For military families and veterans, choosing a credit card can be a breeze thanks to the excellent options offered by USAA and Navy Federal Credit Union. Both institutions cater specifically to this community, offering competitive rates, rewards programs, and features tailored to their financial needs. But with some key differences, which one is right for you?

Basic Feature Comparison

FeatureNavy FederalUSAA
Credit card typesRewards cards, cashback cards, balance transfer cards, secured cardsRewards cards, travel cards, cashback cards, balance transfer cards
Annual feesYes (on some cards)Yes (on some cards)
Foreign transaction feesNoNo
PerksExtended warranty, purchase security, travel insurance (on some cards)Auto rental insurance, purchase security, travel and identity theft protection (on some cards)

Eligibility, ARR and Other Features Side by Side Comparison

FeatureNavy FederalUSAA
Membership EligibilityMilitary-affiliatedMilitary-affiliated (more restrictive)
Credit Card TypesVariedVaried
Annual FeesYes (on some)Yes (on some)
Foreign Transaction FeesNoNo
Rewards ProgramsCashback, pointsCashback, points, travel miles
Secured CardsYesNo
Branch NetworkWiderLimited
ATM NetworkSmallerLarger (with reimbursements)
Typical APR Range6% – 26%10% – 25%
Credit Score Required (Estimated)670+700+

Also See: Wells Fargo Autograph Vs Wells Fargo Propel: Unveiling the (Nearly) Identical Twins

Who Should Choose Which Card:

  • Navy Federal: A good choice for those building credit (secured cards available), seeking lower introductory APRs on purchases and balance transfers, and preferring a wider branch network for in-person service.
  • USAA: Ideal for frequent travelers seeking travel rewards or auto rental insurance, those with excellent credit interested in premium rewards cards, and those who value a larger network of fee-free ATMs.

Pros and Cons: Navy Federal


  • Lower introductory APRs (often around 0% for the first year)
  • Secured cards available for building credit
  • Wider branch network


  • Fewer rewards programs compared to USAA
  • Lower credit limits for some cards

Pros and Cons: USAA


  • Diverse rewards programs with travel focus
  • Larger ATM network (with reimbursements)
  • Premium card options


  • No secured cards
  • Higher introductory APRs on some cards (often around 10% or more)
  • Limited branch network


Both Navy Federal and USAA require membership eligibility. Here’s a breakdown:

  • Navy Federal: Open to active duty military, veterans, Department of Defense civilians, and family members of all of the above.
  • USAA: Limited to active duty, retired, and honorably discharged commissioned and warrant officers, and enlisted personnel. Additionally, adult enlisted children of USAA members may also qualify.


The best credit card for you depends on your individual needs and financial goals. Navy Federal shines for those building credit or seeking lower introductory rates. USAA stands out for its travel rewards programs and perks for frequent travelers. Consider the factors above and explore each institution’s offerings to make the most informed decision for your financial well-being.

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