13 Credit Card Companies That Provide CASH Refunds to Service Members Under The SCRA

Active duty U.S. military members can receive financial relief and protections under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA). SCRA benefits start on the date when active duty orders are received, and SCRA coverage usually terminates within 30-90 days after the discharge date from active duty.
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Did you know many credit card companies are going above and beyond their legal obligations under the Service Members Civil Relief Act?

Many companies are retroactively lowering interest rates for balances placed AFTER your enlistment! Under the SCRA, 6% is the maximum interest rate credit card companies can charge, however, many institutions are choosing to offer even lower rates.

Considering my current circumstances, this is fantastic news.

What Are SCRA Credit Card Benefits?

Active duty U.S. military members can receive financial relief and protections under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA). SCRA benefits start on the date when active duty orders are received, and SCRA coverage usually terminates within 30-90 days after the discharge date from active duty.

Under SCRA, credit card rates are capped at 6%. Another important part of the credit card provisions are that most banks and credit card issuing companies will offer a refund on interest and annual fees for certain financial obligations that were incurred prior to a servicemember’s active duty military service.

Banks will also lower the interest rates on loans that existed before the servicemember joined the military. For example, if you bought a car or a boat with a 12% loan prior to serving, you can request to have your interest rate lowered to 6%.

The 6% cap applies to all debts incurred prior to entry into active-duty service, including student loans, credit cards, mortgages and car loans. The cap remains in effect for the duration of a servicemember’s active-duty service.

Interest accrued about 6% must be forgiven, not just merely postponed, and the amount of remaining monthly payments must be reduced to reflect the lower interest rate.

All active duty members are covered by the SCRA, including those in the Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, Navy, Space Force, reserves and National Guard. SCRA only applies to reservists and members of the National Guard when they’re serving on active duty orders

SCRA benefits also apply to spouses and children of qualified servicemembers, and any person who relied on the servicemember for at least 50 percent of their support, for up to 180 days prior invoking SCRA benefits.

To access SCRA benefits, servicemembers must make an application in writing to the lending institution where they are seeking the reduction.

Learn More:

Read our full guide on the best credit cards for military servicemembers and veterans

How to Benefit from Credit Cards While in the Military

Banks and lenders are extremely generous when it comes to doling out perks for servicemembers. Here’s several common benefits that are often offered to military families that are worth investigating with your current credit card provider or when you’re ready to find a new card to use.

  • No annual fee
  • Cash back incentives
  • Cash back programs for military-related expenses such as moving, uniforms, etc.
  • No overseas transaction credit card fees
  • Incentives for electronic payments or automatic electronic payment transfers
  • Waived or reduced credit card cash advance fees
  • Lower APR interest rates for military members (many offer rates below SCRA mandates)
  • No over-limit credit limit fees
  • No penalty APR interest rate adjustments for late payments
  • Any special perks or incentives for deployed service members or their dependents
  • Special “reserve cards” for military families

My Current Go-To Card

For the two or three people who truly know me, I’m always looking for a way to save a few bucks. Since January of 2015, I’ve been a geographical bachelor living in Houston, while my family maintains a residence in San Antonio.

I reside on the North side of the city, well outside of the Beltway. I opted for comfort and security, and some would say I’m paying a premium for rent. Between my house and apartment, we currently pay close to 3k a month for the most basic living expenses. I live off of a credit card and typically pay the balance in full (or close to it) before the end of the billing cycle.

Currently, my go-to credit card is the Hilton Honors Card from American Express. I swipe this card to cover all of my day-to-day living expense while simultaneously earning rewards points.

Now the scary part.

This card comes with a hefty 17.24% to 26.24% annual percentage rate (APR) on purchases. (See full terms and conditions here.)

Aha Moment With Spencer & Amex

Recently, I ran across a post from the Military Money Manual, which explained how American Express goes above and beyond their legal obligations under the SCRA.

