Poor PenFed Reviews

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VictoriaF
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Re: Poor PenFed Reviews

Post by VictoriaF » Mon Dec 09, 2013 7:10 pm

PenFed works for me just fine. I don't remember any difficulties with anything I do with them, and in past if I had any questions they were quickly resolved to my satisfaction.

My only mild annoyance is that they have reduced the awards for the points earned on their VISA.

Victoria
WINNER of the 2015 Boglehead Contest. | Every joke has a bit of a joke. ... The rest is the truth. (Marat F)

Sriracha
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Re: Poor PenFed Reviews

Post by Sriracha » Mon Dec 09, 2013 8:01 pm

Well, I have to say that I didn't expect quite so many replies to my OP at the time of posting. And talk about all over the map. I guess if you ask Bogleheads about stuff that's squarely within their wheelhouse then you're gonna get answers!

Thanks for bringing me (and everyone else) the info on PenFed customer service.

As for my issue, I was only considering their CDs b/c of the recent uptick in rates, but reading elsewhere about their potentially lacking customer service had me wondering. And, clearly, the responses in this thread show that I wasn't mislead by what I'd been reading outside the forum.

Seeing what all of you have written, I don't imagine given my position that customer service is key that I'd ever go for anything at PenFed as detail- and labor-oriented as a mortgage. A credit card? Probably not. The CD I was interested in? Probably, given the current interest rate environment, at least. I have enough now to take it to Mrs. Sriracha, anyway. The problem is that she's an even bigger believer in solid customer service as the hallmark of a business than I am. I can make a pretty good case when I want to, though, and I'd like to get that 3% this week.

Again, many thanks for the input. (More, please, from any potential late responders!)
Don't reach for yield.

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LadyGeek
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Re: Poor PenFed Reviews

Post by LadyGeek » Mon Dec 09, 2013 9:16 pm

One of the Bogleheads tenets is "When it’s time to make investing decisions, check your emotions at the door." Remember that this is a small sample, and that it's quite possible you may have a great customer experience. If you go with a lower rate CD, you'll have buyer's remorse - which can last a l-o-n-g time.
Wiki To some, the glass is half full. To others, the glass is half empty. To an engineer, it's twice the size it needs to be.

Sriracha
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Re: Poor PenFed Reviews

Post by Sriracha » Tue Dec 10, 2013 12:26 am

LadyGeek wrote:One of the Bogleheads tenets is "When it’s time to make investing decisions, check your emotions at the door." Remember that this is a small sample, and that it's quite possible you may have a great customer experience. If you go with a lower rate CD, you'll have buyer's remorse - which can last a l-o-n-g time.
Very true, which is why I'm going to try to convince my better half that it's the right thing to do. As for the "small sample" size, that's true, too, but it's a sample of folks whose opinions as a group I respect. I don't know where else I'd look to get more and better input.

As for a PenFed CD, fine. For a mortgage, nope.
Don't reach for yield.

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HawaiiBrewer
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Re: Poor PenFed Reviews

Post by HawaiiBrewer » Tue Dec 10, 2013 3:52 am

Aloha Sriracha...I just joined PenFed on Friday(12/9/2013) and just today bought a $25,000, 5 yr CD from them. I tried to do it on line and saw a $50 per day max transfer amount so called them to ask about it. The person I dealt with was great, very helpful and said that for certificate purchases, call and do it over the phone. The max for a new member like myself is $25,000 per day. I wanted to do $50,000, so I'll do another $25k tomorrow. I want to do $150k total. The alternative is having your current holder of funds "wire" a larger amount to PenFed for your share account and then draw from that. I figure I can just make my $25k purchases over the course of a few days. Agreement forms will be mailed to me for signing and return. Much easier than I expected and faster than dealing with my current credit union where my funds are held....and they only pay 0.85%. You'll need a routing number and account number for the location of your funds in order to make the transfer.

