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Is the PenFed Promise the Best Card for Those in Debt?

Oct. 13, 2010
Credit Cards
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  • PenFed Promise Visa® Card

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Aw nerds! Looks like this page may be out of date. Head over to our updated review of the PenFed Promise Visa® Card for updated info.

Are you in debt, or do you foresee yourself having to take on some debt in the near future to make ends meet? If so, the PenFed Promise Visa® Card could be the best credit card to help you get through.

Low APRs

Unlike balance transfer credit cards which offer 0% APRs for a set period of time, then set to much higher rates afterwards, the PenFed Promise Visa® Card has a low intro rate and a low ongoing rate. So it may not be the best credit card for short-term savings on balance transfers, but it is a better long-term card for those who often carry balances. And since opening and canceling credit card accounts every two years to roll over balance transfers could hurt your credit, a single long-term low APR credit card could end up being a better choice anyway.

No Fees

But the APR is only one piece of the prize with this card. Where the PenFed Promise Visa® Card really shines is the fee structure. Unlike balance transfer cards that charge 3% to 5% upfront fees, or low APR credit cards that charge cash advance or late payment fees, the PenFed Promise Visa® Card actually charges absolutely no fees. The $0 and it charges no cash advance fee, no balance transfer fee, no late payment fee, no over limit fee, and no returned payment fee. This is the only card that we track that offers a similar no-fee promise. And for the frequent travelers among us, there’s also no foreign transaction fee on international purchases.

What’s the catch?

Well, Pentagon Federal credit cards are not the easiest to obtain. First you have to be a member of the credit union, which involves either being in the military, volunteering for the Red Cross, or donating $20-25 to the NMFA (full membership requirements are here). And once you’ve joined the credit union, there’s still no guarantee you’ll be accepted for the card, given PenFed’s notoriously difficult credit standards.

But with no fees and APRs this low, it’s worth a shot!