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PenFed Promise Visa: The Credit Card With Absolutely No Fees

Aug. 8, 2018
PenFed Promise Visa- The Credit Card With Absolutely No Fees Story
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The PenFed Promise Visa® Card gets less recognition than it deserves. While industry-leading credit cards garner fanfare with their generous sign-up bonuses, introductory 0% APRs and myriad travel perks, the PenFed Promise Visa® Card is merely the best no-fee credit card in America.

PenFed Promise Visa® Card: Benefits and basics

When the PenFed Promise Visa® Card says no fees, it means it. It has no late fees, balance transfer fees, cash advance fees, foreign transaction fees or penalty APR, and the $0. Check out this chart to get the lowdown:

PenFed Promise Visa® Card

PenFed Promise Visa® Card

Apply Now on Pentagon Federal Credit Union's secure site
  • Recommended Credit Score
  • 690
    Good - Excellent
  • Card Details
  • Pros

    • No late fee
    • No annual fee
    • Intro APR period on Balance Transfers
    • No foreign transaction fee


    • No rewards

    Annual Fees



    • Min APR: 11.99%, Variable
    • Max APR: 17.99%, Variable

    Bonus Offers

    $100 bonus after spending $1,500 in purchase transactions within the first 90 days of account opening

    Intro APR

    • Purchase: None
  • Additional Information
    • 4.99% APR promo balance transfer rate for 12 months with no balance transfer fee now through March 31, 2019. After that, the APR for the unpaid balance and any new balance transfers will be 11.99% to 17.99%. APR will vary w/the market based on Prime Rate. Subject to credit approval. $100 bonus after spending $1,500 in purchase transactions within the first 90 days of account opening.
    • Rate and offers current as of February 1, 2019 and are subject to change.
    • Absolutely no fees
    • No annual fee
    • No late fee
    • No cash advance fee
    • No foreign transaction fees
    • Chip enabled for added security
    • Federally insured by NCUA
    • Variable rate as low as 11.99% APR

To give you an idea of just how valuable the PenFed Promise Visa® Card can be, let’s take a look at what “no fees” really means:

No balance transfer fee

The typical credit card balance transfer fee is 3% of the amount transferred. That might not seem like much, but a large transfer can be costly. For example, transferring $5,000 from a high-interest card will cost you $150 upfront. Depending on which card you’re transferring your balance to, that fee could be more than the interest you would save. That’s not a worry with the PenFed Promise Visa® Card.

No cash advance fee

Turning your line of credit into cash isn’t always the best choice, but the PenFed Promise Visa® Card is the perfect card to have if you’re in a pinch and need some quick cash. Most credit cards charge a fee of 3% to 5% of the amount advanced and impose a higher APR on cash advances. The PenFed Promise Visa® Card does neither. Keep in mind, though, that you’ll still have to pay interest on the cash advance, so it’s wise to pay it off as soon as possible.

No late fee or penalty APR

The Nerds recommend that you always pay your balance on time and in full. But that’s not always possible. Perhaps you’ve lost your job and can’t afford your bills. Or you had a hectic week and simply forgot to make a payment by the due date. Most credit cards will hit you with a penalty APR much higher than your normal one on the late balance, and tack on a late fee to boot. With the PenFed Promise Visa® Card, you won’t be penalized for making mistakes every now and then.

PenFed Promise Visa® Card: Pitfalls and alternatives

While the PenFed Promise Visa® Card stands out for its no-fee offering, it may not be the best choice for some. Here are a few reasons you may want to pass:

No introductory 0% APR period

You’ll avoid a fee when transferring a balance to the PenFed Promise Visa® Card, but the card doesn’t offer a 0% APR to help you save on interest.

No rewards

Having a card with no fees is nice, but if you never miss payments, and you use your card regularly for reasons other than balance transfers or cash advances, the PenFed Promise Visa® Card doesn’t have much to offer. In this case, you’re better off with a card that offers rewards.

You have to be a PenFed Credit Union member

Like most federal credit unions, PenFed membership isn’t available to everyone. Eligibility requirements include:

  • You are affiliated with a branch of the United States military or work for the United States government.
  • You work for an approved employer or belong to an approved association or organization.
  • You live or work at an eligible location.
  • You are a relative or housemate of someone who is eligible.
  • You make a one-time donation to an eligible charity.

Is the PenFed Promise Visa® Card right for you?

The PenFed Promise Visa® Card is perfect for someone who seldom uses credit cards. Its no-fee approach gives you flexibility that other cards are likely to charge you for. However, if you plan to use your card regularly, and only for purchases (no transfers or advances), a rewards card is a better option.

Ben Luthi is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: Twitter: @benluthi.

Image via iStock.