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PenFed now offers a free checking account

SouthJamaica
Mega Contributor

Re: PenFed now offers a free checking account


@tortoise_credit wrote:

I wonder if they will allow changing from Access America to the Free Checking, or if one has to open a new account. I'll probably call and find out in a month or so unless anyone else has any DP.


They don't.


Total revolving limits 684000 (587000 reporting) FICO 8: EQ 715 TU 712 EX 695

Message 21 of 27
DaveInAZ
Senior Contributor

Re: PenFed now offers a free checking account


@Royalbacon wrote:

@SouthJamaica wrote:

Until now, PenFed has been the only credit union I know that doesn't offer a free checking account. The Access America account was the only checking account they offered, and it assessed a stiff $10 penalty for any month in which one did not have either a minimum balance of $500 or direct deposits of $500 ("direct deposits" being loosely defined).

 

Now I see they are offering "free checking". The website says:

 

PENFED FREE CHECKING

You asked, we listened

Managing your money has never been easier

 
  • Zero monthly fees
  • Zero ATM fees

Well I'm glad they finally "listened" Smiley Happy

 

Thanks to @mommydiva for bringing this to my attention.


They're not the only that didn't offer a free checking. Alaska USA Federal Credit Union doesn't, Elements Financial and GTE Financial all don't offer free checking. Alaska USA also has $50 annual fees on all their cards unless you have a checking account with them Smiley LOL


I had accounts with TCF Bank in Phoenix and they sold all their AZ branches to Alaska USA; I took a look at the & saw all their fees and said "No Thanks" and closed my accounts. (TCF has since been acquired by Huntington Bank). I joined GTE for a measly $100 account bonus and I have to move $500+ in/out monthly to avoid a $5 fee; going to close it soon - they actually have a $25 fee for closing any account within 180 days, so waiting on that. 

 

I've been with PenFed since 2017 when I got a great interest only Home Equity LoC good for 15 years. I closed my Access Checking in 2018 when I got tired of having $500+ sitting in it to avoid the $10 fee. But I opened one again in 2020 when they offered a $200 bonus for a new checking account. I really don't mind the $500+ in the account with interest rates being so low. But I'm planning on selling my home in AZ this spring and move to Nevada, so I'll probably just close everything at PenFed. I used to use PenFed as a "hub account" to move funds between accounts, I do bank account bonuses and an ACH deposit often counts as a "direct deposit". But last fall they limited external accounts to only 5 without warning (I had 9), and I'm still PO'd about that. 

Message 22 of 27
SouthJamaica
Mega Contributor

Re: PenFed now offers a free checking account


@DaveInAZ wrote:

@Royalbacon wrote:

@SouthJamaica wrote:

Until now, PenFed has been the only credit union I know that doesn't offer a free checking account. The Access America account was the only checking account they offered, and it assessed a stiff $10 penalty for any month in which one did not have either a minimum balance of $500 or direct deposits of $500 ("direct deposits" being loosely defined).

 

Now I see they are offering "free checking". The website says:

 

PENFED FREE CHECKING

You asked, we listened

Managing your money has never been easier

 
  • Zero monthly fees
  • Zero ATM fees

Well I'm glad they finally "listened" Smiley Happy

 

Thanks to @mommydiva for bringing this to my attention.


They're not the only that didn't offer a free checking. Alaska USA Federal Credit Union doesn't, Elements Financial and GTE Financial all don't offer free checking. Alaska USA also has $50 annual fees on all their cards unless you have a checking account with them Smiley LOL


I had accounts with TCF Bank in Phoenix and they sold all their AZ branches to Alaska USA; I took a look at the & saw all their fees and said "No Thanks" and closed my accounts. (TCF has since been acquired by Huntington Bank). I joined GTE for a measly $100 account bonus and I have to move $500+ in/out monthly to avoid a $5 fee; going to close it soon - they actually have a $25 fee for closing any account within 180 days, so waiting on that. 

 

I've been with PenFed since 2017 when I got a great interest only Home Equity LoC good for 15 years. I closed my Access Checking in 2018 when I got tired of having $500+ sitting in it to avoid the $10 fee. But I opened one again in 2020 when they offered a $200 bonus for a new checking account. I really don't mind the $500+ in the account with interest rates being so low. But I'm planning on selling my home in AZ this spring and move to Nevada, so I'll probably just close everything at PenFed. I used to use PenFed as a "hub account" to move funds between accounts, I do bank account bonuses and an ACH deposit often counts as a "direct deposit". But last fall they limited external accounts to only 5 without warning (I had 9), and I'm still PO'd about that. 


I'm not aware of PenFed having limited external accounts to 5. I have lots of external accounts with them.


Total revolving limits 684000 (587000 reporting) FICO 8: EQ 715 TU 712 EX 695

Message 23 of 27
tortoise_credit
Regular Contributor

Re: PenFed now offers a free checking account

I just pulled my ChexSystems report today, and oddly enough I don't see any entries from PenFed.

 

  • Opened the Access America account on 12/1/2021
  • Closed the Access America account and opened the free checking account on 1/25/2022

 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 24 of 27
fantic
Regular Contributor

PenFed Free Checking no balance requirements any more?

'Free Checking

No monthly fees. No minimum balance requirements.'

 

Online ad popped up so checked.

 

And there'a also a link to Power Cash CC;

 

'

PENFED HONORS ADVANTAGE
Free Checking earns you more

As a Free Checking account holder, you can earn 2% cash back on everything you purchase with a PenFed Power Cash Rewards Visa Signature® card.'

 

I've heard that there was a minimum $500 balance requirement. Is that now gone?

 

 

 

Apr/21 CO Plat. SC(500->700), Aug; CITI DC(1000->1500), Sep; CFF(500), Oct; Amazon store card(2100->4000), CITI Best Buy store card(2000), Nov; Tomo(2000->3000), Jan/22; CO SO(2000), Feb/22; Disco It CB(3000)
Next cards; travel card(Delta Gold?), CITI CC? Credit Union card(PenFed?)
FICO8 EX 717 EQ 719 TU 735 util 2%(of 16700)
AAoA 7m AoOA 1y1m AoYA 3m Cards 3/6 7/12 8/24 Inq EX 10/6 24/12 EQ 1/6 3/12 TU 3/6 5/12
Message 25 of 27
FinStar
Moderator

Re: PenFed Free Checking no balance requirements any more?

@fantic- please reference existing topic/recent discussion upthread.

Message 26 of 27
SouthJamaica
Mega Contributor

Re: PenFed Free Checking no balance requirements any more?


@fantic wrote:

'Free Checking

No monthly fees. No minimum balance requirements.'

 

Online ad popped up so checked.

 

And there'a also a link to Power Cash CC;

 

'

PENFED HONORS ADVANTAGE
Free Checking earns you more

As a Free Checking account holder, you can earn 2% cash back on everything you purchase with a PenFed Power Cash Rewards Visa Signature® card.'

 

I've heard that there was a minimum $500 balance requirement. Is that now gone?

 


In order to get the 2% cash back on the Power Cash Rewards card, as opposed to 1.5%, you need to either (a) have direct deposits into the Free Checking account of $500 monthly, or (b) maintain a minimum balance of $500 in the Free Checking account.  PenFed seems to accept ACH transfers from your own external accounts as direct deposits.

 

But there's no penalty or maintenance fee in the checking account if you fail to meet one of those requirements.


Total revolving limits 684000 (587000 reporting) FICO 8: EQ 715 TU 712 EX 695

Message 27 of 27
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