Mobile Banking

PenFed Checking And Savings Review: A Credit Union With Competitive APY

This in-depth PenFed Checking and Savings review is ideal for consumers who prefer joining a credit union instead of a bank or those who want to add a credit union account for their checking and savings.

PenFed Checking And Savings Review: A Credit Union With Competitive APY

This review will provide you the essential information you need from the integrity of PenFed Credit Union, how competitive and beneficial their checking and savings accounts are, up to how to actually join and be part of it.

Before we even get deeper into this PenFed checking and savings review, let us define what a credit union is first.

According to an article published by Forbes Advisor, although a credit union has similar offerings as to banks, what makes it different is that it is owned by its members.

Credit unions are set up as cooperative. It usually “open membership to individuals who share a common bond, such as the industry they are employed in, the community they live in, their faith or their membership in another organization.

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Additionally, the article states that “credit unions are also generally exempt from federal taxes, and some credit unions even receive subsidies from the organizations that they are affiliated with.” For this reason, “credit unions do not have to worry about making profits for shareholders.”

Perhaps you are wondering why choose a credit union over a bank?

Well, since credit union is a cooperative financial institution, it means they put their members first. In fact, credit unions are known for providing excellent customer service.

If you are particular about having great customer service, then, no doubt, a credit union would be the best option for you.

Now, according to an IBISWorld report, there are currently 6,293 credit unions in the United States, which is a 2.7% increase from 2020. With a lot of options, it could be a little challenging as well to choose one.

But just like when choosing a bank, it all boils down to what your needs and preferences are.

Among all the credit unions in the country today, PenFed Credit Union is one of them.

In the next few sections, we are going to talk about what this credit union is all about, its product offerings particularly checking and savings accounts, and a lot more.

For your reference, here’s a guide on the things that we are going to tackle in this PenFed checking and savings review:

  • What is PenFed Credit Union?
  • Who is PenFed Credit Union best for?
  • What are the products offered by PenFed Credit Union?
  • How to bank with PenFed Credit Union?
  • Is PenFed Credit Union safe?
  • What to like about PenFed Credit Union?
  • What not to like about PenFed Credit Union?


Pentagon Federal Credit Union, which is more popularly known as PenFed Credit Union is a full-service credit union that was established in 1935.

Headquartered in McLean, Virginia, PenFed currently has 1.8 members and $25 billion in assets. Thus, making it one of the largest credit unions in the United States to date.

Primarily, PenFed was exclusive to members who have a relationship with the military or federal government. However, over time, PenFed has eventually opened its doors to everyone who wanted to join the credit union regardless of affiliations.

PenFed Credit Union services all 50 states, including Guam, Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia, as well as Okinawa in Japan.

To ensure that all deposits are safe, PenFed is federally insured by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) and is an Equal Opportunity Lender.

PenFed offers a variety of financial products including credit cards, homes, cars, and student loans. In this blog, however, we are going to specifically focus on PenFed’s checking and savings account offerings.                   

If you are interested to know more about PenFed and the services it offers, below is an insightful review by CreditKim:


Now that you already know what PenFed Credit Union is, in this section of our review, we are going to tackle who it is best for.

As mentioned earlier, a credit union, although offers similar products to banks, what makes it unique is that it is owned by its members, which means, to be able to open an account, you have to join its membership first.

So, unless you are okay with that, then, PenFed is not for you.

PenFed Credit Union specifically with its checking and savings account offerings would be ideal for people who want to enjoy earning competitive interests for both accounts. It would appeal to consumers who want to take advantage of good customer service, which is often one of the concerns customers have with banks, particularly online banks.

In addition, it would also be a great choice for those who want to have ATM access for free across more than 85,000 ATMs nationwide.

Similar to online banks, PenFed Credit Union offers online and mobile access, which makes it ideal for people who want easy access to their accounts.

If you think this all pertains to what you are looking for, then PenFed Credit Union and its account offerings are perfect for you.


You already know what PenFed Credit Union is about and who would benefit from it the most. This time in our PenFed checking and savings review, we are going to talk about, obviously, the deposit accounts offered by the credit union.

