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PenFed Credit Union

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LAST UPDATED: March 19th, 2021

PenFed Credit Union that offers a wide variety of financial products and services. The military-based credit union has over 1.5 million members across the United States and was first established in 1935 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. PenFed is federally-insured by the National Credit Union Association. PenFed is also an equal housing lender and has over $21 billion in total assets. The company offers numerous Visa credit card options with distinct features and benefits for customers to choose from.

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The Good

  • Multiple credit card options
  • Digital banking services
  • Financial education and resources

Multiple Credit Card Options

PenFed provides plenty of Visa credit card options in multiple categories for customers to choose from. Credit card choices include rewards cards, low rate cards, and credit cards designed exclusively for military personnel and their families. Rewards cards offer between 3 to 5 percent cash back or up to 5x points on qualified purchases. Consumers can select up to three credit cards at a time to compare all available features side-by-side. All available credits card offers feature the following benefits:
  • EMV chip-enabled security technology
  • Visa Checkout
  • Digital wallet
  • Security text alerts
  • Verified by Visa services

Digital Banking Services

PenFed offers its customers a mobile app with digital banking services to help cardholders manage their finances anytime from any location. Customers can snapshot checks and upload the images for deposit from any mobile device. Cardholders can also view account statements for all their financial accounts, transfer funds, and set up automatic recurring payments. Further, customers can use the app to notify the company of any upcoming travel plans and apply for PenFed loans at their convenience.

Financial Education and Resources

Consumers can browse a large selection of informative articles on the company's website blog. Covered topics include personal finance, mortgages, credit cards, avoiding scams, automobile insurance coverage, and savings. There are several types of financial calculators on the corporate website for customers to help them calculate estimated monthly payments. The financial services company also offers free consultations with certified financial advisors to discuss wealth-building investment strategies.

The Bad

  • APRs
  • Additional fees
  • Service limitations


Depending on the chosen credit card selection, APRs range from approximately 8 to 18 percent on purchases, balance transfers, and cash advances. The financial services company does offer a 0 percent introductory APR on balance transfers for one year on its rewards and military credit cards. Penalty APR rates are approximately 19.99 percent and are assessed immediately after a missed payment once the grace period expires. Customers should read the terms and conditions for each credit card before applying, as APRs vary from option to option.

Additional Fees

The financial services company charges between $10 and $25 for late payments, depending on the cardholder's total account balance. Select credit card offers may charge an annual fee of $25. There is a 3 percent charge on all balance transfer transactions. Interest charges on unpaid balances will be calculated according to the average daily balance which includes new purchases. Interest fees and finance charges can also vary depending on the credit card selection so consumers should double-check current details before filling out a credit application.

Service Limitations

24/7 customer service is not offered by PenFed and there is no live chat feature to be able to speak directly with a company representative regarding any potential questions or issues about PenFed's products and services. Customers are required to open a PenFed savings account with a $5 minimum deposit and other eligibility requirements may also apply for credit approval. Consumers must acquire an extensive amount of points in order to redeem any rewards and disclosed rewards are extremely limited when compared to similar competitor offerings. Consumers will need to review each credit card's information individually on the company's website which can cause customers to feel overwhelmed and take up a lot of time.

The Bottom Line

PenFed Credit Union provides multiple Visa credit card options for nationwide customers to choose from. Customers are able to compare side-by-side up to three credit cards of their choosing. The credit cards are equipped with many Visa benefits and features. PenFed also provides mobile digital banking services, free financial resources, and a comprehensive selection of financial products and services. There are many credit cards with no annual fees, balance transfer fees, or foreign transactions fees, making theses cards an excellent choice for frequent travel purchases and debt consolidation purposes. PenFed does not offer 24/7 customer service and the disclosed credit card rewards on its website are slim when compared to offerings from similar competitors. APRs are a bit high for consumers with less than stellar credit histories. Consumers will need to carefully review all terms and conditions for each card they may be interested in which can be a time-consuming process.
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I opened my first credit card with PenFed after reading an article in a magazine during a airplane layover at JFK on the way to a vacation in Europe. This was during a time that none of my cards offered waiving foreign exchange fees. I decided after I returned to the States I would apply for a Promise Visa because it didn't charge foreign exchange fees! I couldn't believe that any company offered such a thing & I worked in then credit card industry at the time! I was approved & decided to open a savings account with them as well. Since then I've opened another credit card - their Pathfinder Visa - because it offered a good reward deal. I've actually flown round trip Business Class to Australia for far less points than I would have to use on any other of my cards that offered the option to use points for travel. They are a great Credit Union.

3 years ago


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Irving Fleischman Staten Island, NY

Quick approval, courtesy, didn’t let the 3 credit bureaus make up their mind on a $15,000 approval

3 years ago