Methodology: US News reviewed hundreds of credit cards to identify the members who provide the most value to members of the military, considering factors including 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 military members. US News’ selections reflect the best cards in each category that may be a good choice for your needs.
How do military credit cards work?
While SCRA benefits are available with any credit card issuer, many lenders have exceeded these requirements in recent years, says Doug Norman, author of “The Military Guide to Financial Independence and Retirement” and founder of Military Services, Members making a transition from a financial blog army to service.
For example, some capital a When you enter active duty, the credit card offers a SCRA rate capped at 4% on the current balance, which is less than the required 6%. Additionally, Capital One offers a 4% rate on your balance until one year after completing the active fee.
A 4% interest rate is one of the lowest you can expect from a credit card without a 0% APR offer, so it is a good idea to take advantage of this benefit if you are eligible. But regular cards may offer better rewards and perks, so you should also consider cards that do not offer additional SCRA benefits.
Military Finance Coach Kate Horrell says, “As with any other client, military members must ensure that the card suits their lifestyle.” “If they travel abroad a lot, they definitely want a card without any foreign transaction fees.”
Consider all the features offered by credit cards, choosing which credit card is right for you, not just the SCRA rate. Compare cards based on annual fees, rewards, sign-up bonuses, cardholder benefits, introductory APRs, and standard APRs that apply after SCRA benefits expire.
For example, many credit cards offer a 0% interest rate on purchases and balance transfers for 12 to 18 months. Instead of paying a SCRA rate of 4% to 6%, you can pay 0% for the introductory period.
Capital One offers credit cards with 0% introductory APR. After the 0% introductory period ends, your APR will remain at 4%, when you qualify under SCRA.
Nordman actively encourages service members to use credit cards even while on duty, as debt may affect security clearance if not paid on time. He suggests using a credit card within your budget, automating payments to avoid interruptions if you are deployed.