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Navy Federal cashRewards Credit Card Review: Simple Cash Back

Our review of the Navy Federal cashRewards Credit Card looks at the cash back program, card fees, and benefits for the general spender.
(4 out of 5) MyBankTracker Editor's Rating

A cash rewards credit card can be handy for earning back some of what you spend. And if you don't have any travel plans on the horizon, you may learn toward earning cash back versus miles or points. 

The Navy Federal cashRewards Credit Card simplifies cash rewards by letting you earn a flat percentage back on every purchase. There are no rotating bonus categories or rewards tiers to manage, making it easy to earn cash back everywhere you go. 

This card is also unique when it comes to fees. There's no annual fee, no foreign transaction fee and no fee for balance transfers or cash advances. 

You do, however, have to be a Navy Federal Credit Union member to apply.

Our detailed review of the Navy Federal cashRewards Credit Card aims to help you decide if it's the right choice for you.

Navy Federal cashRewards Credit Card Pros & Cons

Pros Cons
  • Simplified rewards structure allows you to earn cash back on every purchase, with no tiers or limits
  • No annual fee
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Only available to Navy Federal Credit Union members

Earn 1.5% Cash Back on Purchases

The Navy Federal cashRewards Credit Card takes a straightforward approach to rewards. 

With this card, eligible purchases earn unlimited 1.5% cash back. You can start earning rewards right away. 

That might appeal to you if you'd rather not have to deal with rotating quarterly bonus categories or different rewards tiers. 

Quarterly bonuses can boost your cash back earnings but only if you remember to activate them. And some cards that tier cash rewards may cap the amount of cash back you can earn.

This card is designed for everyday spending but you could also use it to earn cash back on travel purchases. That may be something you're interested in if you already have a travel rewards card that earns miles or points on purchases. 

Redemption

Once you're ready to redeem rewards earned with this card, you have several options.

For example, you can redeem for:

  • Cash
  • Merchandise
  • Gift cards
  • Direct bookings for flights, hotels and car rentals

You can start redeeming cash rewards as soon as you earn them.

There's no waiting period or minimum rewards threshold you need to redeem.

And Navy Federal makes it easy to redeem rewards through online or mobile banking.

Other Card Features and Benefits

The Navy Federal cashRewards Credit Card could be a good fit if you want a basic cash rewards credit card. 

But aside from earning cash back, there are a few other benefits to know about:

  • Low introductory APR on purchases
  • Cell phone protection plan
  • Rental car collision damage waiver
  • FICO credit score access

You also have an opportunity to increase cash back earnings by shopping Member Deals. 

Member Deals is an online marketplace featuring promotions from Navy Federal partner merchants. When you shop the portal, you can earn up to 15% cash back on purchases plus you get access to exclusive discounts and promotions. 

This card can be issued as a Visa Signature Card or a World Mastercard. Terms and conditions apply. 

Card Fees

The Navy Federal cashRewards Credit Card takes it easy when it comes to fees. 

There's no annual fee or foreign transaction fee to worry about. You also pay no fees for balance transfers or cash advances.

Even the fees for late or returned payments are roughly half what many other credit cards charge.

Fewer fees are a good thing because that less of your cash rewards you have to pay back each year. 

This card also features an introductory APR on purchases.

That's helpful to know if you have a large purchase planned that you'll need time to pay off.

Compared to Other Cash Rewards Cards

The Navy Federal cashRewards Credit Card is just one cash back card to consider.

also important to look at other options to find the best card for your needs and spending habits. 

Here are three other cash rewards cards to weigh in the balance. 

Citi Double Cash Card

The has a unique cash rewards program structure. This card allows you to earn 2% cash back on every purchase — 1% cash back when you buy plus 1% as you pay.

To earn cash back with this card, you have to at least pay the minimum due on time each month. But there are no limits on how much cash back you can earn and no bonus categories or tiers to worry about. 

Unlike the Navy Federal cashRewards Credit Card, this card doesn't offer an introductory welcome bonus or a low introductory APR on purchases. But you do get a lengthy balance transfer promotional offer. 

This card has no annual fee but there is a 3% foreign transaction fee. Balance transfer and cash advance fees also apply. 

Read the Citi Double Cash Card editor's review.

Chase Freedom Unlimited Card

The features a rewards structure that's similar to the Navy Federal cashRewards Card. 

With this card, you can earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on purchases. Cash back rewards don't expire as long as your account remains open and active and there's no minimum to redeem. 

This card offers an introductory welcome bonus for eligible new cardmembers that's slightly higher compared to what Navy Federal offers. And you also get a longer introductory APR period for purchases. 

Both make this card more attractive, especially if you have a large purchase planned. 

Read the Chase Freedom Unlimited Card editor's review.

Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Card

The also offers unlimited 1.5% cash back on purchases. There's no annual fee and the introductory welcome bonus terms are similar to what's offered with the Navy Federal cashRewards Credit Card. 

You can redeem cash rewards at any time, in any amount, including using them to shop at Amazon.com. You can easily redeem cash back for cash, statement credit or gift cards. 

This card has no foreign transaction fee. 

Like the Navy Federal cashRewards Credit Card, it's a very basic cash rewards option. But you might appreciate being able to use your rewards to shop Amazon if you routinely buy things online. 

Read the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Card editor's review.

Navy Federal Credit Union Membership

As mentioned, you do have to be a Navy Federal Credit Union member to be able to apply for this card. 

In order to join, you or a family member has to have a tie to the military.

For example, membership is extended to:

  • Active Duty members of the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, National Guard and Space Force
  • Delayed Entry Program (DEP) members
  • Department of Defense Officer Candidate/ROTC members
  • DoD Reservists
  • DoD civilian employees
  • U.S. Government employees assigned to DoD installations
  • DoD contractors assigned to U.S. Government installations
  • DoD civilian retirees and annuitants
  • Military veterans, retirees and annuitants

You can also join if you're a family member of any of the above. That includes being a spouse, parent, grandparent, sibling, child, grandchild or other household member.

If you meet the criteria for membership, you can apply to join online through the Navy Federal Credit Union website. Or you can call or visit a branch to apply and open an account. 

You'll need to provide your Social Security number, home address, driver's license or government ID number and bank account information to fund your new account.

If you're opening a joint account, you'll also need ID, address and Social Security information for your co-applicant.

What’s the Verdict? 

The Navy Federal cashRewards Credit Card could be a good option if you're eligible for Navy Federal Credit Union membership and you want a simple way to earn cash rewards.

This card doesn't over-complicate things when it comes to earning or redeeming rewards. 

On the other hand:

There are other cards that can offer the same cash back rewards rate without requiring you to join a credit union. Those may be worth looking into if you don't qualify to become a Navy Federal member. 

Overall, this card is worth a look if you want to earn unlimited cash back while paying minimal fees.