Although PenFed Credit Union has several product options, which include credit card, home, car, and student loans, this review will particularly focus on its major offerings – the checking and savings accounts.

PenFed Credit Union offers one checking account and four savings accounts. PenFed Credit Union accounts can be accessed through a network of more than 85,000 ATMs nationwide.

More so, members can bank online or through PenFed’s mobile application. Unlike most mobile banks that do not have physical branch locations, PenFed Credit Union has almost 50 branches across 16 states as well as the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, and Okinawa.

Now, let’s talk more about each product to know what’s in store for customers like you —

Access America Checking Account

As mentioned, PenFed Credit Union only offers a single checking account, which they call the Access America Checking account.

Eligible accounts could earn 0.20% annual percentage yield (APY) on daily balances up to $19,999.99, while those with daily balances between $20,000 and $50,000, could earn 0.40% APY. Dividends for this account type are compounded daily and paid monthly.

By the way, the account becomes eligible for dividends by setting up at least a $500 recurring direct deposit.

To be able to open an Access America Checking account, you must first and foremost be a member of PenFed Credit Union by opening a savings account with at least a $5 initial deposit. No savings account means no access to opening the credit union’s checking account.

The Access America checking accounts comes with a free Visa contactless debit card. It a card that is compatible with Apple Pay, Google Pay, as well as Samsung Pay. The debit card allows you to access over 85,000 ATM networks of Allpoint and CO-OP ATMs nationwide for free.

In addition, the account does not charge out-of-network ATM use, however, there may be a surcharge fee from the third-party ATM operator.

Access America Checking account comes with a monthly service fee of $10. However, this can be waived if a direct deposit of a minimum of $500 is made per month or by maintaining a balance of at least $500 on a daily basis.

The Access America Checking account also offers Bill Pay for free, as well as a no-fee overdraft line of credit starting at $500. The account’s line of credit comes with a fixed 17.99% APR, as well as flexible limits starting at $500.

Regular Savings Account

Unlike other PenFed’s deposit accounts, the Regular Savings Account pays only 0.05% APY on all balances.

While the rate is quite low, the good side of it is that you get to gain ATM access to over 85,000 ATMs nationwide.

The Regular Savings Account is also the key to establishing a PenFed membership. With at least a $5 initial deposit, you get to establish yourself as a PenFed member, allowing you to enjoy other products that the credit union offers.

The Regular Savings Account lets you access your money easily. As mentioned, it comes with a free ATM card that is accessible to thousands of Allpoint and CO-OP ATMs across the country.

Please note that All Regular Savings Accounts are federally insured for up to $250,000 and are also backed by the full faith and credit of the government.

Premium Online Savings Account

Unlike the Regular Savings Account, PenFed’s Premium Online Savings Account allows account holders to earn 0.50% APY on balances up to $250,000.

This account does not charge monthly fees, but, unfortunately, it does not have ATM access. If you want to withdraw your money, you will have to transfer it to your Regular Savings Account first.

To open a Premium Online Savings Account, you also only need at least a $5 initial deposit.

Please note, though, that unlike checking accounts, savings accounts have more restrictions. As the federal law states, account holders can only withdraw money from their account up to six times per month.

Additionally, customers are only allowed to make deposits of up to $10,000 per day and a total of $50,000 per month. Otherwise, fees will be charged.

Money Market Savings Account

Unlike the first two savings accounts, the Money Market Savings Account requires a minimum of $25 initial deposit. Similar to Premium Online Savings, this, too, does not have ATM access.

However, you also get to enjoy no monthly fees, as well as free checks upon request.

As with interests, the Money Market Savings Account has several tiers depending on balances. For those with balances of $10,000 and below, the APY is 0.05%. For account holders with balances between $10,000 and $99,999, it’s 0.10% AP, while those with balances of $100,000 and above, get to earn 0.15% APY.

To easily access your account, all you have to do is visit PenFed’s website or download the mobile app.

Money Market Certificates

Last on the savings account options is the Money Market Certificates. This one’s similar to banks’ certificate of deposit (CD) account.

