Credit union credit cards often carry lower interest rates than their big bank counterparts. They also come with fewer fees, lower or no balance transfer fees and fewer wild, out-of-the-blue charges. One complaint against the cards is that they’re harder to get. Another is that credit union cards can have some pretty terrible rewards programs. The list below of the 15 best credit union cards includes cards with surprisingly good cash back rewards (1% to 1.5%), low interest and other excellent perks. The first four cards shown below are definitely the cream of the crop, but the other offerings have some enticing features of their own.
The Four Best Credit Union Credit Cards
After an exhaustive search of the best credit union credit cards on the market, we can say with confidence that the four offerings below are the cream of the crop. They offer pretty sweet rewards (try 1.5% cash back on that Navy card) plus low interest rates and other fine perks. Don’t let the “Navy” or “Langley” designations scare you away from these great cards. Most people in the U.S. are eligible to sign up for these cards in some way.
1. Navy Federal Credit Union cashRewards Card
The #1 best credit union card we found anywhere is the Navy Federal Credit Union’s cashRewards credit card. This powerhouse offers 1.5% cash back on all purchases regardless of category. The only card that outdoes that is Citi’s non-credit union Double Cash card, and that card carries a much higher interest rate. The Navy FCU’s cashRewards card has no annual fee, interest rates from 9.9% to 18% and a $200 bonus for spending $3,000 during the first 90 days after opening. Customers don’t have to be in the Navy to score this card, but it helps. In truth anyone can sign up for this great card as long as they’re related to someone in some way affiliated with the military. That includes Navy, Army, Air Force, Marines and can be a grandparent, parent, sibling, child or grandson. It even includes Department of Defense civilian employees, contractors and their families.
Also see: Best Student Credit Cards
2. Langley FCU Cash Back Visa Signature
Our second favorite credit union credit card, the Langley FCU Cash Back Visa Signature card, may sound like a CIA card but it’s not. Any consumer can get this card by becoming a member of the Langley Federal Credit Union. The card gives 1% cash back on all purchases and 2% through November 2016. A very low interest range of 9.25% to 15% sweetens the deal, plus there’s no annual fee.
3. Consumers Credit Union Visa Signature Cash Rebate Card
The third on our list of the best Credit Union credit cards is the Consumers Credit Union Visa Signature Cash Rebate card. This card gives a sweet 1% cash back on all purchases. Grocery and convenience store purchases enjoy a fat 3% cash back rate and gas gets 2% cash back. That’s a whole lot of money flowing in the right direction with this card. There’s no annual fee with this card either, and if their lowest interest rate of 12.24% isn’t low enough, there’s a 2.99% APR on balance transfers and cash advances.
4. Redwood Credit Union Visa Platinum Card
The last of our very best credit union credit cards is the Redwood Credit Union Visa Platinum card. This card offers “points” for rewards instead of cash back, but the points can be redeemed for 1% cash back on all purchases. Cardholders get one point for every dollar spent and the points can also be redeemed for travel, merchandise, gift cards, charity donation and more. There’s no annual fee and their lowest available interest rate is 8.99%.
Low Interest Credit Union Credit Cards
The four offerings above are the very top picks for best credit union credit cards, mostly because they’ve got low interest and great cash rewards. Can’t qualify for one of those? Try the three cards below from the Air Force FCU, the State Department and Delta. Customers don’t have to be in the military or state department or work for an airline to get these great low-interest cards.
5. Air Force Federal Credit Union Visa Platinum Card
The Air Force FCU Visa Platinum card may not have a great rewards setup but it has a pretty stellar interest rate range from 8% to 15%. Anyone can get this card even if they’re not in the military. The card doesn’t have an annual fee but there’s a catch. Applicants who don’t qualify to become members of this credit union by military service or other qualifying characteristics will have to pony up a $25 annual donation to the Airman Heritage Foundation. Don’t worry, it’s tax deductible. The card offers points, not a cash back percentage, and points must be redeemed for things like flights, car rentals and hotels. That said, cardholders get one point for each dollar spent and there are year-round opportunities to earn anywhere from 2x to 5x points in multiple spending categories.
6. State Department Federal Credit Union Visa Platinum Card
What could be cooler than whipping out your State Department credit card to pay for a hotel room? Possibly not getting called out that it’s not necessary to be a State Department employee to have the card. The top criteria for becoming a member of the State Department FCU is employment with the department, but thanks to an agreement with the American Consumer Council, anyone can join. The card’s fattest enticement is a rock-bottom 7.24% to 15.24% interest rate range. There’s no annual fee, but the rewards scheme leaves a bit to be desired. The card offers one “flexpoint” For every dollar spent. Flexpoints can be redeemed only for selected goods and services. The takeaway here is: low interest but not great rewards.
