PenFed or Navy Federal?

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Austintatious
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PenFed or Navy Federal?

Post by Austintatious » Mon Jul 09, 2018 9:13 pm

I'm thinking of abandoning the credit union in which I've maintained membership since long before retirement some 15 years ago. It's simply not kept up with online banking technologies, nor is it very competitive with regard to the interest rates on its savings products as well as loans. I'm wondering if there are any Bogleheads who can tell me about their experiences with either PenFed or Navy Federal. I'm especially interested in the quality of their checking, mobile deposit and online services, since I'll be doing the lion's share of my business with them online. Also, any input regarding the quality of your experiences with their CDs and other deposit accounts - things like statements, transferring of funds - would be appreciated. Thanks in advance for your input.
Last edited by Austintatious on Mon Jul 09, 2018 9:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

GuyInFL
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Re: PenFed or Navy Federal?

Post by GuyInFL » Mon Jul 09, 2018 9:49 pm

I've had a PenFed account for years and find their Auto and Mortgage rates very good.

As for checking accounts, I think the technology is lacking. The statements don't include scanned copies of checks, although you can view them online. I use Quicken and download credit card transactions. I often find I'm missing credit card transactions. I haven't noticed this with my checking account. Also, PenFed doesn't rebate ATM fees like USAA or Schwab. I've been happy with ACH transfers, which take a couple days.

I understand the ACH transfer process is supposed to be speeding up, but that's another thread.

Credit card rewards for gas are 5%, which is pretty good.

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friar1610
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Re: PenFed or Navy Federal?

Post by friar1610 » Mon Jul 09, 2018 10:04 pm

I'm a member of both. We (my wife and I) have used NFCU for our primary "bank" for over 40 years. With a Navy career we decided after a few moves that it was just easier to stick with them rather than get a new bank every time we transferred. And when I retired we just stuck with them. We have savings, checking, CDs, MM savings acts, credit cards with them. We've also had several mortgages over the years. We have been very happy with them and have had no complaints of any significance. We do everything on-line except for cash withdrawals from ATMs. (No NFCU ATMs where we live now but they reimburse you the fee when you use a bank's.) Their CD rates are generally very competitive and they often run specials for 30 month, 17 month, etc. certificates. My Navy pension and our SS is direct deposited every month, so it's all pretty simple.. Telephone service (when we need it - very rarely) is efficient although there is sometimes a bit of a wait to get to "the next available customer service rep" - just like everywhere. We would not have stuck with them all these years if we didn't like them.

We have only used PenFed for CDs and we do have a rarely used credit card from them dating back to when theirs had no foreign transaction fee and NFCU did. We generally stick with PenFed or NFCU for CDs - sometimes one has better rates; sometimes the other. PenFed appears to do more with on-line service than NFCU although not using them for the broad array of services I can't tell you exactly how that would work out in practice. The one time I phoned with a question the CSR was very helpful.

Bottom line is that both institutions have served us very well for what we've used them for. I'd likely favor NFCU for full-service but remember I'm an old Navy guy.
Friar1610

gwrvmd
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Re: PenFed or Navy Federal?

Post by gwrvmd » Mon Jul 09, 2018 10:10 pm

I have been with Pen Fed for 30-40 years and am happy with them. Like 90% of their customers I have never been to or seen their offices. I use them for checking and savings. Have 2 CDs with them, they are competitive. No experience with Navy Federal.

Dealing remotely with financial institutions is common for the military. I have had car and home insurance with USAA for 40 years and never seen their offices either.......Gordon
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Loon11
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Re: PenFed or Navy Federal?

Post by Loon11 » Mon Jul 09, 2018 10:14 pm

I've had Pen Fed for several yrs now and happy with their credit cards. I initially had a points credit card - and last year switched to their 2% for everything credit card with no annual fee which I really like. I needed to open a checking account and keep $500 in it. Whenever I have $25.00 cash reward, I transfer it to that account which I can ach to my regular checking acct. I also have CDs with them - they had a promotion a few years back with a 3% rate. Have not had any negative issues with PenFed.

No experience w/ Navy Fed. not eligible.

LBTRS
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Re: PenFed or Navy Federal?

Post by LBTRS » Mon Jul 09, 2018 10:14 pm

I have accounts with both. NFCU has been our primary financial institution for over 30 years. We've never had an issue and they have always been very good to us. PenFed has better auto loan rates so that is what we use them for.

