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Pentagon Federal Credit Union Review 2022

Published January 2022 by Karen Bennett

AT A GLANCE
4.3

Bankrate Score

bank-logo

High APYs

Highly Rated App

Low Minimum Balance

Low Minimum Deposit

PenFed is good for savers who are interested in getting both a competitive rate as well as the option to choose from a wide variety of banking products. Consumers who prefer in-person banking may want to consider an institution with a larger branch network.

  • Savings
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    5.0
  • CDs
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    4.2
  • Checking
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    4.2
  • MMAs
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    3.0
  • MORE HIGH-YIELD OPTIONS
    MORE HIGH-YIELD OPTIONS
    Capital One

    Member FDIC

    Savings account

    0.70 % APY

    $ 0

    Min. balance for APY

    Goldman Sachs Bank USA

    Member FDIC

    Savings account

    0.70 % APY

    $ 0

    Min. balance for APY

    Goldman Sachs Bank USA

    Member FDIC

    CD

    2.10 % APY

    2yr

    Term

    $ 500

    Min. deposit

    Overall

    4.3

    Bankrate Score

    Pentagon Federal Credit Union is one of the largest federal credit unions, based on assets and membership. It has a rich history in serving members of the armed force, those affiliated with the military and employees of the federal government. PenFed has members in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and several U.S. territories. It is insured by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA).

    What we like

    • The Premium Online Savings account offers a top-tier APY.

    • The checking account is interest bearing and earns a highly competitive yield.

    • Checking or savings accounts can be opened with a low minimum deposit.

    • Tens of thousands of free ATMs are available.

    What we don't

    • The yield on the basic savings account is low.

    • The credit union’s network of nearly 50 branches extends across just 13 states.

    Savings accounts

    5.0

    Bankrate Score

    OTHER SAVINGS OFFERS YOU MAY LIKE
    Capital One

    Member FDIC

    Savings account

    0.70 % APY

    $ 0

    Min. balance for APY

    The Premium Online Savings account offers an excellent dividend rate on all balances, and only a $5 deposit is needed to open an account, and there’s no monthly fee.

    PenFed’s Regular Savings account doesn't offer an impressive APY, but it can be opened at a branch and provides easy ATM access.

    What we like

    • The Premium Online Savings account offers a highly competitive APY.

    • There are no monthly service fees to worry about.

    • Customers can set up free online recurring transfers.

    What we don't

    • The Regular Savings account pays a much lower APY than the Premium Online Savings account.

    • The Premium Online Savings account doesn’t provide ATM access.

    CD rates

    4.2

    Bankrate Score

    OTHER CD OFFERS YOU MAY LIKE
    Goldman Sachs Bank USA

    Member FDIC

    CD

    2.10 % APY

    2yr

    Term

    $ 500

    Min. deposit

    PenFed offers several different types of certificates, including money market certificates, which are available with terms ranging from six months to seven years. Other options include IRA certificates and Coverdell Education savings certificates, which are useful for setting aside money for a child. With each of these products, the barrier to entry is fairly low, but the early withdrawal penalties are rather stiff.

    What we like

    • A wide selection of CD terms are available.

    • The $1,000 minimum balance requirement is manageable for many savers.

    • Rates are generally above average.

    What we don't

    • Early withdrawal penalties on terms over a year in length can be substantial.

    • There are no options for flexible or no-penalty certificates.

    Checking accounts

    4.2

    Bankrate Score

    OTHER CHECKING OFFERS YOU MAY LIKE
    SoFi

    Member FDIC

    Checking account

    1.25 % APY

    $ 0

    To open

    $ 0

    To avoid fees

    The Access America Checking account from PenFed can be opened with as little as $25. The account has tiered interest rates that most reward those with balances of $20,000 or more with a higher rate. PenFed waives the $10 monthly fee on accounts with a monthly direct deposit of $500 or more or maintain a monthly minimum balance of $500 or more.

    What we like

    • The checking account offers a respectable yield that earns even more on balances of $20,000 or more.

    • Bill pay and mobile deposit are free.

    • An overdraft line of credit is available for added protection.

    What we don't

    • Other financial institutions make it easier to avoid monthly maintenance fees.

    • Overdrafts cost $30 with no daily limit on the number of occurrences.

    • The bulk of PenFed’s branches can be found in the Washington, D.C., area and in Texas.

    Money market accounts

    3.0

    Bankrate Score

    The Money Market Savings account offers a tiered APY. Balances of more than $100,000 earn the highest yield, but higher yields can be found at other banks and some credit unions. The account has no monthly service fees, but an initial deposit of $5 is required to open the account. Checks are free upon request.

    What we like

    • There’s no monthly service fee.

    • You can request free checks for the account.

    • Unlike the Online Savings account, ATM access is available.

    • A money market account can be opened with little money.

    What we don't

    • Better yields can be found elsewhere.

    • At least $100,000 is required to earn the highest APY.

    Bank experience

    Consumers who choose PenFed will have access to nearly 50 branches, but those who aren’t in proximity to a branch can take advantage of robust digital features and do their banking online.

    The mobile app is highly rated in both Apple’s App Store and the Google Play Store. It can be used to set travel notifications on debit/credit cards, deposit checks, pay bills and more.

    Members also have ample access to free ATMs with tens of thousands of free ATMs available, including those in the Allpoint and CO-OP networks.

    About Pentagon Federal Credit Union (PenFed)

    Pentagon Federal Credit Union was established in 1935 in Washington, D.C., as the War Department Federal Credit Union. Today, PenFed is based in McLean, Virginia, and serves 2 million members worldwide.

    PenFed offers a variety of banking products, including checking, savings and money market accounts as well as several types of share certificates.

    Current and retired members of the armed forces and employees of the federal government are eligible to join the credit union, but membership is open to just about anyone. PenFed makes qualifying easy by allowing new customers to sign up as a member of one of dozens of organizations, such as the Marine Corps League or the Air Force Association.

    Karen Bennett Twitter Created with Sketch. @

    Karen Bennett Twitter Created with Sketch. @

    Karen Bennett is a consumer banking reporter at Bankrate. She uses her finance writing background to help readers learn more about savings and checking accounts, CDs, and other financial matters. Karen brings decades of writing and reporting experience to the table, including the roles of credit cards writer for travel website Million Mile Secrets and money and career writer for The Cheat Sheet. Her work has also appeared in USA Today, Illinois Legal Times, and several Chicago, Milwaukee, and Washington, D.C. newspapers. In addition, she’s worked in the areas of marketing and business development, and she was product manager for a consumer money-saving website. When she’s not writing Bankrate articles, she can often be found cheering her kids on at soccer games, cooking and reading up on saving for retirement and other personal finance topics.