If you’re looking for a credit card with an introductory rate of 0% APR, the U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card offers a couple of ways for you to carry a balance temporarily — without racking up any interest.
U.S. Bank is promoting this card for “handling emergencies.” It offers a 20-month introductory period at 0% APR on both new purchases and balance transfers. The card also carries no annual fee.
But is this your best option in a crowded 0% APR credit card market? Team Clark set out to measure the usefulness of U.S. Bank’s Platinum offering in this credit card review.
Table of Contents
- What Is the U.S. Bank Visa Platinum Card?
- Card Specs and Perks
- Optimal Uses for the U.S. Bank Visa Platinum Card
- U.S. Bank Visa Platinum Card vs. Bank of America Cash Rewards
- Final Thoughts
Team Clark has spent time evaluating the credit card market in several categories including the best options for balance transfers and 0% APR introductory periods. We’ve compared the U.S. Bank Visa Platinum Card to the best cards in these segments of the market. And we’ve determined that it’s a viable choice for those seeking a 0% APR period on both new purchases and balance transfers because of its 20-month introductory period.
As you’re making your decision on whether the U.S. Bank Visa Platinum Card is a fit for you, please use Team Clark’s review of the card in conjunction with Clark Howard’s 7 Rules for Using Credit Cards.
What Is the U.S. Bank Visa Platinum Card?
The U.S. Bank Visa Platinum Card is a credit card known for its generous 20-month introductory 0% APR periods for both new purchases and balance transfers.
The card carries no annual fee, but it does not have a rewards program to incentivize purchases.
U.S. Bank Visa Platinum Card: Specs and Perks
Before we get too far into whether or not this credit card is the right choice for you, let’s take a look at the fine print to examine some of the card’s perks and drawbacks:
Cardholder Benefits and Perks
- Welcome Period for New Purchases: There is a 20-month introductory period for 0% APR on new purchases. This means you could potentially spend — without interest — for nearly two years if you maintain your minimum payments and pay off the balance before the conclusion of the welcome period.
- Welcome Period for Balance Transfers: The card also offers a 20-month introductory period of 0% APR on balance transfers. But this applies only to balances you transfer within the first 60 days of your card membership. These balances are subject to a balance transfer fee, which is either $5 or 3% of the total transfer amount.
- No Annual Fee: There is no set annual cost to card membership, so you won’t feel like you have to use the card just to justify your membership cost.
- Fraud Protection: U.S. Bank has a system in place to detect and notify you of any suspicious activity on your card to protect you from fraudulent charges.
- Cell Phone Protection: If you pay your wireless service bill with your U.S. Bank Visa Platinum Card, you’re eligible for insurance coverage for damage or theft of any phone on your plan. The coverage gives you up to $600 per claim and up to two claims per 12 months.
- Free Credit Score: If you enroll for online banking with U.S. Bank, card membership unlocks free access to credit scores and credit report monitoring through TransUnion.
- Mobile Pay: This card is compatible with Apple Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay, so you should be able to make contactless transactions with merchants who support these payment methods. You can read more about this functionality here.
Here’s a quick look at some of the fees you may encounter with the U.S. Bank card:
- Annual Fee: None
- Balance Transfer Fee: $5 or 3% of the total transfer, whichever is greater
- Cash Advance Fee: $10 or 4% of the total advance, whichever is greater
- Foreign Transaction Fee: 2% on foreign purchases made in U.S. dollars, 3% on foreign purchases made in foreign currency
- Late Payment Fee: Up to $40
Optimal Uses for the U.S. Bank Visa Platinum Card
The U.S. Bank Visa Platinum Card is versatile enough to be a potential add for consumers who are in different stages of their financial lives.
Let’s take a look at some of the strategies for getting the most from this card:
As a 0% Purchasing Card
If you’re not carrying any credit card debt and are looking to make a significant purchase soon, this U.S. Bank card could be an attractive option.
With a 0% APR period of 20 months, a new cardholder could have the better part of two years to pay off the balance on this card before the first dollar of interest will come due.
