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Best Secured Credit Cards with Low Deposit Requirements – September 2019

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

secured credit cards
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Secured credit cards are used as a tool to build credit history from scratch or put positive information on a credit report after negative incidents such as bankruptcy, missed debt payments or accounts in collections. By feeding positive information into a credit report, you can improve a credit score, which is essential for getting the best financial products on the market.

In order to be eligible for a secured credit card, you must provide a minimum deposit. This deposit typically serves as your line of available credit, but in some cases your line of credit may be higher. Plenty of secured cards require rather hefty minimum deposits of $300 or more, which may be prohibitive for many Americans living paycheck-to-paycheck.

Fortunately, alternatives to the high deposits exist. We’ve pulled together a list of the best secured cards that require a deposit and/or credit union membership fee of $200 or less.

$200 minimum deposit: Discover it® Secured

Discover it® Secured The Discover it® Secured has a minimum deposit of $200. This is our favorite secured credit card for a number of reasons including: no annual fee, the ability to earn cash back, and our favorite feature — automatic monthly reviews of your account that start at month eight. However, the one downfall of this card is the high ongoing APR, but you should always pay your bill on time and in full so you avoid interest charges.

Here are the benefits of the Discover it® Secured in more detail:

Automatic monthly reviews starting at month 8: Discover will start automatic monthly reviews of your account at month 8. If you qualify, you could be transitioned to an account with no security deposit. Even better, you could potentially be eligible for a bigger credit limit. This feature really sets Discover apart from the competition – and your goal should be to get back your deposit as quickly as possible through responsible credit behavior.

No annual fee: There is a $0 annual fee for this card.

Bankruptcy? No problem: If you have filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy in the past, you can still qualify for this card. It is a great way for people to rehabilitate their credit.

Earn cash back: Most secured credit cards do not offer any rewards. With the Discover it® Secured, you have the opportunity to earn cash back while earning rewards. You can earn 2% at restaurants and gas stations (on up to $1,000 of spend each quarter). Plus, get 1% cash back on all your other purchases. Earning cash back is not the primary reason to select a secured credit card, but it is a nice option to have available.

Free FICO® Credit Score: Discover will provide you with a copy of your official FICO® credit score. A good step in proper credit behavior is to monitor your score each month.

Read our review for more information on the Discover it® Secured.

How to go from a secured card to unsecured card: Discover will automatically review your account starting at month eight to see if you can be transitioned to a card without a security deposit. If you qualify, you can receive an unsecured card and your security deposit will be refunded. Note that the reviews are based on various factors, including responsible credit management across all of your credit cards and loans.

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Rates & Fees

$49, $99, or $200 minimum deposit: Capital One® Secured Mastercard®

Capital One® Secured Mastercard®

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Capital One® Secured Mastercard®

Annual fee
$0
Minimum Deposit
$49, $99, or $200
Regular Purchase APR
26.99% (Variable)

The Capital One® Secured Mastercard® offers a minimum deposit as low as $49, depending on credit worthiness. If you don’t receive the $49 minimum deposit, you may receive a deposit of $99 or $200. This may be a good option if you don’t have $200 to deposit, just remember that the $49 deposit is not guaranteed. If approved for the card, once you make your minimum required security deposit, you will receive a credit line of $200.

How to go from a secured card to unsecured card: Capital One has a new feature where they will automatically review your account for on time payments and will inform you if you’re eligible for an upgrade. If eligible, you will be refunded your security deposit and will receive an unsecured card. The catch is that there is no time frame for when your account will be reviewed. Capital One said that it depends on various credit activities.

$200 minimum deposit: Citi® Secured Mastercard®

Citi® Secured MasterCard®

The information related to Citi® Secured MasterCard® has been collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

Citi® Secured MasterCard®

Annual fee
$0
Minimum Deposit
$200
Regular Purchase APR
24.74%* (Variable)

The Citi® Secured Mastercard® is a no frills secured credit card. There is a $0 annual fee and a $200 minimum deposit requirement, like most cards on this list. Unfortunately, there are no rewards associated with this card — however that’s typical for a secured card. When coupled with responsible credit behavior, this card can help you build credit and work your way to an unsecured card.

