US Bank is Launching a Unique Rewards Credit Card for Shoppers
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Next week, U.S. Bank is set to launch what may be one of the most interesting rewards credit cards I’ve seen since I started paying attention to such things. Dubbed the Shopper Cash Rewards card, this offering allows customers to earn cashback amounts for specific retailers that likely top what even their co-branded counterparts feature. What’s more, the card has a couple of other tricks up its sleeve we need to talk about.
Let’s start with the headline news, which is that the U.S. Bank Shopper Cash Rewards Visa allows cardholders to earn up to 6% cashback. However, rather than this 6% being offered on a category of purchase, it will apply to purchases from specific retailers. Each quarter, customers will choose up to two retailers, with 24 options to choose from. The full list currently includes:
- Ace Hardware
- Bed, Bath, & Beyond
- Best Buy
- Crate & Barrel
- Home Depot
- Pottery Barn
- Restoration Hardware
- Williams Sonoma
As you can imagine, there is a bit of a catch here. First, the 6% back is limited to $1,500 in combined eligible spending per quarter. So, if you choose Apple and Target for the quarter and immediately purchased a new Mac, you’d likely cap out your 6% category for the quarter (and render the Target selection moot). In other words, if you were to make the most of this 6% offer each quarter, you’d earn a maximum $90 cash back.
The other catch is that the card does carry an annual fee. At launch, the Shopper Cash Rewards card will cost $95 a year — but this fee is waived for the first year.
On top of the 6% cashback perk, the card will also feature a 3% category. Once again, this category is one that can be selected by the cardholder on an annual basis. It’s also limited to the same $1,500 in eligible spending per quarter (for a max quarterly cashback limit of $45) However, instead of specific brands, the 3% category offers more “everyday” options, including:
- Wholesale clubs
- Gas and EV charging stations
- Bills and home utilities
All other purchases made with the U.S. Bank Shopper Cash Rewards card — including 6% and 3% category purchases made after the $1,500 limit is hit — will earn 1.5% cashback. Also of note is that the card will offer a welcome bonus at launch, allowing new cardholders to earn $250 back when they spend $2,000 in eligible purchases on the card within their first 120 days.
If all of that weren’t enough, the Shopper Cash Rewards card will also pilot a new LED-powered card that will light up when used for contactless transactions. U.S. Bank says that “select cardholders” will receive the LED version of the card at no extra cost while those who end up with the regular version may be able to upgrade in the future.
Now, I wouldn’t say that I actually want the U.S. Bank Shopper Cash Rewards card… but, man, am I ever fascinated by it. From the list of retailers to the additional 3% category to the light-up LED card feature (!), this all feels fresh and different to me. In fact, I’m thoroughly surprised that the offering is coming from a major bank and not a FinTech. At the same time, I do have some questions. Namely, being a Disney nerd, I wonder if this selection will include everything the company offers, including theme park tickets, the shopDisney site, Disney+, etc. Hopefully such questions will be answered when the card debuts on October 24th. Still, with a reasonable $95 annual fee that’s waived for the first year and the ability to earn up to $540 in cashback just between the 6% and 3% categories, I do think the U.S. Bank Shopper Cash Rewards Visa has the potential to be beneficial to those who already spend a significant amount at the eligible retailers.