Pentagon Federal Credit Union (PenFed) Review

(April 2024)

Pentagon Federal Credit Union (PenFed) Review

In This Article

Our Verdict

Get the best rates on money market certificates and online savings with Pentagon Federal Credit Union. Becoming a Pentagon Federal Credit Union member is not difficult and with the credit union’s mobile app, you enjoy a more convenient set of financial services. Pentagon Federal Credit Union charge a $30 insufficient fund fees and can make you unhappy when the credit union charges it (sometimes) more than once in a day.

Pros

  • Offers checking account that earns you interest.
  • Runs over 85,000 ATMs across the country.
  • Gives an enticing annual percentage yield on its premium savings account.
  • Allows easy direct deposit.
  • Requires a lower deposit for a new savings or checking account.
  • Charges no origination or prepayment fees for it personal loans.

Cons

  • Doesn’t run enough branches.
  • Hoards ATM fees other local banks and credit unions charge.
  • Places strict punishment if you withdraw from money market certificates quite early and yet charges a higher minimum deposit for the certificates.

Who This Product Is Best For

 Pentagon Federal Credit Union is your great option if you’re someone who:

  • Likes banking online.
  • Requires $0 annual fee credit card.
  • Desires to get a high APY on your money market certificates, savings and checking accounts.
  • Wants to effortlessly waive the monthly fees.

Who This Product Isn't Right For

You may consider another credit union if you’re someone who:

  • Prefers a credit union that operates primarily offline.
  • Wants a financial services providers with a lot of branches across the country.
  • Desires a credit union that reimburses every ATM fees that other banks charge.
  • Wants to make a withdrawal from your money market certificates before its matures without the fear of penalties from the credit union.

What This Product Offers

  • Checking accounts. Depending on what you want, Pentagon Federal Credit Union offers Access America Checking and Free Checking Accounts.
  • Money Market savings account. Want a debit card privileges and check-writing savings account? If your answer is yes, consider Pentagon Federal Credit Union’s Money Market savings account.
  • Savings account. Decide whether you want a regular savings account or an online-based savings account with Pentagon Federal Credit Union.
  • Credit cards. If you have special interest in credit cards that offer rewards, you’re likely to find Pentagon Federal Credit Union credit cards your best fit.
  • Mortgages, lines of credit, and loans. From home equity lines of credit to personal or business loans, you find the best option for your needs with Pentagon Federal Credit Union.

Product Details

Checking accounts

Pentagon Federal Credit Union’s Access America Checking and Free Checking Accounts differ in their monthly fee and APY. For example, you open either or Access America check account or Free Checking account with a minimum deposit of $25. But you waive the $10 monthly fee on Access America Checking by maintaining a balance of $500 every day or making direct payments that amount to $500 or more every month. Also, you earn an APY on the Access Checking provided you maintain a balance up to $50,000 (you earn no dividend with any balance more than $50,000). Here’s the breakdown: you get a 0.15% APY on the balance of $0 to $19,999 and the APY of 0.35% on any balance from $20,000 to $50,000.

Feel free to use any of the Pentagon Federal Credit Union 85,000 ATMs at no cost. Know that if you use any other bank’s ATM, you pay the bank’s fixed fee which PenFed doesn’t reimburse.

Money Market savings account

Get a higher APY with the Money Market savings account. The more money you deposit, the higher your dividend (earn 0.05% APY on $0 to $9,999, 0.10% on any deposit between $10,000 and $99,999, and up to 0.15% on deposit from $100,000+). Cool, right? You bet!

Again, you pay no monthly maintenance fee but make a minimum deposit of $25 in order to open the account. Access your money anytime you want by requesting for a free check.

Savings account

PenFed offers both Regular and online-based (where you earn a higher dividend on your balance) savings account. With as low as $5, you can open a Pentagon Federal Credit Union savings account (both Regular and Premium Online). You make no monthly fee with a Regular savings account if you opt for electronic statement. However, if you prefer paper statements, pay only $2 every month. The Premium Online savings account offers a 2.70% APY, a value greater than the Regular savings account APY of 0.05%.

Credit cards

Choose the credit card you require wisely according your needs. For instance, if you want a reward credit card, the PenFed Pathfinder Rewards card is your best option. The drawback is that it requires a $95 annual fee.

