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
tj
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Re: What is PenFed good at?

Post by tj »

brad.clarkston wrote: Sun Sep 06, 2020 6:48 pm
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
This is the first I've heard of PenFed offering Auto Insurance...Interesting.
brad.clarkston
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Re: What is PenFed good at?

Post by brad.clarkston »

tj wrote: Sun Sep 06, 2020 6:53 pm
brad.clarkston wrote: Sun Sep 06, 2020 6:48 pm
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
This is the first I've heard of PenFed offering Auto Insurance...Interesting.
It seems a bit targeted as it's not prominent on there website like the loans are. For some reason they do more targeted than broad advertising. Once I had several of there products (savings act/cc) and was active with them the e-mails up-ticked.
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wander
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Re: What is PenFed good at?

Post by wander »

I use Penfed cash rewards visa so you can enjoy waiting at Costco gas stations.
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dodecahedron
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Re: What is PenFed good at?

Post by dodecahedron »

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
A local credit union around here has a long list of ways one can qualify for membership. One of the ways is if you "live, work, worship, or attend school in ... [long list of cities and towns in Upstate NY]." As it happens, I do belong to a religious congregation in one of the cities on the list. (I also work in that city.) But I was curious as to what counts as "worshipping" in a city. I asked "If I just say prayers and meditate in a city park in [city on the list] but do not belong to any formal congregation, would that count?" I was told, "Yes, that would be fine."
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jco
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Re: What is PenFed good at?

Post by jco »

wander wrote: Sun Sep 06, 2020 7:35 pm I use Penfed cash rewards visa so you can enjoy waiting at Costco gas stations.
Actually, the Costco Visa is 4% on gas worldwide, not only at Costco gas stations. Still not quite as good as the PenFed's card 5 points/5%, but close.
test123
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Re: What is PenFed good at?

Post by test123 »

I’m a 5 year+ member at penfed. Initially joined because their basket Of offerings At that time were optimum what I was looking for. Overall-we’re a happy customer—they had some growing pains a year or so ago as they acquired other institutions that resulted in cust service issues like long waits on hold. Cards: I have the 5% gas card (just verified it is 5%) Which is Is great for us and as others have said- reward is a statement credit. It’s not clear on their site but I recall that their is some hoop you have to jump thru to get 5% (insteaD of standard 3%) -for example-have other $ in the bank, or Set-up direct deposit, etc. but that is waived for veterans. I also have a 2% rewards card that use for all Purchases and is pays out as a statement credit. We also have (2) Travel type cards that offer Annual travel Related statement credits and Also pay for our TSA pre/global entry fees. All their cards are no annual fees and I believe have no FTF. I just looked at their website and not all the cards I have are currently available. Savings: we had a high yield savings (HYS) but closed it to consolidate at Sync Bank. Currently the penfed HYS is paying .80 (versus .75 at Sync bank). CD’s: we have purchased cert’s there when the rate made sense and still have a couple (both of which are 24 month at 2.80%, maturing in October). Their current rates are crap like everyone else’s—12 mo .50 and 24 mo .60 (sync is offer 12 mo .75 and 24 mo .80). Regarding the “fig leaf” of membership- as I recall—all Credit unions have been offering work arounds for a very long time.
zeep
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Transfers?

Post by zeep »

I'm thinking of their .80% savings account. How easy is it to transfer money in and out? Are their limits and timing reasonable in practice?
JackoC
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Re: What is PenFed good at?

Post by JackoC »

Scooter57 wrote: Sat Sep 05, 2020 3:56 pm 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.
Same here. One side of me, and I guess it's stronger in other people, wants to tidy up and close 'unnecessary' accounts but the opportunity cost of leaving $5 in a CU which used to have some good deal is really nothing. And they might someday offer another good deal, it might even be only available to 'existing customers'.

