Posted by William Charles on October 3, 2016
Credit Card Offers

Published on October 3rd, 2016 | by William Charles


USAA Limitless Credit Card Review – 2.5% Cash Back On All Purchases

USAA has launched a pilot program for a new credit card called ‘limitless’. Let’s take a look at this new card offering.

The Basics

Here are the basics of the card:

  • Card earns at the following rates:
    • 2.5% cash back on all purchases if you have a $1,000 monthly direct deposit into your USAA checking account
    • 1.5% cash back on all purchases if you don’t receive the monthly direct deposit
  • No annual fee
  • No sign up bonus
  • Chip & PIN
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • You must be a USAA member to apply for the card


USAA Membership

You’re eligible if you fit in these categories:

  • Active, retired and honorably separated officers and enlisted personnel of the U.S. military.
  • Officer candidates in commissioning programs (Academy, ROTC, OCS/OTS).
  • Adult children whose eligible parents have or had a USAA auto or property insurance product.
  • Widows and widowers of USAA members who have or had a USAA auto or property insurance policy.

You can find more information here.

Pilot Program

This is a pilot program and only available in select states at the moment, currently it’s available in:

  • AL, AR, AZ, CO, CT, FL, GA, HI, ID, IL, IN, KS, LA, MD, MI, MN, MT, ND, NM, NV, NY, OR, PA, RI, SC, TN, TX and WA

They are also slowly adding more states.

Credit Limits

Here are some data points on what credit limits people have been receiving:

Our Verdict

This card would be your best option for non-category spend (apart from the Discover it Miles, that offers 3% cash back for the first year). Obviously this is a loss leader for USAA, but they would be trying to make that money back on the checking account that requires the $1,000 direct deposit. Most other financial institutions have used bank account bonuses instead, but Fidelity also loses money on their 2% card but still come out ahead as cardholders have larger Fidelity deposits than non-cardholders. I suspect USAA will need to add some limits to this card to make it sustainable, but the limited membership might make this unnecessary.

If anybody has some screenshots or additional information, please share them in the comments below.

You might also be interested in our reviews of other USAA cards:

Hat tip to RileyRydem on /r/churning

88 Responses to USAA Limitless Credit Card Review – 2.5% Cash Back On All Purchases

  1. Bungy says:

    It is possible to become a USAA member through grandparents.You will need their ss# regardless if they are living or not. A friend just got membership through her 92 year old Grandfather, though she was turned down at first because her father was reserve national guard for some reason.

  2. stvr says:

    Wonder if this can be done with their Amex cards too. I don’t tend to keep VISA top of wallet because of their forex markups

  3. Matt says:

    Was approved for this with a 12k CL if you need any other DPs

  4. Miki says:

    No FTF as well. Seems decent. Exciting to see a small issuer making a big play.

  5. Harlan V. says:

    I was targeted for it. Here’s the text from the app:

    Limitless™ Cashback Rewards Visa Signature® Card
    Card Design
    Rates and Fees
    Apply Now
    Exclusive Online-Only Offer
    2.5% cash back on every purchase

    Earn 2.5% cash back on purchases while you maintain a monthly qualifying direct deposit of $1,000 in a USAA Secure Checking (Opens Pop-Up Layer) account.See note 1
    Enjoy cash back on every purchase, with no limit on the amount you can earn.
    Redeem your cash rewards anytime using your mobile device or computer.See note 2
    View Terms & Conditions

    Special Military Benefits
    Deployment/PCS rate: Get 4% APR on all balances for up to 12 months during deployment or PCS. After 12 months, the regular APR, currently between 14.15% and 20.15%, will apply. This rate will vary with the market based on the prime rate.
    Special 4% SCRA rate: When you have a balance on your account at the time you enter active military duty, get 4% APR on that existing balance until one year after you complete active duty.
    See Special Bank Benefits for MilitaryMilitary Benefits Link