Following Spencer’s guidance, I’ve submitted my request to have my account handled in accordance with the SCRA.

Armed with this new information, I conducted a brief Internet search, searching for a list of credit card companies that also provide similar support under the SCRA.

To my surprise, I failed to locate a substantial resource to share, so I decided to create one.

Not Just American Express – Many Banks Participate

Many credit card companies are heeding the call and retroactively lowering interest rates, reducing the interest on balances placed AFTER enlistment, and cutting refund checks.

Now I understand that for many of us, the promise of 0% APR and having our annual fees waived may sound like an April fools post on the Duffel Blog.

But I’ve been able to locate 13 credit card companies that have been secretly offering SCRA benefits to service members, and in some cases, their spouses.

Here are some of the best military credit cards:

List of SCRA Friendly Credit Card Companies

Here’s a List of 13 Credit Card Companies that Go Above and Beyond To Support Service Members Under the SCRA:

USAA SCRA Benefits

Benefits: USAA has three unique programs designed to put money back into service members pockets:

  • SCRA: USAA provides service members with a reduced interest rate of 4%, for credit card debt incurred prior to active duty. This is good for up to six months after separation
  • Deployment or PCS: Active duty members can get a 4% interest rate, and some fees waived on their USAA MasterCard, Visa or American Express for current balances, new purchases, and cash advances for up to 12 months for PCS or up to 15 months for deployment.
  • Campaign Medal: USAA members awarded a qualifying campaign medal can get all the interest incurred during the campaign refunded on their USAA MasterCard, USAA Visa, or USAA American Express.

How to apply: Find out if you qualify online and send in the required documents. Call 210-531-USAA (8722) for more information.

American Express SCRA Benefits

Benefits: American Express is showing their support for our military by waiving all credit card annual membership, over limit, late payment, returned payment, and statement copy fees for active duty military service personnel.

The SCRA benefits are offered through various products including the Platinum card (which otherwise incurs a $450 fee), Blue Cash Preferred card (a $75 fee), Premier Rewards Gold card (a $175 fee), and others. Amex also waives late payment, over limit, returned check charges and statement copy charges.

How to apply: If your card is account is enrolled in American Express online services, you can submit your request online. You will be required to submit documentation proving your service, such as documentation prepared exclusively by a branch of the military, the Department of Defense or your commanding officer which indicates that you are on active duty (e.g., active duty orders, change of station orders, DD-214 forms, letters from commanding officers, etc.).

  • Phone: Call the number on the back of your Card or 1-800-253-1720 to submit a request. If you are outside the United States, you can call us collect at 1-336-393-1111.
  • Fax: Fax documents establishing your active duty to 1-623-444-3000. Please make sure to include the applicable American Express Account numbers.
  • Mail: Send a copy of documents establishing your active duty to: American Express, Attn: Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, PO Box 981535, El Paso, TX 79998-1535. Please make sure to include the applicable American Express Account numbers.

Bank of America SCRA Benefits

Benefits: Bank of America will waive all fees, lower APR to 6% all pre-service balances, during active duty and for up to 180 days after separation.

How to apply: Service members have up to 180 days from the date military service is completed to request benefits and provide documentation. To apply you’ll need one of the following:

  • A copy of your enlistment orders or your military orders calling you to active duty service
  • A properly completed Department of Defense Short Form (PDF requires InstallAdobe Reader)

Source: https://www.bankofamerica.com/military-banking/military-banking-faqs/

Barclaycard SCRA Benefits

Benefits: Barclaycard will waive all fees, lower APR to 0% for all pre-service balances, and all transactions made during active service.

How to apply: Contact the SCRA assist line at 1-866-918-5212 and ask to apply for SCRA benefits.

Source: http://themilitaryfrequentflyer.boardingarea.com/2014/01/27/how-to-get-your-annual-fees-waived-on-barclaycard-cards/

BBCA Compass Bank SCRA Benefits

Benefits: BBVA Compass Bank offers special banking products as a way of saying thanks to military personnel. Military members are eligible for interest rate reductions to 6% and waiver of all fees.