7. Delta Community Credit Union Visa Platinum Card
The Delta Community Credit Union Visa Platinum Card is another sweet card with low interest but a so-so rewards setup. 10% to 14% interest makes this one a no-brainer. No annual fee and a 1.5% cash rebate for balances transferred in the first 90 days sweeten the pot. There are also 1,000 rewards points for the first purchase with the card and 2,000 bonus points for automatic enrollment in the Rewards Points Program. Members get one point for each dollar spent and the points can be turned in for cash. That gives this card an effective .08% cash back option, though points can also be turned in for merchandise, gift cards, travel and charity at higher rates. Employment with Delta isn’t a prerequisite for owning this card.
Other Solid Credit Union Credit Cards
The Credit Union credit cards listed above have either low interest or great rewards programs or both. The cards below don’t combine those great features, but many of them are worth looking into for side benefits like 5x points on gas or airfare purchases, 3x points at restaurants or bargain basement introductory interest rates at 1.99% or 4.99%. Honestly the cards above are the best of the best, but the offerings below are worth a look.
8. Lake Michigan Credit Union Prime Platinum Visa
The Lake Michigan Credit Union Prime Platinum Visa doesn’t have a rewards plan or a tempting introductory offer. What it does have in its favor is a shockingly low 6.25% interest rate for qualified applicants. While most consumers won’t qualify for that rate, people with exceptionally good credit scores could wind up paying very little for credit with this card.
9. PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature Card
The Pentagon’s credit union is called PenFed. Non Pentagon employees can sign up for this card by making a $15 one-time donation to the troops. This credit union credit card doesn’t boast the lowest interest rate in all the land, but a range from 10.24% to 17.99% isn’t bad. There’s also a $100 bonus for spending $1,500 on the card in first 90 days. Customers earn 5x points on gas purchases, 3x points on supermarket purchases and 1x points on all other purchases. Points are redeemable for travel, dining, selected merchandise and other goodies like luggage sets and children’s educational toys.
10. PenFed Premium Travel Rewards American Express Card
Another Pentagon card, the PenFed Premium Travel Rewards American Express Card is a credit union card for frequent fliers. The card has no annual fee and a decent interest rate range from 10.24% to 17.99%. It gives 20,000 bonus points for spending $2,500 in the first three months. It also gives 5x points on airfare and 1x on all other purchases. Points can be cashed in for gift cards and selected merchandise. No affiliation with the Pentagon is required.
11. Navy Federal Credit Union Go Rewards Credit Card
Another Navy Federal Credit Union credit card, the Go Rewards card, has no annual fee and earns 3x points at restaurants, 2x points on gas and 1x point on all other purchases. The points can be redeemed for merchandise, services and cash, though there’s a $250 per year limit on the cash reward option. The card has no annual fee and a decent interest rate range of 9.74% to 18.00%. Employment in the Navy isn’t necessary to get this card, but a relative like a sibling, parent, grandparent, child or grandchild must be affiliated with the U.S. military in some way.
12. NASA Federal Credit Union Platinum Advantage Rewards
Here’s a credit union credit card that evokes some pretty staggering out-of-this-world type puns but cardholder’s don’t have to be astronauts to get it. Anyone can join the NASA FCU with a free membership to the National Space Society. The card has no annual fee and a respectable interest range from 10.15% to 17.99%. It also pays a point for every dollar spent, with points redeemable for travel and merchandise. Mars anyone?
13. American Heritage Credit Union Platinum Preferred MasterCard
The American Heritage Credit Union’s Platinum Preferred MasterCard‘s best feature is its 1.99% Annual Percentage Rate for the first 6 months. It also offers relatively low interest from 9.99% and up, plus rewards points redeemable for merchandise and services.
14. GTE Financial Credit Union Visa Platinum with CU Rewards
This credit union credit card from GTE has a $25 annual fee but a solid interest rate range of 8.24% to 17.99%. It carries rewards points, with 1x points on regular purchases and various opportunities to earn 2x and 3x points throughout the year.
15. McGraw-Hill Federal Credit Union Visa Platinum Card
The last credit union credit card on our list comes from McGraw-Hill FCU. It has no annual fee and the low-ish 9.90% – 17.90% APR range we’d expect from a credit union card. It also pays one point for each dollar spent, with points redeemable for goods and services.
Some Great Non Credit Union Credit Cards
So as not to miss the forest for the trees, we’ll offer this reminder that all credit union credit cards are not gold. There are some terrific non-credit union cards out there, most notably the Citi Double Cash card with 1% cash back at the time of purchase and another 1% back when the bill gets paid. Capital One has the Quicksilver card that pays 1.5% back up front on every purchase every day. Rates are a little bit higher at 13.24% to 23.24% but the perks are real. Also don’t miss our rundown of the best balance transfer cards on the market.