Navy Federal Credit Union Visa Signature cashRewards Card
vs. USAA® Cashback Rewards Plus American Express® Card

Updated: June 7, 2024

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Both the Navy Federal Credit Union Visa Signature cashRewards Card and the USAA® Cashback Rewards Plus American Express® Card offer enticing cash back rewards without the burden of annual fees or foreign transaction costs.

The Navy Federal cashRewards edges out due to its no-fee policy and lower APR. However, the USAA Cashback Rewards Plus card's high cash back rate, especially on gas and military base purchases, makes it a strong contender, particularly for those who frequent these categories. Both cards are tailored to benefit the military community.

Credit Card logo for Navy Federal Credit Union Visa Signature cashRewards Card
Navy Federal Credit Union Visa Signature cashRewards Card
Credit Card logo for USAA® Cashback Rewards Plus American Express® Card
USAA® Cashback Rewards Plus American Express® Card
MoneyGeek Rating
4.1/ of 5
MoneyGeek Rating
4.1/ of 5

  • Regular APR
    14.90% - 18.00% variable
    17.15% – 29.15% variable
    0% APR Offer
    -
    -
    Intro Offer
    Earn $300 Cash Back
    -
    Rewards Summary
    Earn 1.5% cash back
    Earn 1% – 5% cash back
    Balance Transfer Offer
    -
    0% Intro APR for 15 months
    Balance Transfer Fee
    None
    5% of the amount of each Balance Transfer
    Annual Fee
    $0
    $0
    Recommended Credit
    (580 – 740) Fair to Good
    670-850 (Good to Excellent)
    Penalty APR
    18.00%
    None
    Not sure?

Which Card Is Better for You?

You might prefer the Navy Federal cashRewards if you value a higher cash back rate on all purchases and want to avoid annual and foreign transaction fees. With a relatively low standard APR and no rewards cap, this card is suitable for those who want simple and consistent rewards. The $100 bonus offer is an added perk for new cardholders who meet the spending requirement.

You might prefer the USAA Cashback Rewards Plus if you frequently spend at gas stations, grocery stores and military bases and want to earn up to 5% cash back. If you plan to transfer a balance, the 0% introductory APR for 15 months could provide significant savings. However, you should consider the balance transfer fee and the variable APR after the introductory period.

Head-to-Head Comparison: Card Details and Features

Evaluating APRs, fees, credit requirements, rewards and other features will clarify the distinctions between the Navy Federal cashRewards and USAA Cashback Rewards Plus cards. Whether you prioritize lower fees or higher rewards, review the information below to find which card fits your spending habits and financial needs.

    discount icon

    Regular APR: Navy Federal cashRewards

    Navy Federal cashRewards has a lower starting APR of 14.90% (variable) compared to the USAA Cashback Rewards Plus card's 17.15% (variable).

    annualFee icon

    Annual Fee: Tie

    Both the Navy Federal cashRewards and the USAA Cashback Rewards Plus cards have no annual fee, making them equally appealing for those looking to avoid extra costs.

    lowInterestAPR icon

    Introductory 0% APRs: USAA Cashback Rewards Plus

    The USAA Cashback Rewards Plus card offers a 0% introductory APR on balance transfers for 15 months, with a 5% transfer fee. It is the better choice for those seeking an introductory APR offer, as Navy Federal cashRewards doesn't offer an introductory APR.

    coins icon

    Rewards: USAA Cashback Rewards Plus

    The USAA Cashback Rewards Plus is better for rewards, offering 5% cash back on gas and military base purchases (up to $3,000 annually) and 2% on groceries (up to $3,000 annually). In contrast, the Navy Federal cashRewards card provides a simpler structure with 1.75% cash back with direct deposit and 1.5% without. However, it lacks the higher category bonuses.

    rewards icon

    Welcome Offers: Navy Federal cashRewards

    The Navy Federal cashRewards card is better for welcome offers, offering $300 cash back when you spend $3,000 within the first 90 days of account opening, compared to the USAA Cashback Rewards Plus card, which has no welcome offer.

