Navy Federal Ups the Rewards on Its Popular Cash Back Credit Card

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One of Navy Federal Credit Union’s most popular credit cards is getting a new rewards system.

Effective Tuesday, October 5, the Navy Federal cashRewards credit card will offer more everyday cash back rewards.

This card is one of the five in money expert Clark Howard’s wallet, so we wanted to make sure you knew the details.


Navy Federal Ups the Cash Back for cashRewards Card Purchases

Let’s start with the most exciting news: The everyday cash back earning opportunities with this card are going up.

The standard cash back rate on everyday purchases has increased from 1.5% to 1.75%.

You will need an active Navy Federal checking account (with direct deposit) to get this enhanced cash back rate.

According to a Navy Federal representative, this increase will affect both new applicants and select existing cardholders: “Members who already have the card and have direct deposit set up with Navy Federal will be automatically upgraded to the new rate, and new card holders who already have direct deposit will qualify for 1.75% cash back.”

This increase moves the cash back returns from this card ahead of other popular offerings such as the Capital One Quicksilver and the Chase Freedom Unlimited; they both offer 1.5% back on everyday purchases. However, it still falls short of the everyday 2% you can earn with the Citi Double Cash, Fidelity Rewards Visa and several other credit cards.


Navy Federal Also Boosts the Welcome Bonus Offer

As part of this card rewards refresh, the Navy Federal cashRewards card also will see an increase in its welcome bonus offer for new applicants.

New users will be eligible for $250 in bonus cash back if they spend at least $2,500 within 90 days of opening an account.

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That’s a $100 increase for this card’s welcome bonus. The previous welcome bonus offer was for $150 bonus cash back when you spend $2,000 within 90 days of account opening.

You can read more about some of the better welcome bonus credit cards here.


Why Clark Howard Likes This Credit Card

As I mentioned earlier, Clark has this as one of five credit cards in his wallet. And he actually uses it as his default “everyday spender” on purchases that aren’t eligible for enhanced rewards on a different card.

“I use my other credit cards as ‘situational players’ when the rewards dictate it, but otherwise I’m using this Navy Federal card all the time,” Clark says.

Clark, who is a member of the Georgia State Defense Force, applied for this card in 2020 when Navy Federal was running a promotion that netted him a 2% cash back reward for purchases made for the first four years of card membership.

That promotion was great, but unfortunately, it’s no longer available.

That promotion wasn’t the only reason Clark chose the card. The other things that caught his attention include:


How To Become Eligible for the Navy Federal Credit Union cashRewards Card

If you want to enjoy the perks of this credit card, first you have to join the Navy Federal Credit Union. Even if you’re not an active member of the United States military, you may still be eligible.

Here’s a quick look at who qualifies for membership with the credit union:

Military Personnel

  • Active members of the U.S. Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, National Guard and Space Force
  • Veterans, retirees and annuitants of the above services
  • Members of the U.S. Armed Forces’ Delayed Entry Program (DEP)

Military Family Members

Navy Federal extends its membership offer to “direct” family members of military personnel, which it defines as:

  • Parents
  • Grandparents
  • Spouses
  • Siblings
  • Children (adopted and stepchildren included)
  • Grandchildren
  • Household members

Department of Defense Personnel

DoD-related folks can qualify for membership as well:

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  • Department of Defense (DoD) Officer Candidates and Reservists
  • DoD civilian employees
  • United States Government employees assigned to Department of Defense
  • Contractors for the Department of Defense
  • Retirees and annuitants

To apply for membership you’ll need to provide a Social Security number, government-issued ID and current home address. If you qualify, you’ll be required to make an initial deposit from an existing bank account to your credit union account. Note that Navy Federal requires $1,500 funds on deposit to avoid a $10 monthly fee on the checking account.


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