PenFed Credit Union offers a variety of Money Market Certificates to choose from. The certificate terms vary from six months up to 7 years. All of which require at least a $1,000 deposit to open.

The APY also differs depending on the terms, but customers could earn up to 0.75% APY for a seven-year term.

Similar to CD accounts, your money must stay in the certificate until it matures. Otherwise, you will be charged with an early withdrawal penalty if you get it before the maturity date.

Similar to checking accounts, dividends are compounded daily and paid out monthly.

PenFed’s Money Market Certificates are available in the branch, by phone, as well as online.


As mentioned, to be able to enjoy the products offered by PenFed Credit Union, you have to become a member first.

Joining the credit union comes in three very easy steps.

First, you have to be eligible to join. You can join through association membership, employment, military affiliation, and a lot more. To know the full list, you may check with a PenFed branch near you or visit their website.

Second, you will need to provide your personal information such as your name, phone number, email address, as well as your home address.

Lastly, you will have to open a savings account with at least a $5 initial deposit.

Once you’re done with all these, you are now a PenFed member. By being one, you do not only get to access the different financial products that PenFed offers, but also other membership perks like member discounts, access to the advice center, financial hardship center, as well as deployment guide.

ATM Access

Although not all accounts have ATM access, you can easily withdraw by transferring funds to your Regular Savings Account, which is the basic account requirement to avail PenFed membership.

All PenFed issued debit card is accessible to over 85,000 Allpoint and CO-OP network ATMs nationwide.

Online and Mobile Access

All PenFed checking and savings accounts are accessible through its mobile app. It comes with all the features your’s expect from a full-service credit union.

It comes with features like instant check deposit, account management, bill pay, the ability to send money to almost anyone, as well as the ability to transfer funds between your PenFed accounts.

The mobile app is available for both iOS and Android devices.


Almost all of PenFed’s accounts do not come with fees except for its Access America Checking account that charges a $10 monthly fee. However, it can be waived by keeping a $500 balance or set up a $500 monthly direct deposit.


This Penfed checking and savings review will not be complete if we are not going to tackle the safety and security features of the credit union.

As mentioned, all accounts can be accessed online and through the mobile app. To ensure all data are safe from fraud or identity theft threats, PenFed follows bank-level security.

As with your money, all funds deposited with PenFed are federally insured by the NCUA. It’s insurance similar to FDIC for banks.

Just the same, with the NCUA insurance each member depositor can receive up to $250,000 per account in the event of credit union failure.


At this point of our review, we are going to share with you a list of the things that we like about PenFed Credit Union as a whole, as well as its checking and deposit account offerings.

The list includes:

  • Competitive Rates – Except for the Regular Savings account, all the other accounts offer very competitive rates.
  • No Monthly Charges for Savings Accounts – All savings account holders are free from monthly charges. As with checking account holders, while there is a $10 monthly fee, it can be waived by either keeping a $500 balance or set up a $500 monthly direct deposit.
  • Online and Mobile Access – All deposit accounts are accessible both on PenFed’s website as well as through its mobile app, which is available for both iOS and Android devices.
  • Easy Membership Application Process – PenFed has three easy and simple membership applications. Needless to say, it was already made available for anyone in the United States.
  • Available Across 50 States – PenFed is available across all 50 states as well as in Guam, Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia, and Okinawa, Japan.


While there are a lot of things to like about PenFed Credit Union, it sure has its flaws as well.

Some of the things to not like or probably to improve on are as follows:

  • $500 Recurring Direct Deposit to Earn Dividends – PenFed requires all checking accounts to have a recurring $500 direct deposit to earn dividends, which can be quite a challenge for some.
  • Requires to Open and Maintain a Regular Savings Account – The credit union requires opening a savings account to be able to become a member. Needless to say, it has to be maintained to be able to withdraw money from other accounts.
  • Limited Local Branches – Although PenFed is available across 50 states, its local branches are only available in 16 states.


Although PenFed is a credit union, which functions like a cooperative, it has similar product offerings to banks, including checking and savings accounts.

It’s a good alternative especially for people who want to enjoy the same type of products that banks offer but in a more relaxed environment.

