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NavyFed vs. 172 Other Military Credit Cards

Sept. 17, 2010
Credit Cards
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  • Navy Federal Business Card

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Our list of 180 military credit cards shows the depth of credit card options available to active or retired military personnel in the United States. The list encompasses 51 military credit unions, USAA, and several military banks.

Navy Federal stands tall in many departments, but  given the huge array of options, there are other cards with exceptional features that are also worth noting.

Best of the Best: Military Credit Card Roundup – Rewards & APRs

If you are fortunate enough to have sterling credit, PenFed’s Platinum CashBack is one of the best rewards credit card around. You get 5% cash back at any gas station, 1% on everything else, and they often run additional bonus promotions. For example, they recently paid 2% cash back at the supermarket for a few months. All of this with no annual fee. PenFed also has a student version of this card.

The lowest rate we’ve ever seen, anywhere, comes from Sea West Coast Guard Federal Credit Union, with a 4.25% APR at the time of this writing. You can qualify by being stationed on the west coast US Coast Guard or thru various USCG organizations.

Kirtland Federal Credit Union also offers an astonishingly low 5% APR, at the time of this writing, that many enlisted personnel actually qualify for. According to their VP of Marketing, hundreds of people currently have this rate. You can qualify for Kirtland FCU by being in the New Mexico National Guard or stationed on Kirtland AFB.

NavyFed offers the best business and secured credit card we’ve ever seen, bar none, as we detail below. The numbers speak for themselves when you compare it to our huge list of business credit cards and secured credit cards.

Best All Around Credit Union: NavyFed Offers Both Exceptional Rewards and Low Rates

Navy Federal Credit Union is the largest credit union in the world, and anyone who serves in the US military, or is peripherally employed by the Department of Defense in any way, shape, or form, is eligible.  Retirees and family members are also eligible, so if anyone in your family is current or ex-military, or even a civilian employee of the DoD, you may be able to join it’s other 3.4 million members and take advantage of their military-specific deals on credit cards and other financial products.

Here’s our breakdown of the best credit card deals offered by NavyFed.

Best Rewards: NavyFed Flagship Rewards

For rewards, your best bet is the Flagship Rewards card.  This card pays 1 point per $1 spent, but then 15,000 points can be redeemed for $300 airline tickets, making it effectively a 2% travel rewards card, similar to the Discover Escape or Capital One Venture card.  The big difference here is that this card offers APRs as low as 9.99%, while the Escape starts at 10.99%, and the Venture at 13.9% (as of writing).  If travel rewards aren’t your thing, cash and gift cards can also be redeemed, though only at a 1-1.5% reward rate.

Best Low Interest Card: Platinum from NavyFed

The Platinum from Navy Federal Credit Union ranks as one of our best low APR cards overall, with rates starting at 7.99%.  Only a few cards can beat that, and they are all offered by small regional banks like Zions Bank, Simmons First, and Iberiabank.

Best for Business: Business Card from NavyFed

The aptly-named Business Card from Navy Federal Credit Union offers a much lower APR than most small business cards we track, starting out at 9.15% (as of writing), plus it offers a reasonable rewards program.  By signing up for Visa EXTRAS, you can earn 1% rewards for your first $4,000 of spending each year, then 2% for every dollar beyond that.  This isn’t quite as lucrative as deals like the Ink Cash from Chase, but if your business carries a balance month-to-month for cash flow management, you can’t beat this.

Best Secured Card: NavyFed nRewards Secured

Finally, in the secured card category, Navy Federal offers hands-down the best option amongst the cards that we track with the nRewards Secured.  Unlike most secured cards, this card has no annual fee and no balance transfer fees.  And with the nRewards program, you can even earn 1% back on all purchases while building your credit.  That makes this one of the few secured cards we’ve seen that rewards you for rebuilding your credit, rather than simply punishing you with a constant barrage of fees.

How Do Military Credit Union Cards Compare To Other Civilian Options?

More often than not, credit unions offer lower loan rates, higher savings interest rates, and occasionally even excellent rewards programs on credit cards.  They also tend to have better customer service and provide all-around more pleasant experiences to their members.  The problem is that they are often non-profits, and don’t have the advertising bucks that their bigger bank competitors wield, so you’ve probably never heard of most of them.

Not to worry, we’ve done extensive digging and list almost 700 credit cards, and let you sort them side by side based on various criteria. As you can imagine, your options expand greatly when you select “Military” under the credit unions menu, so you can see how military and civilian cards compare side by side.

>>More: NerdWallet’s Best Credit Card Offers For Active Duty Military