What is PenFed good at?

Non-investing personal finance issues including insurance, credit, real estate, taxes, employment and legal issues such as trusts and wills
Topic Author
jco
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Joined: Sat Jan 25, 2020 8:53 am

What is PenFed good at?

Post by jco »

I've had a PenFed savings account and credit card for a long time (pre-2010, I think). I'm thinking about closing all the accounts to simply life a bit, and I'm wondering if there's some strong benefit I'm missing that should change my mind.

I got the 5% cashback card for gas (which is now 5 points per dollar spent, so not quite as good). I already have a Costco card that will give 4% back on gas, which is pretty close.

I've only kept the minimum $5 in my savings. I've literally gained 1 cent of interest in the decade+ I've been there.

I did open the AccessAmerica checking in March (?) to take advantage of the $200 bonus. But I get better checking interest elsewhere.

I thought maybe they would be competitive in mortgage rates, but when I contacted them last week, they offered me a 3.125% 30-year rate WITH POINTS, whereas I could get a 2.875% 30-year rate with a lender credit elsewhere.

Is there something like Auto Loans (which I've never had before) or CDs or something for which they're very competitive?
arf30
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Re: What is PenFed good at?

Post by arf30 »

I don't have accounts there but they're known for competitive auto financing, including rare cars that most banks won't touch.
peterwantstosave
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Re: What is PenFed good at?

Post by peterwantstosave »

I reopened my account there a few weeks ago, just to have an alternative to my main bank. Actually opening the account was a bit of work, but it's been fine after that

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fujiters
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Re: What is PenFed good at?

Post by fujiters »

Their mortgage rates have been reliably competitive and their Pathfinder credit card is one of the only no annual fee cards that reimburses Global Entry/TSA pre check and offers a $100/year airline fee credit.
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stan1
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Re: What is PenFed good at?

Post by stan1 »

Their CD rates were good around 2013 but not recently. I closed my account and my mom's account.
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TxAg
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Re: What is PenFed good at?

Post by TxAg »

We had a new car loan with them 4 years ago. It was extremely easy.
Rex66
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Re: What is PenFed good at?

Post by Rex66 »

Historically mortgage, car loan and CDs

Currently just ok in the above
MBB_Boy
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Re: What is PenFed good at?

Post by MBB_Boy »

They're great at working the rules and regulations of the industry. Pretty amazing that they can claim to be a credit union (and therefore pay no federal taxes) while literally being able to accept anyone. They don't have a defined field of membership, yet are able to dodge both taxes AND the tougher supervision of the bank regulators (e.g., OCC). Kudos

My snarky reply aside, I don't see anything unique among their offerings. Sometimes they do good CDs
nalor511
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Re: What is PenFed good at?

Post by nalor511 »

Other than the recent $200 bonus for checking (no direct dep required), then I would have said I hadn't used them for anything in about 8 years
perikleez
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Re: What is PenFed good at?

Post by perikleez »

i opened a PenFed savings/checking account about 20yrs ago when I worked in DC, by after I moved i withdrew all funds except maybe $1 in savings and i think i didn' bother changing my address for the account so it eventually became dormant (no mail, no monthly charges), a couple years ago moved to another state for new job, and guess what, there was a PenFed branch down the street from my job. since i was new to the area and needed a local bank, I went to PenFed and after reopening my accounts the branch manager says "Congrats on being a 20 year member of PenFed!" i guess that counts for something.

i moved to my new state from california where i also had a local credit union for my checking/savings account, and those accounts are now dormant ($1 funds, no mail or monthly service). and since i still travel to california for business and pleasure, i'm sure if i ever need bank services while there, I can locate the nearest branch to help me take care of my banking needs.

i also have another online checking/savings account that i don't actively use with no monthly fees and bothersome correspondence. and over the years i discovered that there are times i need a temporary online checking or savings account, like a special checking account to use for direct deposits/automatic withdrawals for investment funds management, i know that online dormant account is there.

bottom line: if there are no monthly fees, its easier to just clear out your funds, turn off email/correspondence and notifications, forget about than closing the bank accounts, and keep them open cuz you never know when you will need them and it saves you from having to go through opening new accounts at another bank. like who knows, maybe one day you will need to do an emergency EFT from Bank-A to Bank-to stop doing business with Bank-A? Or maybe you think you may end up in a divorce and need to rearrange your "allocations of funds"? lol
friar1610
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Re: What is PenFed good at?

