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Kevin Joey Chen is a credit cards writer at finder.com. He's passionate about helping you get your finances in order and travel the world like a pro. He's taken an extended trip around Europe as a digital nomad, gaining firsthand experience with exchange rates, ideal (and not-so-ideal) credit and debit cards, foreign transactions and budgeting strategies. He earned his BA from UC Davis and has written across many niches at Finder, including cryptocurrency, personal loans, car insurance, real estate and money transfers.
If you have strong credit and plan on carrying a balance from month to month, you might like the PenFed Gold Visa® Card. You’ll get the chance at an ongoing purchase, balance transfer and cash advance APR as low as 8.99% variable. That’s a stellar rate, considering the average credit card APR is around 16%.
The card comes with other helpful perks such as a $0 annual fee, a promo APR on balance transfers and a signup bonus. Other products may offer slightly stronger benefits, but few offer such features combined with a potentially low ongoing APR.
Annual fee: None. A $0 annual fee makes it easier to keep this card long term. It’s an especially good perk combined with a promo APR on balance transfers and a potentially low purchase APR.
Signup bonus: $100 statement credit. When you spend $1,500 on purchases in the first 90 days of your account opening, you’ll earn a $100 statement credit.
This is a slightly smaller signup bonus than other no-annual-fee cards, though it comes pretty close to the top players. For example, the Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card offers a $200 online cash rewards bonus after you spend at least $1,000 on purchases in the first 90 days of your account opening. And the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express offers a $150 statement credit after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of card membership (All information about this card has been collected independently by Finder).
Promo APR: 0% on balance transfers for 12 months. Receive a 0% promo APR on balance transfers for 12 months — after that, you’ll have an ongoing balance transfer APR of 8.99% to 17.99% variable. You’ll receive this promo APR on transfers you make up until 30 September 2019. Keep in mind that you’ll still have to pay a 3% fee for transfers, even during the promo period. If you choose to make a balance transfer, you’ll start accruing interest on both purchases and transfers right away.
This is a solid promo APR period, though you’ll find longer ones with products like the Citi Simplicity® Card and Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card. Still, many cards with market-leading promo APRs don’t offer signup bonuses or a potentially low ongoing APR like the PenFed Gold Visa® Card does.
Potentially low interest rate. Depending on your credit, you may qualify for an ongoing APR as low as 8.99% variable on all balances.
Am I eligible for PenFed membership?
The Pentagon Federal Credit Union primarily offers its services to military-affiliated individuals. But even without military affiliation, anyone can become a member and apply for the PenFed cards. In the past, you could become a PenFed member with a one-time $17 donation to either the Voices for America’s Troops or the National Military Family Association. This requirement is no longer active.
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No foreign transaction fees. You won’t incur fees when you use your card abroad or on foreign websites. Typically, providers charge a 3% fee each time you use your card for an international transaction. It doesn’t sound like much, but it can add up over a trip spanning several days.
Since the PenFed Gold Visa® Card comes with no foreign transaction fees, it can be a great choice for vacations or business trips.
Normal APR for cash advances, and no cash advance fees. With most cards, your cash advance APR will be higher than your purchase and balance transfer APR. With the PenFed Gold Visa® Card, you may have the same ongoing APR for all balances — including cash advances. You also won’t pay fees on cash advances, which is uncommon.
Unlike with purchases, your PenFed Gold Visa® Card cash advances don’t come with grace periods on interest. PenFed will begin charging interest from each cash advance transaction date.
What to watch out for
Penalty APR. If you don’t make your minimum payment within 60 days after the due date, PenFed may apply a penalty APR of 17.99% variable to all of your balances. This rate will apply until you make three consecutive monthly payments on or before the due dates.
Penalty fees. Late and returned payments come with fees of up to $25.
Compare low interest rate credit cards
How does a balance transfer work with this card?
Apply for the card. You can transfer a balance when you open your credit card, or request one later.
To make a balance transfer, you’ll need the account number of your existing balance. Also, be ready to provide personal information like your income, employment details and Social Security number.
For each transfer, you’ll pay a fee of 3% of the transaction amount.
Check for balance transfer time limits. For this card, PenFed offers a 0% promo APR for 12 months on balance transfers. Only balances you transfer up until 30 September 2019 qualify for this rate.
Call a PenFed representative if you have questions about balance transfers.
Keep track of your balance transfer details. If your balance transfers qualify, you’ll pay a 0% intro APR on the balances for 12 months.
This is a promo APR. As long as you pay off the balance within 12 months, you won’t pay interest. If you still have a balance after that time, however, it’ll accrue interest at an APR between 8.99% and 17.99% variable.
What should I know before I apply?
To apply for the PenFed Gold Visa® Card, you must be:
At least 18 years old.
A member of the Pentagon Federal Credit Union.
Information you’ll need
To complete the application, you’ll need to provide information that includes:
Your name and residential address.
Your Social Security number.
Your email address, phone number and date of birth.
Financial information like your annual income and income source.
What credit score do I need?
You’ll have a better chance of being approved for the PenFed Gold Visa® Card if you apply with a good to excellent credit score of 670 or higher.
If you have a high income and excellent credit, your likelihood of approval is strong.
Here are a few other factors that might affect your odds of approval:
Hard pulls on your credit report. If you have several hard inquiries — or hard pulls — on your report, it could imply you’re having trouble managing your debt. PenFed might think you’re desperate for credit and may be less likely to take you on as a customer.
Factors that tie into your credit score. Your credit utilization is a major factor PenFed considers. The bank prefers a customer with low balances relative to their credit limit. Having many new card accounts may be a red flag too, as it could indicate you’re desperate for credit. It may also give the impression that you’re a flighty customer who’s just hunting for welcome offers.
What do customers say about the PenFed Gold Visa® Card?
Pentagon Federal Credit Union is not accredited with the Better Business Bureau, but it earns an overall A+ rating from the agency. Some customers complain of difficulty reversing penalty fees, obtaining statement credit and having loan amounts honored.
The credit union does not currently have a profile on Trustpilot.
How to apply for the PenFed Gold Visa® Card
Go to the provider site and click Apply now.
If you’re a PenFed member, log in with your credentials. If you’re not, click Apply Now.
Complete the application with details like your name, address, annual income and Social Security number.
How long will it take to get my PenFed Gold Visa® Card?
Because conditional credit card approval is automated on the website, you may get a decision on your application within a few minutes. If there are issues with your application, it may take a few days to a few weeks to hear back.
After you’re approved, you’ll typically receive your card within 7 to 10 business days.
I got the card. Now what?
Make payments on time. Register an account on the PenFed website to pay your balance online. You can also enroll in autopay.
Avoid interest. After the close of each billing cycle, you have a grace period of at least 25 days to pay your balance. If you do, you won’t pay interest on your purchases.
Avoid fees. Late and returned payments come with fees of up to $25.
Contact customer service. If you have questions, call the number on the back of your card. You can also call the main support line at 1-800-247-5626.
Perhaps the best reason to get the PenFed Gold Visa® Card is its ongoing APR — as low as 8.99% variable for all balances. It’s a solid card in other respects, too, offering a $0 annual fee, a signup bonus and an intro APR on balance transfers.
Before you apply, make sure to compare your options and find the credit card that best suits your needs.
Frequently asked questions
Yes, the PenFed Gold Visa® Card has “EMV” (Europay, Mastercard and Visa) or “chip” technology. For the most part, this makes it more secure than magnetic-stripe cards.
The penalty APR will apply until you make three consecutive monthly payments of at least the minimum amount on or before the due dates.
Unfortunately, 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.
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