We'll be with NFCU for life as we like it that much.

tomd37
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Re: PenFed or Navy Federal?

Post by tomd37 » Mon Jul 09, 2018 10:16 pm

Austintatious - I have been a member of NFCU since 1961 and have always been very pleased with their services both online and by telephone when desired. Back in the early days I had car loans from them but "loan days" are far gone for me. Cash only since 1995 :moneybag .

They have an excellent online system that I use extensively and when needed their 24-hour a day telephone service is outstanding. Their CD rates are not quite as good and Pen Fed these days, but in my opinion the ease of doing business with them is worth it to me to stay with them for my CD situations. Moving funds online to other family members accounts is easy online and immediate. I have found their customer service representatives to be very knowledgeable of all their services. Just ten days ago I was about to make a large investment in two CDs and the rep suggested I want one day as she was just advised that rates for these two periods were going to increase on July 2nd.

I have my Vanguard accounts linked to my NFCU checking account and can have RMDs sent electronically to my checking account and can also send funds electronically to Vanguard if I am buying into a fund. I use the NFCU VISA cash rebate card and can be sent an email notifying me of any purchase made with the card over the dollar amount I set. That email is here by the time I get home from the store.

There might be better credit unions out there, but I'm very happy where I am and not willing to change. Too old for changes these days!
Tom D.

KT785
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Re: PenFed or Navy Federal?

Post by KT785 » Mon Jul 09, 2018 10:17 pm

Austintatious wrote:
Mon Jul 09, 2018 9:13 pm
I'm thinking of abandoning the credit union in which I've maintained membership since long before retirement some 15 years ago. It's simply not kept up with online banking technologies, nor is it very competitive with regard to the interest rates on its savings products as well as loans. I'm wondering if there are any Bogleheads who can tell me about their experiences with either PenFed or Navy Federal. I'm especially interested in the quality of their checking, mobile deposit and online services, since I'll be doing the lion's share of my business with them online. Also, any input regarding the quality of your experiences with their CDs and other deposit accounts - things like statements, transferring of funds - would be appreciated. Thanks in advance for your input.
Are you trying to consolidate all your banking (deposit and lending products) with one or the other? I'm a member of PenFed, but only because their lending products are quite competitive--their online banking interface doesn't compete against the big online-focused institutions. I don't have direct experience with Navy Federal but if you're looking for more deposit oriented products (a robust checking account with online/mobile functionality) I'd also include USAA in your comparison.

I use State Farm Bank and Ally for checking/savings/money market accounts--Charles Schwab Bank and Fidelity (Cash Management Account) may also be worth considering, particularly if you already have a relationship with them.

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Pancakes-Eggs-Bacon
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Re: PenFed or Navy Federal?

Post by Pancakes-Eggs-Bacon » Tue Jul 10, 2018 1:00 am

GuyInFL wrote:
Mon Jul 09, 2018 9:49 pm
Credit card rewards for gas are 5%, which is pretty good.
I have the PenFed Platinum Rewards credit card, which started out 5 points = 5% cash back on gas, but they devalued their points around 2014 and have remained devalued. Do they have a card that offers a true 5% back on gas still?

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Pancakes-Eggs-Bacon
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Re: PenFed or Navy Federal?

Post by Pancakes-Eggs-Bacon » Tue Jul 10, 2018 1:11 am

@Austintatious, I'm a member of both PenFed and NavyFed but don't have experience with their checking accounts. They offer great auto/mortgage rates, which is one reason I joined, to have that option someday. If anything, by joining NFCU you can pass that membership eligibility down to children and relatives easier.

PenFed: I think their online banking is still in the dark ages. I admit I don't really transact much with PenFed nowadays but may in the future for mortgage.

NFCU: Bar none the best customer service I've ever had in a financial institution. They're really great. And I've had good experiences with others like AmEx, Fidelity, USAA, and Discover. But wow, if you have to deal with NFCU over the phone, they're good. NavyFed has CD specials once a year or so, something like 3% up to a certain amount. Their online banking is decent but still somewhat clunky. Better than PenFed. NFCU is known for giving out high credit limits on their credit cards, both initial limits and max limits. Most of their cards max out at $50K, and I believe their Flagship maxes out at $80K. Great for the utilization percentage component of FICO scores.


