I am a firm believer that when used properly, credit cards are a good financial tool to have at your disposal. Credit cards offer users a variety of benefits, including consumer protections such as fraud and theft protection, extended warranties, and the ability to dispute charges.
In addition to these benefits, many credit cards offer a variety of rewards benefits including cash back, member rewards, airline miles, membership programs, and other discounts. These benefits can be very valuable, but I do not recommend using credit cards if you carry a balance.
What to Expect from a Cash Back Credit Card
It wasn’t long ago that most major credit card companies offered credit cards with 3-5% cash back on all purchases. Unfortunately, those cards are no longer around. Most cards offer a similar cash rewards program which starts at or around 1% cash back, with additional cash rewards or bonuses which may be added to sweeten the deal.
Some of these additional cash rewards include bonuses for shopping through the credit card company’s online portal where you can get additional discounts from select vendors. Some credit card issuers also offer bonus cash back for making purchases in select categories. Many issuers rotate bonus cash categories on a monthly or quarterly basis. With a little planning, the savings can add up!
What to Look for in a Cash Back Credit Card
Not all credit cards are the same, so it pays to know what to look for. We recommend using a credit card from a major credit card issuer, or a trusted financial institution. Sometimes the best deals come from the major credit card companies; other times the best cards will be from local or regional banks or credit unions.
When shopping for a cash rewards credit card, pay attention to the rewards program, interest rate, bonus categories, rewards eligibility, etc. You will also want to determine if the rewards have an expiration date and in most cases avoid any annual fees.
Featured Military Credit Card: Navy Federal Visa Signature® Flagship Rewards Credit Card
The NFCU Visa Signature® Flagship Rewards Credit Card offers strong rewards, no balance transfer fees, no foreign transaction fees, and excellent rewards.
Members will earn 3X points on Travel and 2X points on everything else. Points can be redeemed for cash, travel, gift cards, and merchandise. Members are also eligible for a statement credit (up to $100) for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck (see terms for full details).
As you can see, this card features excellent cardholder rewards, especially for frequent travelers.
Featured Cash Back Credit Cards
We have done some of the legwork for you – these credit cards all meet the criteria listed above and are good credit cards for military members. They offer a variety of cash rewards programs and are some of the best credit cards available.
We have done our best to find a variety of cards, but it’s impossible to list every card on the market, particularly those from the smaller regional banks and credit unions. Because of this, we have focused on the major credit card issuers and a few of the major military banks. What follows are some of the best cash back credit cards on the market.
Best Cash Back Credit Cards for Military Members
PenFed Power Cash Rewards Visa Signature® Card
PenFed recently launched the PenFed Power Cash Rewards Visa Signature® Card. This card offers a flat cash back reward of 1.5% on all purchases, with no limits and no rotating categories, as found on many other credit cards. PenFed members can receive a total of 2% cash back on all purchases if they have a PenFed Access America checking account or if they have served or are currently serving in the US military.
The additional rewards are available through PenFed’s Honors Advantage Program. There are no limits, spending caps, hidden fees, or revolving categories. Please visit the PenFed website to view additional information, including balance transfer terms, statement credit bonus offers, interest rates, and other terms. Visit PenFed for additional information.
Navy Federal Visa cashRewards
The Navy Federal cashRewards card is one of the top credit cards on the market, offering up to 1.5% cash back on all purchases, without spending categories or other qualifiers. There are no caps on the amount of rewards you can earn, your cash rewards never expire, and you can redeem your rewards with as little as $20 cash back. There is no annual fee for this card. Here is an in-depth Navy Federal cashRewards card review, or you can check out some of the main features below:
- $100 cash back when you spend $1,000 in eligible purchases within 90 days
- Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases
- No rewards limit
- Regular Purchase APR: 11.40%-18.00% variable
- Regular Balance Transfer APR: 11.40%-18.00% variable
MILITARY STAR Card
The MILITARY STAR Card offers users cardholders rewards that work out to 2.0% on your purchases at the Exchange facilities and Armed Forces Recreation Center resort hotels. The same rewards points arrangement applies for online shopping at shopmyexchange.com, myNavyExchange.com, and shopCGX.com.
The card features low interest rates, and no interest at all on up to $500 purchases at clothing sales. You can learn more about the MILITARY Star Card in our review.
Other Excellent Cash Rewards Credit Cards
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express. We ranked this card high, but would even consider ranking it higher if American Express card were accepted at more overseas locations. The Blue Cash Everyday® from American Express offers excellent cash back in different categories including at supermarkets, gas stations and department stores, and on all other purchases. On top of that, there are no annual fees, no minimum spending requirements to earn the highest rewards and no rotating rewards categories.
Fidelity Investment Rewards Signature Visa Card. Earn unlimited 2% cash-back on every net purchase, with no annual fee, no limits on reward points and no restrictive categories, and your points will never expire.
You can have your rewards deposited into your Fidelity investment account, split it among several Fidelity accounts, or even have it deposited into a loved one’s account. Your rewards can be deposited into a Fidelity brokerage account, retirement account, 529 plan account, or other options. Apply for the Fidelity Investment Rewards Signature Visa Card.
Check with Your Local Bank and Credit Union
There are many military and local credit unions which may offer a great credit card for your needs. We recommend any of the cards above, but as always, do your research and find the best card for your specific situation.
Don’t forget to look for debit card offers. We know not everyone likes to use or carry a credit card. In that instance, I recommend looking into a debit card with a cash rewards program. Most major financial institutions have done away with rewards debit card programs, but you may be able to find one that offers some rewards. We recommend checking out the options at your local bank or credit union.
“Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by any credit card issuer. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any credit card issuer. This site may be compensated if you sign up for a credit card through this site.”