So I also left $5 in PenFed after 3% 5yr CD matured in 2019 (1.49% spread over the 5 yr note in early 2014, a much higher spread compared to normal then than now). They haven't had good CD rates in more recent years, but earlier this year they came out with $200 bonus on only $1200 checking account and $100 on a 2% cashback (if you have the checking account) no annual fee, no foreign transaction fee visa. The latter can be my non-BOA back up to BOA Preferred Rewards (2.625% at Platinum Honors level), Citi Double Cash (convoluted 2% with foreign fee) can go dormant. I might have found out about and accessed those offers as non-existing customer, but as existing customer they put it right in front of you, a few clicks for $200 taxable and $100 non-taxable: why not? Having collected the bonus I now have the checking balance just over minimum $500 to keep the credit card going, $4 a year lost interest after tax, even v my exceptional 1.25% main checking account rate which will surely drop before too long.

Often I think on 'how is this institution?' some people are coming it from the attitude they'd have one or at most very few bank/CU accounts. But if you have no problem having many accounts, any given one only has to offer something worthwhile every once in a while.
Last edited by JackoC on Mon Sep 07, 2020 9:20 am, edited 1 time in total.
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BrandonBogle
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Re: What is PenFed good at?

Post by BrandonBogle »

tj wrote: Sat Sep 05, 2020 3:03 pm
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.
My mother and I used to have the Cash Rewards (or whatever it was called) that was 5% cash back on gas and some other percent on other things. Then they were changing things to drop the “other things” and it would be 5% gas and 0% everything else (I thought 0%, but maybe 0.25% for groceries?). Meanwhile, you could convert to the 5% in points for gas card and it would still have points on everything else. I switched and my mother didn’t. Both cards are still open today, but barely are used. The 5% in points card offers cell phone protection that I’ve used a few times, so the only thing paid to it is our cell phone monthly bills.
slick_dealer_05
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Re: What is PenFed good at?

Post by slick_dealer_05 »

They dont have the best security. Just had someone use my debit card in Amsterdam (while I am here in US) and Penfed didnt block the transaction. Its taking weeks to get it fixed by them. Chase is so much better.
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BrandonBogle
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Re: What is PenFed good at?

Post by BrandonBogle »

omposton wrote: Sun Sep 06, 2020 4:07 pm - 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.)
My PenFed Visa is the only card I had that would work at the self-ticketing kiosks in Paris. I specifically took the card with me in case of that very concern. This was in the summer of 2017.
Admiral
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Re: What is PenFed good at?

Post by Admiral »

They just gave me a 36 mo 20k car loan at 2.14%. That seems pretty good. The only "fee" was that I had to open a PenFed account and fund it with $5.

I plan to pay it off early anyway so the effective interest rate will be even lower. I found their customer service to be very good. I was annoyed that they would only issue a paper check for the loan (in 2020, go figure) and would not do any kind of EFT (or even a wire, even if I paid). This was inconvenient, but beyond that, seems fine thus far.
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midareff
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Re: What is PenFed good at?

Post by midareff »

arf30 wrote: Sat Sep 05, 2020 10:00 am I don't have accounts there but they're known for competitive auto financing, including rare cars that most banks won't touch.
I had two cars financed at 1.49%. One for 4 years the other 3.
usagi
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Re: What is PenFed good at?

Post by usagi »

Outside of Vanguard they are the most frustrating, incompetent financial institution I ever attempted to do business with. I never was able to open a simple account with them because they kept hassling me about my identification and address. Note, the Passport office, DMV, Schwab, Fidelity, FirstTrade and 5 other banks I opened CDs with last year had no issues, but PenFed, oh yeah. In the end, I just gave up messing with their ridiculous demands that were their own bizzaro interpretation of the Patriot Act's know your customer.

There may be things they do well, but they are a unyielding bureaucratic nightmare to deal with. I would hate to have an unusual circumstance come up that did not fit their strictly scripted instruction manual.

Customer service matters to me, if it matters to you, I would be urge caution.

