Amex Blue Cash vs. US Bank Cash+ Visa Signature

Learn which cash-back credit should be in your wallet by reading this break down of everything you need to know about two of the top cash-back cards out there — the U.S. Bank Cash+ and Blue Cash Everyday by AMEX.

The Verdict

Blue Cash Everyday by American Express is better than the U.S. Bank Cash+ because it offers higher rewards potential

As you look into cash-back credit cards, you'll quickly realize that the Blue Cash Everyday card by American Express is one of the top cards on the market.

It has everything you'd want in a cash-back card: good rewards (3% on groceries, 2% on gas, and 1% at certain department stores), solid APR, and enticing bonuses.

And, while the U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa Signature card looks overly appealing with its 5% cash-back category, its fine print and restrictions will leave you hamstrung and earning less cash-back than you would with the Blue Cash Everyday card.

So if you're looking at the U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa Signature vs. Blue Cash Everyday by AMEX, and want to know which one is better…

Well, here's everything you need to know: go with Blue Cash.

Why One Wins

The Blue Cash Everyday by AMEX is stronger than U.S. Bank Cash+ because its higher rewards potential

If you're someone who cooks at home often, Blue Cash Everyday by AMEX is the way to go.

Earn cash-back on purchases. The Blue Cash by AMEX could net you some serious cash-back on a everyday purchases:

  • 3% on groceries
  • 2% on gas
  • 1% at certain department stores

Those numbers are especially appealing to those who often eat meals at home.

Why U.S. Families Choose to Cook at Home? (2016)

Consider that the average person spends about $4,000 on groceries per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That means the average person would yield about $120 in cash-back rewards on groceries alone.

People love Blue Cash Everyday because of its low fees

Love the low fees. "Many rewards cards on the market charge an annual fee, but we love that this version of the Blue Cash card doesn't," writes Curtis Arnold, editor of cardratings.com

"Paying no interest on purchases or balance transfers during the first 15 months is perhaps the most enticing perk of the Blue Cash Everyday card from American Express. But after the first year, it's the generous cash back rewards you'll be glad you have."

The biggest customer complaint about Blue Cash Everyday is its high bar to approval

Need a high credit score. A host of customers complain about the card's high-bar to approval, which leaves even those in good credit standing with low lines of credit — often just $1,000.

"My credit score averages 723 with no late payments and I was only approved for $1K limit."

"I applied for it and received a 1k limit. I canceled it because it was nothing. My scores were very good averaging in 730s but still."

AMEX not accepted everywhere. Customers also complained about the limited amount of places where the card is actually accepted.

"Finding merchants that accept AMEX, even in Houston, is a struggle. I get much better acceptance with Discover."

You're the ideal customer for Blue Cash Everyday by AMEX if you eat at home often

The Blue Cash by AMEX has a host of appealing features, but you're the ideal customer if you answer "yes" to most of the following questions:

  • Do you have good credit, at least 690 or higher?
  • Do you cook at home often?
  • Are you comfortable using your card on an almost daily basis?

If you answered, "no" to two or more questions, you may want to reconsider the Blue Cash by AMEX.

Counter Argument

Then again, U.S. Bank Cash+ could be a better option because of its flexibility

The U.S. Bank Cash+ card has higher-than-average rewards rates for some categories, and allows you to choose the categories in which you'll earn cash-back.

Earn 5% as a starting point. The U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa Signature Card earns a whopping 5% cash back on two categories (up to $2,000 in net purchases spent per quarter, or $8,000 a year).

If that wasn't enough, there's also the unlimited 2% rewards on one everyday purchase category (gas, groceries, or restaurants). The card then earns 1% on all other eligible purchases.

Choose your reward categories. Cardholders choose the categories that earn them 5% and 2% each quarter. The 5% categories include everything from electronic stores to fast food purchases to gym memberships.

Why Americans work out at the gym? (2016)

This allows you to make the most of your purchases.

People love U.S. Bank Cash+ because of its higher cash-back categories

Earn more every day. Reviewers of this card love the flexibility of choosing categories, which could help strategic cardholders earn more cash back.

