About Uber Visa Card
Editor’s note: Uber will accept applications for their new credit card starting November 2, 2017.
The Uber Visa Card is the first ride-sharing credit card of its kind, combining the ability to redeem rewards for Uber credits and featuring unmatched rewards rates for cash back cards.
The card works off a rewards system that offers four different levels of bonuses, setting the standard in certain purchase categories and providing, in general, a level of rewards that you won’t find with tiered cash-back cards from American Express, Chase, and Discover.
Now, before you open your Uber app and frantically look for the credit card application, let’s take a moment and think about exactly what kind of credit card you need and how you spend your money.
Do you spend more than normal on eating out and traveling? If you answer yes to these questions, this card could be a good fit and we’ll explain why as this review moves along.
To help you understand how well this card can fit into your financial life, we’re going to break up this review into the following sections:
- Rates and fees
- Public opinion
In our conclusion, we’ll pull from these sections some of the main pros and cons of the card.
We’ll frequently refer to this card’s rewards as “cash rewards” and speak of them in terms of dollars. However, the Uber Visa also allows you to redeem rewards for Uber credits, which we’ll explain later on.
Pro tip: You can apply for the card directly from the Uber app.
The Uber Visa Card’s Rewards
As we mentioned earlier, the Uber credit card offers four different levels of rewards. Before we talk about these rewards, we want to lay out some of the basics of cash back cards.
First, nearly every purchase you make has a rewards rate that adds points or cash to your rewards balance. If they’re points, then the usual conversion rate is $10 for every 1,000 points.
In most cases, your points have no expiration as long as you keep your account open and you don’t allow your account to go 60 days past due or longer.
4% Cash Back on Restaurants, Bars and UberEATS
The most generous rewards rate on this card is the 4% cash back you get on pretty much all restaurant-related purchases.
What that means is if you, for example, spend $20 at a restaurant, fast food place or UberEATS you’ll get $0.80 added to your rewards balance. Another way to put it is that you’ll earn $4 in rewards for every $100 you spend eating out or ordering in.
How much will you spend on restaurants, take-outs, and delivery each year? According to a recent survey from TD Bank, the average American household spends about $1,700 year eating out. Millennials, however, spend about $2,000 a month eating out.
We find these stats interesting because they seem to conflict with the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ numbers, which say that the average American household spent an average of $3,154 eating out in 2016.
For the sake of this article, we’ll split the difference and say that you’ll spend around $2,500 eating out, which will bring you 10,000 points or $100 cash (we’ll discuss the difference in a moment).
3% Cash Back on Hotel and Airfare
That same TD Bank survey noted that the average household spends about $2,000 a year on travel, which would include airfare, hotels, and rental cars.
At that rate, the 3% rewards will get you $60 in cash rewards.
Now, from our perspective, this travel bonus—and the dining bonus – are pretty incredible for a credit card without an annual fee.
2% Back on Online Purchases
This is the one rewards rate that sets the Uber Visa Card apart from the competition because there is no mainstream or even niche credit card on the market right now that offers a blanket 2% bonus on all online purchases.
It’s this standout rewards rate that doesn’t just make the Uber Visa a unique card, but a card that could signal a shift in the nature of credit card rewards.
Most cards reward consumers for category purchases like travel, groceries, and gas. What they fail to do, though, is offer rewards that are relevant to the way consumers spend their money now and into the future.
The Uber Visa’s online-purchase bonus does just that, as it acknowledges that Americans are spending more and more money online.
Now, when it comes to actual spending, the bonus loses a little bit of luster. According to Big Commerce, how much you shop online has a lot to do with where you live:
- Metropolitan residents: $853 per year ($17.06 in rewards)
- Suburbs residents: $768 ($15.21 in rewards)
- Rural residents $684 ($13.68 in rewards)
1% Back on Everything Else
This final category is the catch-all for any purchases that don’t fall into the categories we mentioned.
If we take spending from all the previous categories and subtract it from how much we think the average household could spend in a year, we think you could put about $20,000 on your card, which equals $200 in rewards.
In all, we believe you can earn around $376 a year in cash rewards with this card.
Pro tip: Your bonuses are added to your balance “the following business day” after the eligible transactions post to your statement.
$100 Up-Front Bonus
If you can spend $500 within 90 days of owning this card, you’ll earn $100 in rewards that will be deposited to your rewards balance one billing statement after you hit $500 in spending.
While we don’t think most consumers will have a problem hitting the spending requirement within 90 days, it is important to note that the deadline kicks in the day you’re approved for the card, not the day you get it in the mail.