How to apply: Contact the bank at 1-800-266-7277

Open an account: To open an account visit BBVA Compass Bank

Capital One SCRA Benefits

Benefits: Under Capital One’s SCRA Program Service Members and spouses are eligible for a maximum interest rate of 4%, waiver of all fees assessed on accounts.

How to apply: The fastest way to secure benefits is by completing the online form. Eligible spouses should complete this form and fax to 1-866-516-4023.

Chase SCRA Benefits

Benefits: Since 1989, Chase has been offering convenience, savings, service and security to the US Military. Chase will waive all fees, lower APR to 4% on eligible balances and for one year after separation. On Chase Military cards all interest and fees incurred during deployment will be refunded.

How to apply: To request assistance log into your online account:

  • Click Secure Message Center (in blue on the upper right side)
  • Select Send new message
  • Under inquiries select Military Service Members Civil Relief, then select SCRA Orders/documents from the drop-down menu, then click Go
  • Please be sure to enter account # in the blank message box provided (only one account # is needed)
  • Click Add/Remove attachments
  • Select Done

Phone: For a military specialist, call 1-877-469-0110 (for U.S. calls) or 1-318-340-3308 if overseas.

Citi SCRA Benefits

Benefits: Citi has customer service representatives standing by to answer your questions and solve your problems. The waive all fees and will reduce your interest rate to to 0% APR, for all Citi card accounts, opened prior to active duty.

How to apply: Call Citi at 1-877-804-1082 or if outside the U.S. (call collect) 1-605-335-2222.

You may also fax, mail or overnight/express delivery to the fax number and address listed below. Please make sure you also send the proper documentation – this could include a copy of your written Department of Defense (DoD) orders, a letter from your commanding officer, or any other document that the DoD deems a substitute for official orders.

For credit cards, mortgage, and other banking products from Citi:

Citi Customer Service

SCRA Unit

P.O. Box 790398

St. Louis, MO 63179

Fax: 1-866-533-0503

Discover SCRA Benefits

Benefits: At Discover, we are grateful for your service or the service of a loved one, and want to help you take full advantage of your benefits. Service members and their spouses/domestic partners have earned the following Service Members Civil Relief Act (SCRA) benefits for the period of active duty service:

  • 6% or less annual percentage rate (APR) on Discover card purchases and cash advances
  • No late fees

This coverage lasts as long as the service member is on active duty—and is even applied retroactively to the active duty start date. Once activated, your SCRA benefits may automatically extend to other Discover products, such as personal loans, home equity, home loans, and student loans.

How to apply: Simply log into your Discover account and request SCRA benefits.

Source: https://www.discover.com/credit-cards/member-benefits/scra-benefits/index.html?ICMPGN=FTR_PUB_SCRA_TXT

Synchrony Bank SCRA Benefits (Formerly Known as GE Capital)

GE Capital SCRA Benefits: GE Capital recently rebranded as Synchrony Bank. This screenshot shows how one GE Capital customer received several large refunds after contacting their customer service department.

Synchrony Bank SCRA Benefits: Synchrony Bank will review all current and closed accounts (GE Capital) and will reduce interest rates to 6%, and waive all associated fees.

How to apply: Contact Synchrony Bank at 1-855-872-4311 or 1-866-419-4096, provide your social security number and a recent LES.

US Bank SCRA Benefits

Benefits: If you obtained your U.S. Bank mortgage, loan, a line of credit, or credit card before being called to active duty, SCRA allows a cap of 6% on the interest rate and a waiver of all fees while you are on active military service.

How to apply: Contact the Military Services Center to request the benefit:

Source: https://www.usbank.com/military/servicemembers-civil-relief-act.aspx

Wells Fargo SCRA Benefits

Benefits: Service members can limit interest rates to 6 percent for credit cards —if they obtained the loan before their entry on active duty. The interest rate reductions are temporary and rates will return to the prior rate at the end of active duty (or longer as provided by the law for certain loans).