"With no limit on the total cash back you can earn, this is a great everyday use card. And if you're smart about setting those two [5%] bonus categories, you can save some serious money," writes credit card expert Abby Hayes.

The biggest customer complaint about U.S. Bank Cash+ is its stringent categories

A lot of customers who reviewed the U.S. Bank Cash+ card complained about what they felt was a bit of bait and switch, wherein "participating" merchants file charges incorrectly, leading to a lower cash-back reward.

"I paid my annual gym membership to core power yoga, which is listed on the U.S. Bank website as a 'participating merchant.' The rewards manager told me the charge came through as recreation so it would not qualify for the 5% reward," writes one reviewer.

"You won't get your 5% back on your AT&T phone bill because the merchant description doesn't say CELLPHONE on it," writes another customer.

You're the ideal customer for U.S. Bank Cash+ if you are proactive

If you answer "yes" to the majority of the following questions, U.S. Bank Cash+ is the way to go:

  • Do you prefer flexibility?
  • Are you the type of person that plans ahead?
  • Do you mind reading fine-print to ensure you're making the most of purchases?

If you answered no to these questions, then reconsider U.S. Bank Cash+ card and instead opt for the Blue Cash Everyday card by AMEX.

About Each Company

American Express is a much larger credit card issuer than U.S. Bank

In terms of size, there's a pretty wide delta between these two companies.

American Express is active across more than 130 different countries, making it the world's largest issuer of credit cards in terms of transactions, averaging 6 billion transactions per year among its 58 million cardholders.

U.S. Bank, on the other hand, has just 18.5 million cardholders, making it the 10th largest credit card issuer.

American Express

American Express may now be one of the most widely used credit cards, but over the years, its dipped its toes into various other industries as well.

American Express launched its Traveler's Cheque in 1891, a product that was widely used until the 1990s. It also dabbled in investment banking from 1981 through 1994.

It even developed some small-screen mainstays such as MTV, Nickelodeon, and The Movie Channel through a joint venture with Warner Communications (formed in 1979), assets that were eventually sold to Viacom.

U.S. Bank

U.S. Bank, now the seventh largest bank in America, operates on the second-oldest bank charter issued, granted in 1863.

America's 10 Biggest Banks (2017)

And, while headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the bank's namesake, U.S. Bank Tower in Los Angeles, is the tallest building west of the Mississippi River and the 13th tallest in all of North America.

Services Offered

For a cost, American Express and U.S. Bank offer lines of credit along with a host of rewards, benefits, and fees

Credit card issuers like American Express and U.S. Bank provide customers a line of credit accessible through a credit card. It gives you cash in advance, so to speak (it's really credit that acts like cash, which most businesses accept), and you get to spend it on the things you want.

Of course, companies also sweeten the deal to attract customers, offering additional services, benefits, and rewards to customers, which we'll get into below.

Failure to pay off any balance results in both companies charging you interest and possibly other fees. They count on you (many of us) to not pay off that balance, which is how most of the profit is made.

To get a better sense of the issuer behind the card you'll be applying for, we'll explore the pros and cons of each company below:

American Express's services

Looking at reviews, most customers receive a credit limit of around $1,000-$3,000 for the Blue Cash by AMEX, though a good chunk of customers have a limit ranging from $5,000-$10,000.

In addition to the lines of credit American Express offers, the Blue Cash by AMEX comes with some helpful services, especially for travelers.

Roadside assistance that's somewhat reliable in emergencies. If you're a Blue Cash Everyday card holder, you can get help when you need emergency car services like towing, changing a flat, or boosting a battery.

Travel concierge at your digital fingertips. Online, you can access destination guides to help you plan your trip if you have a Blue Cash by AMEX card.

But, since third-party costs are up to you to cover, there is some downside.

Pay what AMEX's network costs. While you can use these services for free as a cardholder, you're on your own when it comes to third-party charges. That means you're somewhat at the mercy of the providers AMEX contacts.

U.S. Bank's services

Looking at reviews, U.S. Bank can be a bit stingy with its credit lines, with some customers even reporting credit limits of just $300.