How to go from a secured card to unsecured card: Citi will hold your security deposit in a Collateral Holding Account for 18 months. Prior to the 18-month term ending, Citi will send you a notification in the mail informing you if you will be transitioned to an unsecured card. If transitioned, you will receive an unsecured card and your deposit back. If not, you will still have your secured card. The status of your account at the end of the 18-month term and whether you get back your deposit depends on your account history and other credit factors.

$100 minimum deposit: Visa Classic Secured by Justice FCU

Visa Classic Secured Card from Justice FCU

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Visa Classic Secured Card from Justice FCU

Annual fee
$0
Minimum Deposit
$100
Regular Purchase APR
16.90% Variable

You can join Justice FCU if you are an employee, retiree, or family member of the Department of Justice, Department of Homeland Security, United States Courts or another qualifying group. If that doesn’t apply, don’t fret. Anyone can join JFCU by first becoming a member of an eligible JFCU association like the National Sheriff’s Association, charges a $41 membership fee for auxiliary or student members. It only costs $5 for eligible individuals to join JFCU, so that would raise the total cost of membership to $46. Credit limits range from $100 to 110% of pledged shares.

Note: Justice FCU makes it hard to find the Visa Classic Secured card on their site. When you’re on their credit cards webpage, scroll to the bottom then click on the ‘Apply Now’ directly below the VISA Classic card. That will take you to a new page where you need to click ‘Apply Online’ to land on a general application page. From there select ‘Credit Card’ and the ‘VISA Classic Secured’ will be displayed. You can call customer service to obtain more information on the card.

How to go from a secured card to unsecured card: Justice FCU doesn’t provide automatic reviews of your account or a simple way to transition to an unsecured card — you need to initiate the upgrade to an unsecured card. To do this, apply for one of their unsecured credit cards. Then, upon approval, your secured card will automatically be cancelled and you will receive your security deposit back. Note that your approval for an unsecured card depends on your creditworthiness.

Best Strategy for Rebuilding Credit

The strategy for building a strong credit score with a secured card is simple. Make one small purchase each month ($10 or less), wait for your statement to come in, pay your bill on time and in full and then repeat the next month. By making just small purchases, you’ll be using a very low amount of your overall credit limit (also called utilization), which helps drive your credit score up faster because it shows you’re responsible.

Keep an Eye on Your Credit Score and Credit Report

Once you’re in the process of building or rebuilding your credit, it helps to have a benchmark. Do a monthly check in with your credit score to see how it’s improving.

In addition, you should also keep tabs on your credit report by downloading the report from each of the three bureaus. By law, you’re entitled to one free report from each bureau per year. You can download them all at once or space them out throughout the year. Go to annualcreditreport.com to download your free reports. Monitoring your reports will ensure all the information there is accurate and alert you about anything that may be damaging to your score, like an item in collections or reported missed payments.

A Word to the Wise

Never carry a balance on your secured card. The point of a secured card is to be building (or rebuilding) your credit history. Make one small purchase a month and pay it off on time and in full. Follow those two steps and you’ll see your credit score start to raise quickly.

Find other secured card options on our secured card comparison table.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

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Best of, Earning Cashback

10 Best 5% Cash Back Credit Cards for September 2019

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners. This site may be compensated through a credit card partnership.

Cash Back Credit Cards for 2017
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Credit card rewards programs come in so many varieties that it can be difficult to find the best cards for your spending habits. A basic, flat-rate card that earns you a certain percentage of cash back on all purchases is probably the simplest bet out there. Typically, rates range from 1-2%. Not shabby, especially if you use that card exclusively. But it’s not exactly something to write home about either.

There are even better cash back rewards offerings out there, some as high as 5%. But with these high-rewards cards, there’s almost always a catch, since most don’t offer 5% cash back across the board.

Every few months, the cards offer a few select shopping categories that can earn 5% cash back. Once those few months are up, the categories change. For example, a card could offer 5% cash back on groceries, gas and airfare from January to March, then switch those categories to wholesale stores, restaurants and gyms from April to June.

Additionally, there are often caps on how much of your spending can qualify for the 5% rewards rate. So if the cap is $1,500, for example, everything past that amount won’t qualify for the higher reward.

The key to maximizing these great cashback card offers is to find ones that offer cash in the categories you use the most. We dug around and found 10 cards that offer at least 5% cash back in some of the most common spending categories including gas, groceries and entertainment.

Access to bonus 5% Categories: Chase Freedom®

Chase Freedom®

The information related to Chase Freedom® has been collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

Chase Freedom®

Regular Purchase APR
16.99% - 25.74% Variable
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories every 3 months. Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.

