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PenFed Promise Visa® Card review

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  • Get this card if you don’t want to pay any fees.
  • Pick something else if you want rewards or a 0% intro APR.
  • Apply with a good to excellent credit score of 670 or higher.

How to apply for the PenFed Promise Visa® Card

  1. Go to the provider's site and click Apply now.
  2. If you’re a PenFed member, log in with your credentials. If you’re not, click Apply Now.
  3. Complete the application with details like your name, address, annual income and Social Security number.
  4. Review and submit your application.

PenFed Promise visa app screenshot1

How long will it take to get my PenFed Promise 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.

The perks

  • Annual fee: None.
    No annual fee makes it easier to keep this card long term. It’s an especially good perk when combined with the promo APR on balance transfers and potentially low purchase APR offered by PenFed.
  • No fees.
    PenFed Promise Visa® Card is the rare product that charges no fees across the board. You’ll pay no fees for balance transfers, cash advances and foreign transactions. And you won’t be assessed penalty fees for late payments, over limit transactions or returned payments.

    This makes the PenFed Promise Visa® Card one of relatively few cards that charge no balance transfer fees. And if you tend to miss payments, you’ll like saving on pesky penalty fees.

  • Signup bonus: $100 statement credit.
    When you spend $1,500 on purchases in the first 90 days of card membership, you’ll earn a $100 statement credit.
  • Promo APR: 4.99% on balance transfers for 12 months.
    Receive a 4.99% promo APR on balance transfers for 12 months — after that, an ongoing balance transfer APR of to 17.99% variable applies. You’ll receive this promo APR on transfers you make up until September 30, 2020. Just keep in mind that you will begin accruing interest on your account balance if you don’t pay in full each month.This is a solid promotional APR period, though you’ll find longer ones with products like the Citi Simplicity® Card and the Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card.

Am I eligible for PenFed membership?

Even though Pentagon Federal Credit Union membership is mostly geared toward military-affiliated individuals, anyone can join the union.

In the past, non-military individuals could only join by becoming a member of the Voices for America’s Troops or the National Military Family Association. A one-time $17 donation to one of the organizations was also required. This is no longer the case. You can still make a donation, but it’s not necessary to become a PenFed member.

You’ll also like …

  • 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 Promise Visa® Card, you may have the same ongoing APR for all balances — including cash advances.Note that unlike with purchases, cash advances for the PenFed Promise Visa® Card don’t come with grace periods on interest. PenFed will begin charging interest from each cash advance transaction date.
  • No penalty APR.
    Not only does the PenFed Promise Visa® Card not have fees, but it also doesn’t have a penalty APR. This means your interest rates won’t increase just because you make a late or returned payment.

What to watch out for

  • No 0% promo APR.
    Many cards offer a 0% promo APR on balance transfers. With the PenFed Promise Visa® Card, you’ll receive a 4.99% promo APR on balance transfers for the first 12 months on transfers made before September 30, 2020. It’s a low rate, but you might want an even lower one.

Compare no-annual-fee credit cards

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Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
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Get 3% cash back on groceries on up to $6,000 annually (then 1%) with no annual fee. This is a simple and effective rewards card. Rates & fees
Chase Freedom Flex℠
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Get up to 5% cashback in rotating and newly added everyday categories. The refreshed Freedom Flex card has lots of earning potential.
Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card
$0
0% intro for the first 18 months (then 14.74% to 24.74% variable)
0% intro for the first 18 months (then 14.74% to 24.74% variable)
An impressive 18 months intro APR on balance transfers and purchases, as well as no annual fee make this one of the top 0% APR cards available.
Chase Freedom Unlimited®
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0% intro for the first 15 months (then 14.99% to 23.74% variable)
This solid 1.5% cashback card gets even better with the addition of up to 5% back in categories like travel, drug stores and dining.
Petal 2 “Cash Back, No Fees” Visa® Credit Card
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Build your credit with rewards and no fees: Apply if you're new to credit or have a fair to good score of 600 or higher. See if you prequalify with no impact to your score.
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Compare up to 4 providers

How does a balance transfer work with this card?

  1. Go to the provider's site and click Apply now.
    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.

    You’ll pay no fees for your balance transfers.

  2. Check for balance transfer time limits.
    For this card, PenFed offers a 4.99% promo APR for 12 months on balance transfers. Only balances you transfer up until September 30, 2020 will qualify for that rate.Call a PenFed representative if you have questions about balance transfers.
  3. Keep track of your balance transfer details.
    If your balance transfers qualify, you’ll enjoy a 4.99% APR on the balances for 12 months. This is a promotional APR. For 12 months, your balance transfers will accrue interest at this rate.If you still have a balance after that time, however, it’ll accrue interest at an APR between to 17.99% variable.

What should I know before I apply?

To apply for the PenFed Promise 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 Promise 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.

Always consider your options and your financial situation before you apply for a credit card.

PenFed Promise Visa® Card reviews and complaints.

As of October 2020, 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.

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 hits to your credit score. The PenFed Promise Visa® Card doesn’t have fees, but it’s still a good idea to make payments on time. In some cases, late payments may lower your credit score.
  • 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.

Bottom line

The PenFed Promise Visa® Card stands out by charging no fees across the board. It also comes with a low promo APR on balance transfers and a potentially low ongoing APR.

Frequently asked questions

Images: penfed.org

Expert review

Kevin Joey Chen

Review by


Kevin Joey Chen is a credit cards, banking and investments writer whose work and analysis have appeared on CNN, U.S. News & World Report, Business.com, Lifehacker and CreditCards.com. He's passionate about helping you get your finances in order by expertly navigating cutting-edge financial tools — including credit cards, apps and budgeting software.

Expert review

Plenty of cards waive annual and foreign transaction fees, but few eliminate fees across the board.

The PenFed Promise Visa® Card does. You won’t pay fees for balance transfers, cash advances, over limit transactions, returned payments and even late payments. This is uncommon, and it’s the standout feature for the PenFed Promise Visa® Card.

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