How to apply: Contact credit card services at 1-800-642-4720.

Source: https://www08.wellsfargomedia.com/assets/pdf/personal/military/servicemembers-civil-relief-act-commitments.pdf

Victoria’s Secret SCRA Benefits

Benefits: ?Victoria’s Secret will only apply benefits for an account of a service member or where the service member is a co-signer, not just an authorized user. Also, the card has to have been obtained BEFORE the service member started active duty. The cap of APR will be at 6%

How to apply: Contact 1800-695-9478 and request the benefits you will then be emailed a form and you will need to fax it with your spouse’s orders

What are the Best Credit Cards for Military Veterans? What Should I Look For in a Military Credit Card?

The best credit cards for veterans are going to depend quite a bit on your lifestyle as a military veteran. What makes the most sense for one vet may not make good sense for the next one.

Defining your priorities on how you’re going to use a credit card can help steer you in the right direction. For example, do you know what expenses you want to use a credit card for? Are there certain benefits you think are more desirable than others? For example, how important are no annual fees, interest rates, or cash-back offers to you?

There are lots of cards out there with a variety of parameters attached to them, so you need to do a little homework before deciding which card or cards you’ll want to use.

Here are some examples we found based on lifestyle options for you.

If you travel a lot, the American Express Platinum Card has a high annual fee, but you’ll make up those fees through other card benefits. The Platinum Card has a large sign-up bonus (anywhere from 60,000 to 75,000 points) and you’ll earn more points after you reach spending levels. The card will more than pay for itself if you plan a major overseas vacation or take advantage of Uber discounts, airline fee discounts, aireport lounge acess, and Global Entry or TSA Precheck programs.

Veteran business owners should consider the American Express Business Gold Card. Cardholders earn a 70,000 point sign-up bonus after making $10,000 in purchases. You also get 4x points for the two expense categories with the most purchases in a given month, meaning you get rewarded for where you spend most frequently which should more than offset the $295 annual fee. Another great benefit is the pay-over-time option for purchases over $100 that helps business owners manage cash flow.

The Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express gives cardholders 6% cash-back on groceries (up to $6,000/year), 6% back on streaming subscriptions, 3% back on gas, and 1% for all other purchases. That’s a great deal for only a $95 annual fee.

A great all-around military friendly card is the USAA Rewards Visa Signature Card. You’ll get 2,500 bonus points after your first purchase, travel protection in the form of secondary coverage for car rentals, trip cancellations or disruptions, and daily baggage reimbursement. It’s also worth noting there is no annual fee or a foreign transaction fee if you travel overseas.

Also consider a Navy Federal Credit Union Visa Signature Flagship Rewards Credit Card. It offers banking services for veterans of all branches. Card benefits are slanted more toward travel benefits with 3x points for travel purchases and 2x points for all other purchases, and a free year of Amazon Prime, although there is a $49 fee which is waived the first year

Veterans with a bad credit score or no credit should consider rebuilding their profile with the use of a secured credit card. There are several to choose from and all will require you to put a cash deposit up for collateral for several months until you can demonstrate a successful track record of repayments.

Thanks for reading… If we’re missing any credit card companies, feel free to leave the specifics in the comments!


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  1. Mario says

    I am in the USCG and currently on my 14th year of AD. I’ve been denied SCRA benefit from Wells Fargo, Navy Federal, and USAA because my debts with them were acquired AFTER joining, and that benefits only apply for debts acquired BEFORE joining the military. I called USAA and asked them directly about how they had advertised to help AD members and they said that the word “may” was placed in the ad because not all active duty members are eligible for benefits, and they refuse to explain to me what would make one AD members eligible and not another.
    USAA is my primary bank and I’ve sent them proof of PCS orders and copies of my AD enlistment contract, and they really stuck to quoting me what the SCRA requires of them, and they were quick to say that they really have no obligation to do anything more than that.
    This is really frustrating and almost insulting as I have known other active duty USCG member who have applied and been approved (through USAA) and now have 6% APR on all their credit cards. All on accounts that were created AFTER enlisting too. When I asked USAA about my coworkers receiving these benefits, they implied that they must be lying to me because it’s not something that they do.
    If anyone has dealt with this and has found solution, please let me know.