Note, however, others seem to have had a far more positive experience.
sheepla
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Re: What is PenFed good at?

Post by sheepla »

I can tell you what they are NOT good at....web site design!
tj
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Re: What is PenFed good at?

Post by tj »

sheepla wrote: Tue Sep 08, 2020 7:39 am I can tell you what they are NOT good at....web site design!
What you see now is definitely an improvement over what it was 10 years ago.
JackoC
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Re: What is PenFed good at?

Post by JackoC »

slick_dealer_05 wrote: Mon Sep 07, 2020 9:22 am They dont have the best security. Just had someone use my debit card in Amsterdam (while I am here in US) and Penfed didnt block the transaction. Its taking weeks to get it fixed by them. Chase is so much better.
I also had the PenFed debit card on checking account I opened recently (just for the bonus, really) hacked. But again I think comes back to 'institution has some good offers on some stuff sometimes' v 'my one main institution'. I don't really care if a card on a secondary account with $1200 in gets hacked, especially since I know I'll get the money back (they canceled the charges the same day I brought it to their attention, luck of the draw perhaps they acted that fast, but you basically always get the money back).

I find Chase too squirrely to rely on as a main provider. They turned down an application for credit card for my LLC *they* solicited. Generally a credit turn down removes a bank from consideration by me to be a main provider (and that's one of two times I've even been turned down for anything). And though it hasn't happened to me, Chase is also reputed to close accounts on hair trigger over various shadowy things they (or their algorithms) suddenly suspect you of. Which they are free to do, protecting their shareholders as they see fit. But it makes them less reliable from my POV. If I can get a bonus by opening/closing a card or account at Chase then sure. Which is pretty much my approach to PenFed and most other places I deal with, except PenFed might again offer top CD rates in the future like they once did, it's hard to imagine Chase offering a top CD rate.

But my main defense against card hacking is simply to have more than one account.
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OAG
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Re: What is PenFed good at?

Post by OAG »

BL wrote: Sat Sep 05, 2020 2:55 pm They are now emphasizing premium savings account @ 0.8%. Not bad for as long as it lasts.
Not too long ago that was 2% when coupled with a specific checking account which paid .5% - both down considerably now. Been a member of PenFed over 40 years not as good as they used to be. Navy FCU seems better.
OAG=Old Army Guy. Retired CW4 USA (US Army) in 1979 21 years of service @ 38.
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queso
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Re: What is PenFed good at?

Post by queso »

Admiral wrote: Mon Sep 07, 2020 10:10 am They just gave me a 36 mo 20k car loan at 2.14%. That seems pretty good. The only "fee" was that I had to open a PenFed account and fund it with $5.

I plan to pay it off early anyway so the effective interest rate will be even lower. I found their customer service to be very good. I was annoyed that they would only issue a paper check for the loan (in 2020, go figure) and would not do any kind of EFT (or even a wire, even if I paid). This was inconvenient, but beyond that, seems fine thus far.
This. I took dealer financing at a higher rate to get more incentives/drop the OTD price and then immediately refinanced it into a PenFed 36 mo 2.14% loan with the intention of paying it off right away. Now I am not so sure about paying it off right away though. 2.14% is dangerously close to free money territory.
TravelGeek
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Re: What is PenFed good at?

Post by TravelGeek »

tj wrote: Tue Sep 08, 2020 9:37 am
sheepla wrote: Tue Sep 08, 2020 7:39 am I can tell you what they are NOT good at....web site design!
What you see now is definitely an improvement over what it was 10 years ago.
Yup, that's very true.

2010: https://web.archive.org/web/20100807034 ... enfed.org/

and for fun...

1996: https://web.archive.org/web/19961113220 ... ed.org:80/
pj1983
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Re: What is PenFed good at?

