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Pentagon Federal Credit Union commonly known as PenFed is a Virginia credit union and among the largest in the United States. It was established in 1935 and it currently has over 1.7 million members, $25 million in assets and services all 50 states and territories with branches and 68,000 ATMs thus, making it one of the most accessible credit unions. It offers in-person branches but also provides online access to everyone. Like all credit union, PenFed does have membership requirements but with the right credentials or a small donation you can easily become a member.

PenFed offers an array of banking services and financial products aimed at consumers with various banking needs. PenFed Credit Union offers popular checking and savings accounts, as well as money market, retirement accounts and credit cards. Some of their more notable products however, include their personal loans and lines of credit

Mission: “Helping Members ‘Do Better’”
PenFed is committed to helping their members no matter what they do or wherever they live as they share two things in common: A belief in the American way of life and a belief in themselves.

  • Solid overall APYs
  • Low minimums and fees
  • Wide ATM network
  • NCUA-Insured
  • Small branch network
  • Requires excellent credit scores
  • Requires high balances to earn dividends
  • High loan interest rates

Banking with PenFed

PenFed restricts their membership but includes membership to come through employment, association membership, volunteerism and donation. PenFed not only offers a multitude of accounts to help you manage your finances, but also, great tools and resources to guide you in making the best financial choices for your entire family.


Checking Account

Savings Accounts

Money Market Accounts




Credit Cards


The requirements for membership are relatively straight-forward and easy to fulfill if you wish to join the PenFed Credit Union:

  • If you serve in the U.S. military or Uniformed Services
  • are an employee of the U.S. government
  • If you are a family member of any of the two points above

If not, there are still options to join:

  • by joining the National Military Family Organization for $15
  • by joining the Voices for America’s Troops for $14

And lastly, membership is also open to members of any of PenFed’s affinity partners. A list of such can be found on their website.

Checking Account

At PenFed Credit Union there is only type of checking account available to members. It is however a premium account that even earns dividends.

Access America Checking:

  • Minimum opening deposit is $25
  • Monthly Maintenance fee of $10
  • Earns 0.50% APY with daily balance of $20K or more, up to $50K
  • Earns 0.20% APY with daily balance under $20K
  • Available overdraft protection
  • Waive the monthly fee with daily balance or monthly direct deposit of $500+

Savings Accounts

There are two types of savings accounts at PenFed each with their own key features and benefits, opening either one of these accounts are necessary once the membership requirements have been met.

Premium Online Savings:

  • Minimum $5 deposit when opening
  • Can apply for this account online
  • Earn 1.80% APY with daily balance of $250K
  • No monthly fee
  • Free online transfers


Regular Savings:

  • Minimum $5 deposit when opening
  • Can apply for this account in branch, by phone or online
  • Earn 0.05% APY on all account balances
  • Earn dividends on the entire account balance

Money Market Accounts

Money Market accounts at PenFed offer high rates, great dividend payments, and renewal flexibility.

Money Market Savings

  • Minimum opening deposit is $25
  • Earn 0.05% APY on balances less than $10K
  • Earn 0.10% APY on balances ranging from $10K to $100K
  • Earn 0.15% APY on balances over $100K
  • Free checks
  • No monthly service fees, but there is an excessive transaction fee of $10
  • Available in branch, by phone or online


Money Market Certificate

  • Minimum opening requirement is $1,000
  • Terms range from 6 months to 7 years
  • Best Rate is 1.80% APY on a 12-month term
  • Available by branch, phone or online
  • At any time, you may choose to renew or close at maturity
  • Early withdrawals are subjected to a penalty
6 Month1.70%
12 Month1.80%
15 Month1.85%
18 Month1.90%
2 Year1.90%
3 Year1.95%
4 Year2.00%
5 Year2.05%
7 Year2.25%


Aside from the Money Market Certificate there is also, IRA Certificates and the Coverdell Education Savings Certificates offered at the PenFed Credit Union.

