Gold Visa® Card review
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Gold Visa® Card Overview
Although we recommend keeping your credit card balance as low as possible (preferably at zero), if you know you’ll need to carry a balance here and there, the Gold Visa® Card should be at the top of your list.
Its rock-bottom fees and APR, plus a 15-month 0 percent promotional balance transfer APR (3 percent balance transfer fee, non-variable 17.99 percent APR ongoing) on balance transfers made within the first 90 days after account opening, make it a great balance transfer card and one of the best credit cards for military members with big purchases on the horizon.
And since anyone can join the Pentagon Federal Credit Union, these amazing rates and fees make it one of the best low-interest credit cards available to the general public as well.
Pros and cons
Some of the lowest credit card rates and fees available
No annual or foreign transaction fees
15-month 0 percent promotional balance transfer APR (non-variable 17.99 percent ongoing, intro 3 percent balance transfer fee, see terms) on balance transfers made in the first 90 days after account opening
Nongovernment employee civilians are also eligible for this card and PenFed membership by opening a share/savings account and keeping it open with at least a $5 balance
Must be a member of the Pentagon Federal Credit Union to apply
No ongoing rewards
Minimal card benefits and features
A deeper look at the current card offer
- Rewards rate: N/A
- Welcome offer: N/A
- Annual fee: $0
- Purchase intro APR: N/A
- Balance transfer promotional APR: 0 percent for 15 months (non-variable 17.99 percent APR ongoing)
- Regular APR: 13.49 percent to 17.99 percent variable
Unfortunately, the Gold Visa doesn’t earn rewards. If you plan to carry a balance, that’s not much of an issue, since even the lowest interest rates will eat the lion’s share of any rewards you’d earn.
Several cards focused on balance transfers don’t offer ongoing rewards, such as the Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card, but many rewards cards with slightly higher APRs offer intro APR offers on both purchases and balance transfers.
This card’s selection of benefits is very limited outside standard Visa security features like 24/7 fraud monitoring, $0 liability for unauthorized purchases, digital wallet compatibility and secure remote commerce (SRC), aka Click to Pay.
These benefits are great for making digital transactions safer and easier, but your main perks come from being a member of the Pentagon Federal Credit Union.
Pentagon Federal Credit Union perks
PenFed is one of our top-rated credit unions and backs that up with a variety of member-exclusive benefits.
You can receive discounts on a vast range of services, including auto rental and protection, tax filing, college fund planning, home insurance and security, health benefits and even online math tutoring.
Plus, you have access to PenFed’s Advice Center and Financial Hardship Center to assist you with your finances. Members of the military preparing for deployment can take advantage PenFed’s handy Deployment Guide to ease the pre- and post-transition arrangements.
Visa Traditional card benefits
As a standard Visa Traditional card, you’ll have access to Visa’s basic perks like auto rental collision damage coverage, 24/7 roadside dispatch and travel accident insurance.
Rates and fees
The Gold Visa card’s bread and butter is its incredibly low rates and fees. You won’t have to worry about an annual fee or even foreign transaction fees in case you travel with the military. Even the up to $28 late payment fee and up to $25 returned payment fee are lower than average (usually up to $40).
The 13.49 percent to 17.99 percent (variable) APR is one of the best interest rates you’ll find. The upper end of this range is just above the current average APR, even without the best credit.
Plus, if you’re looking to chip away at an existing balance, the Gold Visa’s 15-month 0 percent promotional balance transfer APR (3 percent balance transfer fee) on any balance transfer in the first 90 days of account opening will keep interest at bay for your entire first year (non-variable 17.99 percent APR thereafter). Just keep in mind the intro APR does not apply to new purchases.
How the Gold Visa compares to other low-interest cards
As far as low ongoing interest rates go, the Gold Visa card is hard to beat. PenFed’s other credit cards—like the Power Cash Rewards Visa Signature® Card—offer rewards and extra benefits, but the interest rates aren’t as competitive as the Gold Visa.
However, it might take a few hoops to apply for this card since you need to become a member of the PenFed Credit Union. If you haven’t served the military or the federal government as an employee, you can now simply apply for membership and become eligible by keeping a savings/share account open with at least a $5 balance since military affiliation is no longer required. But if you’re not looking to join PenFed or a credit union, Discover credit cards also typically offer rewards with minimal rates and fees.
Intro APR credit cards like the Citi Diamond Preferred are also fantastic options if you want to avoid interest for as long as possible. But without rewards and more benefits, the Citi Diamond Preferred card’s ongoing value might be as limited as the PenFed Gold Visa’s.
Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score
Best cards to pair the Gold Visa with
PenFed’s rewards cards would gel nicely with the Gold Visa, but really any rewards credit card would pair well. Just keep in mind that if you carry a balance, you could lose the bulk of any rewards you earn to interest payments.
Depending on your spending and location, you might want to consider different reward styles. If you’re currently deployed abroad or you travel often, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is an excellent choice. Meanwhile, the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is perfect for at-home expenses. If your purchases don’t fall within typical bonus categories, you can’t go wrong with a flat-rate cash back card like the Citi® Double Cash Card.
Bankrate’s take—Is the Gold Visa worth it?
Whether you’ve served with the military or not, the Gold Visa Credit Card is certainly worth considering if you know you may carry a balance from time to time and are a PenFed Credit Union member. Its low rates and fees make it a fantastic opportunity to save money on interest, even if you have less than stellar credit.
However, the Gold Visa carries few additional benefits and doesn’t offer ongoing rewards or a zero-interest purchase offer. These missing card features might make other cards with slightly higher APRs worth it.
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Editorial Disclosure: Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, and have not been reviewed or approved by any advertiser. The information, including card rates and fees, is accurate as of the publish date. All products or services are presented without warranty. Check the bank’s website for the most current information.