By using the official MLA website, we can ensure that our annual fees will be covered BEFORE getting credit cards. This is a surefire way to avoid getting trapped in paying large annual fees.
How to Know if Your Credit Card Annual Fees Are Covered
What Is the Military Lending Act (MLA)?
The MLA was implemented by the Department of Defense (DoD) in order to protect active-duty members of the military, their spouses, and dependents from shady lending practices. The act contains limitations for the types of consumer credit extended to active duty service members, for instance, capping the maximum APR on loans to 36% or lower.
While the main goal of this act was to help prevent service members from falling into serious debt from things like credit cards, payday loans, overdraft fees, and more, certain banks offer a very generous interpretation of these rules.
Especially Chase and American Express.
Both Chase Bank and American Express choose to waive all annual fees on credit cards, INCLUDING their highest luxury credit cards.
This is by no means an obligation set upon them by the DOD, but rather a huge benefit they choose to bestow upon service members.
How to Check if You Are a Covered Borrower
The term ‘Covered Borrower’ means that at the time of being obligated to a consumer credit transaction, (such as opening a credit card), you have been identified as a covered member of the armed forces or a dependent of a covered member.
When you apply for a Chase or American Express Credit Card, you will automatically be run through the MLA database to determine you’re covered borrower status. If identified, you will have all annual fees waived on your Credit Cards. It is this interpretation of the law that allows us to obtain cards like the American Express Platinum ($695 annually) for free as service members.
Here’s how you can check before applying for luxury credit cards, to rest assured you won’t need to pay large annual fees. Best part? It only takes 3-5 minutes.
Step 1: Navigate to the MLA Official Website
First, you will navigate to the MLA official website https://mla.dmdc.osd.mil/mla/#/home
Once there you should see a webpage similar to the following:
Step 2: Begin Single Record Request
Since you won’t already have an account with the Military Lending Act website, the next thing you will need to do is create an account. The link will be found under the ‘Single Record Request’ button that is located as the second option on the navigation bar. The picture above has it highlighted.
Once there, you should see a picture as shown below. Simply click on the ‘create an account option to begin.
Step 3: Create An MLA Account
Once clicking on the ‘Create an Account now.’ button shown above, you will be presented with 4 short steps in order to create an account:
- Create a Username and Password
- Set Security Questions
- Add additional identifying information (Name, Email, Phone, and address)
These steps should be easy to accomplish and should take no more than a few minutes.
Step 4: Logging in & Retrieving Information
After you successfully complete these steps, you will be brought back to the login page from step 2, but this time you will have the information needed to log in. After logging in, you will be asked to confirm an email code sent to your mailbox, and enter it into the corresponding box.
Click once more on the ‘Single Record Request’ button, and continue to fill out your:
- Social Security #
- Birth Day
- Last, First, and Middle name
Upon submitting this info, a download will start immediately for a PDF file. Once the download is complete, you will want to look at the following section of the document to determine MLA eligibility:
In order to know if you are currently being covered by MLA status, you must read the language presented in document that is downloaded.
“DMC does provide information indicating…” means that you are currently of MLA status.
“DMC does not provide information indicating…” means that you are not currently of MLA status.
You should bear in mind that after going onto active duty status, it may take 30+ days for that information to reflect in the MLA database. So if you are currently serving, or married to someone currently serving, but get the message indicating that you are not of MLA status, it may simply mean more time must pass before the change is reflected.
It Shows I Am Currently of MLA Status, Now What?
If you received information in your PDF that reflects you are of MLA status, what does that mean for you?
That means should you apply for any Chase or American Express credit card, ALL annual fees will be automatically waived with no extra effort on your part. You can now move forward with plans to acquire luxury credit cards like the American Express Platinum, or the American Express Hilton Aspire, with confidence you will get all the rewards with none of the costs!