IRA Certificate

  • Minimum opening deposit required is $1,000
  • Term range between 12months and 7 years
  • Best Rate is a 5YR term at 1.95% APY
  • Dividends compounded daily
  • At any time choose to renew or close at maturity
  • Earnings can be tax-free
  • No early withdrawal penalties on principal
  • Available in Traditional, ROTH or SEP IRA

Coverdell Education Savings Certificate

  • Designed for any level education funding
  • Minimum investment of $500
  • Best Rate is a 3YR term at 1.85% APY
  • Earnings can be tax-free
1 Year1.70%
2 Year1.80%
3 Year1.85%
4 Year1.90%
5 Year1.95%
7 Year2.15%

Individual Retirement Account

On top of the IRA Certificate, you can also obtain an IRA Premier Account or an IRA Savings Account at PenFed. These IRAs are available as a Traditional IRA, ROTH IRA or a SEP IRA. Dividends are all compounded daily and paid out monthly. Either IRA earns a 0.05% APY and feature tax advantages.

IRA Premier:

  • Minimum deposit of $10,000 to open
  • Flexibility of liquid investment

IRA Savings:

  • Minimum deposit of $25 to open


PenFed offers a number of loan types suited for just about any customer need. Their lineup includes, bill consolidation loans, personal line of credit, overdraft line of credit, student loans and personal loans. You get immediate access to your funds from your loans to use them as required and PenFed offers Zero origination fees and no hidden costs on your loans.

Credit Cards

PenFed offers several credit card options which offers digital wallet features with Apple, Android and Samsung Pay. All cards are protected with an EMV chip and fraud monitoring round the clock.

Pathfinder Rewards American Express Card

  • Earn 3X points on all travel purchases
  • Earn 4X points on travel purchases for Honors Advantage Members
  • 25,000 bonus points by spending $2,500 within the first 90 days
  • $100 Annual air travel credit for baggage fees, lounge access and onboard food
  • No annual fees


Power Cash Rewards VISA Signature Card

  • Earn 1.5% cash back on all purchases
  • Earn 2% cash back on purchases for Honors Advantage Members
  • $100 Statement Credit when you spend $1,500 in the first 90 days
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • No annual fee

Platinum Rewards VISA Signature Card

  • Earn 5X points on gas purchases paid at the pump
  • Earn 3X points at the supermarket
  • Earn 1X points on all other purchases
  • $100 statement credit when you spend $1,500 in the first 90 days
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • No annual fee

Gold VISA Card

  • Low APR on purchases
  • Low APR on cash advances
  • $100 Statement credit when you spend $1,500 in the first 90 days
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • No annual fee


Promise VISA Card

  • Low APR on purchases
  • $100 Statement credit when you spend $1,500 in the first 90 days
  • 99% Promo APR on balance transfers for the first year
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • No annual fee

Banking Features

  • Mobile Banking App: The banking app provides around-the-clock access to your PenFed accounts. Allowing you to monitor transaction details, transfer balances, track loan application status, as well as deposit checks quickly and easily.
  • PenFed Car Buying Service: This service offered at PenFed allows you to conduct preliminary research in your search for your next vehicle. It also offers discounted pricing and rates for new or used cars and you can even earn cash back on certain models.
  • Learning Hub: At PenFed one of their goals is to educate their members. Through the learning hub found online or via their mobile app you can access the learning center for money management tools and investing insights. There is also a mortgage center and calculator which are there to assist members in preparation for their new home purchase.

About PenFed Credit Union

Pentagon Federal Credit Union, also known as PenFed, was founded in 1935 and is headquartered in McLean, Virginia. PenFed originally granted membership to those who had military and/or the federal government ties. Today they have broadened their membership requirements allowing almost anyone to become a member by joining one of the PenFed affinity programs.

PenFed sits in the top five largest credit unions in the U.S. with just over 50 branches across 13 U.S. states and at military bases in Guam, Japan and Puerto Rico. Even if there’s no branch in your state, you can become a member online or via phone and you also have access to a large network of ATMs. Today PenFed is also affiliated with PenFed Wealth Management, PenFed Title and PenFed Realty, helping their client achieve their financial goals.

The Bottom Line

PenFed is a solid banking option, they offer solid APYs on most accounts and low fees. You will gain free and easy access to your cash with PenFed’s huge network of ATMs. However, you must keep a high balance in order to actually benefit from the great APY, so if you’re looking to grow your money without investing long-term, its best to search around.