How it works: Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories every 3 months. Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases. This translates to a maximum return of $75 per quarter on the 5% bonus category. You earn an unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases outside of the bonus categories. You can also Earn a $150 Bonus after spending $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.

Earn 5% back in these categories through the end of 2019:

  • January to March 2019: Gas stations, tolls and drugstores
  • April to June 2019: Grocery stores and home improvement stores
  • July to September 2019: Gas stations and select streaming services
  • October to December 2019: Department stores, Chase Pay, Apple Pay

Another area where the Chase Freedom® shines is in how it allows customers to redeem their rewards. The cash you’ve earned converts into Chase Ultimate Rewards® points. Every $1 equals 100 points. You can easily use the cash and apply it to your monthly statement. Or you can convert them into points and use them on travel, gift cards, merchandise, and other services through the Chase Freedom® rewards dashboard.

They make it super simple to redeem points on the go through the Chase Freedom® Mobile app. While you’re shopping, you can pick the merchant from the list on of eligible merchants on your app (popular ones include Nike, Regal Cinemas, Lowe’s, Starbucks and Best Buy). Then tell the app how much cash you want to use. You’ll get a custom e-gift card that you can present at checkout to pay for your purchases.

chasefreedommobileapp

Plus, you can stack the points earned on your Chase Freedom® card with your points on other Chase rewards cards, like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and the Chase Sapphire Reserve®. That just increases the spending power of your points.

The Fine Print: You can’t beat 5% cash back for your spending, especially with no annual fee. The downside is you have to remember to activate the category each quarter by subscribing to the program. But, if you set a reminder to do so, you can earn money without too much effort.

The original 5% cash back card: Discover it® Cash Back

Discover it® Cash Back

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Rates & Fees

Discover it® Cash Back

Regular APR
13.99% - 24.99% Variable
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com and more up to the quarterly maximum, each time you activate, 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases - automatically.

How it works: With the Discover it® Cash Back you earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like grocery stores, gas stations, Uber and Lyft, restaurants, or Amazon.com up to the quarterly maximum. The 5% is limited to $1500 spending per quarter, 1% after that. Activation is required.

Earn 5% cash back in these categories through the end of 2019:

  • January to March 2019: Grocery stores
  • April to June 2019: Gas stations, Uber and Lyft
  • July to September 2019: Restaurants and PayPal
  • October to December 2019: Amazon.com, Target, and Walmart.com

Using your rewards: Cash back from the Discover it® Cash Back is tracked in dollars and cents. You can immediately apply your cash back earnings to your bank account or as a statement credit toward your bill (note: your minimum payment will still be due). There’s also no minimum rewards value if you want to redeem them for charitable donations.

The fine print: You can only earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 of spend each quarter you activate. Once you’ve hit that cap, you’ll earn 1% unlimited cash back automatically on all other purchases.. This adds up to a $75 maximum return on your rotating bonus categories. There is no annual fee.

Extra perks: As an Intro Offer, Discover will match ALL the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year, automatically. There’s no signing up and no limit to how much is matched.

Best for gas and restaurants in 2019: Visa® Platinum Rewards Credit Card from Nusenda Credit Union

Visa® Platinum Rewards Credit Card from Nusenda Credit Union

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Visa® Platinum Rewards Credit Card from Nusenda Credit Union

Regular Purchase APR
11.25% - 15.25% Variable
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
Earn 3 bonus points, or 5% cash back, respectively, for every dollar they spend on purchases for movies, restaurants, and home improvements (up to $1,500 per quarter).

How it works: The Visa® Platinum Rewards Credit Card from Nusenda Credit Union lets you earn 3 bonus points, or 5% cash back, respectively, for every dollar they spend on purchases for movies, restaurants, and home improvements (up to $1,500 per quarter). Notably, it offers both gas and restaurants in two quarters. As a bonus New card holders earn 10,000 bonus points for $500 in purchases during first 90 days.

Earn 5% cash back in these categories through the end of 2019:

  • January to March: Groceries and gas expenses
  • April to June: Movies, restaurants and home improvement
  • July to September: Gas and education expenses
  • October to December: Restaurants, hotels and airfares

Using your rewards: This offer stands out as a decent companion card for maximizing cash back. When coupled with the Chase Freedom® or Discover it® Cash Back, you can maximize cash back in different areas during one quarter.