Post by friar1610 »

I joined PenFed a long time ago because they had a "no foreign transaction fee" card that I could use in other countries without the fees. Then, for a while, they had some pretty good CD rates that I jumped on. But it's been quite a while since any of those rates have been attractive. I hope my days of borrowing money (mortgages, car loans) are over with, so low rates on loans are not important to me.

I have a PenFed CD maturing before the end of the year and when that happens I will just keep the credit card (although I now have other NFTF cards) and the minimum in the savings account just in case good deals return. But, for now, PenFed is not on my radar. I'm much happier overall with Navy Federal.
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TravelGeek
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Re: What is PenFed good at?

Post by TravelGeek »

stan1 wrote: Sat Sep 05, 2020 11:01 am Their CD rates were good around 2013 but not recently. I closed my account and my mom's account.
Same here. I opened my account during the 3% five year CD special rate period. Now that all CDs have matured, I have only about $80 in the share account and will close it in December if no new CD offer materializes that would make it worth moving funds there from Ally.
tj
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Re: What is PenFed good at?

Post by tj »

MBB_Boy wrote: Sat Sep 05, 2020 11:24 am They're great at working the rules and regulations of the industry. Pretty amazing that they can claim to be a credit union (and therefore pay no federal taxes) while literally being able to accept anyone. They don't have a defined field of membership, yet are able to dodge both taxes AND the tougher supervision of the bank regulators (e.g., OCC). Kudos

My snarky reply aside, I don't see anything unique among their offerings. Sometimes they do good CDs
Who can join?
All Branches of the U.S. Military,
plus employees of the Department
of Defense and Department
of Homeland Security.


There are other ways in, but they'd hardly be the first credit union that allows someone to donate their way in.
vtMaps
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Re: What is PenFed good at?

Post by vtMaps »

jco wrote: Sat Sep 05, 2020 9:57 am I got the 5% cashback card for gas (which is now 5 points per dollar spent, so not quite as good).
When did that happen? My wife has the 5% gasoline cash rewards card, and she still gets an automatic statement credit each month for 5% of the value of gasoline charged that month.

--vtMaps
Historical Fact: Justin Smith Morrill represented Vermont in congress, had a dog named 'Trump', and wrote legislation establishing the Land Grant Colleges.
tj
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Re: What is PenFed good at?

Post by tj »

PenFed used to have 5/5 ARM mortgages that people liked. They also used to have good CDs. And cheap car loans.


I have a the Pathfinder Rewards (Which was converted from a Travel Amex), I will keep this card because it has a $100 airline credit every year and Global Entry credit with no annual fee.

I also have the 5% gas card, but I don't use it much anymore, since I have Bank Of America Platinum Honors, and I can use a card with that for 5.25% on gas, but if that program every goes away, I'll go back to PenFed for gas purchases.
Last edited by tj on Sat Sep 05, 2020 1:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
rkhusky
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Re: What is PenFed good at?

Post by rkhusky »

vtMaps wrote: Sat Sep 05, 2020 1:34 pm
jco wrote: Sat Sep 05, 2020 9:57 am I got the 5% cashback card for gas (which is now 5 points per dollar spent, so not quite as good).
When did that happen? My wife has the 5% gasoline cash rewards card, and she still gets an automatic statement credit each month for 5% of the value of gasoline charged that month.

--vtMaps
Two different cards.
mesaverde
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Re: What is PenFed good at?

Post by mesaverde »

As others have said, Penfed had very competitive mortgage rates (fixed rates and for 1-2 years there was a really good deal on a 5/5 ARM), CD rates, and credit card deals. I've been thinking about cutting everything off from them though... the only association I currently have w/ Penfed is a no foreign transaction fee credit card, which is kind of a challenge to find.
"Learn from the past, live in the present, plan for the future"
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TomatoTomahto
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Re: What is PenFed good at?

Post by TomatoTomahto »

I got the card many years ago for 5% rebate for gasoline. I’ve had a Tesla for 4 years or so, and my wife has filled up her car once since March (COVID).

I guess I’ll close it down. Thanks for waking me up 😁
Okay, I get it; I won't be political or controversial. The Earth is flat.
tj
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Re: What is PenFed good at?