Aside from the small credit lines, U.S. Bank customers can expect:

Sporadic concierge services. Cash+ customers get assistance with restaurant and travel reservations, event tickets, gift arrangements, business services, and more—but only if they are proactive about tracking them.

Farsighted warranty manager services. Cardholders can register warranty information on important purchases, which U.S. Bank keeps on file. When you need a repair or replacement, just pick up the phone.

The takeaway: Not much separates American Express and U.S. Bank's services beyond credit lines

While both banks offer pretty standard bonus services, AMEX distinguishes itself from U.S. Bank primarily in the credit line department. If you plan on spending more right out of the gate, AMEX is probably a better bet.

Rewards and Bonuses

U.S. Bank Cash+ and the Blue Cash Everyday offer cash-back rewards

Both the Cash+ and Blue Cash Everyday cards offer users intriguing cash-back incentives, while also adding more honey to the pot with sign-up bonuses.

The Blue Cash Everyday's rewards and bonuses

In terms of rewards, the Blue Cash by AMEX offers a lot of incentives to use it for everyday purposes, from groceries to department store goodies.

Strong cash-back program. The Blue Cash by AMEX could net you some serious cash-back on a wide array of purchases: 3% on groceries, 2% on gas, and 1% at certain department stores.

Enticing sign-up bonus. AMEX makes the Blue Cash Everyday card desirable by offering a very reasonable sign-up bonus: $150 in statement credits after spending $1,000 in your first three months.

0% introductory APR. Pay nothing for purchases and balance transfers for 15 months.

But everything isn't so rosy when you dive into the fine print, with limitations including:

"Reward Dollars," not actual cash. Cash-back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed for a statement credit.

Rewards redeemable in increments. Cash-back credits can only be redeemed in $25 increments.

Restrictive definition of stores. While you can receive 3% cash back on groceries, this only applies to purchases made in stores that fall under AMEX's definition of a grocery store.

U.S. Bank Card+ rewards and bonuses

Earn 5% as a starting point. The U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa Signature card earns a whopping 5% cash back on two categories (up to $2,000 in net purchases spent per quarter, or $8,000 a year).

If that wasn't enough, there's also the unlimited 2% rewards on one everyday purchase category (gas, groceries, or restaurants). The card then earns 1% on all other eligible purchases with no limit on cash back earnings.

Choose your reward categories. Cardholders choose the categories that earn them 5% and 2% each quarter. The 5% categories include everything from electronic stores to fast food purchases to gym memberships. This allows you to make the most of your purchases if you plan ahead.

Benefit from a sign-up bonus. New cardholders earn an additional .5% cash-back during their first year. If that's not enough, there's also a $100 New Cardmember Bonus after you apply online and spend $500 in the first 90 days of account opening.

Why Do Millennials Activate an Additional Credit Card? (2017)

But there are also some drawbacks to the rewards structure.

Stay on top of your game. U.S. Bank's fine print mentions that cardholders only have between 4-5 days before the new quarter to select bonus categories.

And this is vital: If you don't choose each quarter, all purchases earn just 1% cash-back, which is the lowest amount of cash-back any rewards card offers.

Choose categories wisely. The Cash+ card comes with a lot of restrictions and fine print make it a less than ideal choice.

Everyday purchases (think dining, gas, and groceries) fall in the 2% categories—of which you can only choose only each quarter. And while there's the 5% bonus, the choices are limited to categories such as movie theaters, gym memberships, and electronics stores, which are items less likely to earn big-time cash-back.

The takeaway: The Blue Cash Everyday offers higher earning potential than the U.S. Bank Cash+

U.S. Bank Cash+ comes with too many limitations on rewards, whereas the Blue Cash Everyday card earns a substantial amount of cash-back on everyday purchases.

Benefits

U.S. Bank Cash+ and Blue Cash cardholders can reap benefits like purchase protection and car rental insurance

Whether you have the U.S. Bank Cash+ or Blue Cash by AMEX in your wallet, you'll reap extra benefits that include extra car rental protection and payment protections.

Blue Cash Benefits

Using your Blue Cash by AMEX card adds a lot of benefits aside from cash-back, including pre-sale tickets to events and purchase protection.

