If you’re looking for a longer introductory APR period than most credit cards give, the U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card is worth a look. It doesn’t offer many of the perks that its closest competitors do; however, it may be a good option if you don’t qualify for those more desirable products.
The biggest downside to the U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card is that it doesn’t offer any cash back rewards. You won’t earn money on the things you buy, regardless of what you spend your money on or where you spend it.
When you consider the prevalence of rewards-based credit cards, which has grown exponentially in the past few years, this is a serious consideration. By not earning cash back, travel miles, or any other type of rewards, you’re essentially leaving free money on the table each and every month.
This card does hold a candle to its competitors in one area: the length of its introductory APR period. With the U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card, you’ll get 0% interest for a period of 18 months, compared with the typical 12 months for most card products.
In this 18-month period, you can both make purchases and transfer balances, all while avoiding interest charged. This comes in handy if you need to make a big purchase and want to pay it off slowly (without the added cost of APR). It’s also great if you have other credit card balances earning high interest; you can transfer them over and pay them down faster, without accruing additional interest charges.
It’s important to remember, though, that with the U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card, this introductory APR only applies to balance transfers that are made within the first month of card ownership. If you try to transfer a balance after that time, it will be charged the standard balance transfer interest rate. One other feature worth mentioning is the $600 cell phone protection that cardholders receive. If you damage or lose your cell phone, U.S. Bank will cover up to $600 toward its replacement value (2 incident, $1,200 maximum in a 12 month period), less a $25 deductible. If you’re prone to dropping or forgetting your iPhone, this feature could come in handy.
After your 18-month, 0% APR period, the interest charged for purchases will jump up. This rate is variable, somewhere between 10.99% and 22.99%, depending on your creditworthiness.
For balance transfers, you’re looking at the same range: currently 10.99% - 22.99%. This applies to all balance transfers made more than one month into owning the card, and to any balance remaining on your 0%-qualifying transfers after the 18-month introductory period is up.
When transferring a balance to the U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card, you’ll pay a 3% fee on the amount moved over during the first month of card ownership. If you transfer a balance after that first month, your balance transfer fee actually jumps up to 4%, which is a unique feature. Plus, as mentioned previously, you won’t be eligible for the 0% APR promotion if you transfer after 30 days – between the interest and the higher fee, this feature isn’t ideal beyond day 31.
There is no annual fee for the card. You will pay a $38 fee if your payment is late, though this can be prevented with their convenient Auto-Pay feature. There’s one word that summarizes the U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum for me: “meh.” It doesn’t offer cash back rewards or miles, and there’s no sign-up bonus for new cardholders. Those are two things that I look for in a new card, so I’m not too impressed there. However, if you are looking to stretch out a big purchase or pay down some existing debt, the 0% introductory APR for 18 months is a big perk. This allows you to take your time while paying off other high-interest balances, buying a high-dollar item (like new furniture), or even covering emergency expenses.
If you can qualify for some of the more desirable credit card products, it’s definately worth looking elsewhere. Failing to earn cash back rewards is like throwing away free money. If you don’t qualify for those other cards, though, or really need the extended 0% APR period, the U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card might just do the trick.