Post by tj »

mesaverde wrote: Sat Sep 05, 2020 2:03 pm As others have said, Penfed had very competitive mortgage rates (fixed rates and for 1-2 years there was a really good deal on a 5/5 ARM), CD rates, and credit card deals. I've been thinking about cutting everything off from them though... the only association I currently have w/ Penfed is a no foreign transaction fee credit card, which is kind of a challenge to find.
Why cut it off?

I have an account with Northrop Grumman FCU that I haven't done anything with years, but why bother going through the effort of closing it when there are no fees?
MBB_Boy
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Re: What is PenFed good at?

Post by MBB_Boy »

tj wrote: Sat Sep 05, 2020 1:33 pm
MBB_Boy wrote: Sat Sep 05, 2020 11:24 am They're great at working the rules and regulations of the industry. Pretty amazing that they can claim to be a credit union (and therefore pay no federal taxes) while literally being able to accept anyone. They don't have a defined field of membership, yet are able to dodge both taxes AND the tougher supervision of the bank regulators (e.g., OCC). Kudos

My snarky reply aside, I don't see anything unique among their offerings. Sometimes they do good CDs
Who can join?
All Branches of the U.S. Military,
plus employees of the Department
of Defense and Department
of Homeland Security.


There are other ways in, but they'd hardly be the first credit union that allows someone to donate their way in.
That's not accurate anymore. Literally anyone can join now, and it doesn't require any sort of donation. And frankly, the $5 donation thing that some credit unions do is a scam anyway, designed as the barest of fig leafs to check the regulatory box that they "have a field of membership". I joined GTE financial through a $5 donation requirement.....which they then waived!

PenFed bought a much smaller credit union and subverted to their open charter, which allows anyone to join

Regardless, kudos to PenFed (and every other credit union) that managed to find a way to get around the field of membership requirements and not pay taxes. I'm not mad at them. Just too bad they aren't able to use those savings to be better than banks - in the days of digital banking, scale is a powerful factor. I have used a few credit unions in the past when their products are better, and will in the future
Gnirk
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Re: What is PenFed good at?

Post by Gnirk »

I opened a PenFed account several years ago when they were offering good rates on their MM certificates. Now I just have $8 in the savings account, in case, you know, they offer good rates on MMs again....someday, maybe.
tj
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Re: What is PenFed good at?

Post by tj »

MBB_Boy wrote: Sat Sep 05, 2020 2:37 pm
tj wrote: Sat Sep 05, 2020 1:33 pm
MBB_Boy wrote: Sat Sep 05, 2020 11:24 am They're great at working the rules and regulations of the industry. Pretty amazing that they can claim to be a credit union (and therefore pay no federal taxes) while literally being able to accept anyone. They don't have a defined field of membership, yet are able to dodge both taxes AND the tougher supervision of the bank regulators (e.g., OCC). Kudos

My snarky reply aside, I don't see anything unique among their offerings. Sometimes they do good CDs
Who can join?
All Branches of the U.S. Military,
plus employees of the Department
of Defense and Department
of Homeland Security.


There are other ways in, but they'd hardly be the first credit union that allows someone to donate their way in.
That's not accurate anymore. Literally anyone can join now, and it doesn't require any sort of donation. And frankly, the $5 donation thing that some credit unions do is a scam anyway, designed as the barest of fig leafs to check the regulatory box that they "have a field of membership". I joined GTE financial through a $5 donation requirement.....which they then waived!

PenFed bought a much smaller credit union and subverted to their open charter, which allows anyone to join

Regardless, kudos to PenFed (and every other credit union) that managed to find a way to get around the field of membership requirements and not pay taxes. I'm not mad at them. Just too bad they aren't able to use those savings to be better than banks - in the days of digital banking, scale is a powerful factor. I have used a few credit unions in the past when their products are better, and will in the future
What CU did PenFed buy? How was that CU allowed to have an "open charter" ?
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Watty
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Re: What is PenFed good at?

Post by Watty »

tj wrote: Sat Sep 05, 2020 1:36 pm PenFed used to have 5/5 ARM mortgages that people liked.
That was a great deal that I used when I was on the homestretch for getting my house paid off. It has been a long time since they had that though.

After I paid the house off I opened a decent no cost HELOC there, but I don't know what they are offering now.

I also have a PenFed Credit card that has no foreign transaction fee and no cash advance fee. I use that when I am traveling internationally to get cash from ATMs. I pay it off as soon as I get home. The interest on the charges for just a week or two is just a few dollars so that is pretty cheap. My normal local bank has high international ATM fees.

