Military Credit Cards – The Better Ones

They are specially designed credit card options for military members, veterans, and sometimes their families too. They often come with exclusive perks like lower interest rates, rewards programs, and benefits tailored to the unique needs of service members. Now, let’s talk about a few specific examples!


USAA® Cashback Rewards Plus American Express® Card: USAA is a financial services company known for its stellar service to military members and their families. This card gives you 5% cash back on the first $3,000 in gas and military base purchases annually. Plus, you get 2% cash back on the first $3,000 in supermarket purchases per year. Everything else earns an unlimited 1% back. The best part? There’s no annual fee!

Navy Federal Credit Union cashRewards Credit Card: Navy Federal is another institution serving service members. With this card, you’ll earn an unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases. They also often offer a sign-up bonus, such as $150 after spending $3,000 within 90 days from account opening. And, just like the USAA card, there’s no annual fee!

PenFed Power Cash Rewards Visa Signature® Card: PenFed offers 2% cash back on all purchases for PenFed Honors Advantage Members (which includes military members, retirees, and their families), and 1.5% for all others. Again, no annual fee on this one!

The Military Star Card: This one is unique as it’s an actual military-issued card. It’s offered by the Army and Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES), and can be used at various military exchanges and facilities. The interest rate is quite competitive, and a portion of the card’s profits go directly to the military’s Morale, Welfare, and Recreation programs.


Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card: While not exclusively for military, Chase follows the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA), which caps the interest rate at 6% for military members while they’re on active duty. This card offers great travel benefits, including 2X points on travel and dining and 1 point per dollar on everything else. Plus, you get a hefty sign-up bonus: Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Also, the usual $95 annual fee is waived for active duty military members.

American Express Platinum Card®: Again, not exclusively military-focused, but American Express is known for its excellent SCRA benefits. They waive all fees, including the hefty $550 annual fee, for active duty military. This card is loaded with perks, like access to airport lounges worldwide, a $200 airline fee credit, and 5X Membership Rewards points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.

USAA® Rate Advantage Visa Platinum® Card: This card offers one of the lowest APR ranges among all credit cards, making it a great choice if you occasionally carry a balance. The exact APR you get is based on your creditworthiness. There’s no annual fee or foreign transaction fees, which is great for service members stationed abroad.

Navy Federal Credit Union Visa Signature® Flagship Rewards Credit Card: This card offers 3X points on travel and 2X points on everything else. Plus, you’ll get a one-time bonus of 50,000 points (a $500 value) after spending $4,000 within the first 90 days of opening the account. It also includes a statement credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck. The $49 annual fee is relatively low compared to other cards with similar rewards.

PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature® Card: This card offers 5X points at gas stations, 3X points at supermarkets, and 1X points on all other purchases. This could be a great option if you spend a lot in these categories. Plus, it offers a $100 statement credit when you spend $1,500 in the first 90 days. No annual fee on this one either!

These are just a few examples. All of these cards generally offer benefits like no foreign transaction fees and lower APRs under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) for eligible individuals. That’s on top of the cash back or reward points they offer.


  1. What are military credit cards? Military credit cards are designed specifically for those in the military, veterans, and sometimes their families. They often offer unique benefits such as lower interest rates, rewards programs, and specific perks catered to the needs of military members. Some companies even waive annual fees for military members.
  2. What is the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) and how does it relate to credit cards? The SCRA is a U.S. federal law that provides protections for military members as they enter active duty, including capping interest rates at 6% for financial obligations (like credit card debt) that were incurred prior to entering active duty. It also offers other financial and legal protections. Many banks offer additional benefits beyond what the SCRA requires.
  3. Are military credit cards only for active-duty military members? Not necessarily. While some cards are exclusive to active-duty members, many are available to reserves, National Guard, veterans, and sometimes even family members of service members. It’s important to check the specific eligibility requirements for each card.
  4. What should I look for in a military credit card? This depends on your spending habits and lifestyle. Consider factors such as the annual percentage rate (APR), rewards program, annual fee, foreign transaction fee (especially if you’re deployed overseas), and other perks. If you plan to carry a balance, a card with a low APR may be the most important. If you travel often, look for a card with good travel rewards and no foreign transaction fees.
  5. What is the best military credit card? The “best” card varies depending on your individual needs and spending habits. Some people might benefit most from a card with high cash-back rewards, while others might prefer a card with travel benefits or low interest rates. Research different options, understand the terms and conditions, and choose the one that aligns with your personal financial situation.
  6. How does credit card interest work with military credit cards? The interest works in the same way as any other credit card. You’re charged interest when you carry a balance over from month to month. However, many credit card companies offer lower interest rates for military members, especially during active duty, in compliance with the SCRA.
  7. Can a military credit card improve my credit score? Yes, responsible use of a credit card can help improve your credit score over time. This includes paying your bill on time every month, keeping your balance low relative to your credit limit (generally below 30%), and maintaining the account in good standing for a long period.