    Retail and Travel BenefitsSee note 3
    Enjoy no foreign transaction fees when you travel outside of the United States.
    Extended warranty doubles the manufacturer’s or store brand warranty for up to one year.
    Collision damage waiver coverage pays for damage and theft of most rental cars.
    Concierge, emergency and roadside assistance.
    Security and Convenience
    Chip technology (Opens Pop-Up Layer) has added security and greater acceptance worldwide
    Protection from unauthorized charges — $0 liabilitySee note 4
    Text messaging options to get account balances and transaction history
    Account access on or your mobile device
    Rates and Fees
    Apply Now
    Return to All Credit Cards
    Social NetworksMember Community
    Switch to full site
    Copyright © 2016 USAA.
    Note 1 Within 90 days of opening your credit card account, you must establish a monthly qualifying direct deposit of at least $1,000 to your USAA checking account. A qualifying direct deposit is a single electronic transfer of at least $1,000 that you initiate with your employer, a government entity or an external financial institution. Funds transfers between USAA accounts are not qualifying direct deposits.
    Note 2 Account access restrictions may apply to mobile/web access in certain countries.
    Note 3 Restrictions apply. See the credit card Guide to Benefits.
    Note 4 Zero liability policy: You are not liable for unauthorized use that is reported to us. Unauthorized use means the use of a credit card by someone other than you who does not have actual, implied or apparent authority for such use and from which you or any member of your family does not receive a direct or indirect benefit. We will follow the requirements of the federal Truth in Lending Act and Nevada law to determine if a charge is unauthorized.
    Note 5 USAA Bank does not charge a fee for the first 10 domestic ATM transactions; a $2.00 fee will be assessed per transaction thereafter.
    If you apply for a USAA Visa Signature Card account and are approved for a credit limit less than $5,000 you will automatically be considered for a Platinum Visa with the same terms and fees.
    Purchase of a product other than USAA auto or property insurance, or purchase of an insurance policy offered through the USAA Insurance Agency, does not establish eligibility for, or membership in, USAA property and casualty insurance companies.
    Credit cards issued by USAA Savings Bank, other bank products by USAA Federal Savings Bank, both Member FDIC.
    USAA is an Equal Housing Lender
    USAA is a Secure Site

    And here are a few screenshots:

    Let me know if you need any specific any info about it or more pics. Seems like a decent deal if you’re a USAA member.

  6. HBG says:

    Is this limited to a few states (as I’ve read) to start?

  7. DJordan says:

    Chat with USAA rep informed me that the USAA Limitless Credit Card will be available to all members on October 28th. Currently is only available to selected members.

  8. Scott says:

    Just approved for $20k line. Been USAA member since I was 16 though (I’m 40 now).

  9. Jeter says:

    I was sent an email to apply for this card. It does not show up in my offers on the mobile app. When I try to apply, I get “we are having technical difficulties, please try again later or call us to continue your application”. Have been getting that for over 24hrs. When I called, no one was able to help because it is an online pilot. The reps don’t know a lot about it yet.

  10. Jetsfan says:

    I have a USAA cash rewards Visa that earns 1% Cashback. I do not have much experience with the company and barely use the card. Do you think they might let me convert it to the new product?

    • CJ says:

      several years ago i changed my USAA visa from rewards to cash back. i recently inquired about doing this again (cash back to rewards this time) and was told the software is being updated and it cannot be done at the present time. i did not ask about changing cards altogether.

    • Matt says:

      I asked them specifically about this back in March 2017. I asked if I could convert my 12 year old USAA Cash Rewards Visa card into a USAA Limitless Visa card. I was told it was not possible.

      So I applied for the USAA Limitless Visa card like normal and was approved for with a $8000 credit limit.

      I then asked in April 2017 if it was possible to reallocate some my USAA Cash Rewards Visa credit limit to the new Limitless card. That was also not possible.

      I have converted USAA credit cards and reallocated USAA credit limits in the past, but it seems like that is no longer something USAA does.

  11. Chance says:

    Approved for 25K CL on 10/12/16.

  12. Terry says:

    Oh, joy! Just got approved, 20k limit. There is the possibility of charging immediately, as your card number and security code are included in the approval. Temporary limit til card is delivered is 1k. Can also opt for express card delivery for $8. I love the Doctor of Credit, have learned so much and look for my daily e-mail!