Redeeming Your Points Bonuses
You have two options for redeeming points. You can either get the rewards balance in cash or you can redeem it for Uber credits.
Uber makes credits redemption simple by integrating your Uber Visa into the Uber app, allowing you to convert your rewards to credits with just a few taps.
$50 Streaming Credit
Another generationally-specific bonus this card offers is up to $50 in reimbursements for streaming subscriptions when you spend $5,000 in one year on your Uber Visa. “Year” means the 12 months starting from the day you opened your account, not the calendar year.
Barclays automatically applies the credit based on how much you spent during the year on subscription services.
If you spent $30, you’ll get a $30 credit, and so on.
Here is a list, per the FAQ’s section, of which streaming services can earn a credit; remember, it’s up to $50 total and not $50 per service:
- Apple Music
- Amazon Music
- Google Music
- Sirius XM
- HBO NOW
- DirecTV NOW
- Amazon Prime
As you can see, the list is pretty extensive and includes pretty much every streaming service minus YouTube’s live TV service, although that’s not to say it won’t be included in the future.
The Uber Visa Card’s Benefits
Whereas rewards are usually cash-based, contingent upon a certain amount of spending and, at times, temporary, we see benefits as being something you always get with your card that doesn't cost you anything and doesn't require a certain amount of spending.
Cell Phone Protection
Another aspect of the Uber Visa that makes it so unique is the complimentary cell phone protection it offers. Now, this card isn’t the only one that offers this type of protection: the Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa and the Capital One Platinum are among several that do.
However, this is one of the few mainstream cash rewards cards that offer it, making it an even more relevant card for the newest generation of consumers. Basically, you get up to $600 of reimbursement twice a year for phones that are stolen or damaged.
The deductible is $25 and the only requirement is that you pay your cell phone bill with your Uber Visa.
The Uber Visa’s Rates and Fees
We’re going to do a quick overview of the APR and various fees you’ll have on this card if you pay late or don’t pay your entire balance each month:
- APR on purchases and balance transfers: 15.99%, 21.74% or 24.74%
- Cash advance APR: 25.99%
- Balance transfer/cash advance fee: 3%
- Annual fee: None
- Foreign transaction fee: None
- Late/returned payment fee: Up to $37
Nothing here is really out of the ordinary: The APR on the Uber Visa is similar to what you’d get with the Chase Freedom Unlimited but higher than what you can expect from the Capital One Quicksilver or the Citi Double Cash.
Aside from this perk, the Uber Visa doesn’t have much else in the way of benefits.
Public Opinion About the Uber Visa Card
Because the Uber Visa is an Uber-branded card, its release drew the attention of tech sites like TechCrunch and Engadget.
TechCrunch took a more cerebral, information-heavy approach, exploring what the influx of credit card customers would do for Uber’s collection of data about its customers.
Other credit-card specific sites praised the Uber Visa for its industry-leading dining and travel rewards. The Capital One Savor is the closest competition for dining, offering cardholders 3% cash back.
Pros of the Uber Visa
We believe the strength of this card is that its rewards are tailored to the spending habits of the newest generation of consumers. The 4% reward on dining is unmatched for a card with no annual fee, the 3% on airlines and hotels are better than airline credit cards and the 2% for online purchases is, at the time of publishing, a unicorn.
Cons of the Uber Visa
The main drawback of this card is that, for all its high rewards rates, you can still earn better cash rewards balances by using the Citi Double Cash, which has a 2% rewards rate on all purchases.
The numbers we crunched earlier in this review indicate that the Uber Visa can earn you around $376 in cash rewards along with a $50 credit for streaming services, bringing the one-year total to $426.
The same spending on the Citi Double Cash results in around $500 in cash rewards.
Another downside, we believe, is the absence of a solid benefits program due to this card not being a part of the Visa Signature or MasterCard World Elite programs.
Who This Card Is Good For
We believe the Uber Visa is an excellent choice for someone who has higher-than-average spending habits at restaurants and on hotels and airlines.
For example, if you spend $5,000 a year eating out and $5,000 on travel, then you can earn $350 a year on those purchases, not including what you’d get for online purchases and everything else.
However, if you’ve looked at your spending patterns over the past few months and you think you’ll spend at or below the averages we talked about in the rewards section, you might be better off with a cash rewards card that gives you a flat rate for your purchases:
- Citi Double Cash: 2%
- Chase Freedom Unlimited: 1.5%
- Capital One Quicksilver: 1.5%
- Discover it Cash Card: 1% + rotating 5%
If you’re more interested in comparing cash rewards credit cards, then take a look at our Best Cash Back Rewards Credit Card of 2017 guide. We compare six of the top cards across seven different categories.