  2. Andrea says

    Does anyone know if USAA or Navy Federal reimburses the interest paid when using the SCRA on debt acquired prior to joining the military?

  3. Zachary Coleman says

    Hi, is there an updated number for Synchrony Bank? The number above is no longer valid.

    Thank you,

  4. Matthew Malinski says

    Does AMEX offer SCRA benefits if you are opening a new account after you have been in the service for several years. I know that SCRA is typically for pre military debt although I know that some companies may differ. I did not specifically see the answer.

  5. Vikas says

    Synchrony aka GE Capital doesn’t appear to be ‘above and beyond’ as stated in this article. They denied my request over phone saying my account was closed. so that they can keep all the insane interest charges. They also refused to give me that denial in writing, which was sketchy. Now exploring my options with the Justice Department and also trying to see where the author got such information ‘ as Syncrony GECapital will pay for closed accounts too’?

  6. Jason Dayne says

    Does anybody know if there are any special considerations for SCRA for the Palace Front people in terms of trying to get retroactive benefits for prior active service while called back up on active orders?

  7. Tamra says

    My husband is in his 18th year with the Army National Guard. While most creditors will not honor his deployment back in 2006, Synchrony (Walmart, Sam’s, Lowe’s, QVC, etc.) WILL!!! They told me they include the Guard, beginning with their enlistment date!!! We will have retroactive benefits on those accounts since 2001! So excited!

  8. Sarah says

    Has anyone experienced issues with trying to apply for SCRA benefits for a spouse with Chase and US Bank? They want to tell me I have to have primary financial responsibility for it to apply to them but I had no problems and even had 2 others ask me if my spouse had card accounts with them as well so they could apply the benefits to them as well.

  9. Chad charles says

    So I applied for the SCRA benefits from Synchrony bank, which I had a Lowe’s card with a $4200 balance on. I also had a Walmart store credit card as well as a Sam’s Club store card which I closed a few years ago. (I used Sams and Walmart cards to help restore my credit.) For the Lowe’s account I went on line to pay my bill a few days after receiving my paper copy in the mail and I only had a balance of $600. That was a blessing. Then a few weeks later I was scrolling through some emails and seen I had emails from Walmart and Sams which said your statement is available to view. I thought well that’s weird I don’t have those cards anymore…dug up my old passwords and lo and behold a positive balance on Walmart for 490$ and 998$ on Sams. I called both and they sent me two checks. What a great program.,..I’m awaiting Victoria’s Secret (not holding my breath) and Capital One. Question does anyone know if Kay Jewelers offers anything for SCRA? Have a great day!

  10. mike says

    Credit one bank and Comenity Bank (Victoria’s secret, Buckle, Zales) only honor SCRA if you were a member prior to joining the military so I guess it’s only good for Privates. I’ve been in 18 years so they won’t offer it to me. Capital One however did. They lowered interest to %4 and backdated it to my career so in this case the life of the card. Basically they paid off my balance and sent me a check for $200

  11. sarah thomas says

    Synchrony bank is retroactively dropping all of my interest rates to 0%!! (These are newer accounts, opened after I came in the military. They really go above and beyond!) Thank you so much for sharing!

  12. Andrea Doolittle says

    Hello all,

    We were approved for SCRA through Synchrony bank (Amazon). When will we receive the money from the interest we have been paying?

  13. Jon says

    Does anyone know how long synchrony takes to refund interest paid? I received a letter and check my accounts. The interest has been reduced to 0% but no credits.
    Thanks in advance for ya’lls help.