For an example, you can turn to the Visa® Platinum Rewards Credit Card from Nusenda Credit Union for 5% at restaurants in Q4. Then pull out the Discover it® Cash Back to make purchases at Amazon.com for another 5% the same quarter.

The fine print: Once again, you’ll need to monitor your spending habits to get the most cash back from a revolving category card. If you choose to use this card along with another one, a good practice would be labeling the cards in your wallet to ensure you use the right one for the right purchases in a given quarter.

One final caveat: While there is no annual fee, Nusenda is a credit union, so you will have to go through the process of applying for membership.

Pick your own cash back categories: U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card

U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card

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U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card

Regular Purchase APR
15.99% - 25.49%* (Variable)
Annual fee
$0*
Rewards Rate
5% cash back on your first $2,000 in combined eligible net purchases ($100 per quarter) on two categories you choose. That adds up to $400 cash back!

The U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card has a revolving cash back program that’s unique in comparison to the others above because you get options.

Earning cash back: You can earn 5% cash back in two categories of your choosing each quarter limited to the first $2,000 of spend. Then you can choose another category with no cap to earn 2% cash back. On all other purchases, you earn 1% cash back.

The categories for an unlimited 2% cash back (choose one each quarter) are:

  • Gas stations
  • Restaurants
  • Grocery stores

The categories for 5% cash back up to $2,000 (choose two each quarter) are:

  • Home utilities
  • Ground transportation
  • Select clothing stores
  • Cell phone providers
  • Electronics stores
  • Car rentals
  • Gyms/fitness centers
  • Fast food
  • Sporting goods stores
  • Department stores
  • Furniture stores
  • Movie theaters

Using your rewards: You can redeem cash back for gift cards, statement credit or a deposit into a U.S. bank savings, checking or money market account. The first time you redeem $100 in cash back in a single transaction, you get a $25 Cash+ Bonus.

The Fine Print: The same opt-in revolving category applies here, except you must also remember to choose your categories. There is no annual fee. The U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card is another good example of a card you may want to couple with another that gives you higher cash back for necessities, i.e., groceries. But, for diverse spenders who can benefit from the 5% category options, the U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card is worth considering.

Ideal for typical business expenses: SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express

How it works: The SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express* gives 5% cash back on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and U.S. office supply stores, 3% cash back on the category of your choice from a list of eight, 1% cash back on other purchases. 5% and 3% apply to the first $50,000 in purchases per calendar year, then 1% applies thereafter. The eight categories are:**

  • Airfare purchased directly from airlines
  • Hotel rooms purchased directly from hotels
  • Car rentals purchased from select car rental companies
  • U.S. gas stations
  • U.S. restaurants
  • U.S. purchases for advertising in select media
  • U.S. purchases for shipping
  • U.S. computer hardware, software, and cloud computing purchases made directly from select providers

**Terms and conditions apply.

Earning cash back: You have to choose your 3% category within two months of signing. If you don’t choose one, the default is gas stations. The combined annual maximum spend for the 5% and 3% categories is $50,000. On all other purchases, you get 1% cash back.

Using your rewards: Cash back will appear as a credit automatically on your statement. The SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express card has no annual fee, so you’ll earn cash back with a generous annual maximum of $50,000 (see Rates & Fees).

The fine print: You must remember to choose your 3% cash back category every year. If you select one this year and forget to do so next year, you’ll be locked into the same 3% category for another 12 months until you make a switch. There is no annual fee.

*The information related to the SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express has been collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication. Note that this offer is no longer available.

5% cash back for the Amazon Prime enthusiast: Amazon Prime Rewards Visa® Signature Card

Amazon Prime Rewards Visa® Signature Card

The information related to Amazon Prime Rewards Visa® Signature Card has been collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

Amazon Prime Rewards Visa® Signature Card

Regular Purchase APR
16.24% to 24.24% Variable
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
Earn 5% back at Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market with eligible Prime membership, 2% back at restaurants, gas stations, and drugstores, and 1% back on all other purchases.

How it works: The Amazon Prime Rewards Visa® Signature Card is open to Amazon Prime Members, so it’s somewhat exclusive. Earn 5% back at Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market with eligible Prime membership, 2% back at restaurants, gas stations, and drugstores, and 1% back on all other purchases. Buying items on other merchant websites that have the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa® Signature Card payment option enabled will not earn you 5% cash back.

