Best Military Credit Cards – 2016

Brendan Harkness

Brendan Harkness | Editor's Best Card Picks

Jul 07, 2016 | Updated Jul 08, 2016

The cards on this page have been chosen from the widest possible selection of cards that we could find when the page was last updated on July 8, 2016. Although Credit Card Insider does receive compensation from some card issuers as advertisers, this does not in any way influence our choice of cards or the order that cards appear on the page. We have attempted to determine the best cards in this category, regardless of our advertising relationship with the issuers.

Learn more about how we rate credit and charge cards.

If you’re on active duty or will be soon, you can take advantage of a variety of special credit card offers to get valuable rewards and benefits at a very low cost (in many cases for free).

Members of the military and their families are able to get reduced interest rates on credit cards and other loans under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA). These apply mainly to active-duty servicemembers, to avoid punishing you for serving your country.

The primary benefit is a cap of 6% on interest rates, but many credit card issuers have also taken it upon themselves to provide extra benefits. Take note that you’ll need to apply for these benefits, you won’t get them automatically, and that different issuers may have different requirements and availability.

Some card issuers offer specific military cards, while others may only offer the basic SCRA benefits. If you have credit cards already, or you have your eye on a specific card we didn’t list here, check with your card issuer to find out if you can apply for any military benefits.

Here are some of the best military credit card offers you’ll find from a few different issuers.

USAA Credit Cards

The USAA has its own line of credit cards, with low rates and good rewards and benefits. You’ll also have access to interest rates as low as 4% when deployed.

Insider Tip: USAA cards are only available to members of the military, active or honorably discharged, as well as their families. Click here for more details on USAA eligibility.

Here are three of their best cards: two with cash back rewards, and one secured card for building credit.

USAA Cashback Rewards Plus American Express® Card

This card is great for spending on gas and at military bases, where you’ll earn 5% cash back, and you’ll also get 2% back at supermarkets. There’s no annual fee, and you’ll even have access to a personal concierge service.

USAA Cashback Rewards Plus American Express® Card
Apply Now

USAA Cashback Rewards Plus American Express® Card

For People with
Excellent Credit

  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Interest Rate: 12.15%-26.15% (Variable)
Quick Card Facts
  • USAA Eligibility Requirement: Today, USAA membership is only open to U.S. military service members, veterans who have received a discharge type of Honorable, and their eligible family members.
  • Earn 5% cash back at gas stations & qualifying commissaries on up to 3,000 in annual purchases.
  • Earn 2% cash back on groceries from supermarkets on up to 3,000 in annual purchases.
  • Earn 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Cash rebates are credited to your account annually, and there's no limit on the amount you can earn.
  • Special rates are available for military members during deployment or PCS. See terms for additional information.
  • No annual fee and no minimum finance charge.
  • Chip technology has added security when used at a chip-enabled terminal and greater acceptance worldwide.

USAA Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature Card

The Preferred Cash Rewards offers 1.5% cash back on every purchase you make, rather than using particular spending categories. Again, there’s no annual fee for this card.

USAA Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature Card
Apply Now

USAA Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature Card

For People with
Excellent Credit

  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Interest Rate: 12.15%-26.15% (Variable)
Quick Card Facts
  • USAA Eligibility Requirement: Today, USAA membership is only open to U.S. military service members, veterans who have received a discharge type of Honorable, and their eligible family members.
  • Earn 1.5% cash back on every purchase.
  • Cash rebates are credited to your account annually, and there's no limit on the amount you can earn.
  • Special rates are available for military members during deployment or PCS. See terms for additional information.
  • No annual fee and no minimum finance charge.
  • Chip technology has added security when used at a chip-enabled terminal and greater acceptance worldwide.

USAA Secured Card® American Express® Card

This is a secured card designed for people with bad credit, to help you improve it by building a positive account history. It requires an initial security deposit, has a $35 annual fee, and offers no rewards, but it has the same great military benefits of the other USAA cards along with a personal concierge service (a rare find on secured cards).

As long as you use it responsibly, you’ll improve your credit and eventually will be able to qualify for better cards.