I don't travel internationally enough to make moving money to someplace with a no fee ATM card worthwhile.

I also like have a credit card that I can use at an ATM when I am traveling in the US just in case I have a problem with my normal ATM card.
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BL
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Re: What is PenFed good at?

Post by BL »

They are now emphasizing premium savings account @ 0.8%. Not bad for as long as it lasts.
Topic Author
jco
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Re: What is PenFed good at?

Post by jco »

rkhusky wrote: Sat Sep 05, 2020 1:36 pm
vtMaps wrote: Sat Sep 05, 2020 1:34 pm
jco wrote: Sat Sep 05, 2020 9:57 am I got the 5% cashback card for gas (which is now 5 points per dollar spent, so not quite as good).
When did that happen? My wife has the 5% gasoline cash rewards card, and she still gets an automatic statement credit each month for 5% of the value of gasoline charged that month.

--vtMaps
Two different cards.
It may be worth double checking.

I have the Platinum Rewards card. It was originally a true 5% cashback on gas, but PenFed changed it a very long time ago to points. It's probably a 4 5% cashback card on gas.

It sounds like they may have introduced the PenFed Platinum Cash Rewards Visa Card, which had 5% cashback on gas. It's not offered on PenFed's website anymore but existing cardholders may be grandfathered in.
tj
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Re: What is PenFed good at?

Post by tj »

jco wrote: Sat Sep 05, 2020 2:57 pm
rkhusky wrote: Sat Sep 05, 2020 1:36 pm
vtMaps wrote: Sat Sep 05, 2020 1:34 pm
jco wrote: Sat Sep 05, 2020 9:57 am I got the 5% cashback card for gas (which is now 5 points per dollar spent, so not quite as good).
When did that happen? My wife has the 5% gasoline cash rewards card, and she still gets an automatic statement credit each month for 5% of the value of gasoline charged that month.

--vtMaps
Two different cards.
It may be worth double checking.

I have the Platinum Rewards card. It was originally a true 5% cashback on gas, but PenFed changed it a very long time ago to points. It's probably a 4 5% cashback card on gas.

It sounds like they may have introduced the PenFed Platinum Cash Rewards Visa Card, which had 5% cashback on gas. It's not offered on PenFed's website anymore but existing cardholders may be grandfathered in.
The Cash card was first. There was at one point an incentive to upgrade to the Platinum Rewards, which i took, at one point they were actively marketing both cards, and they let me product change back to the Cash Rewards card.

The Cash card no longer gives 2% on groceries, I believe it's 5% gas, 0.25% everything else, so there's really no reason to use it for anything other than gas. The nice part is that the gas rebate credits automatically.
Scooter57
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Re: What is PenFed good at?

Post by Scooter57 »

I joined for the great CDs years ago and a good credit card. I just keep $5 in my share account in :!: case they have good rates again. The card is no longer competitive and I have stopped using it. A couple times I have almost closed other CU or bank accounts and then the institution offered something attractive again. As long as there is no penalty, a few bucks left in an account saves reapplying.
TravelGeek
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Re: What is PenFed good at?

Post by TravelGeek »

tj wrote: Sat Sep 05, 2020 2:16 pm
mesaverde wrote: Sat Sep 05, 2020 2:03 pm As others have said, Penfed had very competitive mortgage rates (fixed rates and for 1-2 years there was a really good deal on a 5/5 ARM), CD rates, and credit card deals. I've been thinking about cutting everything off from them though... the only association I currently have w/ Penfed is a no foreign transaction fee credit card, which is kind of a challenge to find.
Why cut it off?

I have an account with Northrop Grumman FCU that I haven't done anything with years, but why bother going through the effort of closing it when there are no fees?
Well, one reason is to simplify your life and that of your executor if/when you die. Just this morning I saw this thread in the weekly early-retirement forum newsletter:

https://www.early-retirement.org/forums ... 05313.html

Now, I have no plans to die any time soon, but I am still trying to keep the number of accounts I have manageable. An account (bank or credit card or brokerage) that serves no purpose will be closed down.
jbuzolich
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Re: What is PenFed good at?

