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Should I go for penfed?

Contributor

Should I go for penfed?

Hello all,

My fathers been a member of penfed for a while and he’s been asking me to join for the past few weeks. I been thinking about going for the checking or savings account. However, I have two checking accounts (chase and boa) so I am conflicted. I’m 21 and have low 700 scores, no negs, aaog 1 yr, 2 student loans and 2 credit cards. Any thoughts?
Message 1 of 14
13 REPLIES
Community Leader
Valued Contributor

Re: Should I go for penfed?

I've been a Penfed member since May, and to be honest as far as credit unions go I'm not wild about them.

For checking they only offer Access America Checking. To avoid a $5 monthly fee you need to keep a minimum balance of $500, or have a minimum of $500 direct deposits (as in payroll) per month. Under $500 balance you earn no interest, balance of $500-$19,999 you earn a measly .2% interest. I don't do checking with them.

 

You have to have a "Share" savings account to join, minimum $5. It pays even a worse .05% interest.

 

They are fairly conservative on credit cards. You will qualify with that credit score, but they also want see decent income. If you get a Power Cash Rewards credit card with an Access Checking the  PCR card gives you 2% rewards on all purchases.

 

I stay with Penfed as they gave me a Home Equity Line of Credit, but I think you can do better. If you qualify with military service or a family member with military service for membership Navy Federal is a much better Credit Union. I don't qualify for Navy Federal so my primary credit union is DCU, Digital Credit Union. Great car loan rates, free checking with no minimum balance/direct deposit requirement nonsense, and 5% interest on your savings account up to $1,000.


Fico 08: 720/721/719 TU/EX/EQ
Message 2 of 14
Contributor

Re: Should I go for penfed?

I think he just wants me to prepare for what's to come, maybe a mortgage or an auto loan and he seems to like the credit card. I honestly don't know the merits of credit unions. I'll look into the NFCU... also, what did you mean by "share" savings?

Message 3 of 14
Community Leader
Valued Contributor

Re: Should I go for penfed?

Credit Unions are member owned, so your primary savings account is called a share account, your share of ownership.

Fico 08: 720/721/719 TU/EX/EQ
Message 4 of 14
Contributor

Re: Should I go for penfed?

From what I've learned a savings account might be the way to go with penfed, I'm not aware of any minimum reqs or fees to be charged. However, I read that its a hard pull... is the relationship worth it? 

Message 5 of 14
Regular Contributor

Re: Should I go for penfed?

Stay away from PenFed unless you like to be able to call and talk to the actual decision-maker/loan officer directly to explain your current circumstances in a successful (in my OWN personal experience) attempt to be approved for a loan, line of credit, or a credit line increase.  Yeah, PenFed's a bit old school but give me a credit union who gives me these options ANY day of the week.  Not to take anything away from NFCU (my main CU) but there is a lot to be said for a CU who offers such a personal touch as PenFed does.  I love PenFed and I love NFCU... they're both fantastic...BUT there is a HUGE VALUE to banking with somone who connects you to the final decision-maker like PenFed will do.

Message 6 of 14
Frequent Contributor

Re: Should I go for penfed?

I recenlty closed my Penfed account, joined NFCU and have no regrets.



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GOAL - 800! - App free since 11/22/2017
Message 7 of 14
Valued Contributor

Re: Should I go for penfed?

I like PenFed and NFCU, but PenFed is taking the lead for me lately. 

 

I just opened a checking account there to get bumped up to 2% rewards on my cash rewards CC and up to 4x travel points on my Pathfinder Amex. I'm happy to leave $500 parked in this checking for what I'll earn back on the rewards.

Ch 7 Discharge May 2015
Discover/Target/NFCU CLOC/NFCU Cash Rewards/PenFed Power Cash Rewards/PenFed Pathfinder AMEX - $60k total revolving
Message 8 of 14
Valued Contributor

Re: Should I go for penfed?


@AirTroopwrote:

Stay away from PenFed unless you like to be able to call and talk to the actual decision-maker/loan officer directly to explain your current circumstances in a successful (in my OWN personal experience) attempt to be approved for a loan, line of credit, or a credit line increase.  Yeah, PenFed's a bit old school but give me a credit union who gives me these options ANY day of the week.  Not to take anything away from NFCU (my main CU) but there is a lot to be said for a CU who offers such a personal touch as PenFed does.  I love PenFed and I love NFCU... they're both fantastic...BUT there is a HUGE VALUE to banking with somone who connects you to the final decision-maker like PenFed will do.


The old school part is rather annoying. 

 

They're also the only credit union I know of that doesn't offer a purely free checking option. It's not hard to get the fee waived, but it just adds to the frustration a new member would have with them. 

 

Everything about Penfed is slow to a crawl, especially when you want to get your direct deposit setup. The people who run the organization don't seem to have any urgency to get things done quickly for their members. 

 

OP, I'd look elsewhere. 

 

 

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Message 9 of 14
Super Contributor

Re: Should I go for penfed?


@LuckyB338wrote:
Hello all,

My fathers been a member of penfed for a while and he’s been asking me to join for the past few weeks. I been thinking about going for the checking or savings account. However, I have two checking accounts (chase and boa) so I am conflicted. I’m 21 and have low 700 scores, no negs, aaog 1 yr, 2 student loans and 2 credit cards. Any thoughts?

To my mind, PenFed is a very good outfit, but it has a few limitations:

 

1. As @DaveInAz pointed out, the only checking account it offers is a pain in the neck: it requires you to have $500 in direct deposits or $500 minimum balance or you get nailed with a monthly service charge. But @DaveInAz is wrong about one thing, it's a $10 per month fee, not a $5 per month fee.

 

2. PenFed limits the number and amount of online transfers one can make.

 

3. It has instituted a limit of $50k on total of credit card limits it will extend to any one customer.

 

But overall, IMHO it's an excellent outfit, with good offerings, a good website, and quick service. If you have a comfortable way of avoiding the checking account problem, I think it's a good institution to connect with.

 

 


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Message 10 of 14