Navy Federal nRewards Secured Card Review

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The nRewards is issued by Navy Federal Credit Union. We’ll be looking at the upsides & downsides to this card, including whether it graduates to an unsecured card and how it reports to the credit bureaus.

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Interest Rates

Fees

Card Pros

  • Card graduates to unsecured card
  • No annual fee or sign up fees
  • Rewards program that earns 1 point per $1 spent

Card Cons

  • Must be a Navy Federal member
APR: As low as 8.99% Annual Fee: None
Introductory APR: None Balance Transfer Fee:1
Introductory APR Length: None Cash Advance Fee: $0.5 per domestic & $1 per overseas. $0 at Navy Federal ATMs or branches
Cash Advance APR: Not Listed Foreign Transaction Fee: 0.8%, 1% if must be converted to US dollars
Penalty APR: Not Listed Late Payment Fee: Not Listed
Grace Period: Not Listed Over The Credit Line: Not Listed
Minimum Interest Charge: Not Listed Returned Payment: Not Listed

This has to be the best secured credit card on the market, no annual fee, automatically graduates, no hard pull to add funds AND it has the second best rewards program for secured cards on the market. It also has the best APR assuming the applicants credit history isn’t completely ruined.

The only downside is that this card isn’t available to everybody. If you’re eligible to apply for this card and you’re in the market for a secured card, we can’t recommend this one highly enough.

  • Earns interest on the security deposit
  • Funds can be added to the credit limit without a hard pull
  • Card reports to all three credit bureaus
  • Card doesn’t report as a secured card
  • Security deposit earns interest
  • Rewards program that earns at 1 point per $1 spent
  • No annual or sign up fees

Card Graduation

This card unsecures automatically (there is no need to call up and request for it to be unsecured) after the 12th account statement cycle (13 months after the card is received). It graduates to the cashRewards Credit Card which also has no annual fee and cash back of up to 1.5%. The new card will have the credit limit of the old secured card, so if you want a card with a high limit we suggest adding funds before it graduates.

Navy Federal will update cardholders credit report with the new name of the credit card, but it will keep it’s original account age. This upgrade is done automatically and no hard pull is required.

Not everybody is automatically upgraded, cardholders will need a history of paying their secured card on time to be eligible.

Application Information

This card is extremely easy to get approved for.  As long as you’re a member of Navy Federal and have sufficient funds in your savings account, you’ll be approved for this card. Even those with bankruptcies have reported being approved for this card.

The only hard thing about approval for this card is the fact that you must be a NFCU member to join. You can view the requirements here. The basic jist is that you must be a DoD employee or have a direct family member that is.

 

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What Credit Bureau Does Navy Federal Pull For The nRewards card?

Navy Federal will generally only pull your Equifax credit report, but check the creditboards pull application to see other data points.

What Credit Limit Will I Receive?

The credit limit you receive is dependent on the security deposit you leave. This security deposit does earn interest, the rate varies and can be found here. It’s usually much higher than other secured cards offer. Funds can also be added to increase the credit limit.

Adding funds to increase your credit limit is a very simple process, card holders need to add the funds to their Navy Federal savings account and then call and ask for a credit limit increase (or send a secure message). Navy Federal will usually do this within 24 hours, funds will then be marked as “held”.

Navy Federal does not do a hard pull to add funds. Another nice feature is that cardholders are able to unsecure funds (assuming the credit card has that amount in available balance). E.g, the card has a credit limit of $1,000, there is no money owing on the card. The card holder can opt to unsecure $500, this will amount will then be released to their savings account and then the create limit will be decreased by $500. This is the only secured card we know of with this feature.

Minimum Credit Limit Highest Reported Credit Limit
$500 Unknown

More information from a reader:

when u apply for the card, you are allow to apply up to 50k of limit, as long as you have the money in the account and deposit amount must be in the account more than 30 days (does not apply to smaller credit amount) if approve, you are allow to add more fund to increase your limit, corresponding security deposit rule apply. after 1 year time frame, they will review your account. and refund the deposit up to first 15k or your approve unsecured credit limit, which ever is greater. so if you fund your account for $50k, after 1 year your are approve for $17k unsecured limit, you will refund $17k and give a option to refund the remain $32k and have credit limit decrease to $17k, or use it as secured to keep the full $50k credit limit (personal experience)

Rewards Program

This is one of the few rewards cards with a rewards program, it’s also extremely flexible unlike the secured cards offered by U.S bank. Card holders earn 1 point for every 1 dollar they spend. These points don’t expire for four years. Points are worth 0.5¢ to 1¢ depending on the amount of points redeemed.

2,000 points = $10 gift card (0.5¢ per point)
3,500 points = $25 gift card (0.71¢ per point)
5,000 points = $50 gift card (1¢ per point)

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Card Alternatives

There are a couple of reasons as to why you wouldn’t want this card, so we’ve provided a few alternatives below.

  • Discover it secured. Has a better rewards program than the one offered by NFCU, earning 1-5% cash back. Possibly doesn’t graduate to unsecured.
  • BankAmericard: Earns 1-3% cash back on purchases, has an annual fee of $39.
  • SDFCU secured. Has an EMV chip and no foreign transaction fees.