U.S. Bank is the fifth largest bank in the nation, with over $410 billion in assets. It serves 25 states with over 3,172 branches, offering a wide range of banking and financial services. However, its humble beginnings go all the way back Portland, Oregon in 1891, when it was first launched under the name United States Bank of Portland. It kept this name until 1964, when it became United States National Bank of Oregon. In 1968, it became one of the first banks to form a holding company, U.S. Bancorp. The sheer size of U.S. Bank today, however, is mostly the result of a series of large acquisitions in the 1990s. First, U.S. Bancorp merged with First Bank System. Then Firstar Bank bought U.S. Bancorp. Starting in 2009, the company acquired many other banks and financial services companies, including First Citizens Bank, BB&T Corp, California National Bank, Charter One Bank of Chicago and many others. The result of all of these acquisitions has been massive growth in size. U.S. Bank now boasts of 67,000 employees, a net annual income of over $5.9 billion and 15.8 million customers.

 

Rank Chart
APR
Reward Options
Our Score
#1
8.24 - 18.0%
8.3
#2
11.24 - 23.24%
8.0
#3
11.24 - 23.24%
7.9
#6
us_bank
10.24 - 24.24%
7.8

The Good

Annual fee range

When it comes to annual credit card fees, U.S. Bank offers very good options. Their annual fees range from $0 to $85. While many of their cards have no annual fees, a few of their credit cards have an intro annual fee offer. For instance, their AeroMexico Visa Signature® Card has a $0 intro annual fee for the first 12 months, then $80/year afterwards. $80 is a high annual fee compared to most companies’ cards, typically $59-$79/year after the intro period is over. Several companies offer more competitive offers of zero annual fees without an increase after the first year. Overall, annual fees are impressive, depending on which U.S. Bank card you choose.

Customer support

U.S. Bank offers toll-free phone support for each of their cards with a separate toll-free number for lost or stolen cards that is available 24/7. We called U.S. Bank on a Saturday evening to see if they had weekend hours and found that a live representative was available. After some more researching, we found that their non-emergency phone hours are Monday to Friday 7 a.m – 10 p.m. Central Time and Saturday from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. CT. Regarding these phone hours, they are limited when compared to 24/7 phone hours most companies offer; however, their emergency 24/7 phone support is on par with other companies in the industry.

Cards Offered

Here are the credit cards U.S. Bank offers customers:

  • U.S. Bank FlexPerks® Travel Rewards Visa Signature® Card
  • U.S. Bank FlexPerks® Gold American Express® Card
  • U.S. Bank FlexPerks® Select+
  • American Express® Card
  • AeroMexico Visa Signature® Card
  • AeroMexico Visa® Card
  • Club Carlson℠ Premier Rewards Visa Signature® Card
  • Club Carlson℠ Rewards Visa Signature® Card
  • LANPASS Visa Signature® Card
  • LANPASS Visa® Card
  • SKYPASS Visa Signature® Card
  • SkyBlue SKYPASS Visa® Card
  • SKYPASS Visa® Classic Card
  • 1-2-3 REWARDS® Visa® Card
  • Ace Rewards® Visa Signature® Card
  • Fred Meyer Rewards® Visa® Card
  • Gymboree® Visa® Card
  • Harley-Davidson® Visa Signature® Card
  • Polaris® Visa® Card
  • Ralphs rewards plus Visa® Card
  • REI MasterCard®
  • U.S. Bank Cash 365™ American Express® Card
  • U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card
  • U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card
  • U.S. Bank Cash 365™ American Express® Card
  • U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card
  • U.S. Bank FlexPerks® Select+
  • American Express® Card
  • 1-2-3 REWARDS® Visa® Card
  • Fred Meyer Rewards® Visa® Card
  • U.S. Bank Secured Visa® Card
  • AeroMexico Visa® Secured Card
  • Harley-Davidson® Visa® Secured Card
  • LANPASS Visa® Secured Card
  • SKYPASS Visa® Secured Card
  • U.S. Bank College Visa® Card
Options for Rewards

With so many credit cards offered, U.S. Bank’s rewards are too many to mention. Here are the ones we found to be the most noteworthy to customers:

  • FlexPerks® Travel Rewards Visa Signature® Card—offers 20,000 enrollment FlexPoints after you spend $2,000 in net purchases on your card within four months of account opening. We found that four months to be slightly longer than the typical 90 days other companies give customers to spend for bonus points.
  • Club Carlson℠ Premier Rewards Visa Signature® Card—lets you earn free Award Nights at more than 1,000 hotels across the globe, i.e. Radisson Blu®, Radisson®, Park Plaza®, Park Inn® by Radisson® and Country Inns and Suites By Carlson℠. The Card gives you up to 85,000 bonus Gold Points (enough for up to 9 free Award Nights worldwide).
  • 1-2-3 REWARDS® Visa® Card—lets you earn free groceries with every eligible net purchase. Unlimited rewards can be earned at Kroger, King Soopers, City Market, Dillons, Baker’s, Smith’s, Fry’s and QFC.
  • U.S. Bank Cash 365™ American Express® Card—offers a Bonus of and 1.5% Cash Back on Virtually Everything

We found these rewards—and others from their company—to be competitive with rewards benefits from other companies, who offer similar offers.