Post by pj1983 »

usagi wrote: Mon Sep 07, 2020 9:06 pm Outside of Vanguard they are the most frustrating, incompetent financial institution I ever attempted to do business with. I never was able to open a simple account with them because they kept hassling me about my identification and address. Note, the Passport office, DMV, Schwab, Fidelity, FirstTrade and 5 other banks I opened CDs with last year had no issues, but PenFed, oh yeah. In the end, I just gave up messing with their ridiculous demands that were their own bizzaro interpretation of the Patriot Act's know your customer.

There may be things they do well, but they are a unyielding bureaucratic nightmare to deal with. I would hate to have an unusual circumstance come up that did not fit their strictly scripted instruction manual.

Customer service matters to me, if it matters to you, I would be urge caution.

Note, however, others seem to have had a far more positive experience.
Sounds like what happened to me when I attempted to refi a car loan I had at another credit union. PFCU was offering a $250 bonus for refi's, I figured, "Sure, why not?". Filled out the application, waited two weeks, then got a phone call that they "needed to verify my address"...the one I've been living at and have had on my accounts with them for 7 years. I called back the number given, left a message, and never heard anything back. Ended up paying the loan off early anyway.

The 5% gas card is a good deal, and the high-yield savings account isn't bad. Other than that, they're about on par with Chase and Wells Fargo. I just wish they hadn't swallowed up Belvoir Federal Credit Union 5 years ago, that was an outfit that knew how to do customer service.
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queso
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Re: What is PenFed good at?

Post by queso »

pj1983 wrote: Fri Sep 11, 2020 10:28 pm
usagi wrote: Mon Sep 07, 2020 9:06 pm Outside of Vanguard they are the most frustrating, incompetent financial institution I ever attempted to do business with. I never was able to open a simple account with them because they kept hassling me about my identification and address. Note, the Passport office, DMV, Schwab, Fidelity, FirstTrade and 5 other banks I opened CDs with last year had no issues, but PenFed, oh yeah. In the end, I just gave up messing with their ridiculous demands that were their own bizzaro interpretation of the Patriot Act's know your customer.

There may be things they do well, but they are a unyielding bureaucratic nightmare to deal with. I would hate to have an unusual circumstance come up that did not fit their strictly scripted instruction manual.

Customer service matters to me, if it matters to you, I would be urge caution.

Note, however, others seem to have had a far more positive experience.
Sounds like what happened to me when I attempted to refi a car loan I had at another credit union. PFCU was offering a $250 bonus for refi's, I figured, "Sure, why not?". Filled out the application, waited two weeks, then got a phone call that they "needed to verify my address"...the one I've been living at and have had on my accounts with them for 7 years. I called back the number given, left a message, and never heard anything back. Ended up paying the loan off early anyway.

The 5% gas card is a good deal, and the high-yield savings account isn't bad. Other than that, they're about on par with Chase and Wells Fargo. I just wish they hadn't swallowed up Belvoir Federal Credit Union 5 years ago, that was an outfit that knew how to do customer service.
Maybe they have stepped it up since you tried? I had a pretty good experience with my auto refi and this was just a few weeks ago. Application/paperwork, etc. was all done online and simple enough and everything was communicated via email notifications (approval, etc.). I received the check in the mail a few days later and mailed it to the original lender and it was done. Setup automatic payments through PenFed's website and the first one fired on time with no problems.
UpperNwGuy
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Re: What is PenFed good at?

Post by UpperNwGuy »

slick_dealer_05 wrote: Mon Sep 07, 2020 9:22 am They dont have the best security. Just had someone use my debit card in Amsterdam (while I am here in US) and Penfed didnt block the transaction. Its taking weeks to get it fixed by them. Chase is so much better.
PenFed is good with credit card fraud, but their process for debit card fraud is painful in the extreme.
UpperNwGuy
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Re: What is PenFed good at?

