FAQs on credit cards for the military
What is the best credit card for military?
It all depends on your spending habits, the benefits you will use, and how long you plan to keep the card. If you have credit card debt, you should consider a balance transfer card with a 0% APR introductory offer. If you're a frequent traveler, look for a rewards card that offers a generous signup bonus.
American Express, USAA, and Chase all offer great benefits and terms for active military. You'll receive premium travel benefits, higher reward rates, and welcome bonuses good for free travel. For example, American Express and Chase waive annual fees on their credit cards for active military even if they apply for the card after they have started on active duty.
What benefits are provided by the SCRA?
The SCRA is a federal act which offers certain financial protections to active-duty members of the military. In the context of credit cards, SCRA requires credit card companies to:
- Cap interest rates at 6% for servicemembers' pre-existing card balances. Note that this only applies to already existing debt, not balances accrued while on duty.
- Forgive any interest charges which exceed that 6% cap.
- Waive certain credit card fees.
Who is eligible for SCRA benefits?
Active duty members, reservists and National Guard members on active duty of all the Uniformed Services branches are eligible to receive SCRA benefits from the start of their active duty to about 30 to 90 days after. Their spouses and dependants are also eligible.
How can I pick the right military credit card?
There are several military credit cards out there that offer special perks and rewards to members of the Armed Forces. The trick is to take a look at your spending, personal preferences, and credit score to determine which one is best for you.
Look specifically at each card's fees, rewards, and APR. Don’t be tempted by credit cards promotions that might end up costing you more in fees than you get in rewards. Having said that, reward programs are a great added bonus that can help you save money when you redeem them for travel or cash back.
Which credit cards waive the fee for retired military?
SCRA and MLA rewards only apply to active military members. However, these benefits can extend up to 15 months after active duty stops. Veterans still benefit from additional perks and services when they apply for a credit card from institutions like PenFed, Navy Federal Credit Union, and USAA.
How can I get the most out of my military credit card?
To get the most of your spending while on active duty, be sure to apply for SCRA benefits. You can also ring up your card issuer to ask about any unlisted military perks. And (as always) be sure to make your card payments on time. When it comes to avoiding interest and late payments, autopay is your friend!
Does American Express waive annual fees for military spouses?
Yes! American Express waives their annual fees for all of their credit cards for both active duty servicemembers and military spouses.
Does Citibank waive annual fees for the military?
Citi offers generous benefits for SCRA-eligible cardholders who opened their accounts before their active military service. They will also waive all fees on these accounts (including annual fees).
How do you get annual fees waived if you are an active duty servicemember?
Call the number on the back of your card and explain the situation. Under the SCRA, American Express waives all annual fees for all military members.