Active duty and retired military servicemen and women can get a lot of perks with the right credit card. Those in the military must join a credit union to apply for a credit card. The Service Members Civil Relief Act (SCRA) was legislated in 2003 and revamped since. The SCRA guarantees that active and retired military servicemen and women pay no more than 6% interest on credit cards. It also guarantees rate protection for up to a year after service and forgives interest up above 6%. The most important thing to remember when applying for any credit card when you're in the military is to ask about any available perks.
1. USAA Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature Card
USAA has offered financial services and special membership perks for men and women serving and retired from the US military since the 1920s. The USAA Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature Card offers the best cashback rewards. The card offers 2,500 bonus points on your first purchase, 1 point for every dollar spent and 2 points for every dollar spent on gasoline and dining purchases. There is no annual fee.
2. Navy Federal cash rewards Signature Visa Credit Card
The Navy Federal cashRewards Visa is now open to all branches of the military. The credit card has an excellent flat-rate rewards program. The card offers 1.5% cashback rewards on all purchases used with the credit card. There is also a $250 sign up bonus once $2,500 is spent in the first 90 days. There are no added fees for cash advances and no transaction fees on foreign purchases.
3. PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature Card
Pen Fed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature Card offers a great balance transfer option. There is 0% APR on balance transfers made within the first 12 months. The card also offers a great cashback program for military servicemen and women and their families. You get 5 points for every dollar spent on gasoline, 3 points for every dollar spent on groceries and 1 point per dollar spent on anything else. Once you spend $1,500 within the first 90 days, you get a credit statement bonus of $100.
4. USAA Rate Advantage Platinum Visa
As with all USAA financial options, USAA membership is open to members and retired personnel of all branches of the US military and their families. The USAA Rate Advantage Platinum Visa credit card is a good option if you expect to carry a balance. The APR is as low as 9.15%. Cash advance fees are waived if you transfer the money to another USAA account. There is a 3% fee on other cash advances and a 3% balance transfer fee.
5. Navy Federal Go Rewards Mastercard
The Navy Federal Go Rewards Mastercard is a great option if you dine out a lot. The card offers 3 points for all purchases at restaurants and 1 point for all other purchases. You can redeem your points through cashback, gift card, merchandise, and travel options. You must have 1,000 points to redeem but there is no limit to points. The APR on this card is relatively low at 11.24 to 18%.
6. PenFed Promise Visa Credit Card
PenFed offers membership to all service branches. The PenFed Promise Visa Credit Card is great because there are no fees. There are no annual fees, no transfer or cash advance fees. There are no foreign transaction fees. There are no fees for late-payments or going over your balance limit. The APR is between 12 and 18%. The company offers an introductory APR of just 5% for the first 12 months.
7. Navy Federal Credit Union nRewards Secured Credit Card
This is a great option for military servicemen and women if they have a lower credit score. The APR on this card is relatively low. There are no foreign transaction fees. There are no fees for cash advances as long as the transaction is made at a Navy Federal ATM or bank branch. Otherwise, the fee is just $1. The Navy Federal n Rewards Secured Credit Card also offers a cashback program with 1 point earned for every dollar you spend using your credit card.
- Starting at 6 months, Navy Federal will review an account to see if the cardholder is eligible to have their hold removed and be upgraded to a cashRewards unsecured card.
- Cardholders don't need to call in or request to be upgraded; Navy Federal will automatically review accounts on a monthly basis beginning after 6 months of the account opening.
8. The Military Star Card
The Military Star Card is a great option for any military member, active or retired, with access to an Exchange in any branch. The card can be used at all Exchanges, gas stations, mini-marts, commissaries, uniform shops, military resorts and more. Members are eligible for 10% discounts on food. There is also a rewards program of 2 points per dollar spent which can be redeemed when you reach 2,000 points. This is a private label card managed by the Army and Air Force Exchange Service.
9. USAA Cash Back Rewards Plus American Express
One of the perks of the USAA Cash Back Rewards Plush American Express is a big cashback advantage but it is limited. You get 5% cashback on military base purchases and gasoline. However, this is limited to the first $3,000 spent during a 12 month period. The card also offers 2% cashback on grocery purchases but this is also limited to $3,000 a year. Another great perk about this card is that you pay only 4% APR during the first year of deployment or relocation. There are no foreign purchase or annual fees and a 15% APR.
10. USAA Wounded Warrior Project Rewards Visa Signature Credit Card
USAA's Wounded Warrior Project Signature Visa Reward credit card works in conjunction with the Wounded Warrior Project helping veterans. The APR on this card can be as lo as 13.15%. This card has a good reward program that offers 2,500 bonus points after your first purchase and 1 point per dollar spent on any purchase. The card offers a 25 day grace period for late-payments and a maximum of $35 in late fees.
Written by Bill Vix
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