PSECU (Pennsylvania State Employees Credit Union) was founded in 1934 when 22 state employees pooled their resources to establish a credit union to serve those working for the state of Pennsylvania. Since its founding, the credit union has become one of the largest not-for-profit financial cooperatives in the state with over 400,000 members. Membership eligibility for the credit union includes those who are related to or live with a PSECU member, students, faculty, staff and alumni of universities in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, many community or private colleges, employees of state and local government, school districts, or some Select Employee Groups. Those who are not eligible by any of the above criteria and who are a member are a member of the Pennsylvania Recreation and Parks Society can join PSECU with $20 annual dues. Online applications for membership with PRPS eligibility are only charged $10. The organization offers a full-featured portfolio of financial products to its members, including personal accounts, loans, business accounts, mortgages, and the choice between two credit cards.
- No annual fee, balance transfer tee, foreign transaction fee, or cash advance fee
- PSECU Founder's Card offers 1.5 percent cash back
- Cash rewards never expire
- Free monthly credit score
No Annual Fee, Balance Transfer Fee, Foreign Transaction Fee, or Cash Advance Fee
Unlike many other institutions offering credit cards, PESCU does not charge its members any of the common fees above. The absence of these fees can save cardholders hundreds of dollar per year, especially if they typically travel internationally, perform balance transfers, or receive cash advances against the credit limit of their cards. Those considering performing balance transfers, should be aware that the absence of balance transfer fees does not mean that there are no interest rates charged for the transferred balances. These transferred funds are billed at an APR for the PSECU Classic Visa with a 2.9 percent APR, and for the PSECU Founder's Card with a 3.9 percent APR.
PSECU Founder's Card Offers 1.5 Percent Cash Back
PSSECU has recently added a rewards card to its portfolio, the PSECU Founder's Card. This card pays its members 1.5 percent cash back on all of their purchases. This card has an initial variable APR starting at 12.9 percent.
Cash Rewards Never Expire
Cash rewards earned for purchases with the PSECU Founder's Card never expire and are accumulated for the member to redeem at any time.
Free Monthly Credit Score
Unusual to many similarly-sized credit unions, PSECU members receive a free monthly credit score. The organization does not disclose whether this is a FICO® score or one that uses other organization's information.
- Higher initial APRs than those offered by many similar institutions
- Limited number of credit cards
- No rewards cards offered
Higher Initial APRs Than Those Offered by Many Similar Institutions
PSECU offers initial interest rates for both of its cards with an initial APR than many of its competitors, similarly-sized credit unions. While many credit unions offer initial APRs with rates as low as 6 to 8 percent, PSECU's cards have initial APRs that are more in line with those offered by larger banks for their cards - 9.9 percent PSECU Classic Visa and 12.9 percent for the PSECU Founder's Card.
Limited Number of Credit Cards
Many credit unions have several cards from which their members can choose, with multiple benefits, such as point rewards, secured, or student cards. PSECU only offers its members a choice between two cards. This limits member choices, and those wanting to earn travel or merchandise rewards must take their business to another institution, usually paying a higher interest rate than those available from credit unions.
No Rewards Cards Offered
As stated above, there is no choice for members wanting a traditional points-for-purchase rewards card. The credit union recently added its Founder's Card to its portfolio, giving members an additional option, but the absence of other options for rewards cards is significant. Most credit unions offer their members a choice between cash back or points in their rewards cards.
The Bottom Line
PSECU is a full-featured not-for-profit financial cooperative. The credit union offers its membership to a significant number of businesses and residents of the state of Pennsylvania. Its credit card offerings are not comparable to many similarly-sized organizations, which offer more choices to their members. Not having a points-for-purchase rewards card, or options of secured of student cards is limiting to many who are looking for more features in their financial institutions. PSECU is a solid choice for accounts, etc., but its portfolio of credit cards is lacking. The addition of more options and/or lowering the initial APR for its cards would make PSECU considerably more competitive among credit unions.