PenFed Credit Union Review

How does your bank stack up?

  • Financial Rates: 4.0 Star Icon
  • Customer Service: 5.0 Star Icon
  • Website Experience: 4.0 Star Icon
  • Bank Fees: 4.0 Star Icon

Pros:

  • CDs have competitive interest rates
  • Low opening required amount
  • CDs offered to save for education
  • Low monthly fee for checking account

Cons:

  • High opening balances for CDs
  • Low-interest rates
  • Best rates require large balances
  • Do not offer a variety of accounts

What You Need to Know

PenFed CDs have competitive interest rates. The rates on CDs are competitive with online-only accounts. The longer you can invest the money in the CD the higher the interest rates you will earn. CD terms range from six months to seven years.

All accounts, other than CDs, have a low opening balance of only $25. The more you invest in the money market account, the higher interest rates you will earn. However, you are only required to have $25 to open an account with PenFed.

PenFed offers CDs designed to save specifically for education costs. These CDs only require $500 to open instead of $1,000. The education CDs range in term from one year to seven years. The interest rates earned on these CDs are competitive with other CD accounts.

Only the checking account has a monthly maintenance fee. The fee is low and is easy to waive. The fee is waived by having a daily balance of $500 in the account. Having a direct deposit into the account of more than $500 each month will also waive the fee. The savings account and money market accounts do not have a monthly fee.

To open a CD, PenFed requires $1,000. The CD terms vary in length from six months to seven years. The longer you can invest your money in a PenFed CD the higher interest you will earn over the CD term. The interest rates on these CDs are competitive with other online-only CDs.

The interest rates for PenFed savings, checking, and money market accounts are not competitive. The rates are low. Those interest rates are competitive to your typical bank rates. Online only accounts offer much higher interest rates for these accounts.

To earn the highest interest on the PenFed checking account, a daily balance of $20,000 to $50,000 is required. If you do not have at least $20,000, you will earn much lower interest rates. Any amount earns interest. To get the highest rates, your daily balance must meet the requirements.

PenFed only offers one checking account, savings account, and money market account. This does not allow you to find the account that best fits your needs.

Cool Things

Learning Center

PenFed offers a learning center on their website. Here you can get financial help on a variety of topics. There are articles to help you save money at the pump or to learn about checking accounts. You can get help with financial planning for a wedding, new baby, or a vacation. You can also get information about PenFed accounts. These accounts can help you reach your savings goals.

Wealth Management

This area helps you better understand investing options. You can learn more about investing for retirement or college. You can input actual numbers to see how much you need to save. You can connect with a financial advisor to help you along this path.

History

Pentagon Federal Credit Union was established in 1935. The headquarters are in McLean, Virginia. PenFed Credit Union offers loans, credit cards, savings accounts, and checking accounts. CDs and money market accounts are also offered. To be a member of PenFed Credit Union, you do not need to be a member of the military. There are requirements to become a member though. Those requirements are listed on their website.

Today PenFed is one of the countries strongest financial institutions. They have over 1.6 million members. PenFed has over $24 billion in assets and serves all 50 states. They have members in the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, and Okinawa.

Awards and Recognition

  • "World's Best Financial Advertising" from The Midas Awards
  • "Credit Union of the Year" from the United States Army

Giving Back

PenFed assists veterans and military through the Military Heroes Fund. This fund addresses immediate needs and offers financial assistance for short-term financial needs. Those include housing, car payments, or other needs. Family can receive support to help be caregivers to wounded veterans. These grants help cover child care, respite, and in-home health care.

The Dream Makers Fund helps service men and women achieve the dream of becoming a homeowner. This fund provides closing cost assistance and matching down payment grants. Those who qualify are low-to-moderate income veterans and service members. The grants are for first time home buyers, home repairs, and renovations.

PenFed offers outpatient t treatment through the VA. The Defenders Lodge allows veterans and caregivers to stay free. This has allowed over 47,000 patients every year to get treatment without the financial burden. This foundation has saved members over $22 million in hotel bills.

PenFed Credit Union recently donated $50,000 to Hampton University. The money was donated in honor of the late Colonel Lonnie Lee Stith as a scholarship fund.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is This Bank FDIC insured?

Yes, but your money is protected and federally insured by the NCUA. That stands for the National Credit Union Administration. The NCUA is equal to the FDIC. The NCUA works to protect money in credit unions while the FDIC works to protect the money in banks.

How do I access my money?

Through debit cards, checks, or online transfers. You can visit an ATM or a local branch.

Does this bank offer mobile banking?

Yes. With the PenFed app, you can make deposits and find an ATM or branch. You can make transfers, see account summaries, and pay bills

Is this bank free?

Only the checking account has a monthly maintenance fee of $10. That fee is waived by having a monthly direct deposit or a daily balance of $500.

Is this a good bank?

The amounts required to open an account are low. There are branches available. PenFed offers credit cards, mortgages, and loans along with deposit accounts. Only the CD interest rates are competitive with other online-only accounts.

Is this bank secure online?

Yes. PenFed offers a $0 liability policy. You are not responsible for any unauthorized purchases. Chip-enabled cards are available.

Does this bank offer competitive interest rates?

The interest rates for PenFed CDs are competitive. Other account interest rates are not competitive with other online-only accounts. Those PenFed interest rates are competitive with typical bank rates.

Can I use this bank for my business accounts?

No. PenFed offers personal accounts.

How is the online bank different from the online banking my bank offers?

It is the same. Anything you can do online from your typical bank you can do with PenFed online.

Do their checking accounts pay interest?

PenFed only has one checking account and, yes, it earns interest. The interest you earn depends on the amount of money you keep in the account.

How do I reach customer service?

Reach customer service through mail, email, phone, or an online message. You can also visit a local branch.

Does this bank offer bill pay?

Yes. The PenFed checking account offers free bill pay. You can access bill pay through the PenFed website or the mobile app.

Can I deposit cash?

Yes, at a local branch.

How long do transfers take?

Money transferred from another bank to your PenFed account are immediate. There is a $5 fee if you make a transfer over the phone or at a local branch. There is not a fee for ACH transfers.

Can I sign up for direct deposit to this account?

Yes. To avoid the monthly maintenance fees, you must have a direct deposit into the account of $500 or more each month.

Bank Contact Information

Find a local branch
1-800-247-5626

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