Explore PenFed Credit Union’s suite of bank accounts

This military-focused credit union offers no-fee savings accounts — and high APYs on its checking account.

Last updated:

PenFed Credit Union

We value our editorial independence, basing our comparison results, content and reviews on objective analysis without bias. But we may receive compensation when you click links on our site. Learn more about how we make money from our partners.

PenFed caters to the military community, but it’s not necessarily a requirement to apply. You can earn up to 0.50% on it’s checking account with a balance from $20,000 to $50,000. Its savings accounts are free, but fall short with a low 0.05% if you have a balance less than $250,000.

PenFed is a little vague about its exact criteria for membership, but you’re a shoo-in if you identify with one of the following:

  • Member of an affiliate partner, which include:
    • American Red Cross
    • American Society of Military Comptrollers
    • National War College Alumni Association
    • Military Officers Association of America
    • United States Department of Energy
    • United States Army Warrant Officers Association
    • Navy League of the United States
    • Coast Guard Auxiliary Association
    • Marine Corps League
  • Active member of the military
  • Veteran
  • Employee of the United States Government

If you don’t meet any of the above points, PenFed still encourages you to apply.

What banking products does PenFed Credit Union offer?

PenFed puts its focus on savings products like free savings accounts, money markets and CDs. But it also offers a checking account, personal loans, mortgages and credit card products.

Personal banking

Why should I open an account at PenFed Credit Union?

PenFed Credit Union online banking platform offers standard features like automatic bill pay, mobile check deposit and an ATM locator. Other features include:

  • Checking account APY. With an industry average at 0.06%, PenFed’s minimum 0.20% on its checking account is a nice feature — but you have to maintain a $500 daily balance.
  • Easy ATM access. PenFed is part of the AllPoint ATM network, which gives members free access to over 68,000 ATMs spread across the nation.
  • Strong app. The PenFed Mobile App is rated 4.4 out of 5 stars on Google Play and 4.2 out of 5 stars in the Apple Store, with users reporting a positive experience banking from a smartphone.

Accessibility for military

PenFed has branch locations in the following locations:

  • Hagatna, Guam
  • Honolulu, Hawaii
  • Kadena, Japan
  • Puerto Rico

Military members might find this convenient if they find themselves deployed to one of these locations.

What should I look out for?

Typical of a credit union, PenFed is designed to be a one-stop financial hub for users rather than a one-off provider. But, before signing up, keep in mind these drawbacks:

  • Scant checking account options. PedFed only offers one checking account option for members.
  • Limited access within the US. Branch locations are essentially nonexistent in the northwest, and there are just 46 overall. If face-to-face interaction is important to you, verify a nearby hub first.
  • $30 fee for nonsufficient funds. PenFed will ding you with a $30 fee each time your account falls below $0. And there’s no limit as to how many times a day it can charge you. So a bad day and low balance could be very expensive to remedy.
  • Low APY on Regular Savings account. With the national average hovering at 0.09% APY, the basic account falls short with a low 0.05% APY.

Compare with leading bank and credit union accounts

Name Product Interest rate (APY) Fee Minimum deposit to open
Barclays Online Savings
1.70%
$0
$0
Earn 20x the national savings account average with no fees or minimums.
American Express® Personal Savings High Yield Savings
1.70%
$0
$0
Enjoy no monthly fees and a competitive APY with this online-only savings account. Accounts offered by American Express National Bank, Member FDIC.
BBVA Money Market
1.50%
$15 per month
(can be waived)
$25
Earn one of the highest annual percentage yields (APYs) if you live in one of 42 eligible states, and access your money by ATM, check or bill pay.
UFB Direct High Yield Savings
1.90%
$0
$100
Earn a competitive rate with a balance higher than $10,000.
CIT Bank Savings Builder High Yield Savings Account
1.80%
$0
$100
A super-high interest rate if you're in the habit of saving at least $100 per month or have $25K in the bank.
Radius Bank High-Yield Savings
1.65%
$0
$100
A free high-interest savings account with a $100 minimum deposit to open
Chase Savings
0.01%
$5 per month
(can be waived)
$0
Get a $150 bonus when you open a new Chase Savings account, deposit a total of $10,000 or more in new money within 20 business days and maintain a $10,000 balance for 90 days. Or get $350 when you open both a Chase Savings and Chase Total Checking account. Available online nationwide except in Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico.

Compare up to 4 providers

PenFed customer service

Got questions? Here’s how to get in touch with customer service:

  • Phone. Call 800-247-5626.
  • Email. Write to info@penfed.org.
  • Electronic message. Send a note through the PenFed website, whether or not you have an account.
  • Fax. 800-557-7328.
  • Snail mail. General letters should be addressed to:
    Box 1432
    Alexandria, VA
    22313-2032

Bottom line

Folks looking for a full-service financial provider might enjoy PenFed’s breadth of options, from basic savings accounts to credit cards. But if you’re looking for lower initial deposits or higher APYs on basic savings, see what competitors have to offer.

Frequently asked questions

Read more on this topic

Go to site