Using your rewards: The cash back you rack up will apply as a credit to your statement.

Do the math: If you’re not already an Amazon Prime Member, it’s probably not worth signing up to become one just for the card unless you intend to spend big bucks on the site or at Whole Foods Market. You need to spend $2,380 per year at Amazon.com for the 5% cash back to cover the $119 annual membership fee.

The fine print: The fine print of what you can and can’t buy to earn 5% is the only gotcha here. But, if you shop a lot at Whole Foods Market or on Amazon.com often and stick to the rules, you’ll see a nice return from this card. There’s no annual fee for the card, but you must be an Amazon Prime member, which costs $119 a year ($59 for students).

Good fit for the regular Target shopper: Target REDcard™ Credit Card

Target REDcard™ Credit Card

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Target REDcard™ Credit Card

Regular Purchase APR
25.15% Variable
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
5% at Target & Target.com

How it works: For Target shoppers, there’s the Target REDcard™ Credit Card. It gives you a discount of 5% at Target & Target.com (minus any other discounts or promotions). Purchases that won’t earn 5% cash back include:

  • Prescriptions, over-the-counter items located behind the pharmacy counter and clinic services
  • Target Optical™ eye exams
  • Target gift cards and prepaid cards, Stockpile, Gift of College and lottery gift cards
  • Previous purchases
  • Certain restaurant merchants in Target stores, such as D’Amico & Sons Italian Kitchen and Pret A Manger
  • Target credit account payments, Target Debit Card cash back and cash advances on the Target Mastercard
  • Shipt membership fees
  • Gift wrap and shipping and handling charges on Target.com purchases
  • Wireless protection program purchases and deposits required by mobile carriers

Earning and using rewards: The program is pretty simple as far as how Target gives you money back. Your 5% will apply to eligible purchases in your shopping cart at checkout. In addition to 5% cash back, this program includes free shipping from Target.com and 30 extra days for returns.

The fine print: No red flags with the REDcard other than watching out for the purchases excluded from cash back listed above. For faithful Target shoppers, this no annual fee card with the 5% discount may be a no brainer.

Most straightforward 5% rewards card just for gas: Fort Knox Federal Credit Union Visa® Platinum Card

Fort Knox Federal Credit Union Visa® Platinum Card

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Fort Knox Federal Credit Union Visa® Platinum Card

Regular Purchase APR
11.50% - 18.00% Variable
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
Unlimited 5% cash back on gas and 1% cash back on all retail purchases.

How it works: The Fort Knox Federal Credit Union Visa® Platinum Card makes our list with the most straightforward, no cap rewards program. You can Unlimited 5% cash back on gas and 1% cash back on all retail purchases.

Using your rewards: Cash back will appear on your statement as a credit.

The fine print: This rewards program is offered by a credit union in Kentucky. You’ll have to take a few extra steps to qualify for membership. If you don’t live in Kentucky or have family in Kentucky, membership is open to anyone that joins the American Consumer Council. There is no annual fee for the card, but you will need to become a member of the credit union.

6% cash back for the heavy grocery shopper: Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

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Terms Apply | Rates & Fees

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Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Regular Purchase APR
14.99%-25.99% Variable
Intro Purchase APR
0% for 12 months
Intro BT APR
0% for 12 months
Annual fee
$95
Rewards Rate
NEW 6% Cash Back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions & 3% Cash Back on transit including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.

How it works: The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is our top pick for cardholders who want to maximize cash back on groceries. With this card, you get 6% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%), 6% on select U.S. streaming subscriptions, along with 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and transit (e.g., taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more). Cardholders also earn – NEW 6% Cash Back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions & 3% Cash Back on transit including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more.

Welcome offer: $250 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months.

Using cash back: Cash back builds as Rewards Dollars you can redeem for statement credit in increments of $25.

The fine print: There is an annual fee of $95 per year.

Only advantageous for military service members living on base: USAA® Cashback Rewards Plus American Express® Card

USAA®Cashback Rewards Plus American Express® Card

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USAA®Cashback Rewards Plus American Express® Card

Regular Purchase APR
13.90% - 27.90% Variable
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
Earn 5% cash back on your first $3,000 in gas and military base purchases annually on these categories combined. Earn 2% on your first $3,000 on supermarket purchases per year. Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.

