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PenFed now offers a free checking account

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SouthJamaica
Mega Contributor

Re: PenFed now offers a free checking account


@outofcredit wrote:

@tortoise_credit wrote:

@outofcredit Thanks for the info. Excuse my ignorance on this, but does closing the Access America account affect chexsystems at all? I just opened the Access America let month, and it's in good standing. I ask because I wanted to join Affinity soon, and until now I've really only had one checking/savings opened at a time.


I dont think it will affect your status with chexsystems.  Generally, I have found that chexsystems focuses on negative information related to checking accounts that is reported.  While they do keep a tally of the number of "inquires" for new checking accounts you've had I think most banks check your chexsystem report for the amount of negative banking information you have on file. YMMV, but that has been my experience.  I have over 10 checking accounts opened at most of the major banks and several credit unions.  So far I haven't been denied due to chexsystems.


Yes it also focuses on inquiries.

And many of us have  been turned down for deposit accounts because of too many Chex System recent inquiries.

So it's important to know if closing the Access America account and opening the Free account will result in a Chex inquiry.


Total revolving limits 741200 (625200 reporting) FICO 8: EQ 704 TU 713 EX 684

Message 11 of 27
outofcredit
Established Contributor

Re: PenFed now offers a free checking account


@SouthJamaica wrote:

@outofcredit wrote:

@tortoise_credit wrote:

@outofcredit Thanks for the info. Excuse my ignorance on this, but does closing the Access America account affect chexsystems at all? I just opened the Access America let month, and it's in good standing. I ask because I wanted to join Affinity soon, and until now I've really only had one checking/savings opened at a time.


I dont think it will affect your status with chexsystems.  Generally, I have found that chexsystems focuses on negative information related to checking accounts that is reported.  While they do keep a tally of the number of "inquires" for new checking accounts you've had I think most banks check your chexsystem report for the amount of negative banking information you have on file. YMMV, but that has been my experience.  I have over 10 checking accounts opened at most of the major banks and several credit unions.  So far I haven't been denied due to chexsystems.


Yes it also focuses on inquiries.

And many of us have  been turned down for deposit accounts because of too many Chex System recent inquiries.

So it's important to know if closing the Access America account and opening the Free account will result in a Chex inquiry.


Unfortunately, the spiel the representative gave me only indicated that no negative impact to my credit would occur by opening the new free checking.  I didn't ask about any impact to my chexsystem report as that is one report I don't really follow.  I have pursued checking SUB's in the past opening and closing several accounts within a year but I always refrain from any new accounts the following year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Instead of waiting for the storm to pass, I've learned to dance in the rain.
Message 12 of 27
SouthJamaica
Mega Contributor

Re: PenFed now offers a free checking account


@outofcredit wrote:

@SouthJamaica wrote:

@outofcredit wrote:

@tortoise_credit wrote:

@outofcredit Thanks for the info. Excuse my ignorance on this, but does closing the Access America account affect chexsystems at all? I just opened the Access America let month, and it's in good standing. I ask because I wanted to join Affinity soon, and until now I've really only had one checking/savings opened at a time.


I dont think it will affect your status with chexsystems.  Generally, I have found that chexsystems focuses on negative information related to checking accounts that is reported.  While they do keep a tally of the number of "inquires" for new checking accounts you've had I think most banks check your chexsystem report for the amount of negative banking information you have on file. YMMV, but that has been my experience.  I have over 10 checking accounts opened at most of the major banks and several credit unions.  So far I haven't been denied due to chexsystems.


Yes it also focuses on inquiries.

And many of us have  been turned down for deposit accounts because of too many Chex System recent inquiries.

So it's important to know if closing the Access America account and opening the Free account will result in a Chex inquiry.


Unfortunately, the spiel the representative gave me only indicated that no negative impact to my credit would occur by opening the new free checking.  I didn't ask about any impact to my chexsystem report as that is one report I don't really follow.  I have pursued checking SUB's in the past opening and closing several accounts within a year but I always refrain from any new accounts the following year.

 


I requested information on switching my Access America account to a Free Checking account. Was told it can't be done, that I have to apply for the free checking account, and then close the Access America account when it's at zero balance.

 

Sounds to me like this would mean (a) a new account number and (b) a Chex inquiry.  If so, that would make it quite a nuisance.