Other factors to consider before you choose a PenFed credit card is the APR or cash back. Pentagon Federal Credit Union credit cards are PenFed Gold Visa Card, PenFed Power Cash Rewards Visa Signature Card, PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature Card, and PenFed Pathfinder Rewards Visa Signature Card.

Mortgages, lines of credit, and loans

When it comes to mortgages, lines of credit, or loans personal, Pentagon Federal Credit Union is not the least. Go through what the union requirements are for each of the product and submit your application for any suitable one you desire.

If you’re hellbent on getting a home improvement, life & events, medical & dental, transportation, or debt consolidation loan, give PenFed a trial. With APR starting at 7.74%, you can get any amount up to $50,000 with a term spanning up to 60 months. Payoff your loan early if you can without any penalty or consequence. Another interesting thing is that PenFed doesn’t charge an origination fee and you know any additional fee to pay—if there is at all—upfront.

Where This Product Stands Out

  • Ease of opening savings and checking accounts. You make a lower deposit amount in order to open PenFed savings and checking accounts.
  • Large variety of products. The credit union offers a wide range of range of products where you can easily spot the best product that’s perfect for your needs.
  • Decent dividend on balance. Get the most competitive APY than most banks offer from Pentagon Federal Credit Union.
  • Wider money market certificates. Looking for a credit union that offers a CD terms more than five years? If yes, think of Pentagon Federal Credit Union.
  • Avoidable monthly fee. You waive the credit union service fee every month by maintaining a daily balance of $500 or by making a direct deposit of $500 or more.

Where This Product Falls Short

  • Foreign transaction fees. Each time you make a foreign transaction with any of PenFed’s product, you pay a 2% of the transaction amount.
  • Nonsufficient fund. PenFed charges a nonsufficient fund of $30.
  • Savings account or checking account is a necessity to become a member. If you care about joining the credit union, open and maintain a savings or checking account.

How to Qualify for This Product

To qualify for Pentagon Federal Credit Union:

  • Be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. Membership is only available to you if you’re a U.S. citizen or if you have a permanent resident. Get your valid government issued ID ready before you proceed with your application.
  • Present your personal information. In put your legal full name, current home address, and email.

How to Apply for This Product

Ready to apply for Pentagon Federal Credit Union,

  • Decide the product you want. Pentagon Federal Credit Union offers numerous products. Clarify the exact product you want.
  • Visit the credit union official website.
  • Browse the credit union’s categories and select your predetermined product.
  • Select “Open Now” on the product page you choose.
  • Click on “Join Now.”
  • Provide every necessary information in the application form fields and submit.
  • Check your email in order to follow up with your application.

Alternatives to This Product

Navy Federal Credit Union

Consider this alternative if you’re a member of the armed forces or if you have a direct relationship with a military personnel. To qualify for APY, maintain a balance of $2,500 or more. This is far below what PenFed credit union offers. One perk Navy Federal Credit Union offers better than PenFed is that you access a competitive discount on loans.

USAA

If you want a bank that serves active duty or retired military personnels primarily, USAA bank is a good option. You earn only 0.01% APY. The financial institution doesn’t offer money market accounts. Take advantage of the bank’s budgeting tools in order to plan your financial goals.

Customer Reviews

Pentagon Federal Credit Union receives an excellent rating of 4.6/5-star based on 1,315 customer reviews on Trust Pilot. Happy customers commend the credit union for its speed of service, excellent customer support, and pleasant customer experience. Unhappy customers complain about PenFed not honoring its mortgage loan promises and delay in issuing credit cards.

Methodology

We reviewed Pentagon Federal Credit Union (PenFed) based on 20 data points in the categories of loan details, loan costs, eligibility and accessibility, customer experience and the application process. We rated Pentagon Federal Credit Union (PenFed) based on the weighting assigned to each category:

Loan cost: 35%

Loan details: 25%

Customer experience: 20%

Eligibility and accessibility: 10%

Application process: 10%

Within each major category, we also considered several characteristics, including available loan amounts, repayment terms and applicable fees. We also looked at minimum credit score and time in business requirements and the geographic availability of the lender.

Finally, we evaluated Pentagon Federal Credit Union (PenFed) customer support tools, borrower perks and features that simplify the borrowing process—like online applications, prequalification options and mobile apps.

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