About U.S. Bank Cash 365 American Express Card
The funny thing about credit cards like the U.S. Bank Cash 365 American Express is that they don’t reflect the real world. By that, I mean that credit card companies design cards that give you cash back for free. And we literally mean free cash back.
In the real world, big companies don’t run around freely handing out money to their customers. They tend to take money, and this interesting dichotomy is at the heart of your ability to take advantage of the Cash 365 American Express’ cash-back rewards program.
As you’ll soon read, U.S Bank is willing to give you a certain amount of cash back with every purchase you make. While this sounds really generous, U.S. Bank is hoping that they can earn that money back. How? By you carrying a balance on your credit card and paying interest.
In this sense, all rewards credit cards are a gamble, with the credit card issuer betting against your ability to pay off your balance every month.
We’re going to talk about all kinds of features of the U.S. Bank Cash 365 card – benefits, rates/fees, expert and consumer reviews – but what will be most important to understand is how much free cash the card will earn you, how you can maximize that free cash and how it compares to other cash-back rewards cards.
The Benefits You Get With the U.S. Bank Cash 365 American Express Card
Cash-back rewards cards usually throw three big benefits your way to get you to sign up for their card: bonus APR’s and rewards rates, cash-back percentages on purchases and an up-front cash bonus if you can spend a certain amount of money in the first three months.
You’ll get a 0% interest rate on any balance transfers you make within 60 days of being approved for the card.
This means that you can transfer a balance from one of your credit cards to the Cash 365. That balance won’t rack up any interest until the 13th billing cycle after your card was opened.
If you ever get confused about when interest kicks in, your credit card statement should give the date. If not, call U.S. Bank’s credit card customer service and ask them: 800-285-8585.
Cash-Back Rewards Rate
As for rewards rates, U.S. Bank will give you 2% on nearly all purchases the first year and then 1.5% every year after that.
What this means is that whenever you use your U.S. Bank Cash 365 to buy something in the first year of owning the card, U.S. Bank credits to your rewards balance 2% of that purchase.
The only purchases that don’t count are cash transactions like buying traveler’s checks, poker chips or deposits to an online gambling account. Interest charges and card-related fees don’t count, either.
It’s really hard to say exactly how much you could earn yourself each year – we don’t know what your spending habits are.
What we usually do is calculate your cash-back potential by using the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ spending trends for the average American family. Based on our analysis of those numbers, we think the average family can spend at least $24,000 on their U.S. Bank Cash 365 card.
The first year, that spending gets you the 2% rewards rate, or $480. The second year and every year after you’ll get 1.5%, or $360 in cash rewards.
The good thing about this free money is that U.S. Bank adds the rewards to your account every month and you can keep track of how much you’re earning.
Bonus Cash Up Front
The U.S. Bank Cash Rewards card doesn’t offer you a bonus cash amount up-front, which is a little disappointing considering that several popular cash back cards do offer a bonus. For example, here’s a list of three popular cards and their cash bonuses:
- Quicksilver from Capital One: $100 after spending $500
- Chase Freedom Unlimited: $150 after spending $500
- BankAmericard Cash Rewards: $100 after spending $500
A Few Reminders About Your Cash 365 Rewards
Getting that cash back happens one of three ways: as a statement credit, a rewards card or a deposit “made to your U.S. Bank Savings, Checking or Money Market Account.”
The Cash 365’s fine print says the minimum redemption amount is $20 and can be made in increments of $5: $20, $25, $30, $35, etc.
Your cash rewards never expire as long as your account is open and in good standing, U.S. Bank says. This means you’ll have access to those points unless you close your account or you get behind on your payments.
American Express Perks
Because the Cash 365 is an American Express card, you get a set of benefits that offer insurance or reimbursement.
We won’t get too far into the details of these different features because they come with a pretty complex set of rules and restrictions.