  13. Melissa says:

    Okay, can anyone explain how banks make money on direct deposit? USAA has been our primary bank for over a decade and we deposit our paper paychecks with USAA like clockwork (that’s the only way the small business we work for will pay us). Why does that make us less valuable to them than when worked for a company that paid us by direct deposit? I’m pretty angry that I’ll be excluded from this.

    • CrazyAussie says:

      From the detailed info posted by Harlan on Oct 3rd, it stated the direct deposit can be from an external financial institution – so maybe deposit you checks at another bank and setup a regular transfer to USAA ?

      • Melissa says:

        Good catch. Thanks for pointing that out. I hadn’t thought that would work because transfers have shown as transfers for me, not ach. But I’m going to do some test pushes from my other banks and see what it shoes. Thanks!

        • Benjamin says:

          Hi, did you ever find out if this works? I’m thinking about applying for the card but I don’t get a dd paycheck, so I’d have to ACH transfers, trying to find out if this would work.

          • Melissa says:

            It looks like direct deposit if I initiate the transfer from the other institution rather than from USAA. But they only opened access in my state a week ago. You get 90 days to start direct deposits, so I probably won’t know for sure if it worked for almost 90 days.

        • Outlook says:

          Hi Melissa, did you find out it it worked?

        • Outlook says:

          Hi Melissa, did you find out if it worked?

    • Chance says:

      Agree with CrazyAussie. You can transfer $1000 from your USAA account to another institution and then deposit it back into your checking account. That will suffice for your monthly direct deposit requirement.

  14. rice says:

    Saw link yesterday on USAA’s regular web site (NOT the mobile site)
    Under Products, Credit Cards
    Approved in 1 minute
    $20k Credit Limit with about 800 credit score
    Got instant credit card number with security code and instant activation
    Card showed up on web banking under my accounts instantly
    Was given the option for authorized user cards

    Site says
    “Exclusive Online-Only Pilot”
    “Available in LA, NM, KS and ID”

  15. Javi says:

    Online instant approval 18.5k CL USAA member for 6 years. 1k limit to use immediately until card arrives. Best cash back on the market for everyday spend.

  16. Scott says:

    Although it was unadvertised, for a number of years anyone could become a USAA member and open a USAA checking account even though without military affiliation you still couldn’t get the insurance.

    Does anyone know if having a USAA checking account and direct deposit is sufficient to qualify or if it’s like the insurance and requires “full” membership?

    Probably the only way you’d know is if you are in this special category of half-ass membership in the early pilot states, but it would be great if anyone had data points

  17. JD says:

    So..I just received approval for the 2.5% CB card and it is on the way. I “think” I will earn 2.5% when buying ANYTHING? Is that correct? Including AMEX Business Gift Cards?

  18. Cole says:

    New Limit datapoint

    You’ve been approved for a Limitless Cashback Rewards™ Visa Signature® with a $25,000 credit limit.

  19. GRR says:

    As of January 13

    This product is currently available to members residing in the following states: AL, AZ, CO, GA, ID, IN, KS, LA, MI, NM, PA, SC, TN and WA. It will become available in additional states at a later date.

  20. MKD says:

    I think I just found a way around the limited states availability.

    1) go to in private browser mode
    2) Click “Products” -> “Credit Cards”
    3) Select your state as PA (or other available states)
    4) For the Limitless Credit Card click “Get Started” -> “Already a USAA Member” -> log on
    5) apply from your preexisting USAA account that already knows your home address

    Note: I have not submitted the application yet because I’m still chasing a few cards with high signup bonuses but it looks like the above steps will work

  21. Terry says:

    Can you receive text alerts when you use the card? If your teenager is on it and you want to see when they spend? Does anyone have information on this?

  22. John says:

    Just applied for it and was approved for 9K. I’m in Denver. Credit score on USAA site 721. I was surprised that I got it.

  23. Tkn says:

    Applied and approved via mobile app in 5 minutes. 15000 credit limit. Live in NY. Have USAA for banking and insurance. 731 fico score as per discover bank report.

  24. Jim Bryan says:

    Any suggestions on what ACH transfers would be accepted by USAA to meet direct deposit requirement?

