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Best Credit Cards for Military Personnel: Pros and Cons of Each

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pick a military credit card

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Active-duty and retired military members can often qualify for some great credit card benefits. However, choosing the best credit cards for military personnel isn’t easy. That’s because, just like for civilians, military members have to decide which credit card rewards, benefits and perks best fit their particular needs and financial situation.

With so many credit card options and so many good programs, there isn’t one “best” military credit card for everyone. You simply want to choose the card that’s right for your financial needs and spending habits. Some cards work great for some people, but not others.

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    To make it a bit easier, here are a few of the team’s favorite military credit cards to help you figure out which one is the right card for you.

    The Best Credit Cards for Military Personnel of 2019

    Our picks for the best credit cards for military personnel are:

    • USAA Rate Advantage Visa Platinum Card: This is USAA’s lowest rate card.
    • USAA® Rewards™ American Express® Card: This card is great for everyday spending.

    USAA Rate Advantage Visa Platinum Card

    Benefits: The USAA Rate Advantage Platinum Visa offers cardholders a low starting variable APR depending on creditworthiness.

    Drawbacks: It is available only to USAA members. Membership is available to the following:

    • Active, retired and honorably separated officers.
    • Enlisted military personnel.
    • Officer candidates in commissioning programs.
    • Adult children of USAA members.
    • Widows, widowers and former spouses of USAA members who have or have had a USAA auto or property insurance policy while married.

    This card does not offer a rewards program.

    USAA® Rewards™ American Express® Card

    Benefits: Cardholders earn:

    • Earn 3X points per dollar spent on dining.
    • Receive 2X points per dollar spent on gas and groceries with no cap.
    • Earn 1X points for every dollar spent on all other purchases.
    • Receive 2,500 bonus points on their first purchase.

    The points are redeemable for cash, merchandise, gift cards and more! USAA membership is available to active and former military and their eligible family members

    Drawbacks: There is a transaction fee of 3% on balance transfers and cash advances on this card.

    To Keep in Mind

    When looking for the best credit card for military members, compare the options available. Be sure to read the terms and conditions carefully when determining if a card is right for you. Keep in mind that not all issuers publish all of the benefits available to military personnel on their websites. Calling to get full details can be very helpful.

    Whether you’re a new recruit, a long-time service member or even a veteran nearing retirement, it’s important to know where your credit stands before you apply for a new piece of plastic. If you don’t have good credit, you might not qualify for premium cards that offer a lot of rewards and benefits.

    If you don’t qualify for certain credit cards, you certainly don’t want to risk getting that hard inquiry only to be denied. To find out, you can view two of your credit scores for free through

    Editorial disclosure: Reviews are as determined solely by staff. Opinions expressed here are solely those of the reviewers and aren’t reviewed or approved by any advertiser. Information presented is accurate as of the date of the review, including information on card rates, rewards and fees. Check the issuer’s website for the most current information on each card listed.

    Advertiser disclosure: The credit card offers that appear on this website are from credit card companies that receives compensation from. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). The site does not include all credit card companies or all available credit card offers.

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