Credit Cards for Veterans and Active Service Members

Being in the military is not easy for active members and their families and the fact that they are afforded some extra perks while on active duty and once they become veterans should be expected, considering the importance and difficulty of what they are asked to do every day. Some of the best credit cards available are only accessible if you or a family member are an active member of the military or a qualified veteran but you should still do a little checking around amongst the various credit card offerings that are available to make sure you really are getting the best possible deal.

Because they have a guaranteed source of income you would imagine that active military members would have an easier time getting a credit card. Unfortunately that is not the case. Active military members can often have a problem obtaining a civilian credit card because they move around so often but even that is not the biggest reason getting a regular credit card is so hard for an active service member. It is actually a rather silly but still in place technical issue.

Active duty military personnel and their families usually only have an FPO box as an address and most credit card companies will not process applications without a physical address. Many companies refuse to take the fact that this is a military requirement and do not accept these applications at all. Credit cards that are especially designed for active personnel take all of these circumstances into account and do not penalize for them.

Here is a little information about some of the best credit cards that are designed especially for military personnel and their dependents:

The PenFed Promise Visa Card

Pen Fed stands for Pentagon Federal Credit Union and any member of the armed forces past or present is eligible to sign up for credit union membership and apply for this card. Government employees are also eligible and certain affiliated corporate employees. PenFed offer a number of great credit card offerings but this is a great basic credit card for everyday use that offers a great may financial benefits that military families will really appreciate.

The low APR on the card is one of the most appealing features of this card as it is just 4.99% for the first twenty four months of credit card membership and between 7.99 and 9.99% thereafter, which is just about as low as you can get. Another big benefit for active service members stationed away from the US is that there no foreign transaction fees attached to the card’s use at all, where many other credit cards charge 2-3%, costing a service member quite a lot of money over time. There is no annual fee attached to the PennFed Promise Visa card and no penalties for late payments, over the limit transactions and no penalty APRs are ever put into effect should either of these situations apply to you.

Military Star Rewards MasterCard

The Military Star Rewards credit card has been around for years but it used to be that it was a card that could only be used by military personal when they were making on base purchases. This MasterCard branded card offered through Chase bank is available to members of the military only and the way it works reflects that but it can be used anywhere in the world that MasterCard is accepted.

Card holders earn reward points on every purchase they make but those points are doubled when they use their card on base – 2 points per dollar instead of 1. Rewards are in the form of cash back – although they can also be rewarded in the form of retail gift certificates as well. There is no limit to the amount of cash back that can be earned and cash back points do not expire.

In terms of fees there is no annual fee and a low APR of 10.2-15.2% APR depending on a cardholders actual credit score.

USAA American Express Card

The USAA credit card is another credit card especially for military personnel and their families only, this one being an American Express branded offering though. The USAA itself is an insurance and banking institution that has been serving military families for many years now by offering low interest loans, credit cards and insurance that can be harder for them to get elsewhere because of their unique living and working arrangements. The USAA American Express card is a traditional American Express Card, meaning that balances have to be paid off every month but those who hold this card have access to all the famous AMEX concierge services that so many civilians prize so much and a great rewards program as well.

USAA MasterCard

For those who prefer the convenience of a credit card over a charge card the USAA also offers a MasterCard branded credit card that is exclusively for military members and their families. This card boasts a nice low APR of 8.9-10.9% and there is no annual fee charged to card-members. There are foreign transaction fees attached to this card but military members will be reimburses these fees in the form of statement credit if they can demonstrate that those charges were made while they were actively serving abroad. This card is also available to veterans of all branches of the military, as is the American Express version. There is also a rewards program attached to this credit card that offers points that can be redeemed for a wide range of merchandise or for cash back. Points are rewarded at the rate of 1 for every dollar spent.

Exercise a Little Caution

If you are a member of the military you do need to exercise a little more caution when sifting through the various credit card offers that are especially for service members or veterans. There are a number of “shopping’ cards out there that claim to be military credit cards that are really just expensive charge cards that can only be used to purchase overpriced merchandise on-line. All of the cards above are genuine credit cards issue by major banks and have a lot to offer military members and veterans.