  25. MilesCollector says:

    Doc, How can I become a USAA member and get this card. I have no problem doing a $1K direct deposit as 2.5% CB is awesome and I’d like to make this card for non category and everyday purchases.

  26. Jackalope says:

    Here is a recent DP for you – I got approved for a $24,500 credit limit on 3-7-2017. I tried to do a PC, and they wouldn’t let me change one of my two USAA existing credit cards. The CS rep said that I would have to cancel at least one of these cards in order the limitless as I had two much credit tied up with the other two cards. I ended up cancelling both with a combined credit limit of around $45,000.

  27. Penny says:

    DP: approved for 18k, just applied online. THis is my first USAA card.. have my auto insurance and a checking account for MS through them

  28. Ian says:

    Approved for $25k.

  29. Matt says:

    I have a question in regards to the direct deposit or ACH qualification of a $1K a month. If I ACH in $1K but ACH out a $1k in the same month does that still qualify? I’m guessing either it does because they just look at incoming, or it doesn’t because they look at net ACH $ in at the end of the month.


    • Justin says:

      It doesn’t matter if you ACH out, there’s no balance requirements.

      I’m not sure if an ACH in counts as the trigger for a Payroll deposit, I have actual payroll that comes in (and I’ll move money out to my discover savings account).

  30. misty says:

    Any chance of getting card if Father was in Military – but now deceased?

    • Justin says:

      My understanding is yes (even if the realtionship is grandfather, I’ve head they let it go back 2 generations). I’d contact USAA and ask them what steps are involved to become a member – there’s one or two things you need to prove your eligible and they’ll let you know what the specific documents are.

      • Matt says:

        I signed up yesterday and the terms and conditions may have been updated because it now clearly states it can be from another financial institution. See below.

        “A Qualifying Direct Deposit is a single electronic transfer of at least $1,000 into your USAA checking account that you initiate with your employer, a government entity, or an external financial institution.”

  31. misty says:

    Thank you for all the good info.

  32. Bryce says:

    DP. Approved for this card at an 8500 limit, residency Texas. Additional DP, I transferred 1000 from my USAA account to Discover and conducted an ACH from Discover to transfer it back and it counted for the 2.5 percent activation.

  33. Danielle says:

    My mom was approved for $24,500 limit

  34. Peter says:

    Any DPs for a product change from another USAA credit card?

    • Kaz says:

      I have a USAA Amex Cash Rewards credit card and was denied for product change. They are only taking applications online so the phone rep can’t do it.

  35. Ace Malik says:

    Would paypal count as a direct deposit

  36. Bobbie says:

    Am I understanding this right? One has to make a $1K deposit to USAA Savings Bank every month in order to qualify for this card. Is that correct?

    If correct, and the cardholder does not use the card, does the money sit in a savings account with USAA?

  37. Jay Caff says:

    Will I qualify if I have multiple less than $1k direct deposits a month that add up to more than $1k?

    • TWoK says:

      There are no data points I’ve seen. I have the card, but there is no way I see to tell when and if they turn off/on the 2.5%.

    • Gadget says:

      You should be fine… as long as it’s total more than $1k per statement cycle.

      • TWoK says:

        I now have a datapoint and Gadget is WRONG! Had a lower paycheck because of some leave without pay, received one DD of $998 and another of $5 within both 1 calendar month and 30 days, but received this:

        “Thank you for choosing USAA Savings Bank for your credit card needs. We’re writing because you’re at risk of losing the 2.5% rewards benefit on the USAA Limitless Cashback Rewards credit card.

        Why Your Rewards Benefit Is At Risk
        To receive this benefit, you’re required to make a direct deposit of at least $1,000 (one deposit, not multiple combined) into your USAA checking account every 30 days. This requirement has not been met.

        How to Keep Your 2.5% Rewards Benefit
        Simply make a direct deposit of at least $1,000 into your USAA checking account and you’ll keep your 2.5% rewards benefit. To continue earning the 2.5% rewards benefit, you must have a qualifying direct deposit every 30 days. Otherwise, the benefit will be reduced to 1.5%.

        Please use the link below to set up direct deposit, and feel free to call us at 210-531-USAA (8722), our mobile shortcut #8722 or 800-531-8722 if you have questions. We value your business and the opportunity to serve your banking needs.”