  14. Ryan says

    I’ve had a amazing luck with most of the credit card companies I’ve reached out to, giving benefits for both open and closed accounts. However, both Honda and Standard Mortgage are telling me that SCRA doesn’t apply because both of those accounts are already closed. Any advice on how to handle that? I’ve read the SCRA and nowhere does it mention that accounts have to be open in order to qualify for benefits. Thank you.

    • Jennifer says

      I sent my husband’s DMDC certificate to Chase, but they didn’t care! They said the current title 10 orders don’t matter bc they had old title 32 orders on file (he’s AGR with the Guard), but the title 32 orders were NOT for a national emergency authorized by the president. I’m contacting the dod on Monday and will pursue legal action if necessary.

  15. Samuel Guzman says

    Just FYI, I have 2 credit cards under Synchrony bank (Amazon and Gap) and I called in my SCRA benefits recently. They reduced my interest rate to 0% and will reimburse me for interest and fees charged from the date of my enlistment. Happy camper! 🙂

    • Curtez says

      Yes, once you submit a request they should review all open/closers accounts to determine your eligibility.

  16. Tim says

    I am aware of the difficulties and inconsistencies with Chase approving SCRA benefits for accounts created after joining. However, I’m curious if anyone has had any success with the following scenario:

    I have been AD for about a year and a half and recently PCS’d to an AFB where I am projected to be stationed for the foreseeable future (at least 6 years). I am very interested in the 100k sign-on bonus for the Chase Sapphire Reserve card. If I apply, get accepted, get the card, then get deployed (complete with new orders)… will they know my [ineligible] active duty joining date (through possibly contacting the DoD) or do they only know the date on the newly issued deployment orders I’ll be sending them as proof of AD status (which would appear to make me eligible for SCRA benefits)?

  17. Jae says

    Amazing. Thank you for creating this blog and providing such valuable information. To receive a credit that you weren’t expecting can change your financial status.. i can pay off a few bills, reduce debt and take a much needed vacation.. what an economy booster.. These companies are going above and beyond! I feel SO appreciated!

  18. Kristy says

    This is great, thank you. Only two issues – 1, VS # you gave will refer you to call their home office, at 614-415-7000. 2, not everyone with a VS card is the “spouse” of a SM….some of us can be sexy and serve too! 🙂

  19. Arnold V says

    Does this work for an already close credit card with BOA? I used to have a credit card with them? The Apr rate was rediculous, which really hurt when you are only a private!

      • Elaine says

        I applied for SCRA benefits from Capital One (all cards opened prior to AD service) and had a negative balance on my account within a few days. I called to get the money refunded to me and had two checks within 10 days. I was skeptical until the checks cleared my bank! They are amazing!

      • Doug Nordman says

        I can’t speak for Samuel’s experience, Al, but many of the credit-card companies mentioned in this post have offered SCRA terms for those who obtained the cards after starting their military service.

        Some companies offer the more generous terms as a sort of military discount, while others simply comply with the SCRA. You’ll have to contact your card companies to learn their policies. Before you open a new account, ask them about their military terms.

      • samuel guzman says

        Hey All, my credit cards were all acquired before I joined. But you may be right. Synchrony Bank may be going above and beyond. It seemed like they only wanted my enlistment documents for the in order to reimburse me the interest and fees charged since that date.

      • Tim says

        **UPDATE: I found out about the DMDC (Department of Defense Manpower Data Center) website where credit card companies (or anyone, civilians included) can look up a service member’s active duty date with only a couple pieces of info (name and birth date).

  20. Alex Gibson says

    Anybody know if comenity bank honors SCRA on pre-AD debt as well? Or know what comenity offers as a whole? I’m not finding any info on them.

    • Danie says

      i called us bank to get the info needed as our mortgage was with them, they said we did not qualify as you had to have the mortgage with them before joining the military.