With PenFed checking and savings accounts, for instance, both offer competitive rates sans bank fees (except for checking account, which charges a $10 monthly fee if requirements are not met).

Given the information we provided, do you now consider joining a credit union to have a credit and savings account?

Overall, we hope that this in-depth PenFed checking and savings review has all you need to know to see if it suits your needs and preferences.

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Where Is The Best Place To Get A Loan From?

Finding the best place to get a loan could get a little challenging for some, but the good thing is, there are so many options out there, and it all boils down to finding your perfect match based on your personal needs and preferences.

Best Place to Get a Loan From

According to the data from the Chamber of Commerce, there are 21.1 million outstanding personal loans in the United States. Over 19 million consumers do have an existing unsecured personal loan as compared to the 176 million Americans with credit cards.

You see, these numbers only show that a lot of people in the U.S. do have an existing loan and that the lending industry is booming – no wonder why banks, credit unions, and recently, online lenders continue to prosper. A lot of people need their services.

Anyway, speaking of banks, credit unions, and online lenders, these three are the three major places where you can get a loan. All three of them have their respective highs and lows. But the question is, where is the best place to get a loan?


Well, that is exactly what we are going to tackle today. We are going to share with you different options in each category where you can get the best deals when it comes to borrowing money. Know that at the end of the day, the best place to get a loan will depend from one person to another. As we have mentioned earlier – it will all depend on your personal needs and preferences.


Banks are everywhere. Some of them have been around for decades, and have earned their credibility over the years. Loaning or borrowing from banks usually requires the borrower to apply in person. Needless to say, banks tend to have stricter requirements when it comes to the approval of loan applications.

Let’s face it though, compared to the other two options, one major draw of getting a loan from a bank is that they are present in different places. They have branches in almost every state (depending on the bank, of course).

Although the traditional application does still exist, thanks to the advent of digital technology and the internet, a lot of banks now offer an online application, which makes the process easier and more convenient for both parties.

While the online application is more convenient and time-saving, applying in a branch provides you with amazing benefits like you can ask help from a credit specialist to recommend the best loan the bank offer, and he or she may also walk you through the process. Furthermore, in most cases, you may also find the delivery process faster especially if you already have an existing saving or checking account with the bank.

However, borrowing money from banks does also has its share of drawbacks. One, a lot of major banking institutions require fairly high minimum credit scores to get approved for a loan. Usually, they require a 660 credit score or higher. Having said that, banks are not ideal for people with bad or no credit at all. Two, some major banks like PNC, KeyBank, Wells Fargo, and more offer secured personal loans, which requires borrowers to put up collateral. This means, if the borrower fails to pay off the loaned amount, he or she will have to turn over the collateral to the bank.

Interest rates vary from one bank to another, also, depending on your credit. However, usually, banks do not charge more than 25%, while the lowest interest rate could be as low as 6%.


For your further reference, here are some of the pros and cons of borrowing money from banking institutions:

There are a lot of branches to where you can apply for a loan from. They have stricter loan application requirements.
Some banks offer online loan applications. Most banks, particularly the major ones, require fairly high minimum credit scores.
A credit specialist can recommend the best loan the bank can offer. Some major banks require collateral.
When applying in-person, you can ask your credit officer to walk you through the whole process.  
The delivery process is faster when you have an existing current or savings account with the bank.


For your reference, here are some of the best banks to get a loan from:

