One Good Reason Not To Use The Military Star Card

Some people love the Military Star Card, and some people hate it.  I’ve always been in the middle…we use it for gas purchases on base because we save a few cents per gallon, and we use it at the food court because it offers 10% off purchases.  Other than that, I usually use other forms of payment.  Now I remember one of the reasons why the Star card isn’t always your best option.

My family is hard on computers.  Really hard.  As I was getting ready to take one to the repair shop today, my daughter said, “Isn’t it under warranty?”  I thought for a minute, and realized that she might be right.  We purchased it in July 2012, and it came with a one year warranty.  However, my go-to credit card is a Navy Federal Credit Union Visa Signature card.  It comes with automatic extended warranty coverage on your purchases.  Maybe the computer would be covered.

I pulled out my receipt and was quite disappointed to discover that I had paid for the computer with my Star card.  No additional coverage with that form of payment, particularly since they want you to purchase their extended coverage plans.

Even more disappointing is that I purchased a new laptop today, and paid for it with my Star card.  I’m hating it so far, so it might go back.  If it does, you can be assured that its replacement will be paid for with a credit card other than the Star card.


About the Author

Kate Horrell
Kate Horrell is a military financial coach, mom of four teens, and Navy spouse. She has a background in taxes and mortgage banking, and a trove of experience helping other military families with their money. Follow her on twitter @realKateHorrell.
  • Rich

    Understand. You made a bad choice when you purchased the item. How is that the fault of the MILSTAR card? Not every credit or debit card or bank service is equal. Feel your frustration but not the fault of MILSTAR.

    • Kate

      Didn’t say that it was the fault of the Star Card. As I said in the article, I chose to pay with the Star Card. It was a bad choice. Learn from my mistakes.

  • James


  • C Sanders

    Really. Why does the StarCard have to be the bad guy for YOUR choices. Be an educated shopper and not a knee jerk buyer. I personally am fed up with Navy Federal for various reasons. Same with USAA. They all have their ills along with what few good things they offer.

    • Kate

      You just reiterated exactly my point. I’m not blaming the Star Card. I’m stating that as an educated shopper, I should not have chosen to use my Star Card for my computer purchase. It’s nothing against the card. It’s got its good points. Extended warranty protection isn’t one of them. I chose poorly, and I want to make sure that others don’t make the same mistake.

    • Dan

      Iv had nothing but good experiences with navy fed, been a member for over 20 years, i think 23 to be exact, and most impressivly when i was going through a forclosure that resulted in a deed in lieu navy fed was the only bank that would still work with me, and i recieved better rates at that time then most banks offer to people with good credit. I personally hate the MILSTAR because at the time i got it making payments was very difficult, near impossible because it wasnt affiliated with chase at the time

  • LT2

    Look at their extended warranty. It is usually cheaper and better than other retailers off base. For my high end things, IPad, TV’s etc. I by their extended warranty, and have had no hassles.

  • oldpastoroz

    If you have a Costco near you, any computers you purchase from them have a Two Year warranty, including very fast response phone service.

    I use my Costco AmEx Executive card and gain dollars on my purchase, which are sent to me every year and more than cover the cost of the card.

    • Sandra

      My biggest complaint about the Star card is, if your military spouse dies they cancel the card but not tell you. I tried to use my card a few weeks after my husband died at the BX service station and it was denied, how embarrassing!

      • Kate

        My condolences to you, Sandra. I can’t imagine how that felt during such a difficult time. Thank you for sharing your experience so we all can know.

      • oldpastoroz

        Sandra, to hear this happened to you, while in the midst of trying to sort your life out and keep things together after your husbands death, is heart wrenching.

        I will pray for you, and hope that others reading your comments will also pray.

        Institutions have no heart, as money is all they care about.

        The Exchage Credit Card office doesn’t seem to have much of a grasp of reality.

        To cut off a widow, without notice, from using the MilStar Card, was a calous thing to do.

        I don’t recall them saying anything about this in their literature.

        Did you get any kind of explanation from them or just brushed off?

