Credit cards for military members with bad credit

Members of the military should get a free ride when it comes to personal finance. The military consists of about 1% of the American population, and they sacrifice more than the remaining 99% numerous times over. All of their expenses should be taken care of, and all debts should be absolved. While this is a nice idealistic thought, it is not in practice, and many military families end up with bad credit and financial issues. There will eventually be an emergency involving payment for travel accommodations while on duty, or there may be emergency home repairs needed after a natural disaster strikes. A credit card is an option for military men and women, and there are many different banks or credit unions from which to choose.

One option I found is called the Pentagon Federal Credit Union (Pen Fed). Pen Fed is available to members of the Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, DHS, D of D, and VFW. It offers many services, including credit cards, auto loans, education loans, and HELOCs. From Pen Fed, I found three choices for affordable credit cards. First, the Pen Fed Premium Travel Rewards Card (American Express) offers a points-reward system specifically aimed toward airfare purchases. It also offers travel discounts, and no annual fee or foreign transaction fee is involved. Another choice is the Promise Card (Visa), which has a 7.49% introductory APR. The introductory interest rate lasts for three years, and the new interest rate will vary with the prime rate (currently stands at 9.99%). Finally, a Platinum Gas/Cash Rewards Card (also Visa) is available. It has a 13.99% interest rate, and 5% cash back is offered with all gas purchases. (One percent cash back is offered with all other purchases).

If you are not eligible for Pen Fed, an option for you is the Navy Federal Credit Union (NFCU). NFCU offers many different credit cards, many of which have received positive customer reviews. For starters, the cashRewards card has a low variable interest rate (starting at 9.65%). It offers 1% cash back on all purchases under $10,000, and 1.5% is offered on purchases over that amount. This card may have foreign transaction fees, but many customers have noted excellent customer service. Other NFCU options include nRewards Secured (recommended option for rebuilding credit) and the NFCU Platinum Card (no annual or balance transfer fees, and APR as low as 7.99%).

If you are a member of the military who is looking for a credit card, looking at these two credit unions first is recommended. I did also find a website called “The Military Zone,” a site that offers help to active, retired, and future military personnel. Unfortunately, some of its information was out of date. (For example, one of the credit cards it advertised, called the “Chase PerfectCard,” has been discontinued.) While serving in the military does not mean all of your expenses are automatically covered, military servicemen and servicewomen may be able to find credit cards with better terms than the average citizen.

David Pilley

David Pilley

David Pilley is a May 2010 graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, with a B.A. in communication studies and a creative writing minor. He is a native of Raleigh, North Carolina.

He played clarinet for the Marching Tar Heels in 2005 and 2006. He also volunteered for STV, the student-run television station at UNC-Chapel Hill, in the spring of 2010. He shot video, wrote scripts, and acted for “Off the Cuff,” UNC’s longest running sketch comedy show. He has the rare distinction of having lived in a dorm all four years of his undergraduate college career. He was also on Franklin Street on the night of April 4, 2009. His future plans are to pursue a master’s degree in journalism and to one day work for the media as a sports journalist or broadcaster.

Being one of eight children, David realizes finance is an important topic to everyone, regardless of his/her knowledge of the subject. His interests are in personal finance, budgeting, and savings.

In his spare time, David enjoys watching sports and standup comedy, as well as doing crossword puzzles and writing in the first person. He also thoroughly enjoys trivia and, one day, hopes to participate on the game show Jeopardy!, where he will try to break Ken Jennings’ 74-game win streak.
David Pilley

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