Aloha
Paul :beer
If you don't know where you are going, any road will get you there

Sriracha
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Re: Poor PenFed Reviews

Post by Sriracha » Tue Dec 10, 2013 11:07 am

HawaiiBrewer wrote:Aloha Sriracha...I just joined PenFed on Friday(12/9/2013) and just today bought a $25,000, 5 yr CD from them. I tried to do it on line and saw a $50 per day max transfer amount so called them to ask about it. The person I dealt with was great, very helpful and said that for certificate purchases, call and do it over the phone. The max for a new member like myself is $25,000 per day. I wanted to do $50,000, so I'll do another $25k tomorrow. I want to do $150k total. The alternative is having your current holder of funds "wire" a larger amount to PenFed for your share account and then draw from that. I figure I can just make my $25k purchases over the course of a few days. Agreement forms will be mailed to me for signing and return. Much easier than I expected and faster than dealing with my current credit union where my funds are held....and they only pay 0.85%. You'll need a routing number and account number for the location of your funds in order to make the transfer.

Aloha
Paul :beer
Good to know, Paul. Thanks.
Don't reach for yield.

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dratkinson
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Re: Poor PenFed Reviews

Post by dratkinson » Tue Dec 10, 2013 11:28 am

VictoriaF wrote:PenFed works for me just fine. I don't remember any difficulties with anything I do with them, and in past if I had any questions they were quickly resolved to my satisfaction.

My only mild annoyance is that they have reduced the awards for the points earned on their VISA.

Victoria
You have not yet received the letter notification of the annual fee to use the CC?

To be clear, mine was the old Visa CC (paper statements, 5% gas, .25% everything else, reward subtracted from CC balance owed), not the new Visa CC. So maybe this was PenFed way of clearing their books of the old CC users. :)

The new annual fee, plus the monthly $1 paper statement fee, was enough to move me. And the CSR was very helpful in processing my request. :)
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VictoriaF
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Re: Poor PenFed Reviews

Post by VictoriaF » Tue Dec 10, 2013 11:50 am

dratkinson wrote:
VictoriaF wrote:PenFed works for me just fine. I don't remember any difficulties with anything I do with them, and in past if I had any questions they were quickly resolved to my satisfaction.

My only mild annoyance is that they have reduced the awards for the points earned on their VISA.

Victoria
You have not yet received the letter notification of the annual fee to use the CC?

To be clear, mine was the old Visa CC (paper statements, 5% gas, .25% everything else, reward subtracted from CC balance owed), not the new Visa CC. So maybe this was PenFed way of clearing their books of the old CC users. :)

The new annual fee, plus the monthly $1 paper statement fee, was enough to move me. And the CSR was very helpful in processing my request. :)
I did receive a notification about paper statements and switched to electronic ones. I don't remember seeing a notification about the annual fees. If it's recent, I might have missed it, but my last VISA statement does not show any fees. I did get a new Visa, and so you may be right that they are trying to clear the old ones.

I think PenFed is an example of an in-efficient market that can be arbitraged. They take from the Visa-holders and give to the CD-holders. Thus, Visa-holders can get credit elsewhere, while getting the benefit of the recent relatively-high CD rates.

Victoria
WINNER of the 2015 Boglehead Contest. | Every joke has a bit of a joke. ... The rest is the truth. (Marat F)

kiki
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Re: Poor PenFed Reviews

Post by kiki » Tue Dec 10, 2013 12:28 pm

I've had good luck with PenFed. I've had a few different loans through them, currently a Home Equity and their 5/5 ARM. I've used their credit card for a number of years without issue. And I just bought a 5 year CD. I have minor complaints, but nothing I can't work around. But I've rarely had to talk with someone, so maybe that's why my experience is different.

I will add that the 5/5 ARM that I applied for took forever to get done. I wasn't in a hurry though but I could see how others might have been bothered.

Also, you can apply money directly to your principal for a home mortgage through their website. I've been doing this regularly with my ARM. I have ACH setup between my regular bank and PenFed savings account. I initiate a transfer from my PenFed savings account to draw from my regular bank checking account. The funds in the PenFed savings account are available immediately. I then make a payment on my ARM, drawing from the PenFed savings account and applying it to the principal.

By no means is PenFed perfect, far from it really, especially when compared to other banks. But if you're patient, then I find it's well worth it.

