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"To Credit Union Experts"


"To Credit Union Experts"

Thanks for all your great posts!              


NASA or PenFed, which one is more lenient?


After reading all the threads about CUs, I decided to get a CU credit card. But I don’t want to go through a difficult process and I am concerned that my short credit history (2 years) may be a problem. My current EQ is 730 and no recent inquiries.


I was really pumped up about getting an account with Alliant after reading all the good stuff about them. But since they don’t report to TU (that is what I found out) it wouldn’t be a good choice for me, right now.
Message 1 of 8
Established Contributor

Re: "To Credit Union Experts"

From recent posts and my own personal experience they are equally conservative lenders.


NASA as of late it's been reported has tightened their already tough lending standards . It will pull all three reports at least once for membership and most likely again for any loan products.


PenFed has their quirks also but just pulls EQ and has the' all you can eat' inquiry feature for the next 60-90 days. They also have a much better (if not the best) rewards credit card. 


PenFed REALLLY frowns on recent inquiries also ,where it has not been reported that NASA is as strict about that as much.


So here's my advice.


As long as you have no baddies on your CR apply for PenFed and the Platinum Cash Rewards CC. It is only one inq and a great card. If you get it great.


If you don't for some of the senseless reasons they might give try NASA. You'll only have one inq on EQ and if you do it the other way and get denied you'll have three if not more for the loan product.


Personally I've been a member of NASA for over a year and have been denied 3 times for 'too much availabe credit' each time so maybe I'm slightly biased YMMV.


If your looking at CU's maybe you should take a peek at Patelco. Many great things said about them also, faIrly conservative, great customer service,only pull EX and I believe reports to all three.


You don't qualify for any other CU's from your area/job/ethnicity/alumni etc ? I got into BECU through my brother who lives in Washington and thet gave me a decent CC. Tere are many out there and there is a site I believe called CU-Finder where you put in your criteria and it will tell you some of the CU's you can join based on your info.


Anyway,good luck


Good Luck.




Message Edited by jaxstraw on 04-24-2009 02:59 AM

Then you are a fool. Be thankful that when God gave you a face, he gave you a fool's face
Message 2 of 8
Moderator Emerita

Re: "To Credit Union Experts"

great post, jaxstraw!

And I whole-heartedly agree about the local CU's. I would always recommend having some sort of relationship with a local one first. As great as the national ones are for customer service, there's a lot to be said for meeting people face-to-face, and where the drive-through teller knows that your kids don't like the lime lollipops.

I'd be worried about PenFed with only two years of history. Maybe that's enough, but I could swear that some have been denied with short history. Be sure to read txjohn's thread with the PenFed survey:

I thought about joining NASA just for the geek chic of their card designs, but I keep choking on the three report pulls. That's just overkill IMO, unless they see something on one report that concerns them.
* Credit is a wonderful servant, but a terrible master. * Who's the boss --you or your credit?
FICO's: EQ 781 - TU 793 - EX 779 (from PSECU) - Done credit hunting; having fun with credit gardening. - EQ 590 on 5/14/2007
Message 3 of 8

Re: "To Credit Union Experts"

Thank you so much!


Great advice, I had no idea NASA pulls all three reports and you - jaxstraw - were denied 3 times. That is scary. I have no courage to apply for Pended yet, with my short credit history - they would probably accuse me of pyramiding credit.


Thank you for the link to the PenFed thread, I have to study it, I will eventually apply for it. For now I think I will join them and start my savings account there.


I just found out that Alliant does report to all 3 CRAs, I called their customer service. I will ask on Forum though, to be sure. That is exceptionally cool - that would be my first "good" credit card!


I am also going to look for some friendly local credit union.

Message Edited by anya on 04-24-2009 09:53 AM
Message 4 of 8
Established Contributor

Re: "To Credit Union Experts"

Ive been a PenFed member for years, however, just recently starting moving all of my accounts there in a final horrah to say goodbye to Banking institutions (or at least those whom, in the foreseeable future will be owned by the government).


PenFed, on establishing a relationship with them, will pull your EQ report.  Since they already pulled it, it would be silly to not request the Visa Rewards Card, its an awesome card, GREAT limits, and fantastic customer service.


My advice, if youre going to take the hit for the new account with them, might as well apply for the credit card - worst they can say is NO and its still only 1 inq for both actions.


My Fraternity brother joined 2 years ago, off of my membership, and he had never had a credit card before in his life.  App'd, and approved for 2k initial CL...  Its worth a shot.  Yes, they are stringent, but they are also able to listen to reason, if you get declined, call them... theyre very easy to talk/discuss issues with.


My 2cents... 

Message 5 of 8
Senior Contributor

Re: "To Credit Union Experts"

Before the credit world got turned upside down I had no problem getting a card from Penfed 2 years ago. I was denied a card from Patelco a year later because of an 8 year old BK7. So YMMV. They denied me with an EX score of 717 and 1% utilization.
Message 6 of 8
Frequent Contributor

Re: "To Credit Union Experts"

 Yes, they are stringent, but they are also able to listen to reason, if you get declined, call them... theyre very easy to talk/discuss issues with.


My 2cents... 

Penfed doesn't let you talk to their underwriters. You may get lucky with a CSR that wants to go to the touble and act as a mediator between you and the underwriter though.

Message 7 of 8

Re: "To Credit Union Experts"

Lyythine, I am thinking about moving most of my banking to a Credit Union too. I will try with a local one. The ratings of the bank, where I have my checking account, just fell from C to D. Credit Unions have great ratings – you can check it here:


Sounds like a good plan. I was thinking about it too - it makes sense to join PenFed CU and see if I can get their card since they use the same pull. If I don’t get it, I can at least start building a relationship with them. My second try would be Alliant or Patelco. And I read that Patelco pulls Experian.


NASA - I love the geeky card designs too.  I was considering a NASA card – only cause I thought it would be easier to apply for and because of my love for astronomy – hehe. But too much trouble for me - did not know about the three pulls.
Message Edited by anya on 04-25-2009 10:02 PM
Message 8 of 8