For example, you could make a large purchase — such as a $3,000 riding lawn mower — and pay it off with 20 $150 payments for the duration of the introductory 0% APR period.
With the financial outlook so unsure because of the coronavirus outbreak of 2020, money expert Clark Howard has advised the careful addition of a 0% APR credit card to your wallet. This card could give you access to a line of credit you might need if the economic waters remain choppy.
As a Balance Transfer Card
If you already have a credit card balance, you probably have your eyes on the generous balance transfer offer that comes with this card. U.S. Bank matches the 20-month period for 0% APR on new purchases with the same term for 0% APR on a balance transfer.
But before you apply and start moving your money around, there are a couple of things to consider.
First, you must move balances to the U.S. Bank card within the first 60 days of card membership to get the promotional rate. So you’ll need to move quickly once you get the card.
Next, you’re going to need to do a little math to make sure a balance transfer is the right move for your balance.
U.S. Bank charges 3% (or a minimum of $5) on all balance transfer transactions. So if you’re looking to move $3,000 in credit card debt, you’re going to owe $100 in transfer fees. Depending on the interest charges you’re paying with your current credit card, it’s likely that you’d still save money over the next 20 months. But if you have a shorter payoff plan, that may not be a given.
You can use this handy tool from Capital One to measure a payoff amount for your current credit card balance to see if a balance transfer is the best decision for you.
Clark Does Not Recommend Using It For Both Balance Transfers and New Purchases
Since U.S. Bank is simultaneously offering welcome periods for new purchases and balance transfers, it could be tempting to take advantage of both offers.
Clark advises against that type of strategy because a person taking advantage of the 0% APR period for new purchases typically has a different financial situation from someone who needs to make a sizeable credit card balance transfer.
If you have an existing credit card balance in need of transfer, Clark wants you to focus on eliminating that debt as soon as possible.
“I don’t want people to have a mixed message that while they’re paying off a balance they are getting rewards on additional purchases. I want the focus to be 100% on being credit-card debt free and not being lured in by a reward you may get for continuing your credit-buying habit,” Clark says.
U.S. Bank Visa Platinum vs. Bank of America Cash Rewards: Which Is Better?
Both the U.S. Bank Visa Platinum and the Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card made Team Clark’s list of the best 0% APR cards on the market. And they’re both offerings from major bank brands where many readers already do their day-to-day banking. So we decided to take a closer look at the two to see which may be the best fit in the category.
Here’s a quick breakdown of the key characteristics of the cards:
|Card Feature||U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card||Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card|
|Introductory 0% APR Period on New Purchases||20 months||15 months|
|Introductory 0% APR Period on Balance Transfers||20 months||15 months|
|Cash Back Rewards||None||3% on category of choice; 2% at grocery stores; 1% everywhere else|
|Welcome Bonus||None||$200 with $1,000 spending in first 90 days|
|Free Credit Monitoring||Yes, TransUnion||Yes, FICO|
|Cell Phone Protection||Yes||No|
As you can see, the main difference in these cards is the length of the introductory period and the stark contrast in rewards. If you’re in the market for a longer 0% APR period for paying down some debt, the U.S. Bank card may be the choice. If you’re interested in using the card frequently after the introductory period, the Bank of America card is much more inviting with its cash back rewards structure.
Are you considering adding the U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card to your wallet? Let’s review some of the major pros and cons of the card before you make your final decision:
U.S. Bank Visa Platinum Card: Pros and Cons
|20 months of 0% APR on purchases and transfers||No rewards program|
|$0 annual fee||No welcome bonus|
|Cell phone protection plan||Very vanilla cardmember perks|
Bottom Line: U.S. Bank is using a 20-month introductory period on balance transfers and new purchases to lure new cardmembers. If you need an extended period of time to pay off a balance, this card could provide the cushion that you need to get your finances in order. However, if you’re planning on using the card for an everyday spender, you’re going to be disappointed in the lack of a rewards program. Many other cards on the market could give you a better return on your spending.
Do you have experience with the U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card? Let us know how you like it in the comments below!