Navy Federal Credit Union cashRewards

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Pretty good rewards rate for a simple, no-fee card.

This card offer is currently unavailable on Bankrate. To see more cards in this category, please visit our excellent credit category page.

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For those who find tracking bonus categories too cumbersome and just want simple cash-back rewards, the Navy Federal Credit Union cashRewards card delivers. The card pays 1.5% back on every purchase, without any complicated rules or fees.

Review

The Navy Federal Credit Union cashRewards card is a great choice if you belong to this credit union, which caters to members of the military and their families. We like this card because the rewards are easy to understand and straightforward. There are no games to play here.

Every time you make a purchase with your card, be it gas, groceries, clothing, the latest electronic must-have, you’ll earn 1.5% cash back on that purchase.

Navy Federal, like most credit unions that issue credit cards, generally charges lower annual percentage rates than the big banks. This card is no exception.

The purchase and balance transfer APR is a variable 10.65% to 18.0%, depending on creditworthiness. If you qualify for the lower end of the range it’s a lot better than then the industry average.

There are also no annual or balance transfer fees, which could make this card a compelling choice as a balance transfer card depending on the amount you’re looking to transfer. You may ultimately save more money transferring debt to the cashRewards card instead of one with a 0% balance transfer offer that charges a fee, but it pays to do the math.

This all sounds great, right?

You should, however, ask yourself why you would you choose this card over another cash-back card? The Chase Freedom Unlimited, for example, also comes with no annual fee and a nice sign-up offer. It also offers an appealing introductory 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers.

Who should get this card

Anyone who qualifies for Navy Federal Credit Union membership and wants a simple and fee-free cash-back rewards card can benefit from owning this card.

If you’re considering this card, keep in mind you have to be a member of the credit union to apply. Eligibility is restricted to those who serve or have served in the military or are an immediate family member of the military.

Advantages
  • There’s no cost to own this card.
  • It won’t cost you to transfer a balance.
  • If you qualify for the lower end of the APR range it’s below the industry average.
  • Rewards are unlimited and can be redeemed in any amount, any time.
  • You can use this card on overseas purchases without incurring extra charges.
Disadvantages
  • There’s no introductory 0% APR offer on purchases or balance transfers.
  • A card that offers bonus rewards in specific categories may ultimately earn you greater rewards.
  • You have to be a member of Navy Federal Credit Union to apply for this card, which not everyone will qualify for.

Fees and APR

• This card comes with a purchase and balance transfer variable APR of 10.65% to 18.0%.
• You’ll pay no annual fees, balance transfer fees or foreign transaction fees with this card.
• If you miss a payment or pay late, a variable penalty APR of 18.0% may be applied to your account until you make at least six consecutive payments. Plus, a late fee of up to $20 may apply.

Extras, perks and using points

This card comes with Visa Signature perks, which include auto and travel insurance protection and discounts and upgrades at select rental car agencies, hotels and cruises.

Points never expire and can be redeemed at any time in any amount. To use your rewards, log in to your account online and select “Rewards.” You can use your rewards to book travel through the Navy Federal site, to buy select merchandise and gift cards, or as a statement credit against your card or a deposit to your bank account.

How this card compares

Navy Federal Credit Union GO REWARDS®

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Card Details
  • Earn 3 GORewards point per $1 spent at restaurants.
  • Earn 2 GORewards point per $1 spent on gas.
  • Earn 1 GORewards point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • Earn 2 points on warehouse club purchases and 4 points at Costco gas stations through December 31, 2017.
Credit Needed Good
Regular APR Currently, rates range from 9.99% APR to 18% APR, are based on creditworthiness, and will vary with the market based on the Prime Rate.
Annual Fee No Annual Fee.
Balance Transfers Intro APR

For a no-fee credit card, the Navy Federal Credit Union GO REWARDS card offers a pretty decent rewards rate on dining out and gas. Where this card really shines is with its low APR on purchases and balance transfers for those who qualify.

Navy Federal More Rewards American Express® Card

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Card Details
  • Earn 3 points at supermarkets.
  • Earn 3 points at gas stations.
  • Earn 2 points at restaurants.
  • Earn 1 point on everything else.
Credit Needed Good
Regular APR 10.65% to 18.00%. This APR is based on your creditworthiness and will vary with the market based on the U.S. Prime Rate.
Annual Fee No Annual Fee.
Balance Transfers Intro APR

If you have excellent credit and can qualify for the Navy Federal More Rewards American Express Card, the bonus structure of an unlimited 3 points at supermarkets and gas stations, 2 points at restaurants and 1 point on anything else may work out better for typical households. The card doesn’t charge any annual, foreign transaction or balance transfer fees and also comes with a sign-up bonus of 25,000 points if you spend $3,000 within the first 90 days of opening the account.

USAA Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature®
Card Details
  • Earn 1.5% cash back on every purchase
  • There's no limit on the amount you can earn
  • Redeem your rewards anytime online or with the USAA Mobile App.
Credit Needed Excellent
Regular APR 12.90%-26.90% (Variable)
Annual Fee $0
Purchase Intro APR N/A
Balance Transfers Intro APR N/A

The USAA Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature offers attractive benefits, most notably its 1.5% cash back on all purchases, without limits or restrictions. Most non-rotating cash-back cards offer 1%, so the extra half percentage point definitely is a score in its favor.

Chase Freedom Unlimited®
Card Details
  • Unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase — it's automatic
  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 15.99-24.74%. Balance transfer fee is 5% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open
  • No annual fee
Credit Needed Good
Regular APR 15.99% - 24.74% Variable
Annual Fee $0
Purchase Intro APR 0% for 15 months
Balance Transfers Intro APR 0% for 15 months

The Chase Freedom Unlimited is a solid, straightforward cash-back rewards card that’s ideal for cardholders who just don’t have the time or energy to track spending categories. It ranks among the very best cash-back credit cards we track.

There are other cards that offer better rewards, but the Freedom Unlimited’s 1.5% cash back on everything is an excellent reward coming from a no-annual-fee credit card.

EDITORIAL NOTE

Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines, or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.