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Leif
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Re: Poor PenFed Reviews

Post by Leif » Tue Dec 10, 2013 8:07 pm

I just became a member. It's odd she told me it would be $25 to start, $20 for the mil organization and $5 min balance. However they put $45 on my cc and I see I have a $25 balance. Anyone encounter something like that? I didn't bother to call them about it.

ACH from penfed pull from my bank to them is from $1,000 to $25,000 per day. So I can set up a cd in $25,000 increments.

She told me no problem to push money to my bank. She said she does it all the time.

tbradnc
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Re: Poor PenFed Reviews

Post by tbradnc » Tue Dec 10, 2013 9:39 pm

CoastRider wrote:I checked again, and was told that PenFed doesn't use ACH if you want to get money out, regardless of the amount, or type of account. (Regular savings, IRA, CD, Checking.) The only way to receive money is via U.S. Mail... a paper check. Oh well, I like supporting the Postal Service.
Are you sure about that? I have my Penfed share account linked to my Fidelity CMA account and can move money out of from Penfed to Fidelity.

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HawaiiBrewer
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Re: Poor PenFed Reviews

Post by HawaiiBrewer » Tue Dec 10, 2013 10:05 pm

Just bought another $25k CD today from a nice CSR....took all of 90 seconds....Sweet

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CoastRider
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Re: Poor PenFed Reviews

Post by CoastRider » Wed Dec 11, 2013 10:23 am

tbradnc wrote:
CoastRider wrote:I checked again, and was told that PenFed doesn't use ACH if you want to get money out, regardless of the amount, or type of account. (Regular savings, IRA, CD, Checking.) The only way to receive money is via U.S. Mail... a paper check. Oh well, I like supporting the Postal Service.
Are you sure about that? I have my Penfed share account linked to my Fidelity CMA account and can move money out of from Penfed to Fidelity.
Congratulations. I don't know how you did that.

When I have a Certificate mature, they send me a check via U.S. Mail. They will not ACH it back to my linked bank (where the money came from in the first place! :? ) Same with my PenFed savings account. They mail a check when I request a withdrawal.

CoastRider
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Re: Poor PenFed Reviews

Post by CoastRider » Wed Dec 11, 2013 10:43 am

zvez wrote:that's not true. you can electronically transfer between your bank account and pfcu in either direction.
Thank you zvez. Maybe it's different with CDs? When my Certificate matures, I click on the "options" box, and I have the choice of:

-rollover the CD for another term
-transfer the money into my PenFed savings account
-have check mailed to my home

There is no option that I can ACH that money back to my linked bank. Are you talking about CDs? (Certificates) Does anyone see an ACH option on your CD account?

learning_head
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Re: Poor PenFed Reviews

Post by learning_head » Wed Dec 11, 2013 10:48 am

CoastRider wrote:When I have a Certificate mature, they send me a check via U.S. Mail. They will not ACH it back to my linked bank (where the money came from in the first place! :? ) Same with my PenFed savings account. They mail a check when I request a withdrawal.
Instead of mailing a check, transfer it to your share account. At another bank or brokerage setup ACH link to that share / savings account at Penfed. Then pull the money by initiating this transaction from your other institution instead of trying to push it via Penfed... As long as other institution has no limit on pulling funds (many do not), I think this should work. I have not tried it personally with Penfed but in analogous situations with other banks, this has worked for me fine (i.e. even when banks have their limits for pushing funds out, those do not seem to apply when you pull money by initiating transfer with someone else who does not have the limits). I am hoping someone can confirm they did this with Penfed specifically though...

zvez
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Re: Poor PenFed Reviews

Post by zvez » Thu Dec 12, 2013 5:43 pm

coast rider you may be right. It may be different for cd accounts, as others suggest, you can transfer to your pfcu account and then to your bank as needed

camaro327
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Re: Poor PenFed Reviews

Post by camaro327 » Fri Dec 13, 2013 6:43 am

learning_head wrote:Instead of mailing a check, transfer it to your share account. At another bank or brokerage setup ACH link to that share / savings account at Penfed. Then pull the money by initiating this transaction from your other institution instead of trying to push it via Penfed... As long as other institution has no limit on pulling funds (many do not), I think this should work. I have not tried it personally with Penfed but in analogous situations with other banks, this has worked for me fine (i.e. even when banks have their limits for pushing funds out, those do not seem to apply when you pull money by initiating transfer with someone else who does not have the limits). I am hoping someone can confirm they did this with Penfed specifically though...
Yes, this will work. You just need a linked internet savings or checking account at another institution to pull from your share draft account.