USAA Secured Card® American Express® Card
Apply Now

USAA Secured Card® American Express® Card

For People with
Bad Credit

  • Annual Fee: $35
  • Interest Rate: 10.15%-20.15% (Variable)
Quick Card Facts
  • USAA Eligibility Requirement: Today, USAA membership is only open to U.S. military service members, veterans who have received a discharge type of Honorable, and their eligible family members.
  • It's a real credit card - not a prepaid or debit card, that helps you build or improve your credit score.
  • When you apply - you'll also be opening a USAA 2-year Certificate of Deposit (CD), an interest-earning deposit account that has a two-year term and a $250-minimum initial deposit.
  • Your CD is a security deposit - the money you put in upfront, from $250 to $5,000, is the card's credit limit.
  • Earn interest on your CD - your deposit is guaranteed to grow. Plus the money is yours to keep as long as you don't default on your payments.
  • Start building your credit - opening a CD lets you get a credit card even if you don't have a credit history or have bad credit.
  • Chip technology has added security when used at a chip-enabled terminal and greater acceptance worldwide.

American Express Military Credit Cards

American Express has been known to provide benefits to servicemembers that go above and beyond what’s required by the SCRA, which includes waiving the annual fee on any of their cards. You can click here to apply for military benefits.

Here are some of the most rewarding Amex cards, which would be very valuable to have if you can get their annual fees waived.

Platinum Card® from American Express

The Platinum Card from Amex is one of their most rewarding, offering a great selection of travel benefits which include a $200 annual airline fee credit and access to airport lounges. Take note that this is a charge card, so you’ll need to pay your balance off in full each month.

Platinum Card® from American Express

For People with
Excellent Credit

  • Annual Fee: $450
  • Interest Rate: Not Applicable - Paid in Full Monthly
Quick Card Facts
  • Earn 40,000 points after you spend $3,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
  • Up to a $200 Airline Fee Credit Annually.
  • To receive the statement credit, you need to select a qualifying airline.
  • There are no foreign transaction fees with purchases made on your Platinum Card.
  • Platinum Card Concierge is your personal resource to help secure a last minute restaurant reservation or shop for a hard-to-find gift.
  • Terms and restrictions apply

American Express® Premier Rewards Gold Card

This is another good travel charge card, but this one provides points for travel, gas, groceries, and at restaurants. You’ll also get annual credits for flying and hotel stays.

American Express® Premier Rewards Gold Card

For People with
Excellent Credit

  • Annual Fee: $0 for the first year, then $195
  • Interest Rate: Not Applicable - Paid in Full Monthly
Quick Card Facts
  • Earn 25,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $2,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • Earn 3X points for flights booked with airlines.
  • Earn 2X points at US restaurants, US gas stations, and US supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X points on other purchases. Terms and limitations apply.
  • New: There are no foreign transaction fees with yourPremier Rewards Gold Card.
  • New: $100 Airline Fee Credit. Up to $100 a year for incidental fees with your selected airline.
  • With The Hotel Collection, you can get up to a $75 hotel credit on qualifying charges any time you use your Card to book a stay of at least two consecutive nights.
  • $0 Intro Annual Fee for the 1st year, then $195.
  • Terms and limitations apply.

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express®

If you buy a lot of groceries, you can’t go wrong with the 6% cash back offered by the Blue Cash Preferred, probably the highest you’ll find on any credit card. You’ll also get 3% back on gas and at some department stores.

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express®

For People with
Excellent Credit

  • Annual Fee: $75
  • Interest Rate: 13.24% - 22.24% (Variable)
Quick Card Facts
  • Get $150 back after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. You will receive $150 back in the form of a statement credit.
  • Hassle-free cash back: no enrollment required, the same great reward categories year-round.
  • Earn Cash Back: 6% US supermarkets up to $6,000 per year in purchases, 3% US gas stations & select US dept stores, 1% other purchases. Terms and limitations apply.
  • Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit.
  • 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months, then a variable rate, currently 12.99% to 21.99%, based on your creditworthiness and other factors.
  • Terms and limitations apply.

