at PenFed Credit Union,

Federally insured by the NCUA

Pros

Checking deposits of $20,000 to $50,000 earn 0.50% APY, and balances below that amount earn 0.20%.
Members have access to 68,000 free ATMs.

Cons

0.05% APY on basic savings account.
$1,000 minimum on share certificates is high.
Doesn't participate in shared branching.

Overall

3.5

Like many of its not-for-profit competitors, Pentagon Federal Credit Union, or PenFed, has a modest product selection. But it makes up for that with good interest rates for checking and money market certificates. PenFed offers a handy mobile app, plus it’s relatively easy to join for a credit union. Its $30 nonsufficient funds fee, however, isn’t as consumer-friendly, especially since there’s no cap on how many times PenFed can charge it in one day.

Ratings methodology | Reviewed Feb. 16, 2018

Checking

4.5

Access America, PenFed’s lone checking option, has tiered interest rates that are better than the national average, though it’s possible to get higher rates elsewhere, particularly at top online banks. With daily balances under $20,000, you can earn an annual percentage yield of 0.20% ; deposits of $20,000 to $50,000 earn 0.50%.

Regular Savings Account
APY
0.05%
Min. balance for APY
$5

at PenFed Credit Union,

Federally insured by the NCUA

Money Market Certificate
APY
2.74%
Min. balance for APY
$1,000
Length of term
5 years

at PenFed Credit Union,

Federally insured by the NCUA

Access America Checking
APY
0.20%
Monthly fee
$10
Balance to waive monthly fee
$500

at PenFed Credit Union,

Federally insured by the NCUA

NerdWallet reviews are the result of independent research by our editorial team while accountholder reviews are contributions from independent users not affiliated with NerdWallet. Banks, issuers and credit card companies are not responsible for any content posted on the NerdWallet site, nor do they endorse or guarantee any posted comments or reviews.
Overall
Customer service
Poor
Website / app
Poor
Rates
Poor
Fees
High
Horrible Experience
I am self-employed, have a 750+ credit score and show $200K+ as my earning the last couple of years on my federal returns. I have some debt, but minimal and after being "approved" for a used car loan and going back and forth sending in requested documents, I was told I was declined. Decilined for a $12K used car loan. Two days before I am supposed to pick up. When I asked the customer service rep on the phone why specifically I was declined, he could not answer and told me the letter they send out will have all the details. I'm not an idiot and know my credit scores, my debt-to-income and watch it like a hawk. To be honest, I don't really need to finance this vehicle purchase, but since I am self-employed, cash is king, so I decided to see what the market rates were. In doing some research online, PenFed seem to have the most competitive rates, so I decided to give it a try. Problem is, I never read the reviews, which I obviouls should have. Besides the old bait-n-switch tactics they use, I had to pay $25 to join PenFed. Then they tell me I am declined. I feel robbed and cheated.Complete waste of time. Decided to check out Light Stream, and they approved me in less than 24 hrs. Amazing.
Overall
Customer service
Excellent
Website / app
Fair
Rates
Good
Fees
Fair
Very Pleased
I have been a member of PENFED since July 2017 and have been very pleased with their service and willingness to work with me on my journey to good credit again. I have been rebuilding my credit after suffering loss of job, and then foreclosure, etc. etc. in 2008 when the economy imploded. I have now been approved for a personal LOC for overdraft protection and this week was approved for their Promise VISA card with an extremely generous credit line and one that will definitely work in helping me solidify my credit standing again. I have communicated with them a few times thru the online message system and I have had excellent response and help.
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