  • American Express – More popularly known as Amex, American Express is (obviously) an American multinational company that offers financial services. Headquartered in New York City, the bank offers various products and services, which include credit cards, prepaid cards, corporate programs, as well as savings accounts and CDs, gift cards, and personal and business loans.
  • Citibank – Citibank is another major banking institution that offers a variety of products and services including credit cards, as well as personal and business loans. The company is the consumer division of financial services multinational Citigroup. Founded in 1812, the company is headquartered in New York.
  • U.S. Bank – U.S. Bancorp is an American bank holding that is based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The company is also incorporated in Delaware. U.S. Bancorp is the parent company of the U.S. Bank National Association, which is one of the largest banks in the United States.
  • Wells Fargo – Wells Fargo & Company is another American multinational financial services company. Headquartered in San Francisco, California, the company does have central offices across the country. Also, it is currently the world’s fourth-largest bank based on market capitalization. In addition, it is the fourth-largest bank in the US based on total assets.
  • KeyBank – KeyBank is the primary subsidiary of the KeyCorp, which is a regional bank that is headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio. As of this writing, KeyBank is listed as one of the largest banks in the country. The bank offers a variety of products and services, and one of them is loans.
  • PNC – PNC Bank is headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It offers a wide variety of services for all types of customers — from individuals to small businesses up to private corporations and government offices.
  • TD Bank – Tagged as America’s Most Convenient Bank, TD Bank, N.A is both an American national bank and subsidiary of the Canadian multinational Toronto-Dominion Banks (thus the name). The bank offers a wide range of products and services including credit cards and personal loans.
  • Discover Bank – Discover Bank is an FDIC-insured online bank. It offers a number of product selections like a debit card that offers cashback rewards. Unlike the other banks we mentioned, Discover Bank does only has one branch, which is located in Greenwood, Delaware.
  • Fifth Third Bank – Fifth Third Bank offers all personal banking solutions depending on your needs. The Fifth Third Bank is headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio. It is the primary subsidiary of the Fifth Third Bancorp, which is a bank holding company.

Before we move on, sharing with you an interesting review from Honest Finance wherein he tackles his 3 best personal loan companies. Check the video out by clicking the play button below:


A credit union is probably the best place to get a loan from. A credit union refers to a member-owned financial cooperative. It’s a not-for-profit organization that is controlled by the members and is operated on the principle of people helping people. A credit union provides its members with different financial services including credit at competitive rates.

Compared to banks, credit unions are not as popular. Credit unions usually service a limited are, which is why if you are opting for this option, it is best to do a search of credit unions near you first. You may also give them a personal visit or check their website to see what types of loans they offer.

Meanwhile, like banks, credit unions also allows you to apply for loans in person. Since credit unions are more community-oriented, they are more likely to approve loans even with people who have subpar credit.

What we like about credit unions is that they offer interest rates that are lower compared to banks. They are able to provide a lower interest rate because federal credit unions have an interest rate cap set by a national board. As with state credit unions, they have a cap set by the state government. Moreover, at most, credit unions can only charge up to 18% interest rate.

Just like banks, credit unions have their share of drawbacks as well. This includes eligibility for membership. Most credit unions base their membership requirements on a relationship with an existing member; living, working or going to school in a particular area; or working for a specific company. So, it is just right that if you are looking at borrowing money through this channel, you better check if you are qualified for membership first. 


For your further reference, here are some of the pros and cons of borrowing money from credit unions:

You are a member of the credit union, which makes you a part-owner of the organization. You are required to pay a membership fee (which costs between $5 and $25) to be able to join.
Credit unions have lower fees than many commercial banks out there. Not all credit unions are insured.
They offer better rates (maximum is 18%) as compared to traditional banks. Credit unions have limited branches and ATMs.
Based on reviews, customer service at credit unions are better than commercial banks. They offer fewer services compared to banks.


For your reference, here are some of the best credit unions to get a loan from:

  • Affinity Federal Credit Union – Affinity Federal Credit Union is a credit union that is based in Basking Ridge, New Jersey. The organization offers comprehensive services, which include checking and savings accounts, mortgage, home equity, as well as business solutions, auto loans, credit cards, and many more.
  • Aspire Federal Credit Union – Headquartered in Clark, New Jersey, Aspire Federal Credit Union is a full-service, not-for-profit financial cooperative. It is listed as the 19th credit union in the said state. It is also one of the largest credit unions in the country.
  • Georgia’s Own Credit Union – As the name suggests, Georgia’s Own Credit Union is a credit union that is based in Atlanta, Georgia. Founded in 1940, Georgia’s Own Credit Union is tagged as the third-largest credit union in Georgia has more than 188,000 members as of 2018.
  • Pentagon Federal Credit Union – More popularly known as PedFed, Pentagon Federal Credit Union is one of the country’s federal credit unions. Headquartered in McLean, Virginia, the credit union is federally insured by the National Credit Union Administration. As of this writing, the credit union serves 1.75 members from all over the globe.
  • NASA Federal Credit Union – Headquartered in Upper Marlboro in Maryland, the NASA Federal Credit Union holds nearly $3 billion in assets and is also one of the credit unions that is insured by the National Credit Union Administration. As of this writing, the credit union boasts about 177,000 members from all over the country.


