USAA offers a number of military credit cards, some of which have the low APRs and some of which offer cash back or travel rewards. Like many military credit cards, the low APR ones are noteworthy, offering rates of less than 10% for excellent credit. The cash rewards cards are less exciting: the best rewards deal is the USAA American Express, which gives 1 point per $1, and lets you redeem 15,000 points for a $150 against airline tickets. Generally, if a bank makes its name on low interest credit cards, it doesn’t have the capacity to offer the rewards of a nationally known heavy hitter like Capital One or Chase.
About USAA: Founded in 1922 by Army officers who wanted to self-insure each other, the USAA serves all members of the Armed Forces and their families. The United Services Automobile Association offers insurance, banking, loans and financial planning. In order to be eligible, you must be an active, retired or honorably separated member of the military; an officer candidate in a program like the ROTC; the adult child of an eligible parent; or a widow/widower of a USAA member.
What are some similar military credit card issuers?
Check out our selection of military credit cards. There are a number of military credit unions. Some give membership to anyone affiliated with the Department of Defense or Homeland Security (including, for example, Walter Reed staff) while others limit themselves to one branch of the military or even a specific base. The largest of the military credit unions, Pentagon Federal, offers free membership to those affiliated with the DoD and also extends membership to anyone who donates to the National Military Family Association or Voices for America’s Troops.
Here are some examples:
Sea West Coast Guard Federal Credit Union offers membership to anyone in the Coast Guard and Homeland Security employees in the western states. One credit card gives 6.25% interest and 1% rewards, while another gives no rewards but 4.25% interest.
Taylor Model Basin Federal: Taylor Model is open to anyone paid through or by the Naval Surface Warfare Center, military or civilian. It offers a Gold MasterCard with 8.25% interest.
Navy Federal is open to anyone in the military, their families, or DoD employees. The Navy Federal Flagship Rewards gives 2% cash back with only a $49 annual fee, better than the Capital One Venture Rewards or Discover Escape.
Pentagon Federal is open to anyone who makes a donation to NMFA or Voices for America’s Troops, and offers some of the best rewards credit cards out there. The PenFed Platinum Travel Rewards gives 5% rewards on travel and 1% elsewhere, has no annual fee, and gives a 20k-point signup bonus. The PenFed Platinum Cashback gives 5% back on gas and 1% back elsewhere, with no annual fee. However, these cards are only available for those with excellent credit.