How it works:USAA® Cashback Rewards Plus American Express® Card lets you earn 5% cash back on your first $3,000 in gas and military base purchases annually on these categories combined. earn 2% on your first $3,000 on supermarket purchases per year. unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases. USAA membership is available to active and former military and their eligible family members.

Earning cash back: You Earn 5% cash back on your first $3,000 in gas and military base purchases annually on these categories combined. Earn 2% on your first $3,000 on supermarket purchases per year. Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases. You can redeem cash back in increments of $1 through the USAA Rewards Service Center online or over the phone.

The fine print: The USAA® Cashback Rewards Plus American Express® Card is light on the fine print. Just remember, the 5% category yearly maximum is $3,000 for combined gas and military base purchases per year and not per quarter. There is no annual fee.

The key to earning from any cash back card

In closing, regardless of which cash back card you choose, be sure to pay off your bill in full each month. That’s one underlying trap of any card rewards program. If you carry a balance over time, adding interest into the equation means you may end up paying the credit card company more than what you’re making in cash back.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Benét J. Wilson
Benét J. Wilson |

Benét J. Wilson is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Benét J. at [email protected]

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Best of

The Best Kasasa Checking Accounts in 2019

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

A Kasasa checking account is a special type of banking product that is only available at certain credit unions and community banks. Kasasa checking accounts are free and offer various rewards, such as cash back or online shopping credits. Additionally, Kasasa checking accounts offer nationwide refunds on ATM withdrawal fees.

What is Kasasa checking account?

Developed by the Kasasa Corporation, a Texas-based financial services and marketing organization, Kasasa accounts help smaller banks compete against larger rivals by providing special features desired by consumers. In exchange for providing rewards and other benefits, Kasasa accounts require qualification. Typically, customers must enroll in online banking and/or electronic statements and undertake a certain number of monthly transactions, such as 12 debit card purchases and one or more ACH transactions.

While every Kasasa checking account comes with no monthly maintenance fees and national ATM fee rebates, the particulars of each individual bank or credit union’s account can differ. As banking is a competitive landscape, even among institutions that offer Kasasa accounts, rates and benefits will vary.

Here’s a look at the top Kasasa checking accounts, including both regionally available accounts and nationally available accounts. To select the best, we looked for Kasasa accounts that offered the highest APYs and generous rewards.

Top regionally available Kasasa checking accounts

InstitutionAvailabilityAPY

Kalsee Credit Union

Michigan4.25%

First Financial Bank

Arkansas and Mississippi4.07%

Peoples Bank

Louisiana4.01%

Bank of Frankewing

Tennessee4.00%

Liberty First Credit Union

Nebraska4.00%

Kalsee Credit Union Kasasa Cash+ Account

  • 4.25% APY
  • $0 minimum
  • $25,000 maximum
  • Available in the Kalamazoo, MI region

Kalsee Credit Union serves the Kalamazoo, MI region with a full menu of financial products. Kalsee offers four Kasasa accounts: Kasasa Cash+, Kasasa Cash, Kasasa Cash Back and Kasasa Saver. The credit union’s Kasasa Cash+ checking account earns 4.25% APY, the highest available rate we’ve found in our research.

To get the highest rate, you’ll have to open a Kasasa checking account, make 24 debit purchases per month, sign up for electronic account statements, log on to your account at least once per month, and receive direct deposits totaling at least $1,000 per month. You can earn the 4.25% APY on balances up to $25,000, while balances above this threshold earn 0.35% APY. In addition, Kalsee will refund up to $25 in ATM fees incurred at domestic ATMs.

Membership in Kalsee Credit Union is open to anyone who lives, works, or attends school in the Michigan counties of Allegan, Barry, Branch, Calhoun, Cass, Kalamazoo, St. Joseph, or Van Buren. Membership also extends to anyone receiving a retirement annuity, pension, social security, or similar retirement payment from private or government sources, and live in, or belong to a retirement organization located in Kalamazoo County or an adjacent county.

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on Kalsee Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

First Financial Bank Kasasa Cash Account

  • 4.07% APY
  • $50 minimum
  • $15,000 maximum
  • Available in Arkansas and Mississippi

First Financial Bank is an Arkansas-based, community bank that serves local markets in Arkansas and Mississippi. The bank currently offers three types of Kasasa accounts: Kasasa Cash, Kasasa Cash Back and Kasasa Tunes. These accounts all have minimum opening deposits of $50, no monthly service fees, and unlimited rebates of ATM fees nationwide.

