Best Military Credit Cards of January 2022
Our team of experts use a methodology to identify the credit cards most likely to meet your needs. We look at annual percentage rates, annual fees, issuer satisfaction ratings, and other factors to determine which cards are winning. Learn more”
Methodology: US News has examined hundreds of credit cards to identify which offer the most value to members of the military, taking into account factors such as rates, SCRA policies, rewards, and fees. Each card has its own strengths and drawbacks, so there is no single card that is ideal for all servicemen. US News selections reflect the best card in each category that can be tailored to your needs.
How do military credit cards work?
Under the Civilian Military Assistance Act, commonly known as SCRA, credit card companies must forgo interest above 6% per annum on financial obligations incurred before military service for active duty members.
Although SCRA benefits are available with any credit card issuer, many lenders have gone beyond these requirements in recent years, says Doug Nordman, author of “The Military Guide to Financial Independence and Retirement” and founder of The Military Guide, a financial blog for the service. members who are transitioning from the military.
For example, some A capital letter Credit cards offer a capped SCRA rate of 4% on existing balances when you enter active service, which is less than the 6% required. In addition, Capital One offers the rate of 4% on your balance for up to one year after completing your active service.
Who is eligible for military credit cards?
Eligible military personnel include full-time active duty members, federal active duty reservists, and members of the National Guard on federal orders older than 30 days. SCRA benefits apply during the period of active service and may be granted retroactively.
Members of the military must provide creditors with a copy of their military orders and written notice within 180 days of completing military service.
What are the typical interest rates for military credit cards?
A 4% interest rate is one of the lowest you can expect from a credit card with no 0% APR percentage offer, so it’s a good idea to take advantage of this benefit if you are eligible. But regular cards may offer better rewards and benefits, so you should also consider cards that don’t offer additional SCRA benefits.
How to choose a military credit card
Nordman encourages the military to use credit cards responsibly, even while on active duty, as debt can affect security clearances if not paid on time. He suggests using credit cards within your budget and then automating payments to avoid interruptions if you’re deployed. Follow these tips for choosing a military credit card:
- Look beyond the SCRA rate. Consider all the features that credit cards offer when deciding which one is right for you, not just the SCRA rate. “Like any other customer, military personnel need to make sure the card is right for their lifestyle,” said Kate Horrell, military finance coach. “If they travel overseas a lot, they absolutely want a card with no overseas transaction fees.”
- Compare the bonuses. Compare cards based on annual fee, rewards, signup bonus, cardholder benefits, introductory APR, and standard APR that applies after SCRA benefits expire.
- Compare introductory interest rates. Many credit cards offer 0% interest rates on purchases and balance transfers for 12-18 months. Instead of paying a 4% to 6% SCRA rate, you can pay 0% for the introductory period.
Are there any fees waived for military credit cards?
Some lenders waive fees for active duty military personnel regardless of what type of card you have. Other lenders do not offer benefits beyond what SCRA requires. The best military credit cards don’t have a lot of fees in the first place. Often times, whether or not a lender is waiving fees is only included in the fine print and is difficult to find. The best thing to do is to ask the transmitter what additional benefits it will provide to active-duty military personnel.