Best Military Credit Cards — January 2021

Active-duty service members can enjoy a variety of benefits, from military discounts to exclusive low credit card interest rates. Thanks to the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA), credit card issuers must forgive debts accrued before service that have an interest rate of 6% or higher every year.

This law applies to active service members, which includes:

 

  • Full-time active duty members
  • Reservists on federal active duty
  • National Guard members whose federal orders exceed 30 days

 

SCRA is retroactive and is applicable for the duration that the service member is active-duty. To qualify for this benefit, service members must submit a duplicate of their military orders and a written letter 180 days before the end of their service to the credit card company.

If you’re in the military and considering a new credit card, check out US News My Money’s top choices for January 2021.

Best For Low Minimum APR

USAA Rate Advantage Visa Platinum Card

Annual fee: $0

Credit score requirement: Good to Excellent (670 – 850)

Regular APR: 6.90% – 23.90% (variable)

Penalty APR: None

Balance transfer fee: 3% of the amount of each transfer

Cash advance fee: 3% of the amount of each cash advance

Foreign transaction fee: None

 

With the USAA Rate Advantage Visa Platinum, you can enjoy lower interest payments on your monthly balance while getting the same rate for purchases, balance transfers, and cash advances. 

USAA charges no annual fee or foreign transaction fees and offers security features such as secure logins to $0 liability for fraudulent purchases. You can enroll in push notifications to receive alerts about any suspicious account activity and conveniently report a lost or stolen card online or with the mobile app.

 

Best For Cashback Rewards

Chase Freedom Unlimited

Annual fee: $0

Credit score requirement: Good to Excellent (670 – 850)

Purchase intro APR: 0% for 15 months

Regular APR: 14.99 – 23.74% (variable)

Penalty APR: None

Balance transfer fee: $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is higher

Cash advance fee: $10 or 5% of the amount of each transaction, whichever is higher

Foreign transaction fee: 3%

 

Whether you’re in the military or a civilian, Chase’s Freedom Unlimited is one of the best credit cards to keep in your wallet. You can enjoy a $200 welcome bonus when you spend a minimum of $500 within three months after opening an account.

This card also offers unlimited 1.5% cashback on every purchase and an extra 5% when you use the Chase rewards portal to complete your travel purchases. Additionally, you can earn 3% on dining and drugstore purchases and 1.5% on everything else. With no annual fee and a lengthy intro APR period, you can save more on the things you buy every day. Rewards never expire, and there are no requirements to redeem. 

 

Best Secured Credit Card

Navy Federal nRewards Secured Credit Card

Annual fee: $0

Credit score requirement: None

Purchase intro APR: 0% for 15 months

Regular APR: 18.00%

Penalty APR: 18.00%

Balance transfer fee: None

Cash advance fee: None if completed at a Navy Federal branch or ATM. If not, you pay $0.50 for each domestic transaction or $1.00 for foreign transactions.

Foreign transaction fee: None

 

The Navy Federal nRewards Secured credit card is ideal for military members who want to build their credit. Unlike most secured credit cards, this one offers 1X points for every dollar you spend, has no annual fee, and doesn’t charge for balance transfers or foreign transactions. There are no restrictions on the number of rewards you can earn, which you can redeem for statement credits, products, gift cards, or cold hard cash.

 

Best Rewards For Military Base And Gas Purchases

USAA Cashback Rewards Plus American Express Card

Annual fee: $0

Credit score requirement: Good to Excellent (670 – 850)

Purchase intro APR: 

Regular APR: 11.90% to 25.90% (variable)

Penalty APR: None

Balance transfer fee: 3% of the amount of each transfer

Cash advance fee: 3% of the amount of each cash transaction

Foreign transaction fee: None

 

The USAA Cashback Rewards Plus American Express Card lets you enjoy 5% cashback on the first $3,000 worth of purchases you make on gas and military base each year. You can also earn 2% cashback on up to $3,000 in grocery purchases every year, with a 1% cashback on everything else. 

Since there are no annual or foreign transaction fees, you can keep more of those cashback rewards to yourself. USAA offers secure account logins and $0 liability for fraudulent purchases, as well as mobile alerts to keep you updated about account activity. 

 

Source
  • US News Staff. “Best Military Credit Cards.” U.S. News & World Report, U.S. News & World Report, 8 Jan. 2021, creditcards.usnews.com/military.

 

Ian Schindler