If you want a high quality credit union with good checking and good online experience, I love Alliant Credit Union (based in Chicago). Competitive savings rates (currently 1.70% APY), free checking pays 0.65% APY if you have a monthly direct deposit. Reimburses $20/month in ATM fees, but you can use most local credit union ATMs for free anyways. Fantastic mobile app, mobile check deposit, and online banking website. It's all home grown (in-house developers) and "pretty." I've consolidated most of my traditional "banking" needs with Alliant CU, at least checking, savings, and a half dozen other supplemental savings accounts. You can also set up all your external accounts with other financial institutions in their online banking and send and receive ACH to or from those accounts.

I just need to find a good local bank/CU for Safe Deposit Box purposes....

MikeG62
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Re: PenFed or Navy Federal?

Post by MikeG62 » Tue Jul 10, 2018 6:44 am

Pancakes-Eggs-Bacon wrote:
Tue Jul 10, 2018 1:00 am
GuyInFL wrote:
Mon Jul 09, 2018 9:49 pm
Credit card rewards for gas are 5%, which is pretty good.
I have the PenFed Platinum Rewards credit card, which started out 5 points = 5% cash back on gas, but they devalued their points around 2014 and have remained devalued. Do they have a card that offers a true 5% back on gas still?
I have that card too, but believe it is no longer being newly issued.
Real Knowledge Comes Only From Experience

stan1
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Re: PenFed or Navy Federal?

Post by stan1 » Tue Jul 10, 2018 7:00 am

I have accounts at both. Between the two you can usually get a "good" CD rate but maybe not the best available at the time. If you want the best and "good" isn't good enough you'll need to be prepared to move your money regularly. If you want a "good" rate on an FDIC insured money market savings account you'll need another bank/credit union.

There are local Navy Federal branches near me and the customer service has always been attentive and caring. Many employees at our branches are spouses of retired and active duty service members or their children. Phone service has been great, too. Navy Federal website works fine. It is full featured which may make it a little more complex than others.

SagaciousTraveler
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Re: PenFed or Navy Federal?

Post by SagaciousTraveler » Tue Jul 10, 2018 7:22 am

I am with NFCU.

Right now I only use them for checking/bill pay.

Savings/MM rates aren't good. They are supposed to be good for CD rates but right now those are just ok. Every once in awhile they will do an outstanding promotion, like 1 year CDs at 5% but its been a few years.

I pay cash for everything so I'm unsure how their Auto/Home rates compare to others.

sheepla
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Re: PenFed or Navy Federal?

Post by sheepla » Tue Jul 10, 2018 7:50 am

PenFed has an absolutely terrible website. They require calls for so many things that can be done on any other financial institutions website. I haven't cancelled my membership yet as their rates are good but that's what is going to drive me away eventually.

Old Goat
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Re: PenFed or Navy Federal?

Post by Old Goat » Tue Jul 10, 2018 8:05 am

NFCU is very easy to work with. Top notch customer service!

Austintatious
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Re: PenFed or Navy Federal?

Post by Austintatious » Tue Jul 10, 2018 8:44 am

I'm primarily looking for a cu with up-to-date, and as user-friendly as possible, online services for checking, bill pay, ach transfers, mobile deposit, etc. It sounds to me like NFCU is the better option as far as these services are concerned. And it looks like NFCU offers a variety of checking accounts with at least one without a minimum monthly deposit requirement to avoid a monthly fee, while PenFed offers its Access America Checking that does have a minimum balance or monthly deposit requirement. It just looks to me like NFCU may have the edge with regard to overall customer service.

I see that PenFed is again offering 3% for 5 years for its standard certificates but not for its IRA certificates which is a change from the 3% for 5 years offering that so many here took advantage 4-5 years ago. To get 3% for IRA certificates at PenFed now, one has to commit for 7 years. NFCU, on the other hand, is currently offering 3% for 5 years for its regular and its IRA certificates, another plus for NFCU. I realize, of course, that all those rates are fluid and could change tomorrow.

Thanks a lot, everyone, for all the good input. Much appreciated!

SagaciousTraveler
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Re: PenFed or Navy Federal?

