PenFed Credit Union Review

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PenFed Credit Union Review

Pros Explained

  • High-yielding checking account with low monthly fees: Dividend-paying checking accounts often have low dividend rates. With a daily balance or monthly direct deposit of $500 or more, the Access America Checking account provides a high rate and no monthly charge.
  • Premium Online Savings account with a competitive dividend rate and no monthly costs: The Premium Online Savings account offers a competitive dividend rate and no monthly fees. Furthermore, it just takes a $5 deposit to open.
  • Opening checking and savings accounts with a low minimum deposit: You may start a checking, savings, or money market account with PenFed for $25 or less. This makes it easy for consumers to transfer their accounts from their previous bank.

Cons Explained

  • PenFed has slightly more than 50 branches around the United States. This is a concern for customers who like the convenience of having a physical branch close.
  • Does not refund ATM fees incurred by other banks: PenFed does not charge a fee if you use another bank’s ATM. PenFed, on the other hand, will not pay you for that bank’s costs since it works with Target, CVS, and others to give fee-free access to over 85,000 ATMs.
  • Early withdrawal penalties from money market certificates: Members who need to access their money before their money market certificate matures may face severe fines. A one-year term, for example, would lose all dividends received if withdrawn before maturity.

Who Is PenFed Credit Union Best for?

PenFed Credit Union is ideal for customers looking for high-yielding accounts with minimal minimum deposit requirements and cheap fees. It could be a good match for you if you:

  • Prefer to bank online
  • Want to earn a high income on your checking, savings, and money market accounts?
  • Are you searching for a cheap minimum initial deposit?
  • Want to simply waive monthly fees?
  • Prefer a full-service bank with a wide range of goods and services.
  • Looking for a credit card with no annual fee?

What Does PenFed Credit Union Offer?

PenFed Credit Union can satisfy your requirements with a variety of bank accounts, loans, and services.

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Although participation in PenFed was formerly restricted to those with military or government links, it is now available to all citizens and permanent residents of the United States.

Checking Accounts

Access America Checking is the sole checking account offered by PenFed at the moment. Depending on your daily amount, this dividend-paying checking account offers two levels of annual percentage yields (APYs). Dividends are not paid on amounts greater than $50,000.

To start an account, a minimum deposit of $25 is needed. With a daily balance of $500 or direct deposits totalling at least $500 per month, the monthly charge of $10 is eliminated.

Members may use over 85,000 ATMs for free. Although PenFed Credit Union has a limited number of ATMs, the credit union collaborates with Allpoint, Target, CVS, Safeway, and other retailers to allow members to use ATMs without being charged. PenFed Credit Union does not charge a fee if you use another bank’s ATM. It will not, however, compensate you for any costs levied by the ATM’s owner.

Access America Checking$25$100.15% $0 to $19,999

0.35% $20,000 to $50,000

0.00% $50,001+


Money Market Savings Accounts

The Money Market Savings account pays a greater dividend rate based on the amount deposited. There is a $25 minimum initial deposit required, and there are no monthly service costs. Members have quick access to their cash since free checks are accessible upon request.

Money Market Savings$25$00.05% $0 to $9,999

0.10% $10,000 to $99,999

0.15% $100,000+


Savings Accounts

PenFed Credit Union offers both a traditional savings account and an online-only alternative. The Regular Savings account has no fees with electronic statements and may be established with $5. There is a $2 monthly cost if you prefer printed statements.

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The Premium Online Savings account is a high-yield savings account with no monthly fees and a reasonable dividend rate (but not as high as the greatest rates available). There is also a $5 requirement to start this account.

Regular Savings$5$00.05%
Premium Online Savings$5$01.50%

Money Market Certificates

Credit unions refer to money market certificates rather than certificates of deposit (CDs). Money market certificates from PenFed Credit Union are available in terms ranging from six months to seven years. To start an account, a minimum deposit of $1,000 is needed.

Individual retirement accounts (IRAs) and Coverdell education savings accounts for college are also eligible for money market certificates. A Coverdell account requires a $500 minimum deposit.

Money market certificates will automatically renew at maturity unless you choose the nonrenewal option. When this occurs, the money are immediately placed into a standard savings account.

6 Months1.50%N/AN/A
12 Months2.75%1.70%1.70%
15 Months2.80%N/AN/A
18 Months2.85%N/AN/A
24 Months3.10%2.70%1.70%
36 Months3.25%2.55%2.55%
48 Months3.00%2.55%2.55%
60 Months3.25%3.45%3.45%
84 Month53.25%2.95%2.95%

If you withdraw from the money market certificate before it matures, you will be penalized depending on the term chosen. The fines seem to be more severe than those charged by other banks for the same period.

Six MonthsLoss of the most recent 90 days of dividence earned.
More Than Six MonthsDuring the first year, all dividends are forfeited. After the first year, the penalty is 30% of what would have been earned if held to maturity, not to exceed dividends earned.

Credit Cards

PenFed members have four credit card options. There is no annual charge for the Platinum Rewards, Power Cash Rewards, and Gold cards. The annual fee for the PenFed Pathfinder Rewards card is $95 per year. Depending on their requirements, members may choose between a low annual percentage rate (APR), cash back, or prizes.

  • PenFed Gold Visa Card
  • Pathfinder Rewards Visa Signature Card from PenFed
  • Platinum Rewards Visa Signature Card from PenFed
  • PenFed Power Visa Signature Cash Rewards Card
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Other Financial Products Offered by PenFed Credit Union

PenFed Credit Union members have access to the following goods and services in addition to the deposit options indicated above:

  • Auto loans
  • Purchase mortgages
  • Refinance mortgages
  • Home Equity Credit Lines (HELOCs)
  • Personal loans
  • Personal lines of credit
  • Student loans
  • Student loan refinancing
  • IRAs
  • Financial advisors
  • Insurance

PenFed Credit Union Customer Service

Customer support is accessible via phone (1-800-247-5626) from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. EST Monday through Friday. Live customer support is accessible on weekends from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. EST on Saturday and 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. EST on Sunday.

PenFed Credit Union is accessible 24 hours a day through encrypted chat online and via its mobile app. Members may use its mobile app for Apple and Android devices.

Its deposits are guaranteed by the National Credit Union Association (NCUA) rather than the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) since it is a credit union (FDIC).

How to Bank With PenFed Credit Union

Joining PenFed Credit Union is straightforward if you want to bank with them. Membership is now accessible to any American or permanent resident who chooses to create an account anywhere in the United States.

You may open an account online or in person at a PenFed Credit Union location. The internet-only savings account is only available online.

Final Verdict

Membership in PenFed Credit Union was formerly restricted to persons having strong links to the military and the federal government. Since it expanded its charter to enable more individuals to join, its appealing goods and services are now accessible to all Americans throughout the country. PenFed Credit Union’s checking, online savings, and money market certificates provide competitive rates and fees. It provides a comprehensive range of deposit and lending products and services on par with bigger banks. If you don’t need to visit a physical branch, you can handle all of your banking requirements online, via its app, or through its partner network of ATMs.


Investopedia is committed to providing customers with honest, detailed bank evaluations. We gathered over 20 data points from more than 80 institutions, including available products, interest rates, fees, and accessibility, to guarantee that our material assists consumers in making the best option for their savings and banking requirements.

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