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U.S. Bank Business Cash Rewards World Elite™ Mastercard® hasn’t yet found its way onto our list of the best small business credit cards for U.S.-based professionals, but it’s a perennial contender. This straightforward cash back credit card returns up to 3% on spending in three popular business spending categories – an excellent, annual-fee-free opportunity to cut business operating expenses and strengthen your bottom line.
U.S. Bank Business Cash Rewards isn’t perfect. It lacks many of the value-added benefits that premium business credit card users expect. But if you’re seeking a no-frills cash back option that pays you back for the purchases you’d make anyway, you owe it to yourself to take a closer look.
When you spend at least $3,000 in eligible net purchases within 90 days (3 months) of opening your account, you’ll earn a $500 cash bonus.
Earning Cash Back Rewards
U.S. Bank Business Cash Rewards earns unlimited 3% cash back on eligible net purchases in three categories: cellular, gas, and office supply stores. All other eligible purchases earn unlimited 1% cash back. There’s no limit to your total cash back earnings. Once earned, rewards remain valid as long as your account remains open, active, and in good standing.
Redeeming Cash Back Rewards
You can redeem your accumulated cash back rewards for U.S. Bank account deposits, statement credits, and gift cards, subject to the terms and restrictions of U.S. Bank’s cash back program. The minimum redemption threshold is $25. Above that threshold, you can redeem in any $25 increment.
Annual Cash Back Bonus
Each year, you get a 25% bonus on cash back earned during the previous year. If you earned $100 in cash back, you’d get a $25 bonus, for total annual cash back earnings of $125. This benefit is capped at $250 annually. If you earn more than $1,000 cash back in a given year, your bonus will be stuck at $250.
Additional Business Benefits
Business Cash Rewards’ additional benefits include:
- Overdraft Protection for U.S. Bank Deposit Account Holders: If you’re already a U.S. Bank business deposit account holder, or willing to open one at some point after applying for your Business Cash Rewards card, you can use your credit card to protect against deposit account overdrafts. Simply link your deposit account with your credit card and opt into U.S. Bank’s overdraft protection program. Once opted in, deposit account transactions that would have previously resulted in overdrafts or NSF transactions are executed like normal, then offset by cash advances drawn on your credit card’s cash advance line in $50 increments. In most cases, each transfer incurs a fee to your credit card and deposit account, though some high-end deposit accounts with higher monthly maintenance fees don’t have daily overdraft fees. Overdraft protection transfers begin to accrue interest at the cash advance rate as soon as they’re made, so it’s in your best interest to pay them off as quickly as possible.
- U.S. Bank Connect: U.S. Bank Connect is a community-based resource by and for small business owners. It’s a great place to find advice about launching, growing, and running a business or professional practice. Insights gleaned here could prevent costly mistakes down the road.
- Mastercard Business Network: Similar to U.S. Bank Connect, but more expansive (and useful) in its scope, Mastercard Business Network is a powerful resource for small business owners. Features include a point of sale tool (Elavon), various business efficiency tools, and exclusive or preferred event access through Mastercard Priceless Cities.
- Mastercard Easy Savings: Mastercard Easy Savings is a savings network exclusively for MasterCard-backed business cardholders. You’ll find discounts from dozens of popular national brands here. Cuts typically range from 3% to 5%, but you’ll find much deeper deals in isolated cases. Once you register your card, discounts are automatically applied at the point of sale – no manual redemptions or coupon code entries required.
Account Management and Expense Tracking Tools
This card has some additional account management and expense tracking tools:
- Employee Card Controls. This feature allows you to control “how, where, and when your employees can use their cards.” You can limit employee activity by merchant type (for instance, office supplies only), dollar amount, transaction type, geographical area, time and day of week, and more.
- Choose Your Own Statement Due Date. You don’t have to settle for your preset statement due date. Instead, choose the statement due date that best fits your company’s needs. You can change your selection at any time.