Post by SagaciousTraveler » Tue Jul 10, 2018 9:13 am

Austintatious wrote:
Tue Jul 10, 2018 8:44 am
I'm primarily looking for a cu with up-to-date, and as user-friendly as possible, online services for checking, bill pay, ach transfers, mobile deposit, etc. It sounds to me like NFCU is the better option as far as these services are concerned. And it looks like NFCU offers a variety of checking accounts with at least one without a minimum monthly deposit requirement to avoid a monthly fee, while PenFed offers its Access America Checking that does have a minimum balance or monthly deposit requirement. It just looks to me like NFCU may have the edge with regard to overall customer service.

I see that PenFed is again offering 3% for 5 years for its standard certificates but not for its IRA certificates which is a change from the 3% for 5 years offering that so many here took advantage 4-5 years ago. To get 3% for IRA certificates at PenFed now, one has to commit for 7 years. NFCU, on the other hand, is currently offering 3% for 5 years for its regular and its IRA certificates, another plus for NFCU. I realize, of course, that all those rates are fluid and could change tomorrow.

Thanks a lot, everyone, for all the good input. Much appreciated!
Then NFCU is for you.

Mobile deposit/Bill Pay/Online are all good. Only issue I had was maturity instructions for a CD not taking via the website but I called and they were helpful.

Also another cool feature is that they allow you to unfreeze/freeze your debit card (they don't have ATM only cards anymore) on demand via the website or the app. Its instant. I always keep them frozen, then when I need to go to an ATM, I quickly unfreeze it, take the cash out and freeze it again.

tomd37
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Re: PenFed or Navy Federal?

Post by tomd37 » Tue Jul 10, 2018 10:30 am

Traveler - A month or two ago I temporarily had trouble with maturity instructions for NFCU certificates maturing. I called and brought the matter to their attention and they apparently fixed the issue. I've had five certificates maturing since then and the online maturity instructions have been handled online with no issues.

Austintatious - NFCU's Flagship checking account pays up to 0.45% annual interest depending on balance and there is no monthly service charge. Do you qualify for membership at NFCU? If so it is a great outfit (says me after 57 years of membership!).
Tom D.

Austintatious
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Re: PenFed or Navy Federal?

Post by Austintatious » Tue Jul 10, 2018 11:38 am

tomd37 wrote:
Tue Jul 10, 2018 10:30 am
Traveler - A month or two ago I temporarily had trouble with maturity instructions for NFCU certificates maturing. I called and brought the matter to their attention and they apparently fixed the issue. I've had five certificates maturing since then and the online maturity instructions have been handled online with no issues.

Austintatious - NFCU's Flagship checking account pays up to 0.45% annual interest depending on balance and there is no monthly service charge. Do you qualify for membership at NFCU? If so it is a great outfit (says me after 57 years of membership!).
Yes, I do qualify for membership and thanks for the info re the Flagship account.

protagonist
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Re: PenFed or Navy Federal?

Post by protagonist » Tue Jul 10, 2018 11:55 am

Don't limit yourself to two choices.
Check who offers the best rates on depositaccounts.com
Then go with them, and switch later if for any reason you are dissatisfied.
It's easy enough to move from one bank to another, so don't take your decision too seriously.

Austintatious
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Re: PenFed or Navy Federal?

Post by Austintatious » Tue Jul 10, 2018 12:41 pm

protagonist wrote:
Tue Jul 10, 2018 11:55 am
Don't limit yourself to two choices.
Check who offers the best rates on depositaccounts.com
Then go with them, and switch later if for any reason you are dissatisfied.
It's easy enough to move from one bank to another, so don't take your decision too seriously.
My primary focus, here, is finding a user friendly online and telephone interface for checking and the other typical banking functions. In fact, I've considered a few other options and I've landed on the two mentioned. Our day-to-day banking deposits simply are not going to linger in our checking account for long so that, in my mind, they'll not sufficient to warrant a never ending search for a few more basis points; indeed, I'd willingly forego some checking account dividend in exchange for a banking platform that works really well for me. On the other hand, when it comes to the larger deposit accounts, CDs for example, I'm fully on board with your suggestion to look for the better rates, especially when long term. Thanks for responding.

KT785
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Re: PenFed or Navy Federal?

Post by KT785 » Tue Jul 10, 2018 1:35 pm

Austintatious wrote:
Tue Jul 10, 2018 12:41 pm
My primary focus, here, is finding a user friendly online and telephone interface for checking and the other typical banking functions.
Though (as I stated above) I have no direct experience with Navy Federal, if this is what you're looking for, I'd highly suggest Ally; their online interface, mobile app, and functionality are superb and their customer support (the few times I've called) has been excellent.