Enticing membership experiences. Blue Cash by AMEX cardholders get access to pre-sale tickets and special events, experiences, and offers when they purchase tickets with their card through AMEX's Membership Experiences website.

Solid purchase protection. If you use your Blue Cash by AMEX to buy items, that item is covered for up to 90 days from the date of purchase if it's stolen or accidentally damaged.

The coverage is limited up to $1,000 per occurrence and up to $50,000 per cardmember account per calendar year.

There are, however, downsides to these benefits:

Limited coverage on benefits. If you don't use your Blue Cash card for big-item purchases, like electronics or rental cars, you miss out on these types of protection benefits.

U.S. Bank Cash+ Benefits

Save on travel assistance. U.S. Bank cardholders benefit from extra insurance on car rentals, meaning you don't have to pay extra for insurance. U.S. Bank cardholders can also call a hotline for help coordinating medical, legal, and travel services.

What would make you purchase travel insurance? (2015)

Stress-free extended warranties. The U.S. Bank card comes with the added bonus of an extended year on any warranties of three years or less.

But, both of these come with some fine print.

Limiting fine print. Both the travel assistance and extended warranties come with some limitations. The catch? You won't find out until you receive your card. So be sure to read all information that comes with your card, should you opt for the U.S. Bank Cash+ card.

The takeaway: Blue Cash's benefits are better than U.S. Bank Cash+ benefits

The VIP-like access to big-name events and purchase protection make being a Blue Cash cardholder more appealing than a U.S. Bank Cash+ user.

Costs and Fees

Neither the U.S. Bank Cash+ card or the Blue Cash Everyday card come with an annual fee

There's nearly no separation between the cards in terms of fees

Blue Cash Everyday

No annual fee. Cardholders need not worry about paying any additional money each year.

Low intro APR. AMEX offers 0% for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers.

There are, however, some negatives you need to consider in terms of fees.

Higher-than-average APR. Depending on your creditworthiness, you can expect a 13.99-24.99% APR.

So, even if you have stellar credit and pay towards the lower end of that range, you'll still be paying a higher interest rate than the market average of 12.8%.

Foreign transaction fees. If you use your Blue Cash by AMEX card while outside of the U.S., expect to be hit with a 2.7% transaction fee.

Steep cash advance fees. If you're looking for cash advances, expect a variable 26.24% rate and 3% fee with the Blue Cash Everyday Card.

U.S. Bank Cash+

No annual fee. Your earning potential on cash-back increases as you won't have to pay back any yearly fees.

No APR intro on transfers. Pay no interest on transfers for the first 12 months.

While the no annual fee is exceptional, there are some higher fees to keep in mind.

High APR. The variable interest ranges from 14.99-23.99%, based on your credit scores when you apply, which is higher than the market average APR of 12.8%.

Foreign transaction fees. If you use your card overseas, expect to pay a 3% charge on all transactions.

High cash advance fees. The Cash+ card comes with a 24.99% variable cash advance rate, with a cash advance fee of 4%.

The takeaway: The fees on both cards are remarkably similar

You'll pay pretty much the same APR and foreign transaction fees with both cards. The only thing that really sticks out is Blue Cash's introductory 0% APR that extends to purchases.

Customer Service

Both U.S. Bank and American Express offer standard 24/7 customer service

Whether you opt for the Cash+ or the Blue Cash card, you'll receive the pretty customary 24/7 service line for help.

How Bank Branches Score On Customer Service (2015)

American Express

For Blue Cash Everyday cardholders, AMEX offers pretty standard customer service, including 24/7 assistance via phone.

24/7 assistance ready for you. Whether you need to dispute a charge or report a stolen card, you can call AMEX's 24/7 customer service line.

However, there have been some complaints about the customer service.

Overseas employees make service feel distant. "The card is an American icon however everytime I call the customer service number I'm directed to the Philippines where there are really no laws to protect you when it comes to identity theft, and they ask you for everything ss# to date of birth," writes one customer on creditkarma.com

US Bank

Assistance around the clock. U.S. Bank offers its credit card customers service 24 hours a day over the phone.

