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Northwest Federal Credit Union

Northwest Federal Credit Union is a Virginia-based credit union that was founded in 1947. Northwest offers three cards: the Member Rewards MasterCard, the First Card Visa Platinum, and the Visa Platinum. APRs range from 7.49 to 18 percent.

The Good

  • Rewards
  • No annual fees
  • No balance transfer fees
  • No cash advance fees
  • Transaction alerts

Rewards

Northwest Federal Credit Union's Member Rewards card comes with a rewards program that provides customers with one point for every dollar spent. For the first purchase made with the card, 5,000 bonus points are given. Points can be tracked and redeemed online for free airfare, cash back, or merchandise. Airfare rewards come with no booking fees and flexible options.

No Annual Fees

Some credit card providers charge annual or startup fees that can cost cardholders hundreds of dollars. Fortunately, Northwest's credit cards do not do not have any annual or startup fees attached.

No Balance Transfer Fees

Credit card companies, banks, and credit unions often allow card balance transfers from other accounts. This can be beneficial for consumers who want to save money on interest or get out of debt faster, but some companies charge a fee for balance transfers. However, Northwest Federal Credit Union does not charge any fees for this service.

No Cash Advance Fees

When a credit card customer needs cash from a credit card account, this is called a cash advance. Credit card providers sometimes charge a fee for cash advances in the form of a percentage of the amount or a fixed rate, but Northwest Federal does not charge a fee for cash advances.

Transaction Alerts

One way that Northwest Federal Credit Union works to protect its customers from fraud is through transaction alerts. Cardholders can set a limit on their phone for purchases, and when a purchase exceeds the limit, an alert is sent to the phone. This can also be set up to send alerts for certain types of purchases, including international, online, phone, and declined purchases.

The Bad

  • Late payment penalties
  • Foreign transaction fees
  • No free credit scores
  • No introductory APRs

Late Payment Penalties

When payments are made late on credit card accounts, a penalty fee is often incurred. Some companies charge late payment fees as low as $5, but Northwest Federal Credit Union charges a fee of up to $35.

Foreign Transaction Fees

For purchase made internationally with a Northwest Federal Credit Union card, a 1 percent fee is tacked on to the transaction. Those who frequently travel abroad may want to consider other cards better geared towards international travel.

No Free Credit Scores

Several credit card providers have formed partnerships with credit monitoring companies to provide their cardholders with monthly credit scores and reports. This service is beneficial because it allows customers to stay on top of their credit and watch for fraudulent activity that may not have been caught by the company. Unfortunately, Northwest Federal does not offer free credit score tracking.

No Introductory APRs

Oftentimes, credit card providers offer a low introductory APR on new purchases and balance transfers for a certain amount of time. This is often helpful for individuals who wish to make a card balance transfer to pay off debts during an introductory period with a nonexistent or low APR. Sadly, Northwest Federal Credit Union does not offer any introductory promotions.

The Bottom Line

Northwest Federal Credit Union offers a rewards program and transaction alerts. In addition, the company does not charge annual fees, balance transfer fees, or cash advance fees. However, Northwest Federal does charge late payment fees and foreign transaction fees. Further, the credit union does not offer free credit score tracking or introductory APRs.

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