Post by UpperNwGuy »

pj1983 wrote: Fri Sep 11, 2020 10:28 pm The 5% gas card is a good deal, and the high-yield savings account isn't bad. Other than that, they're about on par with Chase and Wells Fargo. I just wish they hadn't swallowed up Belvoir Federal Credit Union 5 years ago, that was an outfit that knew how to do customer service.
I wish they would swallow up a few more smaller DC-area credit unions so they'd have some neighborhood branches in DC proper and the inside-the-beltway Maryland suburbs. To do in-person business with PenFed I need to drive 10-12 miles to Virginia. Perhaps they could swallow up Andrews FCU or Lafayette FCU.
tj
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Re: What is PenFed good at?

Post by tj »

UpperNwGuy wrote: Sat Sep 12, 2020 8:59 am
pj1983 wrote: Fri Sep 11, 2020 10:28 pm The 5% gas card is a good deal, and the high-yield savings account isn't bad. Other than that, they're about on par with Chase and Wells Fargo. I just wish they hadn't swallowed up Belvoir Federal Credit Union 5 years ago, that was an outfit that knew how to do customer service.
I wish they would swallow up a few more smaller DC-area credit unions so they'd have some neighborhood branches in DC proper and the inside-the-beltway Maryland suburbs. To do in-person business with PenFed I need to drive 10-12 miles to Virginia. Perhaps they could swallow up Andrews FCU or Lafayette FCU.
Andrews FCU has offered better CD rates in the past, and Lafeyette FCU has a credit card with a large signup bonus. It would be unfortunate to see them consolidate.
pj1983
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Re: What is PenFed good at?

Post by pj1983 »

queso wrote: Sat Sep 12, 2020 8:46 am
pj1983 wrote: Fri Sep 11, 2020 10:28 pm
Sounds like what happened to me when I attempted to refi a car loan I had at another credit union. PFCU was offering a $250 bonus for refi's, I figured, "Sure, why not?". Filled out the application, waited two weeks, then got a phone call that they "needed to verify my address"...the one I've been living at and have had on my accounts with them for 7 years. I called back the number given, left a message, and never heard anything back. Ended up paying the loan off early anyway.

The 5% gas card is a good deal, and the high-yield savings account isn't bad. Other than that, they're about on par with Chase and Wells Fargo. I just wish they hadn't swallowed up Belvoir Federal Credit Union 5 years ago, that was an outfit that knew how to do customer service.
Maybe they have stepped it up since you tried? I had a pretty good experience with my auto refi and this was just a few weeks ago. Application/paperwork, etc. was all done online and simple enough and everything was communicated via email notifications (approval, etc.). I received the check in the mail a few days later and mailed it to the original lender and it was done. Setup automatic payments through PenFed's website and the first one fired on time with no problems.
My experience was back in mid-June, not that long ago. I did the application on-line and expected to do the rest of the process on-line as well, but then my application went into this manual address verification exception handler process. I also sent them a message through the website, no response to that either.

They were going to lose about $200 on me after the refi bonus payout since I planned to pay off the loan early either at my existing lender or PFCU. Perhaps they figured that out somehow and decided to slow-roll the application. ((shrug)) I have two Navy FCU branches that are closer to me anyway.
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TimeRunner
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Re: What is PenFed good at?

Post by TimeRunner »

TimeRunner wrote: Sat Sep 05, 2020 8:58 pm
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.
Update: Upon a few days of reflection, I decided to keep my Visa ($25K credit limit) and $5 account. As long as PenFed's willing to see no activity, there's nothing I have to do other than watch for anyone else trying to use the credit card. In the meantime, it shows up as an active paid account in my credit report. OK with me.
One cannot enlighten the unconscious.
liftingbrosef
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Re: What is PenFed good at?

Post by liftingbrosef »

slick_dealer_05 wrote: Mon Sep 07, 2020 9:22 am They dont have the best security. Just had someone use my debit card in Amsterdam (while I am here in US) and Penfed didnt block the transaction. Its taking weeks to get it fixed by them. Chase is so much better.
Dude...same thing happened to me. Amsterdam too. Uber eats.
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