That being said, American Express will:
- Reimburse you if the price of something you bought drops within 30 days
- Reimburse you for returns a retailer won’t accept
- Warranty extension on certain items
You’ll only get these and a few other features if you use your American Express card to make the qualifying purchases.
Be sure to check your Guide to Benefits to understand the rules and restrictions associated with each of these benefits.
In many cases, you’ll have limits on how much you can be reimbursed and which type of merchandise is and isn’t covered by the policy.
Rates and Fees for the U.S. Bank Cash 365 American Express
Earlier we likened a credit card to gambling. U.S. Bank is gambling that you won’t pay your balance in full every month or that you’ll pay late. Why? Because once you do one of those things, the bank will charge you interest and fees:
- APR: 14.99% to 23.99%
- Penalty APR: None
- Annual fee: None
- Foreign transaction fee: 2%/3%
- Balance transfer fee: 3%
- Late payment fee: $38
- Returned payment fee: $35
The APR is, in our opinion, the most important number here because a lot of research shows that APR will cost you the most money in the long run.
“APR” stands for annual percentage rate and this is what U.S. Bank and other credit card issuers use to determine your “daily interest rate,” which is your APR divided by 365 and then multiplied by your balance on any given day.
Here’s an example. You have a $2,000 balance on your card. Your APR is 14.99%. The daily interest rate, then, is 0.04%. Every day that you have a $2,000 balance, you’ll be charged $0.82, or about $24 a month.
Again, U.S. Bank is hoping you’ll carry a balance so they can charge you that daily interest rate and recoup the money they’re losing because of your 2% or 1.5% cash back rate.
A smart consumer will avoid all of this by paying his or her balance off every month.
Pro tip: Balance transfer fees tend to be offset by the fact that you won’t pay any interest on your balance until the month after your cardmember anniversary.
Expert Reviews of the U.S. Bank Cash 365 American Express Card
The expert reviews we read were very similar – the Cash 365 is a middling cash-rewards card. We discovered that when the card was first launched in 2016 it offered a $100 bonus that would have made it very similar to the Quicksilver, a cash-back card with a 1.5% rewards rate.
While you may think that the Cash 365 doesn’t match up well with other cards that offer bonuses, take a second to ponder the 2% bonus rate the first year. If you spend $24K in the first year, your cash rewards will be $480.
If you spent that much on the Quicksilver card, the card’s 1.5% rate would get you $360 in addition to the $100 bonus for a total of $460 in rewards the first year. That’s $20 less than the U.S. Bank Cash Rewards.
Side note: Normally we’d include a section covering consumer reviews but there just aren’t enough for the Cash 365 card to provide an accurate picture of consumer’s thoughts.
Our Closing Thoughts About the U.S. Bank Cash 365 American Express
One of the things we didn’t mention is that the Cash 365’s interest rate is a full percent higher than the cards we compared in our Best Cash Back Rewards Card of 2017 guide.
If you normally carry a balance on your credit cards, keep that higher percentage rate in mind because it will cost you additional cash each year.
Here’s a quick list of pros and cons for this card.
Pros of the Cash 365
We like that you get double points your first year owning this card and, in our opinion, this is the card’s greatest benefit.
Cons of the Cash 365
The low-end APR on this card is higher than what you’d find with the most popular cash-back cards. Also, the lack of an intro cash bonus isn’t a big deal because of the first-year 2%, but, in the long run, the Cash 365’s 1.5% rewards rate can’t match the Citi Double Cash’s permanent 2% rate.
Who is this Card Good For?
The U.S. Bank Cash 365 is good for someone who likes U.S. Bank and is a fan of American Express. Otherwise, there are better cash rewards cards out there.
The Final Word: An Average Cash Back Card
Based on our research of the U.S. Bank Cash 365 and other cash-back cards, we think this is a good middle-of-the road card that will give you a decent chunk of free cash the first year and then average returns after that.
The best way to take advantage of this card and other cash back cards is to pay off your balance in full, every month. If you don’t, the interest payments you make undercut the cash back you earn.