5 Best Credit Cards for Military Service Members


Last Updated: November 6th, 2020

Guest Blog Post from Guest Contributor at CreditRepair.com
Being a member of the United States Military means making many sacrifices. Service members certainly deserve a debt of gratitude from their fellow Americans, as well as from the institutions with which they do business.  It isn't uncommon for businesses to offer military discounts and perks—and credit cards are no exception.
Depending on the credit card companies you’re doing business with, there are some benefits and rewards available to military men and women and their families. Of course, not all cards are created equally. Some cards are better suited for military personnel than for non-military consumers. These cards offer certain rewards and options military members may need in case of deployments or other circumstances. Taking advantage of these benefits can help ensure that you maintain a good credit score during your military service and deployment.

The Role of the SCRA

The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) provides credit benefits to those who are entering a branch of the military, or who are called into active duty or deployed in the military. The SCRA assists those in the military by placing restrictions on the amount of interest and fees credit card issuers can charge and on the terms to which they can hold active duty service members. For example, the SCRA prohibits lenders from charging more than 6 percent interest on debts incurred prior to active service. It’s important to note, however, that SCRA rules don't apply to debts incurred after entering active duty.
While all creditors are bound by the SCRA guidelines, some go above and beyond, offering additional benefits to military service members. Take a look at five of the best credit card options currently available to service women and men.
1. USAA Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature® Card
This card is a good choice for military members and their families. There is no annual fee, and it also extends the SCRA reduced interest rate period beyond the time of military service. USAA also offers a 4 percent APR on any balances that still exist one year after active duty has ended. Furthermore, USAA will rebate any finance charges accrued while on a “qualified military campaign.” Cardholders get 1.5 percent cash back and the card offers competitive travel benefits—most notably, zero fees for foreign transactions. The USAA Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature Card is open to members and families of retired or active military.
2. PenFed Power Cash Rewards Visa Signature® Card
The Pentagon Federal Credit Union (PenFed) was created in 1935 to offer financial services to members of the military, defense industry employees, and their families. The credit union offers several credit cards, but its PenFed Power Cash Rewards Visa Signature Card offers no annual fee and unlimited 2 percent cash back on all purchases for current and former military members. PenFed also offers a $100 bonus statement credit for cardholders who spend $1,500 on the card in the first 90 days. It also offers no foreign transaction fees.
3. American Express Platinum® Card
While the American Express Platinum Card doesn’t exclusively target military personnel, AMEX will waive the $550 annual fee for its Platinum Card for active duty service members. And the travel rewards are pretty compelling, too. Cardholders receive 5X Membership Rewards points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel, 5X points on eligible hotels booked with American Express Travel, and one point for each dollar spent on other eligible purchases. AMEX Platinum cardholders can also get hotel and airport lounge perks.
4. Navy Federal Credit Union Platinum MasterCard®
Navy Federal Credit Union offers its services to all military branches and employees of the Department of Defense and their families. While this Platinum card doesn’t offer a slew of rewards, it is a good option for those who carry balances on their credit cards. The card offers an APR that is consistently 1 percent lower than most other cards that cater to military service members. The card also offers no annual fee, no balance transfer fees, and a zero-liability policy for unauthorized purchases.
5. Capital One QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card
This card is tailored to military service members with less than perfect credit. It offers many of the same perks afforded to those with good credit scores, including 1.5 percent unlimited cashback on purchases. The card has no foreign transaction fees, and its annual fee of $39 is waived during active duty. Like other cards, its interest rate is capped at 4 percent during active duty. Credit limits are increased once timely payments have been made for five months. Unlike other cards geared at military service members, Capital One QuickSilver One extends SCRA benefits beyond just traditional military members to include those in the National Guard, for example.
As a member of the military, there are excellent credit card benefits available to you and your family. These cards can ensure that you pay the lowest interest rates and maintain a good credit standing during your time of active service. This peace of mind can be of great benefit to both you and your family.
If you are a current or past member of the military, it’s important to review your credit report to make sure all of your credit accounts are in good standing. Keeping tabs on your credit will allow you to quickly identify any errors or fraudulent account activity that has occurred during your service or deployment so you can initiate any necessary credit disputes. Maintaining good credit can be difficult at times, so it's good to keep in mind that there are many credit repair options that can give you a second chance at having good credit.


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