PenFed Review 2022
0% promotional rate for 12 months on balance transfers
Low minimum deposit to open checking and savings accounts
High-yield checking account with easy-to-waive monthly fees
Online savings account with a competitive dividend rate
Get the PenFed credit card with $0 annual fees
What is PenFed Credit Union?
PenFed Credit Union was founded in 1935. With headquarters in McLean, VA, it was originally known as the Pentagon Federal Credit Union and membership was limited to those in the federal government or military.
Today, anyone can join as this credit union has an open charter.
With more than two million members, PenFed Credit Union manages more than $25 billion in assets. Members can use one of its 50+ branches throughout the U.S. which includes military bases in Japan, Guam, and Puerto Rico.
Who is PenFed Credit Union Best For?
PenFed Credit Union is best for consumers who need high-yield accounts with low fees and low minimum deposit requirements.
PenFed can be a good fit if you:
- Prefer to bank online
- Want to earn a high yield on savings and checking accounts
- Want to easily waive monthly fees
- Want a credit card with no annual fees
- Want an account with a low monthly minimum deposit requirement
What PenFed Credit Union Offers
PenFed Credit Union offers a range of loans, deposit accounts, and services to meet your needs. Let’s look at some of their products.
PenFed offers personal loans of up to $50,000 with terms up to 60 months and loan rates as low as 7.74% APR. There are no early repayment penalties and no origination fees for PenFed loans.
You can pre-qualify for a loan online without hurting your credit score. Select from multiple pre-approved orders and receive money in one to two business days after verification.
You can check your rate in a few minutes online.
You don’t need to be a member of PenFed to apply for a personal loan, however, if you want to move ahead with a loan offer you’ll need to become a member.
Signing up takes a few minutes and no military affiliation is required.
Home Equity Lines of Credit
With a PenFed HELOC, members can enjoy a line of credit based on the equity they have in their homes. Access funds at any time to pay off student loans, do home renovations or fund large unexpected purchases.
PenFed’s loans range from $25,000 to $1 million with a 10-year draw period and a 20-year repayment period.
A PenFed HELOC is ideal for those with a credit score of 600 or above, and at least a year of W2s. You’ll also need proof of income and at least two months’ bank statements.
Some additional verification requirements may include two years of tax returns for self-employed individuals and a low debt-to-income ratio.
Money Market Certificates
Money market certificates, often referred to as certificates of deposit (CDs) are often issued by credit unions. PenFed’s money market certificates range from six months to seven years and require a minimum deposit of $1,000.
Money market certificates are also available for IRAs (individual retirement accounts) and Coverdell education savings accounts for college.
The minimum deposit required for a Coverdell account is $500.
Money market certificates will automatically renew at maturity unless you selected the non-renewal option. When this happens the funds will be automatically deposited into a regular savings account.
Here are the rates for PenFed money market certificates:
|Term||Money Market Certificates APY||IRA Certificates APY||Coverdell Education Savings Certificates APY|
Withdrawals from money market accounts prior to maturity will attract a penalty based on the term selected. Penalties for these early withdrawals seem to be higher than what other banks charge.
Here are the early termination penalties for PenFed money market certificates:
|6 Months||Loss of the most recent dividend earned in the last 90 days.|
|6 Months+||During the first year, all dividends are forfeited. After the first year, the penalty is 30% of what the earnings would have been if held to maturity.|
PenFed offers four credit cards for members of which three offer no annual fee. Only the PenFed Pathfinder Rewards card has an annual fee of $95. Members can select from a low APR, rewards, or cash back, depending on their needs.
Members can also enjoy a 0% PROMO APR‡ on balance transfers for 12 months from now until September 30, 2022
The four PenFed credit cards include:
- Platinum Rewards Visa Signature® Card
- Power Cash Rewards Visa Signature® Card
- Gold Visa® Card
- PenFed Pathfinder® Rewards Visa Signature® Card
All the credit cards from PenFed Credit Union offer a Xero Liability Policy*, a digital wallet, and a tap-to-pay feature.
- Purchase Variable APR: 16.49% to 17.99%
- 0% Balance Transfers Promo APR for 12 months
- Points on gas paid at the pump and EV charging stations
- Annual Fee: $0
Personal Line of Credit
PenFed offers a personal line of credit that gives you available funds when you need them – anytime, for anything you want.