        • MrsAugustine

          I too was embarrassed to find that my card usage was terminated after reporting the sudden death of my husband. To care for four young children without the support of a service that was earned by my husband for us by fighting at different wars just made me rethink the use if the exchange service

      • Dede

        I obtained my Military Star card after my husband’s death with no problem. Maybe you should reapply under your name.

    • Costco may be all you say BUT that $$ goes right into the finance of the China Military finance. Wonderful import company and wow what a great business they do over here. But spend your $ where you like just make an informed decision. Either way you are gonna pay now or you are gonna pay later. Me? I wont send the a dime more than I have to. Mil star is far better about that. Just saying.

      • oldpastoroz

        I agree on your China points.

        I try to buy American made items, if there are any.

        However, have you seen where much of the items in the Exchage are from?


        Communist China.

        So, are we any better off shopping at the Exchange?

  • bulldurham48

    I used the STAR card for a while and found it to be no better or worst than any other credit card. I stopped using it because I got a better card else where and thought it was better for me to travel that way. All credit cards have good and bad points that we all sometimes over look until we need them. As for STAR cutting of a wife when the husband died, well remember it wasn’t the card, but some heartless, no soul , little clerk that probably thought they were doing their job, with out ever considering what they were really doing to someone. At least I hope it was that way. It could have been different, but I hope no person is that common and low. Very sorry for your loss, may God bless you and keep you safe and well and help you through your time of this terrible loss. bulldurham48

  • Could it be possible that had the individual included his wife on the account, thus making it a joint account, the card would not have been cancelled? I believe and have advised my Trustee that all of my cards that are in my name only will be useless the moment I die. I have prepared certain accounts in my trust to provide for my Trustee to conduct business after my death. Please contact the legal office for advice on how to manage your affairs in case of death of the service member or their spouse and children. I do not believe the wife of the deceased service member was mistreated, however the family failed to study the many publications available to them while they were planning their financial affairs.
    Maybe this subject should be brought to the attention of the Base Commanders so it can be included in the Commander Calls. I believe that if an individual uses a card of a deceased person it is considered fraud!
    Good luck to other individuals that might face the same situation! Also I feel truly sorry for the person who received such a shock at such a time of bereavement.

    • NLeighton

      I was just thinking the same thing. It is very distressing time and I am sorry you suffered the loss but if it was not a joint account this has nothing to do with being heartless. You didn’t mention but if your husband was active duty and was killed in combat then MILSTAR forgives all debt so it would only be logical that it would be turned off right away as not to accrue additional debt. I’m sure that this was more of a legal issue than a heartless one.

  • Curt

    Also, besides the gas rewards and food court rewards, there isnt much else. Some cards give you 3% back on groceries, 2% back on other things, and extended warranties as you mentioned. If you pay off your balance in full every month, so that interest is not a factor, then those cards have the clear advantage. MilitaryStar just raised my limit to $7,450 and I have had the card for almost 8 years so it is a GREAT addition to my credit report but other than that, it rarely gets used.

  • Vbmg152

    We’ve had it since it first came out about 20 yrs ago. I love it. When we’ve had financial difficulty, they’ve worked with us! No problems here.

  • robin

    i bought a computer and used the star card it had windows 8 and wasn t canpatiabe with my progams so i took they took it back no problems i love it

  • J.D.

    Beware, if you have both the Military Star and the Military Star Rewards Master Card, do yourself a favor and get rid of the worthless Military Star Card as soon as possible. I didn’t realize, when you make a purchase with your Mastercard, depending on where you shop at both on and off base. The purchase balance will post towards your regular Military Star Card account and not your Master Card account. Yeah real confusing. And even more difficult to keep track of each statement balance, because you don’t know which account it will post to. And to top it off, the regular Military Star Card don’t even give you any reward points. All around worthless.

  • NeverYourFault_IsIt

    The interest rate on the MILSTAR card is usually fantastic, and well below most bank cards. If you make a lot of on-base purchases, I don’t see anything wrong with it. The 0% interest military clothing line of credit comes in handy in a pinch too. To reiterate what many here have said, just because it didn’t have the one feature you needed at the one time you needed it doesn’t in any way lessen the value of the card. Take responsibility for your own bad habits as a consumer in today’s economy.