- Account Alerts. Create and customize account alerts for important events, such as large purchases made on employee cards or overlimit transactions. This feature is especially helpful for accounts with lots of authorized users.
- Auto Pay and Accelerator. With auto pay, you no longer need to worry about missing payments or paying past your statement due date – simply set a date for your payment to execute each month and enjoy true peace of mind. For balance-carriers, the Accelerator feature lets you pay above the minimum or increase the frequency of your payments (as often as weekly) to pay down interest-bearing balances faster.
- Expense Tracking and Categorization. Use this feature to track and separate business and personal expenses with customized tags.
There is a 0% APR introductory promotion on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months following your account opening date. Once the promotional period ends, the regular variable APR applies.
There is no annual fee or fee for additional employee cards. Foreign transactions cost 2% when denominated in U.S. dollars and 3% when denominated in foreign currency.
This card requires good to excellent credit.
- No Annual Fee. U.S. Bank Business Cash Rewards has no annual fee. That’s great news for frugal cardholders who don’t want to lose any of their hard-earned rewards to a recurring levy simply for the privilege of keeping this card in their wallets.
- Nice Sign-up Bonus. When you spend at least $3,000 in eligible net purchases within 90 days of opening your account, you’ll get a $500 cash bonus. That’s a very nice return on early spending.
- Up to 3% Cash Back on Select Purchases. This card earns 3% cash back in three broad spending categories: gas, cellular, and office supply stores. Millions of business owners spend heavily in these three categories. If you align your spending properly and use a different credit card for non-favored purchases, you can earn the bulk of your Business Cash Rewards’ cash back in this tier alone.
- Annual Cash Back Bonus Worth Up to $250. You’re entitled to an annual cash back bonus of up to $250 every year you remain a cardholder in good standing. You don’t need to do anything to claim the bonus – just spend as usual and watch the rewards roll in.
- Savings Opportunities Through Mastercard Easy Savings. The complimentary, automatic Mastercard Easy Savings program is a low-stakes way to boost your return on spending with this card. Dozens of national chains participate. All you have to do is enroll your card and spend as usual.
- 0% APR for 12 Months on Purchases and Balance Transfers. U.S. Bank Business Cash Rewards has a 12-month, 0% APR introductory promotion on purchases and balance transfers. If you’re planning a major investment in your business or simply want some temporary breathing room before paying for run-of-the-mill outlays, this feature is worth remembering.
- Useful Business Benefits. This card has a slew of helpful business benefits. Even those that don’t directly impact cardholders’ bottom lines are worth checking out – for instance, U.S. Bank Connect is a great place to glean insights and advice from business owners who’ve been around the block.
- Low Baseline Cash Back Rate. This card’s baseline cash back rate is low – just 1% on most purchases. If your spending runs the gamut and you don’t want to shortchange any portion of it, look into flat-rate competitors, such as Capital One Spark Cash for Business, which earns unlimited 2% cash back on all eligible purchases.
- Need at Least $25 to Redeem for Cash Back. You need at least $25 in earned cash back rewards to redeem for statement credits, bank account deposits, or gift cards. Going forward, you can redeem only in $25 increments. For very light spenders, this is a serious disadvantage that can interfere with your savings calculus.
- 2% to 3% Foreign Transaction Fee. If you regularly travel outside the United States, you’re not going to like this card’s foreign transaction fee. Look to a fee-free competitor, such as Chase Ink Business Preferred.
- Penalty Interest Charges on Past-Due Balances. Cardholders who occasionally miss payment deadlines due to cash flow issues or unexpected expenses must be prepared to incur penalty interest charges on this card. If you’re not confident in your ability to consistently pay your bills on time, look to a competitor that doesn’t charge penalty interest.
U.S. Bank Business Cash Rewards World Elite™ Mastercard® likely won’t win awards for its generosity or innovativeness in its current form. It’s a classic business cash back card with a relatively straightforward rewards program and a solid lineup of business benefits, including the discount-rich Mastercard Easy Savings Network. For many business owners, it’s all the credit card they need.