How Active Military Can Utilize Credit Card Benefits

The Servicemember Civil Relief Act (SCRA) mandates that active-duty service members be granted financial relief, but some credit card companies offer more than the required amount. According to the SCRA, lenders must limit pre-service debt to 6%. However, other companies offer lower interest rates, extending them up to a year after their active-duty service period. 

In 2024, a bill was proposed to improve service members’ awareness of their SCRA benefits and streamline its process. 

Best Credit Cards for Active Duty Service Members

Man with credit card

Not all credit card providers are made equal. Some companies offer more attractive benefits. Some of the best options include the following:

  • 0% on APR for accounts opened before entering active duty service from Barclays
  • 4% APR on eligible balances from Capital One, Navy Federal Credit Union, USAA, and Chase
  • Waived credit card fees, including balance transfer, late and annual fees from Chase and Capital One

It should be highlighted that the account must have been opened before that service member enters active duty service.

Here’s a summary of special benefits offered by various companies:

American ExpressMaximum of 6% APR on eligible balancesWaived fees
Bank of AmericaWaived fees6% APR on eligible accounts during active duty and six months after active duty service ends
Barclays0% APR for any loan or credit card debt before active duty serviceAll other fees waived except for annual fees
Capital OneWaived fees, except for insurance during active duty service and a year after4% APR on eligible accounts during active duty and a year after
ChaseWaived fees during active duty and a year after4% APR on eligible accounts during active duty and a year after
CitiWaiver on select servicing feesAnnual percentage rate not to exceed 6%
DiscoverInterest rate not to be more than 6% for debt incurred before active duty, including most fees during active duty service
Navy Federal Credit UnionMaximum of 4% interest rate for eligible accounts
USAAMaximum of 4% interest rate for eligible accounts
US Bank6% rate limit on debt incurred before active duty serviceWaived fees incurred while on active duty service
Wells Fargo6% APR on pre-service balances

Only active duty service members are permitted these benefits, and it is required for service members to provide evidence of their active duty service before these benefits are activated. 

Attorney Roy Kaufmann serves as the Director of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act Centralized Verification Service, located in Washington, D.C. As a recognized authority on the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, Mr. Kaufmann has published hundreds of articles and hosted many webinars. His teachings help law firms and businesses to remain compliant with the SCRA rules and regulations so as to avoid costly fines.