As a hobby (or side hustle :D) I pursue bank sign-up bonuses and as a result, have experience with a ton of other institutions and none have compared to Ally in terms of convenience and technology. I've also attended a handful of industry conferences (risk, compliance, IT/security) and repeatedly encounter folks from Ally and am consistently impressed with their operation.

RickBoglehead
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Re: PenFed or Navy Federal?

Post by RickBoglehead » Tue Jul 10, 2018 2:02 pm

I do nearly all my banking with Ally also.

Gray
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Re: PenFed or Navy Federal?

Post by Gray » Tue Jul 10, 2018 8:57 pm

I’ve used them all. USAA is my go-to, but I would switch to Navy if I had to choose an alternative. USAA’s ATM relationship with CVS is advantageous.

Ally - 5+ years money market liquid savings
USAA - 25+ years - car insurance, life insurance, Property, Umbrella, credit, primary banking, credit cards, car loans
Navy 10+ years - mortgage, nominal banking
Pended 25+ years - car loans, nominal banking

SGM
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Re: PenFed or Navy Federal?

Post by SGM » Wed Jul 11, 2018 3:38 am

I set up a joint checking account with an elderly parent at NFCU. The service was great and I could do a lot via the website. ACH transfers from investment accounts were easy. NFCU employees were very helpful and respectful towards my WWII veteran parent. One suggested we could havechecks printed elsewhere for less than ordering them through the credit union. I find the frequent changing CD rates to be a bother.

We use USAA for auto insurance. One of our children uses USAA for checking and likes it.

We have had some difficulty with our local bank's online banking for an LLC. I am wondering if NFCU would be able to facilitate some of the issues we have with automating payroll taxes.

Colorado13
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Re: PenFed or Navy Federal?

Post by Colorado13 » Wed Jul 11, 2018 5:15 pm

sheepla wrote:
Tue Jul 10, 2018 7:50 am
PenFed has an absolutely terrible website. They require calls for so many things that can be done on any other financial institutions website. I haven't cancelled my membership yet as their rates are good but that's what is going to drive me away eventually.
+1 I used PF for my mortgage and to purchase CDs. Mortgage closing went very well, overall communication and simple transactions are clunky. For example, doubling up on property taxes in 2017 and having PF not withdraw these funds for escrow was a headache.

I have no experience with NF and use Ally for online banking. I prefer Ally's website (although fund transfers take longer than I think they should) much more than PF's website. Once the mortgage and CDs are history (December '18), I likely will no longer do business with PF.

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VictoriaF
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Re: PenFed or Navy Federal?

Post by VictoriaF » Wed Jul 11, 2018 6:18 pm

I can walk to PenFed and to NavyFed. The walk to NavyFed is nicer and I use it more. I can't walk to Ally, but I use it anyway.

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

bltn
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Re: PenFed or Navy Federal?

Post by bltn » Wed Jul 11, 2018 6:33 pm

As a 7-8 year member of Pen Fed, I ve used their credit card for gasoline purchases with a 5% rebate. I ve used their car loan to locate a vehicle and buy it at a very good price, with a great rate on financing. Their cd interest rates are currently high, but their early withdrawal penalty is stiff. I recommend them.

Austintatious
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Re: PenFed or Navy Federal?

Post by Austintatious » Wed Jul 11, 2018 6:41 pm

VictoriaF wrote:
Wed Jul 11, 2018 6:18 pm
I can walk to PenFed and to NavyFed. The walk to NavyFed is nicer and I use it more. I can't walk to Ally, but I use it anyway.

Victoria
Now, that's what I call living in a "walkable neighborhood". Showoff!

Austintatious
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Re: PenFed or Navy Federal?

Post by Austintatious » Wed Jul 11, 2018 6:48 pm

For those recommending Ally, I hear you but I'm just partial to credit unions, however imprudent that may be. My thanks to you and all the others who've responded.

nps
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Re: PenFed or Navy Federal?

Post by nps » Wed Jul 11, 2018 7:15 pm

SagaciousTraveler wrote:
Tue Jul 10, 2018 9:13 am
they don't have ATM only cards anymore
For real? I just got my latest one recently, have had them for years. That would be disappointing.

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