pc95
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Re: Poor PenFed Reviews

Post by pc95 » Fri Dec 13, 2013 10:13 am

Have had Penfed for 8-9 years. Have their older 5% rebate gas card which I believe is longer available. It's been an excellent gas credit card. I also use them for CDs though their rates have lately been less competitive than in years past. Their CD process is average, and I'd agree with others they're mail is a bit slow. I got lucky with a promotional online glitch which got my foot in on a stellar CD rate a few years ago. They have been a good credit union in my experience.

OkieIndexer
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Re: Poor PenFed Reviews

Post by OkieIndexer » Fri Dec 13, 2013 4:00 pm

I just tried to open my membership and a CD online at Penfed, and it allowed me to open my membership online, but it won't let me open a CD until they can snail mail me my account welcoming materials and I mail back a signature form to them confirming my membership. Is this normal procedure? I signed up for electronic delivery of my statements and documents. It seems like other people I was reading about were able to open their new membership online and immediately open a CD online without waiting for snail mail documents.
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goodenoughinvestor
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Re: Poor PenFed Reviews

Post by goodenoughinvestor » Fri Dec 13, 2013 4:26 pm

After you created a share account, did you register online--ie, create a username and password? Once I did that I was able to access the members' site. I clicked on the tab that said, "open account/certificate" and just followed the directions to open a CD. If you've done that and it's not working, that's a mystery. Maybe try again later?

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Re: Poor PenFed Reviews

Post by HueyLD » Fri Dec 13, 2013 4:34 pm

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Last edited by HueyLD on Sun Feb 08, 2015 6:27 am, edited 1 time in total.

OkieIndexer
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Re: Poor PenFed Reviews

Post by OkieIndexer » Fri Dec 13, 2013 4:42 pm

goodenoughinvestor wrote:After you created a share account, did you register online--ie, create a username and password? Once I did that I was able to access the members' site. I clicked on the tab that said, "open account/certificate" and just followed the directions to open a CD. If you've done that and it's not working, that's a mystery. Maybe try again later?
Yeah, I set up my username and password during the membership opening process, and I can access my account online, but when I try to open a CD I'm getting the message "We cannot establish your account at this time. Please contact us for additional information and assistance." I guess I'll have to contact them...was hoping I could do this all online with minimal fuss.
"In bull markets, people say 'The more risk I take, the greater my return.' But when people aren't afraid of risk, they'll accept risk without being compensated." -Howard Marks, Oaktree Capital

john94549
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Re: Poor PenFed Reviews

Post by john94549 » Fri Dec 13, 2013 5:45 pm

PenFed charges, as I recall, 50 cents for quarterly paper statements. They deduct it from your share account. I assume it's for us dinosaurs.

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Re: Poor PenFed Reviews

Post by fsrph » Fri Dec 13, 2013 6:59 pm

I've never had any problems with Customer Service at PenFed. I recently cashed in an Ally Cd early and moved the money to PenFed. I also broke three PenFed CD's to pay the penalty and get the new 5 year rate. PenFed CS handled all this for me flawlessly - altho I did have to submit a written request to break the PenFed CD's early (this is in accordance with PenFeds rules).

Francis
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goodenoughinvestor
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Re: Poor PenFed Reviews

Post by goodenoughinvestor » Fri Dec 13, 2013 9:05 pm

OkieIndexer wrote:
goodenoughinvestor wrote:After you created a share account, did you register online--ie, create a username and password? Once I did that I was able to access the members' site. I clicked on the tab that said, "open account/certificate" and just followed the directions to open a CD. If you've done that and it's not working, that's a mystery. Maybe try again later?
Yeah, I set up my username and password during the membership opening process, and I can access my account online, but when I try to open a CD I'm getting the message "We cannot establish your account at this time. Please contact us for additional information and assistance." I guess I'll have to contact them...was hoping I could do this all online with minimal fuss.
That's frustrating. The good news is that their phone reps are supposed to be excellent and there are lots of posts on this forum from people who were able to open CDs quickly and easily over the phone. So hopefully you'll have a similar experience.

