Navy Federal cashRewards Credit Card Review

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The Navy Federal cashRewards Credit Card offers straightforward rewards with lower fees and ongoing 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
4.6
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 (%) 9.65% - 18% variable
Annual Fee $0
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 1.5% cash back on purchases.
INTRO PURCHASE APR 0% for 6 Months
Foreign transaction fee (%) 0%
Ratings Breakdown
for Interest
3.1
for Fees
3.5
for Rewards
3.0
for Credit
3.7
Current Offer

Earn a $150 bonus cash back when you spend $2,000 within 90 days of account opening. This offer expires January 4, 2021.

Who Is This Credit Card Best For?

  • Avatar for Deal Seeker Persona
    Diligently searches for the best products and delights in a good bargain See more cards
    Deal Seeker
  • Avatar for Savvy Saver Persona
    Prioritizes sticking to their budget while buying what they want and need See more cards
    Savvy Saver

Since the Navy Federal cashRewards Credit Card offers a flat 1.5% 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. However, those approved for lower credit limits won’t benefit from all the benefits this card can offer.

Pros
  • Simple rewards

  • Low interest rate and fees

  • Choose between Mastercard and Visa

Cons
  • Must be or qualify to be a Navy Federal customer

  • Limited introductory rates

  • High spend amount for bonus

  • Benefits vary

Pros Explained

  • Simple rewards: The Navy Federal cashRewards Credit Card offers an unlimited 1.5% back for each dollar you spend, without earning caps or required minimum amounts for redemption. This simple rewards formula means you’ll never have to worry about bonus categories or earning caps, and can redeem your cash back shortly after you earn it.
  • 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. You’ll pay lower fees on late and returned payments, and the penalty APR is also lower, with leeway before being stuck with it (60 days past due payment).
  • Choose between Visa and Mastercard: You’ll get the opportunity to choose between a Visa or Mastercard. You’ll get a few extra benefits with a World, while heavy Costco shoppers may want to go with Visa. If at some point in the future you want to change networks, you can do that too. 

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. However, Navy Federal’s definition of “family member” is broader than some other military member cards, and includes siblings, grandparents, and household members, among others. 
  • Limited introductory rates: The introductory 0% rate for new purchases only lasts for six months, which is shorter than many strong competitors. And although there isn’t a fee for transferring a balance, there isn’t a 0% introductory balance transfer rate—if you’re looking for a balance transfer card, you may want to keep looking.
  • High spend required for bonus: To earn the Navy Federal cashReward Credit Card’s bonus for new cardholders, you’ll need to spend four times what several other cards require. 
  • Benefits vary: If you’re approved for a credit line of more than $5,000, you’ll receive a cashRewards card in either Visa Signature or World Mastercard. These come with good perks—for example, World Mastercard offers ShopRunner and PostMates membership and travel benefits. However, if you’re approved for less than $5,000, you’ll be assigned a regular Visa or Mastercard, with fewer perks. Essentially, there are four different card variations, and you may not be sure which one you’re getting until you have it.  

Bonus for New Cardholders

When you spend $2,000 in the first 90 days after opening your account, you could earn a $150 bonus for new cardholders, if you sign up by January 4, 2021.  

This bonus amount is competitive, but the spending requirement is on the higher side—around $667 per month. Several cards offer the same $150 bonus for spending as little as $500. 

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% 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. 

You can also earn up to 15% in cash back when using your card with the Navy Federal Member Deals site, an online shopping portal. 

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.

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, the 0% introductory APR on new purchases for the first six months is helpful, as is the lower-than-typical ongoing interest rate. The 0% introductory APR can make it a little easier to hit the somewhat-high spend target, to earn the bonus for new cardholders, too.  

Since there’s no balance transfer fee, you could transfer any balances you may be carrying on higher-APR cards. But the cashReward’s interest rate kicks in right away, without the 0% interest period competitors offer. 

Excellent Perks

This card has one benefit that was deemed “excellent” by editors of The Balance, no matter which Visa or Mastercard card you wind up with.

  • 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 (not loss) in amounts depending on whether you get the card on the Mastercard or Visa network. (For Mastercard, it’s $600 per occurrence or $1,000 per year, and for Visa, it’s $250 per claim or $500 per year. Both have a $50 deductible.)   

Other Benefits

When you apply for this credit card, you may be approved for either a Visa, Visa Signature, Mastercard, or a World Mastercard version.  Your cardholder benefits can vary widely depending on the card you’re approved for. Both come with these additional perks:

  • Rental car collision insurance (secondary to your own policy)
  • Travel and emergency hotline
  • Extended warranties

And these features are listed online for the Mastercard version only:

  • Insurance for stolen or damaged purchases
  • Lowest advertised price match
  • Discount on airport meet and greet services

Customer Experience

Navy Federal Credit Union received the highest overall score in member satisfaction from J.D. Power’s 2020 Credit Card Satisfaction Survey, and scores highly compared to both regional and national banks. 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. And cardholders have 24/7 online or phone access to customer service representatives located in the U.S., which is especially useful for service members who are deployed in varying time zones.

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. 

Fees

The Navy Federal cashRewards Credit Card stands out for better-than-average fees. There are no foreign transaction nor annual fees, and it has relatively low late and returned-payment fees, and low penalty and cash advance APRs compared to competing cards. The only cash advance fee is an ATM fee (outside of Navy Federal ATMs) of 50 cents to $1, depending on location.

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CURRENT CARD
Navy Federal cashRewards
overall rating
4.6
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 (%) 9.65% - 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.

Article Sources

The Balance requires writers to use primary sources to support their work. These include white papers, government data, original reporting, and interviews with industry experts. We also reference original research from other reputable publishers where appropriate. You can learn more about the standards we follow in producing accurate, unbiased content in our editorial policy .
  1. Navy Federal Credit Union. "CashRewards Credit Card Special Offer." Accessed August 28, 2020.

  2. Navy Federal Credit Union. "Navy Federal Credit Union Credit Card Application Disclosure." Accessed August 28, 2020.

  3. Navy Federal Credit Union. "CashRewards Credit Card." Accessed August 28, 2020.

  4. Navy Federal Credit Union. "Your Guide to Card Benefit for All Visa® Consumer Credit Cardholders." Accessed August 28, 2020.

  5. Navy Federal Credit Union. "Mastercard Cardholder Benefits Guide to Benefits." Accessed August 28, 2020.

  6. Navy Federal Credit Union. "Navy Federal’s cashRewards World Mastercard." Accessed August 28, 2020.

  7. Navy Federal Credit Union. "Navy Federal’s Visa Signature cashRewards Card." Accessed August 28, 2020

  8. Navy Federal Credit Union. "CashRewards Credit Card Features & Benefits." Accessed August 28, 2020.

  9. J.D. Power. "Customers Losing Faith in Credit Card Issuers as COVID-19 Pandemic Lingers, J.D. Power Finds." Accessed August 28, 2020.