I’m in the U.S. Military. Can I Get a Credit Card?

The first thing any lender wants to know about their new borrower is if he or she has a regular means of income. This ensures that the borrower can pay back any charges they run up on the credit account, preferably within a month. That raises an interesting question: how do you get a credit card if you are currently in the U.S. military?

Discrimination is Not a Factor

People who are in the military are employed and do collect basic pay. However, there are different types of pay. A soldier receives basic pay and incentive pay, the latter of which is based on specific assignments or events. In some cases, dangerous duties may merit more incentive pay. There are also allowances provided to soldiers for specific and recurring needs like food and housing.

So it’s safe to say that people in the military do have a means of income. However, can this income be used to pay for personal credit card purchases? First of all, know that simply being in the military does not disqualify any person from obtaining a credit card. Military personnel are free to spend their income however they see fit, including paying off their credit card charges.

The problem is actually a technical issue. The majority of credit card issuers (banks and financial institutions) do not accept mailbox specific addresses. Unfortunately, the U.S. military base that you are stationed at usually has such an address for written communication. This rule may disqualify some credit card issuers and make online applications impossible. Another problem is that these credit card issuers are aware of this technicality but still refuse to change their policies.

The Problem With Addresses

Therefore, you as a soldier would have no choice except to but filter out these companies that refuse to work with your circumstances and instead apply for a card specially created for members of the military. Bank of America is one of the major banks who issues credit cards to consumers that has a variety of cards created exclusively for military personnel.  These might include supporters and members of the military, supporters of the American Legion Auxiliary and the Ladies Auxiliary as well the marines.

Not only would military members find it easy to be approved for these credit accounts, but they would also qualify for special financial terms that complement their lifestyle and schedule. For example, APR might only apply for balance transfers or may delay payments until a certain date. The average APR rate is usually between 10-20% variable.

Now after realizing just how desirable a demographic you are, you must come to terms with the endless amount of new credit card offers that will pour in. It’s very easy to wind up with an entire wallet-full of new cards. However, will this hurt your credit overall? While it is convenient to have a few backup cards for emergencies, opening and charging several new accounts (and even applying for new accounts) can slowly diminish your credit score. It is commonly suggested, especially to military personnel who must hold onto their flawless reputation that you stick to one card. That way you can minimize the number of bills you pay and maximize your credit score and creditworthiness factor.

Finding the Right Military Credit Card For You

Now you have to consider which military-exclusive credit card is right for you. One of the most popular selections is a no-fee rewards card, a revolving credit account that doesn’t charge any extra fees as long as you pay in full every month. These rewards cars may also provide bonus features or “perks.”

On the other hand, if you do carry over a balance to the next month you may be subject to a heavy interest rate, sometimes soaring to near 20%. Penalty payments can be as high as 30%, so be sure to pay on time and spend credit that is only within your limit. So decide in advance if you are sure you can pay your balances in full or if you are more comfortable paying by the month. Remember you have to pay for other expenses in addition to credit card debt! Knowing this, try and find a military credit card account with an interest rate below the average—about 14%. To find the best low interest credit card look for low interest rates that are guaranteed to last for the entire life of the balance.

You also have to consider the time restraint factor. Military personnel do not have a lot of free time to shop around online for the best offers. What might help is using an online search tool. You can do a credit card comparison tool on the web to compare the offers of several different credit card companies at once and find the ideal contract. Why not start by using our free comparison tool right now so you can get back to work and protect the country you love?

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