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PenFed credit cards: Which one is best for you?

See the best PenFed cards of 2021 and browse our list of unbiased reviews.

Compare PenFed credit cards

PenFed Credit Union is a federal financial institution that has over 1.5 million members and roots in serving US military personnel. But don’t worry if you’re not affiliated with the military — you can still apply. PenFed cards come with the same bells and whistles you’ve come to expect from bigger providers, including rewards, promo APRs and no-annual-fee cards. Use our table to compare PenFed cards in terms of rewards, annual fee and intro APR period. If a card catches your eye, read the card’s details where you can learn minimum credit score requirements or additional benefits.

Name Product Filter values Rewards Purchase APR Annual fee
PenFed Pathfinder® Rewards Visa Signature® Card
3x points on travel or 4x points if you’re a PenFed Honors Advantage member and 1.5x points on all other purchases
14.99% to 17.99% variable
$95
50,000 bonus points when you spend $3,000 in the first 90 days from account opening.
PenFed Gold Visa® Card
N/A
7.49% to 17.99% variable
$0
Low APR on all purchases including cash advances.
PenFed Power Cash Rewards Visa Signature® Card
2% cash back for all PenFed Honors Advantage members and 1.5% cash back on all purchases
14.99% to 17.99% variable
$0
2% cash back for all PenFed Honors Advantage members and 1.5% cash back on all purchases made with your card.
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Best PenFed credit cards

We examined all of PenFed’s cards, identifying their flagship features and classifying them as best for certain categories. Each card offers specialized perks in their respective spaces, and these benefits hold up very well against those you’ll find from other card providers.

Best card for travel rewards
PenFed Pathfinder® Rewards Visa Signature® Card

PenFed Pathfinder® Rewards Visa Signature® Card logo
Finder Rating: 4.4 / 5

★★★★★

Credit recommended (670-850)
Read review
670
Min. credit score
$95
Annual fee
Up to4x
Points
50,000
Points welcome offer
The PenFed Pathfinder® Rewards Visa Signature® Card holds up well against other travel cards. You’ll earn 4x points on travel as a PenFed Honors Advantage member and 1.5x points on all other spending. These are excellent rewards, especially considering you can get the card for no annual fee as an Honors Advantage member.
  • Rewards: Best for travel. Earn 3x points on travel purchases and 1.5x points on all other purchases. If you are a PenFed Honors Advantage member, you are bumped up to 4x points on travel. You can qualify by opening a PenFed Access America checking account or by being a member of military services.
  • Welcome offer: 50,000 points. Spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 90 days your account is open to earn your welcome offer.
  • Promo APR: 0% intro APR on balance transfers for the first 12 months. This is a solid promo APR on balance transfers. After the promo period expires, your balance transfer APR reverts to to variable. Transfer balances before September 30, 2020 to qualify.
  • $100 annual air travel credit. Use the credit toward incidental charges like baggage fees, lounge passes and in-flight refreshments.
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck credit. Every five years, you're eligible for a statement credit equal to your $100 Global Entry or $85 TSA PreCheck application fee.
Annual Fee $95
Purchase APR 14.99% to 17.99% variable
Balance transfer APR 0% intro for the first 12 months (then 17.99% variable)
Welcome offer50,000 points after spending $3,000 in the first 90 days
Estimated welcome offer value $500 based on Finder's valuation
Rewards3x points on travel or 4x points if you’re a PenFed Honors Advantage member and 1.5x points on all other purchases

Best for flat cash back
PenFed Power Cash Rewards Visa Signature® Card

PenFed Power Cash Rewards Visa Signature® Card logo
Credit recommended (670-850)
Read review
670
Min. credit score
$0
Annual fee
Up to2%
Cash back
$100
Welcome offer
The standout feature of the PenFed Power Cash Rewards Visa Signature® Card is its cashback potential. At a minimum, you’ll earn 1.5% cash back on all purchases. If you sign up for PenFed’s Access America checking account, or are a member of military services, you’ll earn 2% cash back through the Honors Advantage program. That’s a superb rate for flat rewards.
  • Rewards: 1.5% cash back on all purchases. A simple, and solid, rewards rate that doesn't require keeping track of categories. PenFed Honors Advantage members get 2% cash back on purchases. To qualify, just open an Access America Checking account. You can also qualify as a military services member.
  • Promo APR: 0% intro APR on balance transfers for the first 12 months. This is a solid promo APR on balance transfers. After the promo expires, your APR reverts to a variable to 17.99%. You must transfer balances before September 30, 2020, to qualify.
  • Signup bonus: $100 statement credit after you spend $1,500 on purchases in the first 90 days. It is not as strong as the bonuses you will find with other cards, but it is a nice sweetener for a card with no annual fee.
Annual Fee $0
Purchase APR 14.99% to 17.99% variable
Balance transfer APR 0% intro for the first 12 months (then 17.99% variable)
Welcome offer$100 after spending $1,500 in the first 90 days
Estimated welcome offer value
Rewards2% cash back for all PenFed Honors Advantage members and 1.5% cash back on all purchases

Best for gas and grocery rewards
PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature® Card

PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature® Card logo
Credit recommended (670-850)
Read review
670
Min. credit score
$0
Annual fee
Up to5x
Points
$150
Points welcome offer
Look into the PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature® Card if you spend big on gas and groceries. The stellar 5x points on gas makes this product a top choice for fuel rewards. Best of all, there’s no cap on the rewards you can earn.
  • Rewards: Best for gas and groceries. Earn an unlimited 5x points on gas and 3x on groceries, surprisingly good rewards that make the card a contender with some of the top players on the market. On all other purchases, you will earn 1x points.
  • Signup bonus: $150 statement credit after you spend $1,500 on purchases in the first 90 days. It is not as high a bonus as other cards offer, but it is a nice sweetener for a card with no annual fee.
  • Promo APR: Enjoy a 0% intro APR on balance transfers for the first 12 months. This is a solid promo APR on balance transfers. After the promo period expires, your APR reverts to to 17.99% variable. Transfer your balances before September 30, 2020, to qualify.
Annual Fee $0
Purchase APR 13.49% to 17.99% variable
Balance transfer APR 0% intro for the first 12 months (then 17.99% variable)
Welcome offer15,000 Bonus Points when you spend $1,500 in the first 90 days
Estimated welcome offer value
Rewards5x points on gas at the pump, 3x points on groceries and 1x points on all other purchases

Best for low APR
PenFed Gold Visa® Card

PenFed Gold Visa® Card logo
Credit recommended (670-850)
Read review
670
Min. credit score
$0
Annual fee
n/a
Rewards
$100
Welcome offer
If you have strong credit and tend to carry monthly balances, the PenFed Gold Visa® Card might be for you. You may qualify for an APR as low as 7.49% variable, a good rate that’s significantly lower than the average credit card APR.
  • Potentially low variable APR. Depending on your credit, your normal purchase, balance transfer and cash advance APR will be between 7.49% to 17.99% variable. This is a relatively low rate, considering the average credit card APR is around 16%.
  • Signup bonus: $100 statement credit after you spend $1,500 on purchases in the first 90 days. It is not as strong as the bonuses you will find with other cards, but it is a nice sweetener for a card with no annual fee.
  • Promo APR: 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 12 months. This is a solid promo APR on balance transfers, reverting to to 17.99% variable after the promo expires. You must transfer balances before September 30, 2020, to qualify.
Annual Fee $0
Purchase APR 7.49% to 17.99% variable
Balance transfer APR 0% intro for the first 12 months (then 17.99% variable)
Welcome offer$100 bonus after spending $1,500 in the first 90 days
Estimated welcome offer value
RewardsN/A

How to apply for a PenFed card

Apply for a credit card through the PenFed Credit Union website. Before you apply, check that you meet the eligibility requirements and prepare the required information.

Eligibility criteria

  • You’re at least 18 years old.
  • You’re a US citizen or permanent resident.
  • You’re a member of the PenFed Credit Union.

Am I eligible for PenFed membership?

Though this card is geared toward those with military affiliations, anyone can become a Pentagon Federal Credit Union member.

Previously, if you had no military affiliation, you could become a member by making a $17 one-time donation to Voices for America’s Troops or National Military Family Association. This is no longer a requirement.

Information you’ll need to apply

To complete PenFed’s application, provide this information:

  • Your name and residential address
  • Your Social Security number and date of birth
  • Your email address and phone number
  • Financial information like your annual income and income source

How many PenFed credit cards can I have?

Many cardholders claim they own four PenFed credit cards, which could be the maximum number.

However, some cardholders claim that PenFed limits your credit limit across all cards to $50,000. This means if you have two PenFed credit cards with a $25,000 credit limit each, you may not be able to get a third PenFed credit card.

Types of PenFed credit cards

PenFed cards have many strengths that rival or exceed competitor credit cards from large banks. For example, all PenFed cards come with a 0% intro APR period on balance transfers, even on its flagship travel card.

As for rewards, you can get a cashback card with 2% back on all purchases for PenFed Honors Advantage members; A card with 5x points on gas purchases paid at the pump; And a card with 4x points on all travel purchases for PenFed Honors Advantage members.

Standout benefits of a PenFed card

  • PenFed Honors Advantage bonus. PenFed cards typically offer good rewards by default. But if you’re an Honors Advantage member, you’ll get a boost to your earnings and you can get your annual fee waived. You can become a member if you’re part of military services, or by signing up for an Access America checking account.
  • Potentially low APR. PenFed may offer you an APR as low as 7.49% variable on all balances with the PenFed Gold Visa® Card. You likely won’t find this with cards issued by US commercial banks.
  • 0% intro APR on balance transfers. All PenFed cards come with a 0% intro APR on balance transfers when you request your transfer by a certain date. This is a rare benefit, considering most commercial banks have removed 0% intro APR periods or even balance transfers altogether.

Full list of PenFed credit cards

Bottom line

For solid credit cards with no annual fee, consider PenFed Credit Union. If you have strong credit, you might qualify for a low-interest rate on all of your balances. And if you’re hunting for rewards, you’ll find highly attractive options.

But if you don’t find any of PenFed’s cards attractive, there are other alternatives to consider. For example, the Citi Double Cash card is an excellent cash back alternative, while the Costco Anywhere Visa Card is a great card for gas rewards.

Frequently asked questions

  • How does PenFed keep my credit card information secure?
    PenFed offers many of the same security features that you’ll find with big banks. For example, it encrypts sensitive information you send online, and you’re logged out automatically if your web session idles.
  • What information do I need to sign up for Card Security Text Alerts?
    You’ll provide your:
    • Mobile phone number.
    • Card account number and security code.
    • Card expiration date.
    • ZIP code.
    • Last four digits of your Social Security number.
  • Is PenFed FDIC-insured?
    PenFed is not insured by the FDIC, but rather the National Credit Union Administration. According to PenFed’s website, NCUA is the credit-union equivalent of the FDIC.
  • Will I know for sure what my card’s APR will be before I apply?
    Unfortunately, no. It’s not possible to know your APR until your application is approved. Of course, the higher your credit score, the better your chances of receiving a favorable interest rate.
  • Why should I apply for a credit card from a credit union?
    A credit union is a nonprofit organization designed to serve its members, so it’s likely to offer personalized services beyond those of your typical bank. Credit union cards also tend to offer competitive ongoing interest rates, lower annual fees and lower APRs.

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