Who is This Credit Card Best For?
Prioritizes sticking to their budget while buying what they want and need
Attacks existing balances while avoiding new debt
Takes improving their finances seriously and wants recognition for using credit responsibly
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 won’t be charged interest 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 7.49% variable 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 don’t have ties to the armed forces. (More on this below.)
No balance transfer fee
Low ongoing APR
Navy Federal Credit Union membership required
No introductory rate on purchases
- No balance transfer fee: A credit card that doesn’t tack on a 3% fee to transfer a balance is a rare find. And combined with a promotional rate, it’s even more valuable. If you make the move within 30 days of getting the card, you’ll get an APR of 0% on that balance for 12 months.
- Low ongoing APR: This credit card is a keeper even after the introductory period expires. Your ongoing APR could be as low as 7.49% variable on both purchases and balances transferred.
- Few fees: You won’t pay an annual fee or foreign transaction fees, and the late fees and cash advance APR are lower than those found on many competing cards.
- No rewards: With no 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.
- 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.
- No introductory rate on purchases: Some credit cards offer an introductory rate on both purchases and balance transfers. With this card, if you use your card for new purchases, you can’t avoid finance charges. (More on this below.)
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 going to do a balance transfer, make sure to initiate it within 30 days of opening your account to take advantage of the 12 months at a 0% APR.
Then, to maximize your savings on interest, hold off on using the credit card for purchases until you’ve paid off your transferred balance. This may sound odd, but here’s why: Once you have a balance—even one that’s not accruing any interest—you’ll forgo your usual grace period on new purchases and be charged interest on those purchases immediately. That means you won’t be able to avoid some finance charges even if you pay all of your new purchases off each time you get your bill.
The only way to avoid paying any interest while you’re carrying a balance that’s been transferred is to avoid using the card for anything else until your transfer has been paid off. Otherwise the finance charges you’ll pay on new purchases will erase some of your savings on the transferred amount.
Navy Federal Platinum Credit Card’s Excellent Perks
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 can ditch your insurance from your cell service provider and still be covered for stolen or damaged 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.)
Cellphone coverage doesn’t apply to phones that are lost, that mysteriously disappear, or are stolen from luggage.
When you apply for the card, you’ll choose between a Mastercard or Visa 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 concierge services
J.D. Power’s 2019 Regional Credit Card Satisfaction Study gave Navy Federal Credit Union top marks in overall satisfaction and categories including interaction, credit card terms, and benefits and service. (The market research firm profiled Navy Federal but didn’t officially rank the company because it didn’t meet the study award criteria.)
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.
Navy Federal Platinum Credit Card’s Fees
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 a relatively low late fee and cash advance APR 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.