Post by jbuzolich »

I joined because there was so much talk about great car loans. They were better than any other bank I could see but when we went to buy a car a couple years later the dealer happily offered 0.9% which was much lower than Penfed. The couple cars we have bought since then have each been on 0% loans without any questions. Now I don't know why I still keep Penfed active.
tj
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Re: What is PenFed good at?

Post by tj »

TravelGeek wrote: Sat Sep 05, 2020 4:13 pm
tj wrote: Sat Sep 05, 2020 2:16 pm
mesaverde wrote: Sat Sep 05, 2020 2:03 pm As others have said, Penfed had very competitive mortgage rates (fixed rates and for 1-2 years there was a really good deal on a 5/5 ARM), CD rates, and credit card deals. I've been thinking about cutting everything off from them though... the only association I currently have w/ Penfed is a no foreign transaction fee credit card, which is kind of a challenge to find.
Why cut it off?

I have an account with Northrop Grumman FCU that I haven't done anything with years, but why bother going through the effort of closing it when there are no fees?
Well, one reason is to simplify your life and that of your executor if/when you die. Just this morning I saw this thread in the weekly early-retirement forum newsletter:

https://www.early-retirement.org/forums ... 05313.html

Now, I have no plans to die any time soon, but I am still trying to keep the number of accounts I have manageable. An account (bank or credit card or brokerage) that serves no purpose will be closed down.
I mean, I wouldn't be bothered go through all that for $5. I would just abandon that to the state. I have to imagine there were substantial assets to justify going through that much effort.
Mrxyz
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Re: What is PenFed good at?

Post by Mrxyz »

I have a 5% cashback for gas purchase using their CC.
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Quercus Palustris
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Re: What is PenFed good at?

Post by Quercus Palustris »

We use it for the no fee, no foreign transaction fee, flat rate 2% cash back card. Also convenience of where the branch is.

I believe they also offer medallion signature (is that the right term?) service, the finding of which seems to be a perennial subject on Bogleheads.
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TimeRunner
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Re: What is PenFed good at?

Post by TimeRunner »

TomatoTomahto wrote: Sat Sep 05, 2020 2:15 pm I got the card many years ago for 5% rebate for gasoline. I’ve had a Tesla for 4 years or so, and my wife has filled up her car once since March (COVID).

I guess I’ll close it down. Thanks for waking me up 😁
Me too, but no Tesla, and also no long distance driving with da Virus.
One cannot enlighten the unconscious.
HopeToGolf
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Re: What is PenFed good at?

Post by HopeToGolf »

They used to have good CD/certificate rates. I am in the process of withdrawing my money from there and will close the accounts once the final CD matures and the money is transferred.
MikeG62
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Re: What is PenFed good at?

Post by MikeG62 »

Agree with others, they "used to" have competitive CD rates (I had a few CD's with Pen Fed myself that matured 4-5 years ago), but not anymore. I had a HELOC with Pen Fed, but I closed that years ago. They also used to have competitive mortgage rates. I referred two of my friends to Pen Fed years ago for mortgages and both were pleased.

My relationship with them now (and for the last number of years) is limited to their legacy cash rewards CC (5% cash back on gas). We only use that card for gas (have never used it for anything else in fact, since opening it well over a decade ago). I have $25 in a MMA at Pen Fed which secures the 5% cash back rate. I suppose I could get 5.25% on gas opening and using the BofA rewards card for gas, but the 25bps given what we spend on gas (pre-pandemic was ~$175 per month on average) seems not worth the bother (coupled with the fact that my wife is accustomed to using the Pen Fed rewards card for gas and I am loathe to bother her with a CC change for such small dollars - incremental cash back would be around $5 per year).

They are no doubt losing money on me and I wonder when they might wake up and tell me they want to kill my card. Until they do, we will continue to use the card as it's one of the better ones around for gas rewards. If they do want to kill it, I'll then swap over to the BofA rewards card.
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mslaw
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Re: What is PenFed good at?

Post by mslaw »

Pen Fed issues “Tap to Pay” credit cards for touch less payment of purchases.
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VictoriaF
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Re: What is PenFed good at?

Post by VictoriaF »

I keep my PenFed account for two reasons:
1. Proximity - If I have an issue I can drive or take Metro to a PenFed branch.
2. Friction - changing a checking account to another institution is much harder than, say, closing a credit card.

