About a year and a half ago, I got my first new credit card in probably a decade. Since this momentous occasion, I’ve received numerous credit card offers in the mail and have proceeded to throw them in the trash each and every time. However, a few weeks ago, I came across news that Uber — the popular but perpetually in the news ride-sharing service — was launching a new rewards credit card. Had I just seen the headline I probably wouldn’t be doing this review but, upon seeing what this new card had to offer, I was immediately intrigued. Needless to say I eventually decided to apply for the new card myself (even signing up on the first day) and have now had a few weeks to try this card out.
So does the new Uber Visa credit card live up to the hype and jump to the front of my wallet? Let’s dive into what I like about this card, even as someone who isn’t a hardcore Uber user.
Uber Visa Rewards Categories
First off, the Uber Visa (which is issued in partnership with Barclaycard) operates on a point-based system in which 1 point is equivalent to one cent. As a result, you can simply add a decimal and read your point balance as a dollar amount to see what your rewards — which can be used for Uber credits, gift cards, or transferred to your bank account — are worth. This is important to note because, if you’re skeptical like me, you might assume that these point values just appear generous but might not convert to much. But as Teri Hatcher once said, when it comes to these Uber Visa cash back points, they’re real and they’re spectacular.
4% on dining
The top points category for the Uber Visa is dining, netting you four points for every dollar you spend. This includes fast food, take out, table service, and even UberEats. While my wife and I don’t eat out that much (although one could argue that near-weekly is a lot), having recently enjoyed 5% back on dining from my Discover card last quarter, I was surprised by how lucrative such an offer was. Of course, while that Discover bonus category offer has since expired, this 4% Uber category is year-round, making this an awesome perk for my wife and me.
3% on travel
As I’ve mentioned in the past, my wife and I really enjoy traveling and have been working to ensure we get to do more of it in the future. For that reason, while I’ve ultimately declined past offers, I have been tempted to try a branded credit card with the likes of Delta or Hilton. Alas these options never seemed to make much sense to me. On the contrary, the three points per dollar that this Uber Visa entitles me to when booking flights or hotels compliments my wanderlust nicely. There’s also another bonus this card holds for travel enthusiasts, but we’ll discuss that more in a moment.
2% on online purchases
Perhaps the most interesting of the four spending categories the Uber Visa holds is its 2% category. This category offers two points per dollar spent online, including both e-commerce sites like Amazon as well as the digital offshoots of brick and mortar chains like Target. Incidentally this is also the category Uber rides fall under. Considering how much of my shopping is done online or can be done online, this was another winner for me.
1% on everything else
Although the above three categories cover a lot of spending ground, there are plenty of purchases that don’t fall under any of these umbrellas. As a catch-all, the Uber Visa offers one point per dollar for pretty much everything else you buy. Considering this is what my Discover card mostly offers (aside from those rotating 5% categories), this really rounds out the rewards lineup nicely.
Other Uber Card Perks and Benefits
Once these reward categories grabbed my attention, I was expecting some sort of hammer to fall and be a deal breaker. To my surprise, that never happened. In fact, the Uber Visa actually just kept looking more appealing the more I read. Here’s what I mean:
No annual fee
You read that right — this is a free card. I could have sworn that, reading about this card, it was going to cost upwards of a $100 a year to use. As someone who doesn’t have any annual fee cards and never plans to, this was perhaps the biggest bombshell for me. Well, that and my next point.
No foreign transaction fees
In my travels to Asia and now Europe, I’ve learned how annoying foreign transaction fees can be. Our main Visa tacks on 3% to anything we buy that’s not in U.S. dollars, while the Discover card has limited acceptance in some countries. So that’s why I was ecstatic about the thought of having a foreign transaction fee-free Visa card, which is what the Uber card delivers. Honestly this is a game-changer for me and is sure to save me some cash on future adventures.
$50 streaming credit
If it wasn’t already clear what kind of demographic the Uber card is aiming for, this perk should illuminate things a bit more. When you spend at least $5,000 on your card in a year, you’ll be entitled to receive a credit of up to $50 to subsidize your various streaming subscriptions. This includes services like Netflix, Hulu, Spotify, and Apple Music. However, in order to qualify, you’ll need to use your Uber Visa to pay for these subscriptions.
Mobile phone insurance
Another clever perk is the inclusion of mobile phone insurance. Like with the streaming credit, you’ll need to ensure that you pay your cellular bill using you Uber card in order to take advantage of this offer. If you do, you’ll be able to file a damage or theft claim on your device and get up to $600 after a $25 deductible. For those of you with true butterfingers, you’ll be happy to know you can file two of these claims (up to $1,200) in a 12 month period.
