Navy Federal Visa cashRewards Card Review: Cash Back Credit Card

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If you’re in the market for a rewards credit card in 2024 but don’t want to pay an annual fee, you may want to see if you’re eligible for the Navy Federal Visa cashRewards Card.

Navy Federal, which primarily serves military personnel and their families, offers this cash back credit card to members of the credit union.

This card offers up to 1.75% unlimited cash back on everyday purchases for members with direct deposit at Navy Federal. It carries a $300 welcome bonus when you spend $3,000 within 90 days of account opening (From 7/1/2024 through 9/2/2024).

And it has the approval of money expert Clark Howard. Thanks to the card’s low advertised APR interest rate, Clark thinks it could be reasonable to carry a balance on this card if you had to.

In this review, we’ll explore the perks of this card, explain how to apply and compare the card to other popular cash back cards on the market.

Table of Contents

Team Clark has spent time evaluating the credit card market in several categories including the best cash back credit cards. We’ve compared the Navy Federal Credit Union cashRewards card to the best cards in this segment of the market. And we’ve determined that it’s a viable choice — thanks to its steady cash back rewards and customer-friendly approach to fees.

As you’re making your decision about whether this card is a fit for you, please use this review in conjunction with Clark Howard’s 7 Rules for Using Credit Cards.

What Is the Navy Federal Visa cashRewards Card?

The Navy Federal Visa cashRewards Card is a cash back credit card for current and retired United States Armed Forces personnel, their families and other select members.

It features unlimited cash back rewards of up to 1.75% on everyday purchases and a welcome bonus for new cardholders.

To qualify for this card, you must be a member of Navy Federal Credit Union.


Navy Federal Visa cashRewards Card: Specs and Perks

Let’s take a look at the fine print to examine some of the card’s perks and drawbacks:

Cardholder Benefits

  • Up to unlimited 1.75% Cash Back: The backbone perk of this card is a 1.5% cash back bonus on all purchases. You can boost this reward to 1.75% back by enrolling your connected Navy Federal account for direct deposit. And there is no rewards limit on this, which makes this card an attractive everyday spending option.
  • $300 Welcome Bonus: If you spend at least $3,000 within your first 90 days of card membership, you’ll get a $300 cash back bonus reward. From 7/1/2024 through 9/2/2024. That’s a little less generous than some other offers on the market, but it’s also relatively easy to get.
  • Instant Rewards Without Expiration: You can access and redeem your cash back rewards as soon as you earn them, with no minimum spending amount. You can access the rewards and check your balance in real-time through the Navy Federal website or mobile app. And as long as your account is active, your cash back rewards will never expire.
  • Rental Car Protection: If you rent a car with your cashRewards card, you’ll automatically receive Collision Damage Waiver coverage on rentals of 15 days or less. This acts as supplementary insurance to your existing coverage and could help defray costs if your rental is stolen, damaged or needs a tow.
  • Cell Phone Protection: If you pay your cell phone bill with your cashRewards card, you can qualify for cell phone protection. This could save you big money if your phone gets lost, broken or stolen.

How To Become Eligible for the Navy Federal Visa 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

  • Department of Defense (DoD) Officer Candidates and Reservists
  • DoD civilian employees
  • United States Government employees assigned to the 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.

Navy Federal Visa cashRewards Card vs. Citi Double Cash® Card: Which Is Better?

When it comes to cash back credit cards, Team Clark likes to compare them to the Citi Double Cash® Card.

That’s because money expert Clark Howard has deemed the Double Cash to be worthy of his wallet thanks to its straightforward cash back offer on all purchases: as much as 2% (1% when you purchase, 1% when you pay your bill).

Recently, Clark also endorsed Navy Federal’s cashRewards card because of the perks it offers as well as the potential for a low variable APR on purchases. (Note: APR rates fluctuate based on a number of factors including an assessment of personal creditworthiness. Your rate may vary.)

Here’s how the two cards stack up against each other:

Card CharacteristicNavy Federal cashRewardsCiti Double Cash® Card
Annual FeeNoneNone
Cash Back RewardUp to 1.75% on all purchases (Minimum 1.5% back)2% on all purchases (1% when you buy, 1% when you pay)
Welcome BonusYesEarn $200 cash back after spending $1,500 on purchases in the first 6 months of account opening. This offer will be fulfilled as 20,000 ThankYou® Points, which can be redeemed for $200 cash back.
Balance Transfer Fee$0intro balance transfer fee of 3% of each transfer ($5 min) within the first 4 months. After, the fee will be 5% ($5 min)
Foreign Transaction FeeNone3% of purchase

Based on this information, it appears the cashRewards card could serve you well.


Citi does offer an additional 0.5% cash back on everyday purchases compared to the standard 1.5% for the cashRewards, and still beats the boosted 1.75% back.

Clark does not recommend carrying balances on rewards credit cards with lousy standard APRs, so he recommends picking the Citi card only if you plan to pay the bill in full each month.

Final Thoughts: Pros and Cons

Are you considering adding the Navy Federal Credit Union cashRewards Card to your wallet? Let’s review some of the major pros and cons of the card before you make your final decision:

Up to 1.75% unlimited cash backMust be a credit union member to apply for the card
$300 welcome bonusCredit union membership is limited
No annual feeNo rewards program beyond cash back structure

Bottom Line: If you qualify for membership at Navy Federal, this could be a card worth adding to your wallet. Money expert Clark Howard received a 2% cash back bonus offer that has since expired, but he believes the card shows promise as an everyday spender.

Do you have experience with the Navy Federal Visa cashRewards Card? Let us know how you like it in the Community!

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