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Navy Federal Credit Union cashRewards Credit Card is a cash back credit card with no annual fee and a relatively low APR. It earns unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases, just like popular competitors such as Chase Freedom Unlimited and Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card.
Unfortunately, unlike those competing cards, Navy Federal Credit Union cashRewards Credit Card isn’t available to the general public. To qualify, you need to be an active duty, honorably discharged, or retired member of the United States Armed Forces; a civilian Department of Defense employee; or an immediate family relation (such as a spouse or child) of a member of those two groups. If you haven’t joined the military and aren’t sure about doing so in the future, you need to look for another cash back credit card.
If you do qualify for NFCU cashRewards Credit Card, you’re in for a treat. In addition to a solid cash back rewards program, this card has a nice sign-up bonus and low fees. It also has a surprisingly robust lineup of fringe benefits, especially for cardholders who qualify for the Visa Signature version.
Let’s take a closer look at what to expect from your NFCU cashRewards Credit Card.
When you spend at least $500 in qualifying purchases within the first 3 months your account is open, you get $100 bonus cash. That’s a 20% return on your first $500 spent.
Earning Cash Back Rewards
Navy Federal Credit Union cashRewards Credit Card earns unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases. There are no caps or restrictions on how much you can earn, and cash back never expires.
Redeeming Cash Back Rewards
You can redeem your accumulated cash back in any amount for deposits to your Navy Federal Credit Union checking, savings, or money market account, or for statement credits against your account balance.
This card has no annual fee, foreign transaction fee, or balance transfer fee. Most cash advance methods carry no fee either, though there’s a $0.50 charge per cash advance at domestic non-NFCU ATMs and a $1 charge per cash advance at international non-NFCU ATMs. Late and returned payments cost up to $20.
Visa Signature Benefits
If you have very good or excellent credit and adequate income, you may qualify for a Visa Signature card. Visa Signature products carry credit limits of $5,000 or higher along with an attractive lineup of fringe benefits, including automatic fraud monitoring with real-time notifications and complimentary loss and damage coverage on rental cars charged in full to your card.
Visa Merchant Discounts
Your card also comes with some valuable discounts on purchases at Visa partner merchants, including travel vendors such as Gray Line Tours and Madame Tussaud’s, cultural institutions such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, and popular apparel vendors such as UGG and Calvin Klein.
- No Annual Fee. NFCU cashRewards Credit Card has no annual fee. If you’re a frugal cardholder who doesn’t spend heavily enough to justify a recurring charge, this is great news.
- Nice Sign-up Bonus. When you spend at least $500 in eligible net purchases within the first 3 months your account is open, you get $100 cash back. That’s one of the cash back category’s easiest-to-attain sign-up bonuses, and definitely swingable even for frugal cardholders.
- Virtually No Additional Fees. This card has very few additional fees. You’re not charged for balance transfers, which makes the introductory balance transfer APR an even better deal than it appears. You’re also not charged for using your card overseas, nor for cash advances at NFCU ATMs or branches. If you pay your bill on time and avoid making cash withdrawals at non-NFCU ATMs, you’ll never pay a dime to keep this card around.
- Attractive Cash Back Rewards Rate. This card earns unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases with no caps or restrictions. Say goodbye to worries about rotating categories (a la Chase Freedom and Discover it) or tiered cash back schemes (a la Blue Cash Preferred from American Express and BankAmericard Cash Rewards).
- Excellent Fringe Benefits. This card has a nice lineup of fringe benefits, including complimentary insurance on rental cars and a slew of discounts on purchases with Visa partners. When used judiciously and on items you’d buy anyway, these discounts can save you dozens or hundreds of dollars per year.
- No Introductory APR Promotion. NFCU cashRewards Credit Card has no introductory APR promotion. That’s a big drawback relative to some other no-annual-fee cash back cards, including Chase Freedom Unlimited. Their 0% APR promotions on purchases and balance transfers are great boons for applicants with existing high-interest credit card debt or plans to make big purchases in the near future – DIY home improvement projects, unforgettable honeymoon getaways, or anything else.
- No Bonus Cash Back Categories. This card’s 1.5% baseline cash back rate isn’t bad, but there’s no way to boost it either. Some competing cards, such as Citi Double Cash Card and Fidelity Rewards Visa Signature Card, earn 2% cash back on all purchases. Others have temporary or permanent bonus categories that boost cash back averages north of 2%. For instance, Chase Freedom and Discover it both have 5% categories that change quarterly.
- Not Available to the General Public. This card’s other big catch is its eligibility requirements. If you’re not a current or former member of the Armed Forces, a civilian DoD employee, or an immediate family member of someone in either category, you won’t be approved. Needless to say, this disqualifies most American consumers.
Despite its name, Navy Federal Credit Union doesn’t require members to have naval experience. Anyone who’s served in the U.S. military, past or present, qualifies for membership. So do DoD employees and immediate family members of either class. The deal is simple: if you’ve made personal and professional sacrifices to serve your country, you deserve a credit union that works on your behalf.
Unfortunately, most people don’t qualify for NFCU membership. Good thing NFCU isn’t the only credit union for federal and military employees. State Department Federal Credit Union (SDFCU) is also open to folks who put their country first. And, thanks to loopholes that let non-government employees join for one-time fees as low as $15, it’s a great choice for those frozen out by NFCU.