        • Gadget says:

          Sorry, but I don’t have the card, and I was basing what I said on what others had said. I do want the card though, just waiting on them to open it up to my state. Looks like, per the “rumor” post today, they are going to change the terms. It will take $2000 in random DD’s for those individual DD’s that don’t hit the 1K mark.

          At least they give you clear notification and time to do something about it. Others have posted that ACH counts as a DD, so you could fix the issue if something like that happens, where your DD isn’t quite high enough. I won’t tell you which ACH to use; don’t want to be WRONG again.

    • Gadget says:

      Correction to my prior statement – Current terms state: A Qualifying Direct Deposit is a SINGLE electronic transfer of at least $1,000 into your USAA checking account that you initiate with your employer, a government entity, or an external financial institution.

      So what I would do, if my DD hovers around or less than the $1000 cutoff, is to not get my real DD in the USAA account, but into another financial institution instead. Because, the terms state EXTERNAL FINANCIAL INSTITUTION counts. I would, once a month, transfer 1K+, and then use my USAA account to pay bills. DP do exist for which banks count as DD.

      But, that’s just me. Not everyone may have that flexibility to wait for an ACH to post to start paying bills. And, maybe that’s more hassle than it worth to some. It’s not much different from a 2% card in total rewards, unless you are really spending a lot every month. I never applied for a 2% card because the amount I spend doesn’t make it worth the credit pull. Non-category spend is usually put toward the newest CC sign-up. But, now we are talking 1% difference from my 1.5% cards, so I am changing my tune.

  38. David says:

    Tax purchases may not get full cash back. Terms and conditions stipulate tax payments are not qualified purchases with their OTHER credit cards but this language is absent with THIS credit card. My tax payment did not get full cash back and am in the process of escalating it up the ranks. I expect to get the 2.5% once this is resolved, but just wanted to give everyone a heads up.

    • Tony says:

      Me too. I just spoke to USAA rep. My tax payment only get less than 0.1% cashback. They will investigate and give me a call back. I expect to get the 2.5%. I want to know any other payment have restriction like tax payment.

  39. Lizzle says:

    Approved 24k CL, the max for me. I have another USAA CC with a 26k CL. They only extend 50k across all cards per member.

  40. Justin says:

    I got a 20k limit approved. Already made 400 bucks on it!

  41. Gadget says:

    Seems like they are dragging their feet on rolling this out to anymore states (Last update I saw was March)
    Makes me think they aren’t going to keep going. I’m impatient!

  42. RandR says:

    We applied for the card the first part of 2017 and were approved for $25K CL. I made $1K ACH transfers from our NFCU account, “an external financial institution” in February and March. Mid-March I received a e-mail informing me that we did not qualify for the 2.5% and were only getting 1.5% back. Made a call to USAA and was assured that the notice of ACH transfers I had made would kick in soon.
    April I get another e-mail stating the same thing. Call to USAA spoke with two different people and was assured, once again, that the ACH transfers DID qualify as Direct Deposits. May arrives and I check the balance on our card and still at 1.5%. Call USAA = same song and dance. June arrives, there’s $5K in the checking account and we STILL DON’T qualify for 2.5% back.
    Call USAA again and finally get a straight answer – ACH transfers DO NOT qualify. The transfer must be a DIRECT DEPOSIT.
    By now we’re past the 90 days to make the qualifying deposits. We were advised to apply for new cards and now we’ve involved my husband’s retirement account by designating a monthly $1K allotment to our USAA checking account. We’ve been ASSURED that it will qualify. Not holding my breath.

  43. Doug Beasley says:

    Applied for the card, 20k CL. I have a $500 DD each pay period (bi-weekly on Fridays) that goes into checking. This is qualifying me for the bonus 1%.

    DD does not have to single $1000. Just has to total $1k per statement cycle.

    • Fred says:

      Doug, did rep specifically state this, or is this your observation in practice? A rep specifically told me it needed to be $1000+ per DD, but that was a few months ago.

    • Belleama says:

      Did you notice whether or not you got 2.5% in July as well?

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