Navy Federal cashRewards Credit Card Review

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The Navy Federal cashRewards Credit Card offers straightforward rewards with lower fees and interest charges than competing cash-back cards. If your goal is earning rewards without paying for the privilege, this may be a good option. The one limitation: you must be affiliated with the military.

Navy Federal cashRewards

overall rating
3.8
Navy Federal cashRewards
Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 11.15% - 18% variable
Annual Fee $0
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 1.5% cash back on purchases
INTRO PURCHASE APR 1.99% for 12 Months
Foreign transaction fee (%) 0%
Ratings Breakdown
for Interest
2.6
for Fees
4.4
for Rewards
3.8
for Credit
4.0

Who Is This Credit Card Best For?

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    Savvy Saver

Since the Navy Federal cashRewards Credit Card offers a flat 1.5% cash back on everything you buy, it’s ideal for anyone who doesn’t like complicated rewards programs but would like to earn something from their credit card purchases. With a lower-than-average APR and few fees, this card may also be a smart choice if you have to carry a balance. Just keep in mind you have to be affiliated with the armed forces or government to apply and will probably need good credit.

Pros

  • Simple rewards scheme 

  • Low interest rate and fees

Cons

  • Must be a Navy Federal customer

  • Limited redemption options

Pros Explained

  • Simple rewards: The Navy Federal cashRewards Credit Card offers an unlimited 1.5% cash back for each dollar you spend. This simple rewards formula means you’ll never have to worry about bonus categories or earning caps. 
  • Low interest rates and fees: This card has no annual fee, no balance transfer fee, no foreign transaction fee, and minimal cash advance fees. The ongoing variable APR range is also lower than you’ll find with competing cards. 

Cons Explained

  • Must be a Navy Federal customer: If you’re not already a Navy Federal Credit Union member, you’ll have to join to apply for this credit card. To qualify, you must be a military veteran, active duty military, a Department of Defense civilian or government employee, Army or Air National Guard, Delayed Entry program personnel, or a family member of someone who meets one of these requirements.
  • Limited redemption options: Unlike some other cash-back credit cards that let you redeem points for gift cards, this card only lets you redeem rewards for statement credits to your credit card or a Navy Federal bank account. 

Earning Points & Rewards

This card’s rewards scheme is simple enough for anyone to understand and keep track of. Once you sign up, you’ll earn a flat 1.5% cash back on everything you buy. The rewards you earn are unlimited and they’ll never expire as long as your account is open and in good standing. 

Redeeming Rewards

Your cash-back rewards will show up in your account the same day as the transaction posts. You can redeem them for a statement credit or cash in your Navy Federal bank account whenever you’d like—there’s no minimum. Cardholders manage rewards redemption via the app or online.

Note

This card’s redemption options are somewhat limited when compared to other cash-back credit cards. You can only redeem your rewards for statement credits into a Navy Federal bank account or to your credit card account.

How to Get the Most Out of This Card

Obviously, you’ll get the most value from your rewards if you pay your credit card bill in full each month and avoid interest payments altogether. But if you can’t do that, this card is still a worthwhile option.

Since there’s no balance transfer fee, make sure to transfer any balances you may be carrying on higher-APR cards. Not only is the ongoing APR on this card below average, but you’ll get a 1.99% introductory APR on balance transfers made in the first 30 days you have the account and on new purchases made for your first 12 months. Both promotions will give you 12 months at that low rate before the ongoing APR kicks in.

Navy Federal cashRewards Credit Card’s Excellent Perks

This card has one benefit that was deemed “excellent” by editors of The Balance.

  • Cellphone insurance: Qualify for this coverage when you pay the bills on up to three cell phones with your credit card. This coverage is limited to reimbursement for damage or theft in amounts up to $600 per claim, minus a $50 deductible. An annual cap of $1,000 per year also applies. 

Navy Federal cashRewards Credit Card’s Other Benefits

When you apply for this credit card, you may be approved for either a Visa Signature or a World Mastercard version. Your cardholder benefits can vary depending on the card you’re approved for, but they may include:

  • Concierge for booking event tickets, travel, and other services
  • Secondary auto rental coverage
  • Refund when merchant won’t accept returned item
  • Lowest advertised price match
  • Lost luggage reimbursement
  • Travel accident insurance
  • Roadside assistance hotline
  • Travel and emergency hotline
  • Extended warranties

Customer Experience

The Navy Federal cashRewards Card gives cardholders access to their FICO score for free as well as 24/7 stateside customer service assistance. 

Navy Federal Credit Union does have its own mobile app that lets you track your spending, pay your bill, and redeem rewards from your mobile device. Their app has received decent ratings from consumers, with 4.4 out of 5 possible stars on Google Play and 3.4 out of 5 stars on iTunes. 

Security Features

Navy Federal cashRewards credit card security is standard for the industry, including benefits like 0% fraud liability and account monitoring. If your card is lost or stolen, they also let you temporarily freeze and unfreeze your account. 

Navy Federal cashRewards Credit Card Fees

The Navy Federal cashRewards Credit Card is surprisingly free of fees and hidden charges. You won't pay an annual fee or be charged a fee for balance transfers or foreign transactions. The fee for cash advances at an ATM is $1, at most. 

For Navy Federal cashRewards
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CURRENT CARD
Navy Federal cashRewards
overall rating
3.8
Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 11.15% - 18% variable
Annual Fee $0
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 1.5% cash back on purchases

Our Methodology

  • At The Balance, we are dedicated to giving you unbiased, comprehensive credit card reviews. To do this, we collect data on hundreds of cards and score more than 55 features that affect your finances.
  • Our Reviews Are Always Impartial: No one can influence which cards we review, the way we present them to you, or the ratings they receive. The scores and reviews come directly from the data we collect and our editorial expertise, and we focus on three areas:
  • How Much Does It Cost? With credit card debt at an all-time high, we believe you should know the cost of carrying a balance. Because of that, we give regular purchase APRs significant weight in overall scores, and cards receive low marks if they have an array of pricey fees.
  • What Are the Rewards Worth? Cards accumulate rewards in different currencies—points, miles, cash back—and their values vary widely. To simplify the problem, we built a system that fairly compares rewards and gives them a dollar value. We do this by looking at the ways you can earn and use rewards, which includes evaluating Americans’ typical spending habits and analyzing common travel patterns.
  • Does It Make Your Life Easier? Our scoring system favors cards that accept a wide range of credit profiles and offer simple solutions for things like checking your credit score or contacting customer service. Finally, we give preference to credit cards that have several tools for dealing with fraudulent charges.
  • For every review on The Balance, we hold the credit cards to these standards, and we set the bar high. While we recognize the appeal of splashy features like six-digit sign-up bonuses, our approach ensures that credit cards with the best combination of value, affordability, and accessibility receive the highest scores. See our full methodology for more details.