Initial spending bonus
Like many credit cards, the Uber Visa is offering a special incentive to sign-up for their card. When you’re approved for the card and spend $500 in your first three months, you’ll receive a 10,000 point ($100) bonus. Although this might not be the largest initial spending bonus known to man, $500 is also a pretty reasonable threshold. Also, you won’t hear me complain about getting a free c-note.
Uber Visa Review
It’s only been a few weeks that I’ve been armed with my Uber Visa credit card, but I’ve managed to do a bit of exploring in that time. This includes putting these spending categories to the test, getting hands-on with the Barclaycard app, and shopping around their gift card selection. Here’s what I’ve discovered so far:
Accessing via apps and site
As I mentioned, the Uber Visa card is actually issued by Barclaycard. Thus you’ll likely want to download their mobile app after getting approved for the card. The app itself is pretty easy to use, offering Touch ID login and Apple Watch integrations. It also has a peek feature that lets you view your balance and other basic info without logging in (although you will need to opt-in to this feature).
Something I really appreciate about the Barclaycard app is that you tap your individual transactions and view how many points you received. This function has allowed me to spot some anomalies and plot some ways to optimize my rewards (more on that in a minute). Other helpful features include the ability to set up travel plans, view your FICO score, and of course make payments.
Another way to view your point balance is in Uber’s flagship app. By adding your Uber Visa card as a payment type, a point value bar will appear below your name and rating. Tapping this will enable to cash in your points for Uber ride credits. You can choose to spend these credits in any amount over $5 and leave the rest if you’d like. Below this redeem option are buttons that will launch the Barclaycard app should you choose to explore other ways to spend your rewards.
Gift card selection and cash back
Speaking of reward redemption, Barclaycard offers a number of gift cards for purchase with your points — as long as you’ve accrued more than $25 in rewards. In addition to that minor hurdle, another downside is that, aside from a few cases where $25 gift card are “on sale” for $22.50, these cards are sold at face value. This stands in contrast to my Discover card, which allows you to trade cash back for discounted gift cards (typically offering bonuses of at least $5). That said, they do offer cards from a wide variety of retailers including many I frequent.
Alternatively you can also choose to just transfer your rewards to your bank account. Again, this can only be done once you reach more than $25 in rewards.
Point accrual tips
For the most part, I’ve received all of the points that I should have based on my spending categories. However I have noticed a couple of oddities. First, while I’d expect my local donut shop to qualify as dining and, thus, net me four points per dollar, I’ve now visited twice and only received 1% back. I’m guessing that this has something to do with how this small shop’s Square account is set up, but another cafe I visited that also utilizes Square resulted in 4% back. Ultimately this retailer-specific issue probably isn’t worth my looking into further but I’ll be keeping an eye on it for sure.
Then, one quirk I found with the system (that actually makes a ton of sense when I thought about it) revolves around my beloved Starbucks. Since most of my Starbucks consumption now involves mobile ordering, I’ve gotten into the habit of reloading my gold card via the app when I order. As it turns out, since this is technically an online purchase, I was only receiving 2% back on these reloads. But, as I recently confirmed, reloading at the store’s register qualifies me for the 4% back, since Starbucks is indeed a restaurant. So from now on I’ll be loading my card in person and getting double the rewards as a result.
Finally, although I’m waiting for the transaction to clear and affirm my suspicion, I realized this holiday shopping weekend that I could probably have doubled my cash back rewards if I made my purchase on BestBuy.com and picked up my order in-store, instead of purchasing the item locally (update: it worked!). If this proves true, it seems I will be pushed even further toward e-commerce so I can get that sweet, sweet cash back.
While I had next to no real desire to get another credit card after my Discover It card, I’m thrilled with the Uber Visa credit card so far. For my money, this is really the ultimate credit card for Millennials for a number of reasons: 1) amazingly generous spending categories, 2) no foreign transaction fees, 3) up to $50 streaming credit, 4) up to $600 cell phone insurance, and 5) all of this for no annual fee! What’s even more interesting is that this a branded credit card that seems less about loyalty and more about lifestyle. Aside from the name on the front, the Uber branding is almost inconsequential, with the only real benefit being that you can cash out points for rides at $5 instead of $25. So, for those who don’t patronize ride-sharing services very often or prefer Lyft, don’t think that this stellar card can’t benefit you as well.
Overall I’d highly recommend the Uber Visa credit card — and actually have, getting a couple of my friends on board already. For more information on this honestly awesome card and to apply for one yourself, check out the Uber Visa site.