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Compare PenFed Credit Union banking products: Savings and Checking

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


PenFed Credit Union

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.

Am I eligible?

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 these requirements, contact PenFed to see if there’s another way you could qualify.

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 PenFed Federal Credit Union to the competition

Name Product Interest rates (APY) Fee Minimum deposit to open Interest earned
American Express® High Yield Savings
Enjoy no monthly fees and a competitive APY with this online-only savings account. Accounts offered by American Express National Bank, Member FDIC.
Axos Bank High Yield Savings
No monthly maintenance fees. No minimum balance requirements. Interest compounded daily.
Aspiration Spend & Save Account

1.00% on $0 to $10,000 but you’ll need to be enrolled in Aspiration Plus and make at least $1,000 in debit card purchases a month
$0 per month or $7 per month for Aspiration Plus ($5.75 per month if you pay annually)
Deposits are fossil fuel-free and insured by the FDIC. Enjoy a spend and save combo account with unlimited cash back rewards and a $100 bonus when you spend $1,000 in your first 60 days.
CIT Bank Money Market
A savings account with a higher-than-average rate and minimal fees.
Central Bank of Kansas City Savings
The Central Bank of Kansas City Savings account, offered through SaveBetter, has a $1 opening deposit and earns 0.4% APY.

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
  • 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

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

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