    creditApproved icon

    Recommended Credit Score: Navy Federal cashRewards

    The Navy Federal cashRewards is recommended for consumers with fair to excellent credit. The USAA Cashback Rewards Plus does not specify its credit score requirement.

    autopay icon

    Penalties and Fees: Navy Federal cashRewards

    The Navy Federal cashRewards card is better for penalties and fees, imposing no late fees, APR penalties, cash advance fees or foreign transaction fees. In contrast, the USAA Cashback Rewards Plus charges a 5% fee on cash advances.

    points icon

    Issuer Satisfaction: USAA Cashback Rewards Plus

    When it comes to issuer satisfaction, the USAA edges out with a rating of 4.8 compared to the Navy Federal's 4.7.

    airplane icon

    Other Features & Perks: Tie

    Navy Federal cashRewards provides an auto rental collision damage waiver. USAA Cashback Rewards Plus offers a suite of benefits, including auto rental coverage, travel accident insurance and more.

Rewards Comparison

The Navy Federal cashRewards card edges ahead with a flat rewards rate of 1.75% cash back on all purchases for those enrolled in direct deposit and 1.5% for non-enrollees. This straightforward approach to earning rewards makes it a strong contender for those who value simplicity and consistent cash back on every purchase.

On the other hand, the USAA Cashback Rewards Plus card stands out for its 5% cash back on gas and military base purchases, a rate hard to beat for eligible spenders. It also offers 2% cash back on groceries, though it's capped at $3,000 per year. If you frequently spend at gas stations or shop on base, the USAA card could be the more lucrative option.

The table below compares the bonus categories of both cards, helping you to discern which card best suits your spending patterns.

Category
Navy Federal cashRewards
USAA Cashback Rewards Plus

Gas Stations

1.75%/1.5%

5% for the first $3,000 annually/1% thereafter

Military Bases

1.75%/1.5%

5% for the first $3,000 annually/1% thereafter

Grocery Stores

1.75%/1.5%

2% for the first $3,000 annually/1% thereafter

All Other Purchases

1.75%/1.5%

1%

Redeeming Rewards

The Navy Federal cashRewards allows you to redeem cash back at any time, with no minimum threshold, ensuring immediate access to your earned rewards. Additionally, these rewards do not expire as long as your account is active.

The USAA Cashback Rewards Plus also provides flexibility, permitting redemptions in increments of just $1. Your cash back doesn't expire while your account is open.

Methodology

MoneyGeek evaluates credit cards like the Navy Federal cashRewards and the USAA Cashback Rewards Plus using a comprehensive scoring system.

For cash back cards, the most significant factors include the effective reward rate and the return on investment for offers. These elements, along with annual fees and issuer satisfaction, contribute to a card's overall score. For a detailed understanding of our ranking process, you can review our ranking methodology.

FAQ: Navy Federal cashRewards vs. USAA Cashback Rewards Plus

What are the cash back rates for each card?
Do either of the cards charge an annual fee?
Are there foreign transaction fees associated with these cards?
What is the balance transfer fee for the USAA Cashback Rewards Plus Card?
Can I earn a welcome bonus with either card?

About Doug Milnes, CFA


Doug Milnes, CFA headshot

Doug Milnes is a CFA charter holder with over 10 years of experience in corporate finance and the Head of Credit Cards at MoneyGeek. Formerly, he performed valuations for Duff and Phelps and financial planning and analysis for various companies. His analysis has been cited by U.S. News and World Report, The Hill, the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times and many other outlets.

Milnes holds a master’s degree in data science from Northwestern University. He geeks out on helping people feel on top of their credit card use, from managing debt to optimizing rewards.


*Rates, fees or bonuses may vary or include specific stipulations. The content on this page is accurate as of the posting/last updated date; however, some of the offers mentioned may have expired. We recommend visiting the card issuer’s website for the most up-to-date information available.
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