From the name itself, online lenders refer to money lenders that operate entirely online. Online lenders are known to offer better interest rates, as well as smaller service fees compared to traditional banks. For obvious reasons — as they do not have the same overhead cost as banks or credit unions.

Unlike banks and credit unions, online lenders have not been around that long yet. However, the industry is growing. One of its major draws is that you won’t have to wait long to receive a decision and get funded once approved.

Unfortunately, unlike banks and credit unions, online lenders’ interest rates tend to be higher. This depends though on your credit. Some online lenders charge as high as 36% especially if your credit is not that good. Meanwhile, they can get as low as a 6% rate of your credit is great. Unlike banks, online lenders are more willing to lend people with bad or no credit at all.


For your further reference, here are some of the pros and cons of borrowing money from online lenders:

Application made easier and more convenient as everything is done online. Interest tends to be higher compared to banks and credit unions.
Borrowers need not worry about numerous lenders having to access their credit reports. There’s a tendency that lenders may continue contacting you even after the loan is paid off.
Online lending websites let you compare several loans offers all at once. You will have to manage the loan online only.
Suitable for people who do not qualify for a bank or a credit union loan, and needs the money immediately.  


For your reference, here are some of the best online lenders to get a loan from:

  • SoFi – Short for Social Finance, Inc., SoFi is an American online personal finance company that provides different financial services including personal loans, mortgages, as well as student refinancing, investing, and banking. The company was founded in 2011 and is headquartered in San Francisco, California.
  • Marcus by Goldman Sachs – Marcus by Goldman Sachs or simply Marcus was named after one of the founders of Wall Street Bank, Marcus Goldman. It is an online bank that offers competitive rates on both savings accounts as well as a liquid certificate of deposit. What people like about Marcus is that it keeps things simple and at the same time, inexpensive.
  • LendingClub – Headquartered in San Francisco, California, LendingClub is an American peer-to-peer online lending company. It the first online lending company that registers its offerings as securities with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Also, it is the first to offer loan trading on a secondary market.
  • LendingPoint – LendingPoint is an online lending company that is based in Kennesaw, Georgia. It was founded in 2014 to help borrowers improve their personal credit. LendingPoint offers loan options to borrowers with a fair credit score of 600 or higher.
  • FreedomPlus – Based in San Mateo, California, FreedomPlus is an online lender that focuses primarily on underwriting loans to consumers. FreedomPlus is known to provide same-day loan decisions and funding within 48 hours. FreedomPlus is the consumer brand of the Freedom Financial Network, LLC.


Now that we have already provided you a list where is the best place to get a loan from, it is also important that you know what the criteria are when looking for the best place to get a loan. Here are some of them:

APR – This has to be first. Always make sure to compare the annual percentage rate if you want to get the best interest rate. As much as possible, the goal is to get the lowest rate possible.

Credit Score Required – Another important thing criteria to look into is the credit score requirement. Make sure you make the cut.

Fees – You do not want surprises especially when it includes paying fees, right? So, as you do your search, do not forget to look into the fees that come with every transaction.

Approval Process – If you are in a rush to get a loan, you better check the lender’s approval process. This will help you decide whether or not you will get the money in time.


As we said earlier, there are many lending companies/institutions out there. In fact, there are too many it can get a little overwhelming to decide where to transact with. But of course, out of the many, there will always be one that will stand out to be the best place to get a loan from.

Have you found your best place to loan from yet?

Remember that the best place to get a loan depends from person to person. If a lending company works for another that does not necessarily mean it will work for you as well. We all have different circumstances. Thus, the best place to get a loan from is the one that meets your personal needs and preferences.