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OAG
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Re: Poor PenFed Reviews

Post by OAG » Sat Dec 14, 2013 10:23 am

Been a member for about 40 years. Have had car loans, a HELOC, Credit Cards, lots of CD's (about 25 currently), also have ROTH and TIRA's for DW and myself. ACH money both ways never a problem. Call them about once every couple of months and never a problem getting service. The also handle RMD's for the two of us flawlessly. Oh did you get the impression we like PENFED? I know OP did not ask but ditto for Navy FCU.
OAG=Old Army Guy. Retired CW4 USA (US Army) in 1979.

Angst
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Re: Poor PenFed Reviews

Post by Angst » Tue Dec 17, 2013 12:12 am

OAG wrote:Been a member for about 40 years. Have had car loans, a HELOC, Credit Cards, lots of CD's (about 25 currently), also have ROTH and TIRA's for DW and myself. ACH money both ways never a problem. Call them about once every couple of months and never a problem getting service. The also handle RMD's for the two of us flawlessly. Oh did you get the impression we like PENFED? I know OP did not ask but ditto for Navy FCU.
I've been a member for only about 40 hours so far, but I'm pleased too! Signing up online was a breeze, including funding the required share account with my MasterCard. Today I finished filling out the IRA transfer forms which I downloaded from the website (1 pdf file) and I spoke with a CSR who was very pleasant and answered all my questions. Also, even though it says you need to mail in 3 copies of the form, the rep confirmed with the IRA Transfer folks that I could fax in one copy instead and didn't need to mail it in triplicate. She also assured me that the current 3% rate on the 5-year CD would be honored through December 31st. She stated that in the past they'd changed rates in the middle of the month but that the discontent this generated had lead them now to commit through the end of the month. (I still will feel better when I see the rate in my account.) Anyhow, just wanted to say everything has gone well, and the website seems well-organized too. Late this afternoon I also got an email from them confirming their receipt of the fax I'd sent about an hour before. I'm very satisfied so far.

Here's the other thread on the current rates: New PenFed CD rates!

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Bounca
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Re: Poor PenFed Reviews

Post by Bounca » Tue Dec 17, 2013 7:28 am

I tried to do it on line and saw a $50 per day max transfer amount
Me too. Ridiculous. I want to give Penfed my money for a CD. I just joined a few days ago, I'll be cancelling my account as to how silly this 50$ ACH probationary period rule is. I'm not going to call and not filling out a CD piece of paper as I may have back in 1985. Oh, and who comes up with the name 'money market certificate', how misleading/confusing can that be. I'm pretty sure there is a difference between a money market and a certificate of deposit, don't blend the two.

Sorry for the rant.

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Leif
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Re: Poor PenFed Reviews

Post by Leif » Wed Dec 18, 2013 12:12 pm

Bounca wrote:
I tried to do it on line and saw a $50 per day max transfer amount
Me too. Ridiculous. I want to give Penfed my money for a CD. I just joined a few days ago, I'll be cancelling my account as to how silly this 50$ ACH probationary period rule is. I'm not going to call and not filling out a CD piece of paper as I may have back in 1985. Oh, and who comes up with the name 'money market certificate', how misleading/confusing can that be. I'm pretty sure there is a difference between a money market and a certificate of deposit, don't blend the two.

Sorry for the rant.
Not sure what is happening with your account. I just became a member of PenFed last week. I called in to set up the account over the phone. The only "problem" I experienced was they took $45 instead of $25 from my credit card to open the account and make my donation (maybe fat fingered?). So I now have a $25 balance instead of the minimum $5. They did warn me that the CC company may treat that as a money withdrawal instead of a purchase. There is a $25,000 per day limit on ACH transfers to PenFed, so I've been moving $25,000 per day. I think they said this was for the first 6 months. Worked fine so far. Since I just opened the account I don't know about moving money out of PenFed. I don't know why they call it a money market certificate, instead of CD, but I've not heard of an issue from several long term members that have made posts on this thread.

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