Editorial Review

Navy Federal Platinum Review: Zeros That Add Up to a Lot

It's a no-frills, low-fees card that's ideal for balance transfers. You must be a Navy Federal Credit Union member to get it, though, and it earns no rewards.

Robin Saks FrankelMarch 7, 2019

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  • American Express Cash Magnet® Card

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Our Take

3.5

NerdWallet rating 

The Bottom Line: It packs an impressive combination of debt-zapping features that can be hard to find elsewhere, assuming you're eligible to apply.

Navy Federal Credit Union Platinum Credit Card

Navy Federal Credit Union® Platinum Credit Card

Annual Fee

$0

Regular APR

7.99% - 18.00%, Variable

Intro APR

0% on Balance Transfers for 12 months

Recommended Credit Score

Quick Facts

Annual Fee
$0
Annual Fee
$0
Intro APR
0% on Balance Transfers for 12 months

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • No annual fee

  • Intro APR period on Balance Transfers

  • No foreign transaction fee

Cons
  • No rewards

Alternate Pick: Rewards, plus a longer intro APR period

American Express Cash Magnet® Card

Intro APR applies to purchases, too

This card earns 1.5% cash back on purchases and also offers an intro 0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 15 months, and then the ongoing APR of 15.24% - 26.24% Variable APR. Terms apply. The annual fee is $0.

Read our review

Full Review

The Navy Federal Credit Union® Platinum Credit Card could be a great fit for someone seeking a break on high-interest debt.

The card packs a triple-zero punch of money-saving features: a $0 annual fee, a 0% intro APR offer for balance transfers, and $0 in balance transfer fees. It's not easy finding a card that offers all three. There's no such intro APR for purchases, but the card still offers a potentially low ongoing rate for those who can qualify.

You won't earn any rewards, however, nor will you be able to get the card without a Navy Federal Credit Union membership. If you can't meet the eligibility criteria, you may be out of luck.

Navy Federal Credit Union® Platinum Credit Card: Basics and benefits

Card type: Balance transfer.

Annual fee: $0.

Sign-up bonus: None.

Rewards: None.

APR: Get an intro 0% on Balance Transfers for 12 months, and then the ongoing APR of 7.99% - 18.00%, Variable.

Balance transfer fee: None.

Foreign transaction fee: None.

Other benefits: Collision damage waiver coverage, cell phone protection, extended warranty service, and travel and emergency assistance.

Why you might want the Navy Federal Credit Union® Platinum Credit Card

It's ideal for balance transfers: In addition to the card's 0% intro APR offer on balance transfers, there's also no yearly cost of card ownership, nor will you pay any balance transfer fees. That's a rare combination of features. If you're confident you can pay off your transferred balance within a one-year window, this card can be a real money-saver.

It's not half-bad even if you need to carry a balance: NerdWallet recommends paying your balance in full each month to avoid interest charges. (Per the Federal Reserve, the average APR charged in Q4 2018 for credit card accounts that incurred interest was 16.86%.) If, however, paying in full is not always possible, this card offers a potential ongoing APR that's much lower than the average, depending on your creditworthiness. The lower your APR, the less you'll pay on interest charges every month. This means more of your hard-earned money goes toward paying down the principal.

It's a decent travel companion: The card doesn't charge a foreign transaction fee, so you can use it internationally without racking up extra charges.

Why you might want a different card

You don't qualify to join Navy Federal: You must be a Navy Federal Credit Union member to have this card, meaning you must meet eligibility requirements. If you don't qualify for Navy Federal membership, consider the Lake Michigan Credit Union Prime Platinum Card. The ongoing APR is 8.50% Variable. The card doesn't offer a 0% intro APR period, but there are no balance transfer fees, and the annual fee is $0. Those who don't meet the credit union's location eligibility requirement have another solution: Donate $5 to the ALS Association, and you’re in.

You want rewards: Many cards are more generous when it comes to both the length of their balance transfer offers and the rewards they earn. The American Express Cash Magnet® Card, for instance, earns 1.5% cash back on purchases and offers an intro 0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 15 months, and then the ongoing APR of 15.24% - 26.24% Variable APR. Terms apply. The annual fee is $0. However, unlike the Navy Federal Credit Union® Platinum Credit Card, the card does charge a balance transfer fee: Either $5 or 3% of the balance total, whichever is greater.

There's a penalty APR and late fee: It's not uncommon for credit cards to charge a penalty APR, a late fee or both if you don't pay on time. Your card's promotional APR or low ongoing rate can end in the blink of an eye if you slip up and are late or miss a payment. Do that with the Navy Federal Credit Union® Platinum Credit Card and the card will sock you with its highest possible APR, plus a late fee of up to $20 per incident. If your friends would describe you as absent-minded, you may be better off with a more forgiving card like the HSBC Gold Mastercard® credit card. It offers 0% Introductory APR on credit card purchases and balance transfers for the first 18 months from account opening, then a variable APR of 12.99% - 20.99% will apply. There's no penalty APR, and you get one late fee waiver per year. The annual fee is $0, although it doesn't earn rewards and you'll owe a balance transfer fee of 4% of the amount transferred or $10, whichever is greater.

Should I get the Navy Federal Credit Union® Platinum Credit Card?

If you're trying to whittle down some high-interest debt and you qualify for Navy Federal Credit Union membership, this card can help, thanks to its coveted "triple-zero" balance-transfer features.

Even if you can't knock out all of your debt within the promotional APR period, the low potential ongoing rate can also be helpful, assuming you qualify.

But if you're seeking a card with bells and whistles — or if you don't give a fig about low ongoing interest because you pay your bill in full and on time every month — look to a rewards-earning card.

To view rates and fees of the American Express Cash Magnet® Card, please visit this page.