some individuals with certain types of military connections.

6.9 percent APR
The card offers an APR as low as 6.9 percent, which is exceptional even among low-interest-rate cards. Remember, however, that this low rate is reserved for cardholders with excellent credit. The rate can range up to 23.9 percent depending on your credit rating.

Low fees
The fees on this card are very reasonable. There’s no annual fee, penalty APR or over-the-credit-limit fee, and the card only charges 1 percent for the foreign transaction fee. The balance transfer rate is 3 percent, which is better than average, plus the card caps balance transfer fees at $200. Note, however, that there is no zero percent or even reduced introductory APR offer, so this is not an ideal card for debt consolidation.

No zero percent introductory offer
The lack of zero percent introductory offer is the main reason that we don’t rate the value of this card higher. Though the APR on this card is excellent and the fees are low, cardholders seeking to transfer a balance or carry a balance over a few years could save hundreds of additional dollars with a card that offers a zero percent APR for 12 months or longer.

Deployment/ Servicemember’s Civil Relief Act (SCRA) rate
You get a 4 percent APR on all balances for up to 12 months of your deployment. Plus, for a pre-existing balance, you get a 4 percent APR all the way up to a year after you return from deployment. It’s a good rate, but hardly the best. Some banks, such as Citi and Chase, waive interest altogether for members of the armed forces during active military service.

Price protection
If you find a lower price on a product within 60 days after purchasing it, USAA Rate Advantage Platinum will reimburse the difference. You can use this benefit up to four times a year.

No rewards
USAA Rate Advantage Platinum doesn’t offer a rewards program, which is a compromise for getting such a low APR. While you can find other low interest rate cards that offer rewards, you are unlikely to find one as low as 6.9 percent.

Reasons to get it:

  • You carry a balance on a permanent or semi-permanent basis and want the lowest APR you can get.
  • You are not interested in debt consolidation.
  • You don’t care about rewards points or cash back.
  • You want to do business with one of the top military-friendly banks.

How to use it:

  • Pay more than just the minimum. Don’t let the low interest rate trick you into paying off less than you can.
  • In order to be eligible for travel benefits, such as baggage-delay insurance or accident insurance, you must use the card to buy a ticket.

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