Payments are based on what you use and not on the amount of credit you have available. Features of the credit line include:
- Fixed rates as low as 10.49% APR
- Credit lines available up to $25,000
- Free checks to access you line
- Fast review process
With a credit line from PenFed Credit Union you can get a decision as soon as the next day. Their fast review process makes this a great option to have.
💡 Read more about how a personal line of credit works.
PenFed Credit Union offers various auto loans, including new auto loans, used auto loans, refinance loans, and a car buying service.
With a PenFed auto loan, members can earn a $150 bonus with Auto Refi and get refinance rates as low as 1.79% APR**.
With a PenFed auto loan, new auto loans are available with terms up to 84 months and loan amounts up to $150,000. Members can use an easy online application to see if they qualify.
Although members can save with low PenFed auto loan rates your actual APR will be determined at the time of disbursement and will be based on your loan application and credit information.
Here is a breakdown of PenFed auto loan rates:
|Loan Type||36 Mths||48 Mths||60 Mths||72 Mths||84 Mths|
|New Car Buying Service||0.99%||1.49%||1.49%||2.14%||–|
|New Auto Purchase||1.79%||1.99%||1.99%||2.39%||3.99%|
|Used Car Buying Service||1.99%||1.99%||1.99%||3.14%||–|
|Used Auto Purchase||2.39%||2.59%||2.59%||3.39%||–|
PenFed Credit Union’s loans for used cars offer amounts up to $150,000 and up to 125% financing with quick approvals.
Refinancing auto loans from PenFed gives members the ability to pre-qualify online in minutes and get APR rates as low as 1.79%, as mentioned above.
PenFed Credit Union offers a range of mortgage products to suit your needs. Here are the options for PenFed mortgage loans:
|Power Buyer||– Reduce complexity and red tape|
– Enjoy a secured PenFed mortgage rate
– Start your search with a pre-approval available
|– Buyers who want to compete with a cash offer|
– Buyers who want to know upfront what they can afford
– Facilitating competitive offers
– VA Loans
– No or low down payment
– No monthly Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI)
– No prepayment penalty
– Better interest rates
|– Currently enlisted military members|
– Reservists or National Guard
– Surviving spouses
|VA Streamline (IRRRL)||– No closing costs|
– Lower interest rates
– No appraisals required
– No monthly Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI)
| – Surviving spouses|
– Active-duty service members and veterans looking for mortgage refinancing
|Conventional Fixed||– No Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) needed if you have 20% equity|
– Low down payments- Those with good credit
– Borrowers wanting a low downpayment
– Those who want a locked-in rate
|Refinancing||– Lower interest rates|
– Might have a shorter mortgage term
– Get cash to pay off loans or consolidate debt
|– Interest rates that have dropped|
– You need cash from the equity
|Jumbo Loan||– Allows you to obtain a larger loan for your home|
– Perfect for high-cost areas that require a non-conforming loan
|– Those needing a loan that exceeds conforming guidelines|
– Borrowers with good credit and high-income Home Equity Lines of Credit (HELOC)- Leverage the equity in your home to consolidate debt
– Take out cash for home improvements
– Use home equity for other real estate investments- Those who have built up substantial equity in their home
– Someone who is not planning on moving soon
|Adjustable-Rate Mortgage (ARM)||– Lower initial interest rates|
– Rates may fluctuate over time
|– Those who need a lower initial payment|
– Someone who may move of pay off a home loan in the next few years
First-time home buyers should know what they can afford, and what type of home loan they are looking for. PenFed mortgage rates are not only reasonable but they offer great support in finding the best home loan for your needs.
You can get accurate PenFed mortgage rates by getting a quote online.
PenFed Credit Union offers a number of checking accounts to members. Their free checking account comes with a debit card, no monthly fees, and fee-free ATM withdrawals from their network of 85,000+ ATMs.
The Access America checking account from PenFed allows you to earn up to 11x the national average and avoid monthly fees***.
PenFed also offers the Access America checking account that has a minimum opening deposit of $25 and a monthly fee of $10.
Here are some features of PenFed’s checking accounts:
|What We Like||What We Don’t|
|The checking account offers a respectable yield that earns even more on balances of $20,000 or more.||Other financial institutions make it easier to avoid monthly maintenance fees.|
|Bill pay and mobile deposit are free.||Overdrafts cost $30 with no daily limit on the number of occurrences.|
|An overdraft line of credit is available for added protection.||The bulk of PenFed’s branches can be found in the Washington, D.C., area and in Texas.|
Some of the other products that PenFed offers include:
- Personal loans
- Personal lines of credit
- Student loans
- Student loan refinancing
- Financial advisors
The Premium Online Savings account from PenFed has an excellent dividend rate. You only need a $5 deposit to open an account, and there’s no monthly fee.