As for optimizing the number of financial accounts, there are two opposing considerations:
a) simplicity of having as few as possible
b) resilience of having diversity and redundancy

I used to think that simplicity was more important for my heir and for my possible future cognitive decline. Later, my thinking has changed. As I am converting from the TSP G fund to Roth IRAs outside the TSP, I need to be mindful of the CD rates offered by various institutions and not exceeding $250k in any given institution.

In the age of cyber insecurity, any financial organization can go off-line for a long while with financial transactions being unavailable. Even if the system is eventually restored, and you get access to your money, you need other options.

By the time I get my cognitive decline (if ever) or my heir takes the possession of my assets, I hope to have spent most of my assets and mistakes of forgetting specific accounts being immaterial.

Victoria
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carolinaman
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Re: What is PenFed good at?

Post by carolinaman »

I bought CDs a few years ago at 3%, way above market at that time, and renewed them about 18 months ago at 3.4%. Their service is good but I am not local to DC area and doubt I will use them for anything else.
UpperNwGuy
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Re: What is PenFed good at?

Post by UpperNwGuy »

PenFed is good at:
—auto loans
—high yield savings
—a 2% cash back credit card (no points system)
—no foreign transaction fees on any credit card

They used to be good at CDs, but they've changed their focus from CDs to high yield savings.
MBB_Boy
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Re: What is PenFed good at?

Post by MBB_Boy »

tj wrote: Sat Sep 05, 2020 2:46 pm
MBB_Boy wrote: Sat Sep 05, 2020 2:37 pm
tj wrote: Sat Sep 05, 2020 1:33 pm
MBB_Boy wrote: Sat Sep 05, 2020 11:24 am They're great at working the rules and regulations of the industry. Pretty amazing that they can claim to be a credit union (and therefore pay no federal taxes) while literally being able to accept anyone. They don't have a defined field of membership, yet are able to dodge both taxes AND the tougher supervision of the bank regulators (e.g., OCC). Kudos

My snarky reply aside, I don't see anything unique among their offerings. Sometimes they do good CDs
Who can join?
All Branches of the U.S. Military,
plus employees of the Department
of Defense and Department
of Homeland Security.


There are other ways in, but they'd hardly be the first credit union that allows someone to donate their way in.
That's not accurate anymore. Literally anyone can join now, and it doesn't require any sort of donation. And frankly, the $5 donation thing that some credit unions do is a scam anyway, designed as the barest of fig leafs to check the regulatory box that they "have a field of membership". I joined GTE financial through a $5 donation requirement.....which they then waived!

PenFed bought a much smaller credit union and subverted to their open charter, which allows anyone to join

Regardless, kudos to PenFed (and every other credit union) that managed to find a way to get around the field of membership requirements and not pay taxes. I'm not mad at them. Just too bad they aren't able to use those savings to be better than banks - in the days of digital banking, scale is a powerful factor. I have used a few credit unions in the past when their products are better, and will in the future
What CU did PenFed buy? How was that CU allowed to have an "open charter" ?
It was a small credit union called Progressive, and I have absolutely no idea
bltn
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Re: What is PenFed good at?

Post by bltn »

I also joined PenFed when I discovered that the side business I was involved with was using their cc for gasoline purchases. I joined simply to get the 5% gasoline rebate.
Then our side business truck needed to be replaced. I looked into it and discovered the PenFed car buying service. I was able to get a great deal on a new truck through this service.
I ll probably use their car buying service to investigate my next car purchase, scheduled for next year. If nothing else, I ll keep the card for the gasoline discounts.
exarkun
Posts: 28
Joined: Fri May 19, 2017 12:19 pm

Re: What is PenFed good at?

Post by exarkun »

Why not keep the $5 savings account and credit card open to help your credit score?
houseofnine
Posts: 89
Joined: Sat Jan 11, 2020 4:40 pm

Re: What is PenFed good at?

Post by houseofnine »

I have a HELOC at PenFed because they were the only ones who would do a HELOC on an out of state rental property. Credit Unions and regular banks wouldn’t touch it.
renegade06
Posts: 285
Joined: Sat Jan 12, 2019 3:00 pm

Re: What is PenFed good at?

Post by renegade06 »

I joined Pen Fed about 20 years ago and have kept my account open but haven’t used them much until recently.

I opened a couple of high yield savings accounts with them and the rate is right up there with any of the others like Amex, CIT, Ally, etc. I trust PenFed more than any of the big banks. I use USAA for my primary banking but would definitely consider moving to Pen Fed. I’m not super impressed with their website, but that’s not a huge deal to me.
omposton
Posts: 10
Joined: Sat Feb 08, 2020 5:00 pm

Re: What is PenFed good at?