Kasasa Cash currently pays a 4.07% APY on balances of up to $15,000, with the rate dropping to 4.07% APY on balances above $15,000. You must be enrolled in and log in to online banking, accept electronic statements and make at least 12 debit card purchases monthly or else your rate on your entire balance will drop to 0.05% APY and you won’t earn your ATM fee rebates.

Kasasa Cash Back eschews the high interest rate and instead rewards customers with a 3% rebate on debit card purchases of up to $250 per month, as long as you meet the same qualifications outlined above. Kasasa Tunes provides rebates of up to $7.50 each month in iTunes, Amazon or Google Play purchases, with a one-time sign-up bonus of $10 in rebates.

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on First Financial Bank (AR)’s secure website

Member FDIC

Peoples Bank Kasasa Cash Account

  • 4.01% APY
  • $100 minimum
  • $15,000 maximum
  • Available to citizens of Louisiana

Peoples Bank has four branches in and around the Baton Rouge, LA area. Peoples Bank offers a Kasasa Cash account that pays an attractive yield of 4.01% APY. There’s no monthly service fee associated with the account, and in addition to the high interest you receive up to $20 monthly in ATM fee refunds. To earn this APY, you must have at least 15 debit card purchases post and settle within the qualifying period, receive electronic bank statements, log on to online banking at least once a month, and have at least one ACH payment post to the account every month.

If you fail to meet those requirements, you still earn 0.08% APY on your deposits. And even customers who meet the requirements will only enjoy the high interest rate on balances up to $15,000. If you have a higher balance, the part greater than $15,000 will earn an APY of 0.31%.

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on Peoples Bank (New Roads, LA)’s secure website

Member FDIC

Bank of Frankewing Free Kasasa Cash

  • 4.00% APY
  • $50 minimum
  • $20,000 maximum
  • Available in the south-central Tennessee region

Established in the Tennessee town of Frankewing in 1920, this small community bank offers a Kasasa checking account that offers a great APY. If you meet the qualifications for the account, you’ll earn an APY of 4.00% on balances up to $20,000 (and an interest rate of 0.40% on the amount of the balance greater than $20,000). In addition to the high APY, you also enjoy reimbursements of third-party ATM fees with a limit of $20 per month (and $4.99 per transaction).

What are the requirements you need to meet in order to earn these rewards? Have at least one ACH credit or debit transaction each month, post and settle at least 12 debit card purchases per month, and be enrolled in and agree to receive electronic bank statements. If you don’t meet these qualifications, then the APY on your entire balance drops to 0.01% and you don’t receive the ATM reimbursements.

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on Bank Of Frankewing’s secure website

Member FDIC

Liberty First Credit Union Kasasa Cash Account

  • 4.00% APY
  • $50 minimum
  • $40,000 maximum
  • Available in eastern Nebraska

Liberty First Credit Union is the third largest credit union in the State of Nebraska. Liberty offers two types of Kasasa checking accounts: Kasasa Cash and Kasasa Tunes. Both accounts have no monthly service fees and refund up to $15 per month in nationwide ATM fees. Membership in Liberty First Credit Union is open to anyone who lives, works, worships or attends school in Lancaster or Seward County, and to employees of nearly 20 partner companies.

Kasasa Cash pays a high APY on balances of up to $40,000 if qualifying conditions are met, with balances above $40,000 earning a 0.15% APY. Every month, account holders must: be enrolled and receive electronic bank statements, log on to the online banking portal, settle at least 12 debit card purchases, and have at least one direct deposit ACH transfer post and settle. Account holders failing to meet these conditions still get a free checking account, but their APY drops to 0.05%.

The Kasasa Tunes account at Liberty First Credit Union has the same requirements as the Kasasa Cash account but pays out its rewards in the form of iTunes, Amazon or Google Play reimbursements, up to $5 monthly. In the first 30 days, the credit union offers a $10 music credit.

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on Liberty First Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

Top nationally available Kasasa checking accounts

InstitutionAvailabilityAPY

One American Bank

Nationwide3.50%

Dover Federal Credit Union

Nationwide3.25%

Main Street Bank (MI)

Nationwide3.00%

Security State Bank

Nationwide3.00%

First Security Bank & Trust

Nationwide2.51%

One American Bank Kasasa Cash Account

  • 3.50% APY
  • $50 minimum
  • $10,000 maximum
  • Available nationwide

Based in Sioux Falls, SD, One American Bank was founded 135 years ago, before South Dakota had achieved statehood. Today this small regional bank packs a big punch, offering a nationally available Kasasa Cash checking account that earns a decent 3.50% APY on balances up to $10,000.