      • Al says

        Just out of curiosity, did you obtain these cards prior to your active duty service date or after? I called a few credit card companies, some would not honor if cards if they were obtained after entering active service but after speaking with synchrony rep, it seemed that it did not matter. Just wanted to confirm if this was the case.

  21. Britt says

    I’m a spouse and Discover, Chase, and Capital One all extended the same benefits to me, which was awesome. But I just called about my Synchrony and not only are the extending the same benefits, they drop the interest rate to 0%. I’m blown away right now. Thanks for providing the number to call.

  22. Francis says

    Capital ONE is excellent. They went back to 2000, when I entered the service although I got my card in 2005. They forgave the $5000 balance and I had a $3500 credit on the card. Happy Happy Day.

    • Gail says

      Just denied by Wells Fargo even though we have been and still in for 23 years. Claim credit debt was before entering

  23. Chad Davis says

    Does this apply for credit cards acquired after you joined the military, or just credits card from before you joined?

  24. Nick says

    As always you find the cracks in the system that these companies will never openly share with service members. It’s a shame we have to even “look” for this or ask. Great resource here. I have at least four of these cards in past accounts and plan to test this next week.

  25. Joy Dallas says

    This is such a great resource! This a great read for any full time active duty personnel. These companies are truly rising above! I am glad to see our military being treated well!

      • David Martin says

        Hello, I’m a spouse of a AD Air Force I have applied for SCRA on all my credit cards which I have had years prior to my spouse’s AD & marriage. So far within 1 week of applying discover card has already credited $1284 in interest paid since my spouse has been AD & they lowered my interest to 5.9% as long as spouse is AD. Thanks for the info still waiting for Amex, Citi, Chase, & Bank of America to respond. If they retroactively credit my accounts as well to AD service date which is 2 years I could potentially get 10k to 12k back. This would be awesome. Yes I had a lot of credit card debt (over $100k) and just paid them all off this month.

  26. Curtez says

    Thanks. I wanted this article to focus on the companies that went above and beyond the basic requirements of the law. Unfortunately for most of us with a balance, being deployed shouldn’t be a point of consideration in order to qualify for the meager break… Especially considering the volume of Soldiers that are restricted to AAFES, you would think they’d be a little more considerate. Now, that’s just my opinion. We all choose which places we spend our money, or swipe our cards.

  27. Doug Nordman says

    Good question, Chad, because it can seem a little too amazing to be true.

    The SCRA law applies only to debts (and accounts) incurred before starting active duty. (This includes Reserve/Guard mobilizations as well as joining the military.) However the card companies in this post have been going above and beyond the SCRA requirements.

    When you contact them and explain your duty status (including the applicable dates) they may still decide to voluntarily comply with the SCRA requirements– even though the law might not apply to your particular account situation.

    There’s no deceit or manipulation. It’s just the financial companies doing a good thing for servicemembers & families.

  28. Chris says

    If you read the scra, it actually states that it should be applied to pre-active duty debt. These companies are going above the spirit and extending it to debt incurred after enlistment.

  29. Rita says

    Hey Britt, I am a spouse as well. When you fill out the form to fax in for Capital One, did you put your information in or your husbands? It says “about the servicemember”

    Thanks!

  30. Doug Nordman says

    Ryan, if the debts were incurred before active duty then the interest rates could be required to comply with SCRA. But if the accounts are closed (especially if they were closed after payoff, not delinquent or sent to collections) then the companies may have complied with SCRA.

    This is a situation where you may or may not have paid more interest than required by the SCRA, but it could cost you far more in legal fees to obtain a resolution.

  31. Doug Nordman says

    Jon, we don’t have any recent data on payment times. You might want to e-mail or call every few weeks so that the company doesn’t “forget” about their policy.

  32. Whitney R says

    Did you ever get anything back from interest you’d been paying after they reduced interest rate to 0%?