Post by omposton »

- No foreign transaction fees
- Their credit cards will (theoretically) fall back to chip + PIN. Now, I have never witnessed this actually work and have had a self-checkout demand a signature. But theoretically, you have a credit card that the rest of the world will be able to handle even if whatever can't handle chip + signature. (There is actually a chip + PIN card or two available in the US, but I already had a PenFed account as they had a good auto loan rate.)
- They seem to think more highly of my credit than other banks. (They disclose the score they use and gave me an absurdly high credit card limit, so good for your usage ratio, I guess.)
brad.clarkston
Posts: 971
Joined: Fri Jan 03, 2014 8:31 pm
Location: Kansas City, MO

Re: What is PenFed good at?

Post by brad.clarkston »

If your military or former military there VA loans & insurance is the best in the industry. If your not there still pretty good.
tj
Posts: 3326
Joined: Thu Dec 24, 2009 12:10 am

Re: What is PenFed good at?

Post by tj »

brad.clarkston wrote: Sun Sep 06, 2020 4:14 pm If your military or former military there VA loans & insurance is the best in the industry. If your not there still pretty good.
What insurance does PenFed offer?
TravelGeek
Posts: 3767
Joined: Sat Oct 25, 2014 3:23 pm

Re: What is PenFed good at?

Post by TravelGeek »

VictoriaF wrote: Sun Sep 06, 2020 7:27 am
As for optimizing the number of financial accounts, there are two opposing considerations:
a) simplicity of having as few as possible
b) resilience of having diversity and redundancy

"possible" can certainly factor in a desire of resiliency/redundancy. I don't want more accounts than I need, but that isn't "1".

PenFed, for me, adds at this time nothing in terms redundancy given we have Ally, US Bank, and another credit union for checking accounts.

Ally: hub bank account (checking, savings, CDs)
US Bank: mega-bank with local branches and ATMs (just checking; fed monthly from Ally as needed)
CU: checking and savings; redundancy and sentimental reasons (my first ever account); access to free ATMs. Only has about $1000.

I have an Amex Savings account for the 25k Membership Rewards bonus open right now that I will close next year. And then there is PenFed, which will be closed if they don't surprise me with an awesome CD deal before year-end. If I had a local PenFed branch, I would consider substituting them for my other CU.
mslaw wrote: Sun Sep 06, 2020 7:17 am Pen Fed issues “Tap to Pay” credit cards for touch less payment of purchases.
Don't most banks these days have those?
UpperNwGuy
Posts: 4091
Joined: Sun Oct 08, 2017 7:16 pm

Re: What is PenFed good at?

Post by UpperNwGuy »

omposton wrote: Sun Sep 06, 2020 4:07 pm Their credit cards will (theoretically) fall back to chip + PIN. Now, I have never witnessed this actually work and have had a self-checkout demand a signature. But theoretically, you have a credit card that the rest of the world will be able to handle even if whatever can't handle chip + signature. (There is actually a chip + PIN card or two available in the US, but I already had a PenFed account as they had a good auto loan rate.)
I can confirm that it successfully falls back to chip+PIN if that's what the unattended machine demands. I was in Lyon, France a few years ago, and I needed to buy a streetcar ticket from an unattended ticket machine. I inserted my PenFed Promise card, and the machine asked for my PIN. I keyed in my PIN, and out popped the ticket. Oddly enough, a similar ticket machine in Nyon, Switzerland simply accepted the transaction without a PIN (or a signature) a few days earlier. And in restaurants, the hand-held devices carried by the waiters asked for a signature in both France and Switzerland. So it all depends upon the merchant's machine. The PenFed card handled all three methods successfully.
brad.clarkston
Posts: 971
Joined: Fri Jan 03, 2014 8:31 pm
Location: Kansas City, MO

Re: What is PenFed good at?

Post by brad.clarkston »

tj wrote: Sun Sep 06, 2020 5:35 pm
brad.clarkston wrote: Sun Sep 06, 2020 4:14 pm If your military or former military there VA loans & insurance is the best in the industry. If your not there still pretty good.
What insurance does PenFed offer?
Auto directly and then they have 3rd party deals for term life/accidental death
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