But beware, the company's in-person customer service is less than ideal.

Rude in-person support. "The customer service reps at the 1-800 were very nice, but the people I dealt with at the local branches were very rude," writes Tina D. on bb.org.

The takeaway: U.S. Bank customer service is better than American Express customer service

While both companies offer 24/7 customer service, U.S. Bank has more positive reviews about its customer service reps.

Digital Services

Both U.S. Bank and AMEX offer cardholders digital platforms to access their accounts

Nowadays, digital services are pretty standard for credit card companies.

Notable Blue Cash by AMEX digital features

Handy digital wallet. You can use your Blue Cash card through a digital wallet tool, including Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and Android Pay. This allows you to make payments even when you forget your card.

Key digital feature for the U.S. Bank Cash+ card

Online portal to track account. Through the U.S. Bank Online Banking platform, Cash+ cardholders can view balances, make payments, set up customized alerts, and view or redeem rewards.

The takeaway: The digital features offered with the Blue Cash Everyday card are better than those offered by Cash+

American Express's digital wallet makes it easier for cardholders to pay in an increasingly digital world.

How to Start With Each Card

Go to either company's website to get started

The best way to get started on approval for both cards is to head to each company's website.

Go to American Express's website and apply for the Blue Cash Everyday card.

Or, go to U.S. Bank's website and apply for the U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa Signature card.

Canceling Either Card

The best way to cancel both cards is to call customer service

If you're looking to cancel either your Blue Cash by AMEX card or U.S. Bank Cash+ card, you'll have to call customer service.

Pro tip: If you're a good customer (read: someone who has no outstanding balances and uses your card often), you want to talk through your options with the representative.

Why?

This can earn you more incentives, such as credits to your account.

To cancel your Blue Cash by AMEX card, call up customer service at 1-800-528-4800.

Keep in mind that cash-back rewards can only be redeemed in $25 increments, so start redeeming strategically ahead of time if you plan to cancel.

If you're looking to cancel your Cash+ card, call 1-800-285-8585. Be aware that rewards have to be redeemed in $5 increments, so be sure to redeem all rewards, or you'll forfeit them upon cancellation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Am I more likely to be approved for the U.S. Bank Cash+ card or Blue Cash Everyday card?

You'll need excellent credit to be approved for the U.S. Bank Cash+ card, typically a score of 720 or higher. For the Blue Cash Everyday, you'll need a 690 or higher.

Which is better for rewards: U.S. Bank Cash+ or Blue Cash Everyday?

Blue Cash Everyday by AMEX has higher rewards potential, making it a ideal cash-back card.

Which has a higher APR: U.S. Bank Cash+ or Blue Cash Everyday?

Both have higher-than-average variable APRs. The APR for the U.S. Bank Cash+ card is 14.99-23.99%; the APR on the Blue Cash Everyday card is 13.99-24.99%.

Conclusion

In evaluating the Blue Cash Everyday card and the U.S. Bank Cash+ card head-to-head, the differences that stick out are:

  • The Blue Cash Everyday offers higher earning potential than the U.S. Bank Cash+ card.
  • The VIP-like access to big-name events and purchase protection make being a Blue Cash cardholder more appealing than a U.S. Bank Cash+ user.
  • You'll pay pretty much the same APR and foreign transaction fees with both cards. The only thing that really sticks out is Blue Cash's introductory 0% APR that extends to purchases.
  • While both companies offer 24/7 customer service, U.S. Bank has more positive reviews about its customer service reps.
  • American Express's digital wallet makes it easier for cardholders to pay in an increasingly digital world.

We've compared the Amex Blue Cash Everyday against the Capital One Quicksilver before, as well as the Chase Slate.

Since you're interested in a cash-back credit card like the U.S. Bank Cash+ and Blue Cash Everyday by AMEX, then you may want to check out these reviews and articles.

Do you use either the U.S. Bank Cash+ and Blue Cash Everyday by AMEX?

How has it worked out for you?

Any great tips (or nightmares) to share with the rest of us?

Let us know in the comments below.


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