Who Is This Credit Card Best For?
Prioritizes sticking to their budget while buying what they want and need See more cards
Attacks existing balances while avoiding new debt See more cards
Takes improving their finances seriously and wants recognition for using credit responsibly See more cards
The Navy Federal Platinum Credit Card is an excellent choice for military families with average credit who have high-interest debt on another card. Balances transferred when you get the card will have an introductory interest rate of 0% for 12 months, and there’s no balance transfer fee—a benefit rarely found on competing cards. Even after that, the APR is as low as 5.99% for the most creditworthy customers. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a better ongoing rate.
You can’t get the card without being a member of the Navy Federal Credit Union, though, so look elsewhere if you or your family doesn’t have ties to the armed forces. (More on this below.)
No balance transfer fee
Low ongoing APR
Fees are low or non-existent
Visa or Mastercard choice
Navy Federal Credit Union membership required
Longer balance transfer periods exist
No introductory rate on purchases
No rewards or new-cardholder bonus
- No balance transfer fee: Most credit cards tack on a 3% fee to transfer a balance. Combined with a promotional rate, the no-fee transfer is more valuable.
- Low ongoing APR: This credit card is a keeper even after the introductory period expires. Your ongoing APR could be as low as 5.99% on both purchases and balances transferred, which is one of the lowest available.
- Fees are low or non-existent: You won’t pay foreign transaction fees, and most fees that you do have to pay are far lower than those on competing cards. (More about this in the Fees section at the bottom of this review.)
- Visa or Mastercard choice: You’ll get the opportunity to choose between a Visa or Mastercard. The Mastercard comes with some additional perks, but the Visa may appeal to heavy Costco shoppers, since that’s all Costco takes.
- Navy Federal Credit Union membership required: You won’t be able to get this card without being a member of the Navy Federal Credit Union. You or your family must have current or former ties to the armed forces or Department of Defense. However, the “family” included is broader than how some other military cards define it, and includes immediate family, siblings, grandparents/grandchildren, and household members.
- Longer balance transfer periods exist: While 12 months isn’t terrible if you need more time to pay off a big balance, there are many cards offering 15 or 18 months of 0% interest.
- No introductory rate on purchases: Many cards with competitive 0% balance transfers offers also have 0% interest on purchases for a similar amount of time.
- No rewards or bonus: Without an opportunity to earn rewards on your purchases, you’ll miss out on cash back or points that could be worth hundreds of dollars a year or more. As well, you won’t get a sign-up bonus, which some other balance transfer and 0% interest rate cards offer.
If you don’t plan to carry a balance, you’re probably better off with a card that offers rewards on your purchases, even if it has a higher APR. Other credit cards issued by Navy Federal offer cash back or points, and the APRs are still competitive.
How to Get the Most Out of This Card
If you’re carrying debt on a higher-APR credit card, transfer your balance immediately (within 30 days of opening your account) to take advantage of the promotional offer of 12 months at a 0% APR.
While there are plenty of other credit cards offering an introductory promotion with no interest for 12 months, you’re likely to come out ahead with this deal because of the lack of a balance transfer fee. (You'll also get 12 months to make new purchases at a 0% APR.) Here’s an example:
|Balance||APR||Balance Transfer Fee||Total Charges|
|Navy Federal Platinum Card||$2000||0%||0%||$0|
You cannot move more debt than your card’s credit limit or $30,000 per transfer, according to this card’s terms and conditions.
And although this isn’t a cash-back card, you can get cash back if you use the Platinum card in conjunction with the Navy Federal Credit Union’s Member Deals website, an online shopping portal.
Perks on credit cards are common, but editors at The Balance have determined some are more valuable than others. One feature of this card makes our cut for an excellent perk:
- Cellphone coverage: Pay your cellphone bill with your credit card and you could be covered for stolen or damaged devices (but not lost devices). Maximum reimbursement will depend 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.)
Depending on whether you have Mastercard or Visa coverage, cellphone coverage exclusions may exist. Read your contract carefully.
When you apply for the card, you’ll choose between a Visa or Mastercard version. 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
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.
Navy Federal has a mobile app for managing credit cards and other accounts. 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.
Plus, while many credit cards offer a free credit score, the Navy Federal Platinum Credit Card provides access to your FICO score—the one most widely used by lenders.
In addition to industry-standard security features, the Mastercard version of this credit card comes with identity theft protection. If you enroll in the service, it will alert you to potential identity theft by searching the internet for any suspicious use of your personal details, monitoring your financial transactions, and even keeping tabs on URLs and domain names of your choice.
The Navy Federal Platinum Credit Card stands out for better-than-average fees. There is no foreign transaction fee or annual fee, and it has relatively low late and returned-payment fees. The penalty APR and cash advance APR are also small compared to competing cards. To boot, the only cash advance fee is an ATM fee (outside of Navy Federal ATMs) of 50 cents to $1, depending on location.