Security

After researching all of U.S. Bank’s security measures and policies for their credit cards, here is what we found:

  • Zero Fraud Liability – Protects you from being responsible for unauthorized transactions on your U.S. Bank credit card. Also, if your card is lost or stolen, replacement cards can be sent within 48 hours.
  • Fraud Protection — means U.S. Bank actively monitors your account for fraud, notifying you if they see anything unusual.
  • Pay Bills With Your Card — Saves time and money by eliminating the need to write checks, buy stamps or worry about mail delays by using your U.S. Bank credit card to pay bills.
  • Account Alerts — Sign up through U.S. Bank Internet Banking for convenient alerts to help you keep up with account activity. You will then receive alerts via email or text message. This prevents fraud from happening before it starts.

Regarding these security features, we found that these features come with all of U.S. Bank’s cards—specifically the most important features, Fraud Protection and $0 Liability. For the most part, we found $0 Liability to be available across the credit card industry.

Unique Features

What sets U.S. Bank apart is their extensive list of cards offered. With a total of 36 cards, this far surpasses most companies. The only company that came close was one that offered 21 cards.

Building Credit/Student Cards

U.S. Bank offers plenty of opportunities to build your credit. They offer the longest list of secured cards we’ve seen in the industry. They are U.S. Bank Secured Visa® Card, AeroMexico Visa® Secured Card, Harley-Davidson® Visa® Secured Card, LANPASS Visa® Secured Card and SKYPASS Visa® Secured Card.

The best features for these cards are:

  • Auto Rental Insurance – applies automatically – at no extra cost – when you charge your entire car rental on SKYPASS and decline the rental company’s collision damage waiver option. You get coverage on a 24-hour basis for damage due to collision or theft.
  • FlexControl™ – online tool that can help you avoid interest and late fees with automatic payments and help you pay down a balance faster.
  • 5,000 Bonus Miles after your first card use
  • 10% discount on LAN purchase (up to $500) 1 time per year.

U.S. Bank has not left the college students out. Their U.S. Bank College Visa® Card has no annual fee, which is a standout feature compared to most student cards offered by their competitors. This card also lets students customize their payment options to avoid missing a payment.

The Bad

APR Range

U.S. Bank offers customers an ongoing variable APR ranging from 10.24% to 24.24%. Only 6 out of their 29 credit cards have Introductory APR offers, but these intro offers are different for some cards. Here is a look at some intro offers that are currently available:

  • U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card: 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 12 billing cycles.
  • U.S. Bank FlexPerks® Select+ American Express® Card: 0% on Balance Transfers for the first 9 billing cycles.

Compared to the average APR range for most credit card companies, U.S. Bank is in the same range. Almost all companies offer cards with APRs falling between 10-25%. We also reviewed plenty of companies who offer an average of 15 billing cycles for their intro period. U.S. Bank comes up shorter in this aspect.

Late Payment

U.S. Bank fees for late payments go up to $37. These high late fees are unfortunately the norm in the credit card industry. Some offer a slightly lower rate of up to $35 and even fewer we reviewed had late fees that were in accordance with the 2010 Credit Card Act, which says $25 should be the late fee limit to protect the interest of consumers. If late fees are a deal-breaker for you, there are not a lot of competitive options out there.

Foreign Transaction Fees

If you’re planning on using your U.S. Bank card while traveling abroad, they charge:

  • 2% of each foreign purchase transaction or foreign ATM advance transaction in other countries using U.S. Dollars
  • 3% of each foreign purchase transaction or foreign ATM advance transaction in a Foreign Currency

We found these fees to be slightly unusual compared to most credit card companies in that most companies charge a flat 3% for transactions made in other currencies, not in U.S. dollars. If you end up using both U.S. and foreign currency, travelling with your U.S. bank card can get expensive.

The Bottom Line

U.S. Bank offers one of the widest varieties of credit cards on the market, meeting an impressive array of reward preferences and financial needs. Many of these cards are associated with specific rewards or companies. For example, there are travel cards that allow customers to earn bonus miles on Korean Air and AeroMexico. There are also credit cards associated with specific stores, such as the Gymboree and Kroger cards. One unique option is the REI MasterCard, which donates a percentage of all sales to nonprofits related to the REI Foundation, contributing to outdoor activities and environmentalism.

For customers with below average credit, there are a number of secured credit cards that can help rebuild credit, while still providing some limited rewards. Overall, U.S. Bank cards have fairly good APR, though they do not have to lowest APR on the market. Most of their cards have no annual fee, though some of the rewards cards have rather steep ones. Overall, U.S. Bank provides a truly impressive number of credits cards with a remarkable variety of rewards. Their rates and fees are fairly good to average and, for the most part, do not charge annual fees. They should be able to meet the needs of most customers across a wide range of credit ratings and preferences.

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