To earn your Kasasa reward APY, for each monthly qualification cycle simply do the following: Make at least 12 debit card purchase transactions of at least $5.00 each that post and settle to your account; receive electronic bank statements, account notices and disclosures; and log in to online banking at least one time.

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on One American Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

Dover Federal Credit Union Free Kasasa Cash Account

  • 3.25% APY
  • $0 minimum
  • $30,000 maximum
  • Available nationwide

Headquartered in Dover, DE, Dover Federal Credit Union is the second largest credit union in the State of Delaware and serves banking customers nationwide. Dover FCU’s Kasasa Cash checking account pays a 3.25% APY on balances up to $30,000 as long as customers receive electronic statements, log in to online banking and settle at least 12 debit card purchases monthly. This accounts also rebates up to $25 per month in nationwide ATM withdrawal fees.

Membership in Dover FCU is open to anyone who joins the Friends of Bombay Hook association. You may also join if you are an active duty member of the U.S military with duty locations in Delaware; a civilian employee of the federal government working in Kent County or Sussex County, Delaware; or a member of the Delaware National Guard. Employees of over 400 partner companies are also eligible for membership.

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on Dover Federal Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

Main Street Bank (MI) Kasasa Cash Checking Account

  • 3.00% APY
  • $0 minimum
  • $30,000 maximum
  • Available nationwide

This small regional bank is based in Bingham Farms, MI, just north of Detroit. Their Kasasa Cash Checking account earns a decent 3.00% APY on balances up to $30,000 and doesn’t require a minimum deposit to open. One unusual perk that makes this account especially useful is that you receive unlimited reimbursements of up to $4.00 per transaction, for nationwide ATM withdrawal fees.

Qualifying for the reward APY is easy. Just make at least one direct deposit, ACH payment, or bill pay transaction per monthly qualifying period; post at least 10 debit card purchases in the month; and receive electronic bank statements and log into your account at least once per monthly qualifying period.

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on Main Street Bank (MI)’s secure website

Member FDIC

Security State Bank Kasasa Cash Account

  • 3.00% APY
  • $0 minimum
  • $10,000 maximum
  • Available nationwide

Security State Bank is a full-service community bank located in Scott County, KS. Nevertheless, Security State’s Kasasa Cash checking account is available nationwide, and earns a respectable 3.00% APY. The Kasasa account has no minimum deposit to earn rewards, and a ceiling up to and including $10,000 to earn the APY. All you have to do is post 12 debit card purchases in each monthly qualification period, enrollment in electronic statements and log on to online banking every month to qualify for rewards.

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on Security State Bank (KS)’s secure website

Member FDIC

First Security Bank & Trust Kasasa Cash

  • 2.51% APY
  • $0 minimum
  • $50,000 maximum
  • Interest or cash back

First Security Bank & Trust has been serving the north central Iowa region for more than a century, and now they can serve you wherever you are with an attractive yield on a Kasasa Cash checking account. First Security offers a notably high maximum balance of $50,000 on which you may earn 2.51% APY. They’ll also refund up to $25 of out-of-network ATM withdrawal fees per month. To earn the reward rate, all you need to do is post at least one ACH transaction and 12 debit card purchases in each monthly qualifying period, in addition to receiving electronic statements and maintain a valid email address on record with the bank.

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on First Security Bank & Trust’s secure website

Member FDIC

The bottom line: Are Kasasa checking accounts worth it?

Kasasa accounts can offer great benefits to customers who qualify. If you’re already making the required transactions, such as 12 debit card purchases per month, Kasasa accounts are something of a no-brainer, as they offer rewards, carry no monthly fees and reimburse domestic ATM withdrawals.

However, for those who might have to stretch to qualify for a Kasasa account, it might pay to shop around, as there are plenty of competitor accounts that also charge no monthly fees. Each individual customer will have to weigh out the benefits of a high interest rate – or one of the other Kasasa rewards – against the transaction requirements.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

John Csiszar
John Csiszar |

John Csiszar is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email John here

James Ellis
James Ellis |

James Ellis is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email James here