The MILITARY STAR Card is available exclusively for military personnel and their families.
This card comes with a line of credit to help you with your financial needs, including routine day-to-day purchases, or those particular to the military lifestyle.
It offers plenty of benefits, which is why it has made our list of Featured Credit Cards for Military Members.
How The MILITARY STAR Card Works
The MILITARY STAR Card is offered and administered by the Army and Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES).
If you’re an eligible member of the military, The MILITARY STAR Card is one option you need to check out closely.
The card comes with generous rewards and discounts, as well as a low-interest rate on your approved line of credit.
The card is available for eligible active military service members and their families.
Also, note that you will be responsible for payment of any outstanding balance on your account after separation from service.
The MILITARY STAR Rewards Program and Discounts
You can gain two points for every dollar you spend when you shop with exchange facilities and armed forces Recreation Center resort hotels.
You can also earn points at Army and Air Force Exchange Service food courts, Express locations, mall vendors, and other outlets.
To be eligible to participate in the Rewards Program, your account must be in good standing. Rewards points will begin accumulating on the day your account is approved.
Once you earn 2,000 points, you automatically earn a $20 MILITARY STAR Rewards Card.
That means the card has a conversion rate of $1 in rewards for every $50 spent, which is the equivalent of a 2% purchase reward.
Rewards Cards Redemptions w/ the Military Star Card
Cards can be redeemed for merchandise or services anywhere an exchange gift card is accepted. There is no limit to how many cards you can earn each year. Points cannot be credited to your account, redeemed for cash, applied to a previous purchase, or used to purchase gift cards or e-gift cards.
Rewards points will not expire as long as you have purchase activity at least once every 12 months. Selling rewards cards is strictly prohibited, and can result in termination of your card agreement, and loss of all unused and unexpired points.
In addition to the Rewards Program, you’ll also have the benefit of ongoing military discounts as follows:
- 0% promotional interest
- Exclusive savings just for cardholders
- Shipping: Free standard shipping on shopmyexchange.com and my NavyExchange.com
- Gas discount: 5 cents per gallon every day
- Food court discount: 10% daily
MILITARY STAR Card Features and Benefits
Other significant features and benefits of the MILITARY STAR Card include:
The interest rate isn’t affected by your credit score. While your credit score will influence whether or not you are approved for the card, it will not have an effect on your interest rate. The MILITARY STAR Card has a single rate for all borrowers, regardless of your credit.
First Day Discount. Upon approval of your account, you will get a 10% discount for purchases on the first day. It will appear as a credit on your first monthly billing statement.
Military Clothing Plan purchases. These purchases can be made with a 0% APR. This is a special interest rate waiver, specifically for this plan. The 0% APR applies to eligible purchases up to $500 at your base Military Clothing Sales store. However, military clothing and equipment offered by other vendors are not eligible for this plan.
Authorized users. You can add authorized users to your card. They must be eligible dependents, as defined by the Department of Defense, at least 18 years of age, and with current Exchange privileges. Authorized users will have full use of the card, and can even make payments on your behalf.
Credit reporting. Your MILITARY STAR Card payment history will be reported to the major credit bureaus. This will give you an opportunity to build your credit while you’re an active member of the military.
The MILITARY STAR Card can be used at Commissaries. Base commissaries offer wonderful benefits, and you can use your MILITARY STAR Card for grocery shopping. While this isn’t a big deal for many folks, it’s a great deal for disabled veterans and caregivers who recently gained access to exchange, commissary, and MWR facilities. The new law requires disabled veterans to pay an additional 1.9% fee for commissary purchases made on a credit card (this is required by law to help cover the fees the commissary pays to banks for these transactions). This fee is waived for purchases using the MILITARY STAR Card.
MILITARY STAR Card Pricing
The card comes with a low interest for Retail Plan purchases, and 0% for Military Clothing Plan purchases. The interest rate is variable and will adjust based on changes in the Prime Rate.
Your interest charges may also be temporarily reduced based on military activation or deployment. At the end of your activation or deployment, the interest charges or return to the rates in effect at the time of your return.
To be eligible for the interest rate reduction, either you or your representative must provide a copy of your activation or deployment orders, either by email, fax, or physical mail.
Your monthly payment will be the greater of 2.777% of the unpaid balance, or $10. For purchases under the Military Clothing Plan, the minimum payment will be 12.5% of the unpaid balance.
For example, if your card has a balance of $1,000, comprised entirely of regular purchases, the minimum monthly payment will be $27.77 (or $28 rounded up to the nearest whole dollar).
If you’re charged interest, the charge will be nothing less than $0.50. However, if you pay your balance in full by the due date each month, there will be no interest charged on your purchases during that billing period.
The due date is at least 25 days after the close of each billing cycle. Other fees to be aware of include:
- Annual fee: None
- Late fee: None
- Over-limit fee: None
- Returned payment fee: $25
- Penalty rate: 20.24%
The penalty rate applies if you do not pay the full amount of any total minimum payment due within 60 days of the due date, and will apply until you make six consecutive on-time payments thereafter.
How to Sign Up for the MILITARY STAR Card
You can apply for the card on the ECP website or in-store at a local base exchange. If you apply online, you click the “Apply Now” button on the website, and you’ll be brought to a login page where you can register.
You’ll then be taken to a disclosure page which will include several required notices you need to read.
From there you can continue on to the application. You’ll be asked to provide general information, including your Social Security number and your employment and income information.
Your qualification for the card will be subject to credit investigation and credit reports. Your income, employment, and other related information will be verified with third parties.
MILITARY STAR Card Pros and Cons
Like any product, the MILITARY STAR Card comes with both advantages and disadvantages.
- The interest rate on the MILITARY STAR Card is lower than the rate on most popular credit cards.
- The Rewards Program is the equivalent to 2% cash back on your purchases, which is very generous as an ongoing rewards program, even compared to major bank credit cards.
- There’s a first day 10% discount for purchases.
- No annual fee.
- No late fees or over-limit fees.
- The interest rate you’ll pay will not be affected by your credit score.
- Interest rate reduction during deployment.
- Ongoing discounts on purchases, gasoline, and at the food court, as well as promotional 0% interest offers.
- The card can be used to help you build a good credit rating while you’re in the military, through regular, on-time payments.
- The card will be terminated once you leave active duty military service.
- Rewards points are accumulated at select locations and may not be earned on all purchases made.
- As is the case with all credit cards, loans, and credit lines, late payments made on the MILITARY STAR Card will have a negative impact on your credit and credit score.
- Approval isn’t automatic. Bad credit could result in your application being denied.
Other Great Credit Cards for Military Members
The following table shows other great credit card options for military members and retirees. Some of these may better align with your spending patterns and may offer additional benefits or rewards not offered by the Military Star Card:
Should You Sign Up for the MILITARY STAR Card?
Though the MILITARY STAR Card is available only to members of the military, it offers one of the best overall credit card packages available, even when compared with credit card offers by major banks.
The low-interest rate, plus the generous rewards and discount programs make the card too good to pass up.
If you’d like more information, or if you’d like to sign up for the card, visit the MILITARY STAR Card website.