Total revolving limits 741200 (625200 reporting) FICO 8: EQ 704 TU 713 EX 684

Message 13 of 27
Yasselife
Established Contributor

Re: PenFed now offers a free checking account

@SouthJamaica 

Good news. What are your thoughts about Penfed ?

Message 14 of 27
SouthJamaica
Mega Contributor

Re: PenFed now offers a free checking account


@Yasselife wrote:

@SouthJamaica 

Good news. What are your thoughts about Penfed ?


It has its good points and its bad points. I find their customer service to be a little stiff and unhelpful.


Total revolving limits 741200 (625200 reporting) FICO 8: EQ 704 TU 713 EX 684

Message 15 of 27
ccquest
Established Contributor

Re: PenFed now offers a free checking account

Just a point to make, but if your Access America Checking account is what qualifies you for boosted earnings on your credit cards...make sure you don't switch to this (although depending on spend you could come out ahead by not paying a maintenance fee).
as of 1/1/23
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Message 16 of 27
tortoise_credit
Regular Contributor

Re: PenFed now offers a free checking account


@ccquest wrote:
Just a point to make, but if your Access America Checking account is what qualifies you for boosted earnings on your credit cards...make sure you don't switch to this (although depending on spend you could come out ahead by not paying a maintenance fee).

It does seem the Honors Advantage requirements for the free checking account are the same requirements to avoid fees for Access America. So the free checking is probably better in the cases where one's balance may dip below $500 and who has no direct deposit. 

"Members with a qualifying Free Checking account must also 1) maintain a minimum $500 daily balance OR 2) set up monthly direct deposits of $500 or more to maintain Honors Advantage Eligibility. A minimum balance or direct deposit is not required to maintain a Free Checking account."

From footnote at: https://www.penfed.org/credit-cards/honors-advantage


Personally I wanted to downgrade because I may not re-apply for the PCR for some time, and could use to move the $500 sitting there out.


 FICO 8Inq/1230/60/90 LatesAAoA
EX78114/0/09 yr 3 mo
EQ79313/1/08 yr 6 mo
TU77714/0/18 yr 9 mo
Last updated: 4/3/2022
Message 17 of 27
SouthJamaica
Mega Contributor

Re: PenFed now offers a free checking account


@ccquest wrote:
Just a point to make, but if your Access America Checking account is what qualifies you for boosted earnings on your credit cards...make sure you don't switch to this (although depending on spend you could come out ahead by not paying a maintenance fee).

According to the site, the free checking also gets you the boosted earnings on the PCR card.

 

Update: Now I see that the site has different contradictory statements. In one part of the site it states that maintaining the free checking account qualifies you for the Honors Advantage bonus. In another part of the site it states that you must have minimum balance of $500 or make direct deposits of $500 per month in the free checking account in order to get the Honors Advantage bonus.


Total revolving limits 741200 (625200 reporting) FICO 8: EQ 704 TU 713 EX 684

Message 18 of 27
difringe
Established Contributor

Re: PenFed now offers a free checking account


@tortoise_credit wrote:

@ccquest wrote:
Just a point to make, but if your Access America Checking account is what qualifies you for boosted earnings on your credit cards...make sure you don't switch to this (although depending on spend you could come out ahead by not paying a maintenance fee).

It does seem the Honors Advantage requirements for the free checking account are the same requirements to avoid fees for Access America. So the free checking is probably better in the cases where one's balance may dip below $500 and who has no direct deposit. 

"Members with a qualifying Free Checking account must also 1) maintain a minimum $500 daily balance OR 2) set up monthly direct deposits of $500 or more to maintain Honors Advantage Eligibility. A minimum balance or direct deposit is not required to maintain a Free Checking account."

From footnote at: https://www.penfed.org/credit-cards/honors-advantage


Personally I wanted to downgrade because I may not re-apply for the PCR for some time, and could use to move the $500 sitting there out.


Good thing you read the fine print there, bc I had assumed from the large print that you could just close the Access America account, open a Free Checking account, and get the 2% back on the PCR for having the Free Checking, without any qualifications. Still worth it for me to close the Access America account though, I'll just make sure to meet the requirements for a couple of months before I app for the PCR.

Message 19 of 27
TheRedHat
Frequent Contributor

Re: PenFed now offers a free checking account

Thanks for this post! Just opened a free checking account with them yesterday!

Last Signature Update: 1/24/2022

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Message 20 of 27
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