  33. Elaine says

    All three accounts had credits posted to my balance. I requested the refund via online for one and received the check in about 2 weeks. The other two were closed accounts. I’d forgotten about them, but glad Synchrony didn’t! One account emailed me a statement reflecting a credit and the other mailed me a statement showing that credit. I called the number on each statement and requested a refund check through the automated system. I should receive those checks in 10 working days. Together they equal $2600. Happy camper!! I’m a Synchrony fan!

  34. Andrea Doolittle says

    Eek that makes me nervous. We looked on our statements and they lowered the interest rates but nothing has been applied interest paid wise. 🙁

  35. Doug Nordman says

    Good question, Jennifer!

    Note that USAA offers benefits on credit cards during PCS or deployments, or even for campaigns. Those USAA credit cards could have been opened before the start of active duty, but most USAA members opened their accounts after starting active duty. Give USAA a call, read them the USAA part of this post, and see what they can do for you.

    The same advice applies for Chase. Some servicemembers have received benefits in excess of the SCRA laws, but that decision is up to the card issuer. The policies seem to change every few months, so the best advice is to contact Chase for their SCRA benefits. You can also ask for any additional benefits that they may offer under the Military Lending Act, which was extended in October 2017 to apply to all credit cards.

  36. britt says

    My husband and I each had a Chase card opened after the start of active duty. They did not grant him any SCRA benefits. They did grant me benefits because I opened the card before we got married (even though it was after he enlisted).

  37. Jason Dayne says

    In case my question isn’t clear, the assumption is that the member has no break in service, but rather transitions from active duty status to that of a traditional guardsman.

  38. Doug Nordman says

    You’ve asked a great question, Jason, and I hope that a reader will have a specific answer.

    Until that happens, let me give you a practical approach which doesn’t depend on a specific program.

    Card companies and airline call centers don’t understand (or pretend not to understand) the differences between the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act and the Military Lending Act. Their lawyers make sure they comply with both but the marketers (and the call centers) tend to go above & beyond those requirements without specifically announcing a special deal. These policy changes not only come & go at unpredictable times but might even be interpreted differently by the various call centers.

    Once in a while it’s easier (less expensive) for them to give you what you’re asking for instead of spending their time & resources to argue with you.

    The best approach is to contact your card issuer to see what they can do for you. Search their website for the “military” keyword and read their fine print. Ask the call center. If they want what they call “active duty orders”, then it’s usually orders for a period of at least 30 days (the kind which come with Tricare benefits). You’re interested in their policies for debts and contracts incurred before that active duty (under SCRA) or what they can offer active-duty servicemembers (under the MLA). These benefits might also extend to military spouses. You could even contact USAA about their mortgages or insurance policies.

    If you don’t get what you ask for on the first call, and you have the hardcore patience to pursue your goal, then wait a few days and call again. (Hopefully you’ll speak with a more knowledgeable rep, or they’ll have logged your first request for a higher review.) You could even follow up your calls with a letter asking for a specific policy reference.

    This way you don’t have to depend on someone else’s anecdotal experience, and you don’t have to wonder whether an offer is still effective.

  39. Doug Nordman says

    Christina, that’s completely up to the card companies. When servicemembers are no longer on active duty then the card companies are no longer subject to the SCRA laws.

    It makes a lot of sense to pay off a credit-card balance at its lower interest rate before you retire.

  40. Doug Nordman says

    Matthew, Amex might waive the annual fee on a credit card for an active-duty servicemember or spouse (under the Military Lending Act). You wouldn’t have any SCRA benefits on a new account because you wouldn’t have paid any interest on it.

    Amex’s generous SCRA refunds of interest and fees were paid in the months before the October 2017 implementation of the MLA for credit cards. They might still offer SCRA refunds for active-duty servicemembers who incurred the debt before starting active duty, but they have no motive to offer them for servicemembers paying interest on a new account.

    The consistent advice of this blog post and its comments is: call the card company and ask them the question for your specific situation. The policies are constantly changing, and any offer they make to you is tailored to their estimate of your future customer value.

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