Chase Military Credit Cards

The military credit cards offered by Chase are all quite similar, with just a few differences between them. There is one card for each of 4 branches of the military: Army, Air Force, Marines, and Navy.

These cards all have a low APR of 10.24%, no annual fee, shopping and travel benefits, and Blue Star Deployment benefits like a 100% refund of interest and fees when deployed.

Army MWR Credit Card

The Army-oriented card from Chase comes with a 2,500 point bonus, which the other cards lack, and offers 2% back at the Commissary, the Exchange, and MWR activities.

Army MWR Credit Card

For People with
Fair Credit

  • Annual Fee: None
  • Interest Rate: 10.24% *Variable
Quick Card Facts
  • 2% cash back at the Commissary, the Exchange, and MRW activities
  • 2,500 bonus points for spending $250 in 3 months
  • Special Military Benefits
  • Shopping and Travel Benefits
  • 10.24% APR *Variable for purchases, balance transfers, and cash advances
  • No annual fee
  • No foreign transaction fee

The information for Army MWR Credit Card has been collected independently by Credit Card Insider. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Air Force Club Credit Card

The Air Force card provides 2% back at the Commissary, the Exchange, and MWR locations as well as FSS locations. Cardholders also get Air Force Club membership if they’d like, though this may require paying dues.

Air Force Club Credit Card

For People with
Fair Credit

  • Annual Fee: None
  • Interest Rate: 10.24% *Variable
Quick Card Facts
  • 2% cash back at the Commissary, the Exchange, and FSS/MRW activities
  • Special Military Benefits
  • Shopping and Travel Benefits
  • 10.24% APR *Variable for purchases, balance transfers, and cash advances
  • No annual fee
  • No foreign transaction fee

The information for Air Force Club Credit Card has been collected independently by Credit Card Insider. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Marine Corps MCCS Credit Card

The Marine Corps credit card provides 2% back at the Commissary, the Exchange, and MWR/MCCS locations, in addition to the basic military benefits.

Marine Corps MCCS Credit Card

For People with
Fair Credit

  • Annual Fee: None
  • Interest Rate: 10.24% *Variable
Quick Card Facts
  • 2% cash back at the Commissary, the Exchange, and MCCS/MRW activities
  • Special Military Benefits
  • Shopping and Travel Benefits
  • 10.24% APR *Variable for purchases, balance transfers, and cash advances
  • No annual fee
  • No foreign transaction fee

The information for Marine Corps MCCS Credit Card has been collected independently by Credit Card Insider. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Navy MWR Credit Card

The Navy credit card is the simplest of them all, only providing 2% back at the Commissary, the Exchange, and MWR locations.

Navy MWR Credit Card

For People with
Fair Credit

  • Annual Fee: None
  • Interest Rate: 10.24% *Variable
Quick Card Facts
  • 2% cash back at the Commissary, the Exchange, and MRW activities
  • Special Military Benefits
  • Shopping and Travel Benefits
  • 10.24% APR *Variable for purchases, balance transfers, and cash advances
  • No annual fee
  • No foreign transaction fee

The information for Navy MWR Credit Card has been collected independently by Credit Card Insider. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Shopping for the Right Military Credit Card

The right credit card for you will fit into your lifestyle, making it easier to buy the kinds of things you buy the most, whether you’re on the base or off.

Take the time to shop around and see what’s out there, and remember that while every card issuer will provide reduced interest rates under the SCRA when you’re on active duty, not every issuer offers cards designed for members of the military in particular, like some of the ones above.

Other major card issuers, like Citi, Barclaycard, and Capital One, may also offer special benefits to servicemembers for any of their cards, beyond what the SCRA requires. If you have credit cards already, or are planning to apply for one, contact the card issuer and ask if they have any military benefit programs you can apply for. It will never hurt to ask.

Don’t forget that you can safely use multiple credit cards, as long as you’re responsible with them. If you can get their annual fees waived, this means you can make use of several high-value cards with high fees while on active duty, completely for free (as long as you avoid interest).

Looking for other rewarding cards to use with your military benefits? Check out our picks for the Best Cash Back Rewards Credit Cards – 2016!
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