PenFed’s Regular Savings account doesn’t offer an impressive APY, but it can be opened at a branch and provides easy ATM access.
Here are some features of PenFed’s savings accounts:
|What We Like||What We Don’t|
|The Premium Online Savings account offers a highly competitive APY.||The Regular Savings account has a lower APY than the Premium Online Savings account.|
|There are no monthly service fees to worry about.||The Premium Online Savings account doesn’t provide ATM access.|
|Customers can set up free online recurring transfers.|
How PenFed Works
Banking with PenFed Credit Union is easy and becoming a member is simple. Now that it has an open charter, membership is available to any American or permanent U.S. resident nationwide.
You can open an account online or at one of the PenFed Credit Union branches available throughout the U.S. Note that the online-only savings account can only be opened online.
PenFed offers a free checking account with no monthly fees and no minimum balance requirements. It’s a good way to get started with a checking account.
Our PenFed Review
High-yield checking account. The Access America Checking account offers no monthly fees on a monthly direct deposit of $500 or more.
Competitive rates on savings accounts. The Premium Online Savings account has a competitive dividend rate and no monthly fees. It only requires a deposit of $5 to open.
Cash back offers. The Power Cash Rewards Visa Signature card offers a 1.5% cash back on all purchases and a $100 bonus statement credit when you spend $1,500 in the first 90 days.
Limited number of U.S. branches. PenFed only has 50 branches throughout the U.S. which is a problem for people who want to visit a physical branch close to them.
Penalties for early withdrawals from money market certificates. Members who make withdrawals on their money market certificates before they mature could face penalties.
PenFed customers have access to almost 50 branches across the U.S. but for those who aren’t close to a branch, there is a reliable digital option available with online banking from PenFed.
The mobile app is highly rated in both Apple’s App Store and the Google Play Store. It can be used to set travel notifications on debit/credit cards, deposit checks, pay bills, and more.
Members also have ample access to free ATMs with tens of thousands of free ATMs available, including those in the Allpoint and CO-OP networks.
PenFed customer service is available via phone at 1-800-247-5626 from 7 am to 11 pm from Mondays to Fridays. On weekends live customer support is available from 8 am to 11 pm on Saturday, and 9 am to 5:30 pm on Sunday.
Customer support is also available via secure messaging online and via the mobile app 24 hours a day. The PenFed Credit Union app is available to download for Apple and Android.
Deposits are insured by the National Credit Union Association (NCUA) instead of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) as PenFed is a credit union.
PenFed is one of the largest credit unions in the U.S. and it offers a range of savings accounts, checking accounts, auto loans, mortgages, personal loans, and more.
Read more PenFed Credit Union reviews below or add your own.
How much can I apply for?
You can apply for a personal loan of up to $50,000.
When will I receive my funds?
Funds can be available the next day, depending on the payment method you choose. Direct deposit and ACH payments take 1-2 business days and check payments take 5-7 business days.
Will checking my rate affect my credit score?
Checking your rate will not affect your credit score. If you decide to move forward with your loan offer, it will trigger a hard credit pull and this will affect your credit.
* Visa Zero Liability Policy covers U.S.–issued cards only and does not apply to ATM transactions, PIN transactions not processed by Visa, or certain commercial card transactions. Cardholder must notify issuer promptly of any unauthorized use. Consult issuer for additional details or visit www.visa.com/security.
** $150 Bonus Offer Disclosure: The auto refinance rebate of $150 is eligible on loan amounts of $10,000 and greater and must be refinanced from another institution. Applies to refinance loan applications funded between 02/12/2022 and 4/15/2022. PenFed internal refinances and loans originated from 3rd party partners are not eligible for this promotion. The $150 rebate will be deposited to the membership share savings account within 90 days of the loan disbursal date. At time of rebate posting, the loan must be currently active and have at least 1 payment posted in order to qualify. PenFed may discontinue or change the promotion at any time. Other restrictions may apply.
***Up to 11x the national average of 0.03% APY is based on the national average of checking account rates published in FDIC Weekly National Rates and Rate Caps accurate as of February 1, 2022.
‡If you take advantage of this balance transfer, you will immediately be charged interest on all purchases made with your credit card unless you pay the entire account balance, including balance transfers, in full each month by the payment due date.