Credit Cards Credit Card Reviews

PenFed Gold Visa Card Review

overall rating
3.4

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Credit card rewards get a lot of fanfare, but for some people a credit card with a low interest rate could provide considerably more value. One example of that is the PenFed Gold Visa Card, which offers a range of APRs that start in the single digits. You’ll also get some decent introductory incentives and the chance to avoid some common credit card fees.

PenFed Gold Visa® Card

Overall Rating
3.4
PenFed Gold Visa® Card
On PenFed Credit Union's Secured Site.
Current Offer

$100 statement credit when you spend $1,500 in the first 90 days

Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Excellent
Regular APR (%) 7.49% - 17.99% variable
Annual Fee $0
Rewards Earning Rate This card does not offer a rewards program.
INTRO BALANCE TRANSFER APR 0% for 12 Months
Balance Transfer Fee A 3% balance transfer fee applies to each transfer.
Foreign transaction fee (%) 0%
how this card stacks up
When compared among all low cost cards in our database:
Low Fees
Security/Customer Experience
Low Interest
Rewards
Benefits
worst best

The PenFed Gold Visa Card is not one of Investopedia's top rated credit cards. Here is a list of our best credit cards that we think provide better options.

Full Review of PenFed Gold Visa Card

Pros
  • Offers the chance of a low APR

  • Valuable introductory incentives

  • Light on fees

Cons
  • No guarantee you’ll get a low interest rate

  • No ongoing rewards

  • No introductory promotion on purchases

Pros Explained

  • Offers the Chance of a Low APR: The average interest rate on credit card accounts that charge interest is 15.78%, according to May 2020 data from the Federal Reserve. With the PenFed Gold Visa Card, however, you may qualify for an APR as low as 7.49% variable. If you expect to carry a balance, scoring a lower interest rate may provide more value than earning rewards.
  • Valuable Introductory Incentives: While the card doesn’t offer rewards on everyday purchases, you will get a $100 statement credit after you spend $1,500 in the first 90 days. You’ll also have a chance to save money while paying down other credit card debt. If you transfer your balance from another card to the PenFed Gold Visa Card during the introductory period after approval, you’ll get a 0% APR for 12 months. Just keep in mind that the card charges a 3% balance transfer fee.
  • Light on Fees: It’s not uncommon for a card like this to come without an annual fee. But there are relatively few major credit cards that also have no cash advance fee. However, cash advances do carry the card’s maximum APR, and interest starts accruing immediately. The card also charges no foreign transaction fees, which is more common among travel credit cards. Finally, if you’re late on a payment or have a payment returned, you will be charged a fee, but those fees are a little lower than the norm.

Cons Explained

  • No Guarantee You’ll Get a Low Interest Rate: Although the card offers some cardholders single-digit interest rates, you may end up with one that’s above the average credit card interest rate, depending on your creditworthiness. For that reason, it might be a good idea to wait until you have excellent credit before applying for this card.
  • No Ongoing Rewards: Getting an upfront incentive in the form of a statement credit is nice, especially because most other cards that have no rewards don’t do this. But if you regularly pay your balance in full, you may be better off with a card that provides rewards on your everyday purchases. 
  • No Introductory Promotion on Purchases: An introductory 0% APR on balance transfers can help you save money if you have debt on other credit cards. But if you want a similar promotional rate on new purchases, you’ll need to look elsewhere.

This Card is Best For

  • Avatar for Credit Builder Persona
    Motivated to create positive credit history
    Credit Builder

The PenFed Gold Visa Card is best suited for someone who has excellent credit and plans to carry a regular balance on their card. While you’ll still be paying interest, the card could save you money compared to most alternatives. It may also be a decent option to consider as an emergency credit card—especially if you haven’t had a chance to build up an adequate emergency fund.

Before you apply, though, you’ll need to become a member of the Pentagon Federal Credit Union. Anyone is eligible to join.

PenFed Gold Visa Card One-Time Offer

Once your account has been opened, you’ll receive a $100 statement credit after you spend $1,500 in the first 90 days. That’s roughly a 7% return on your spending during that time, which isn’t impressive by any means in today's credit card market. 

However, considering that the card doesn’t offer ongoing rewards, it’s still a nice perk. In most cases, cards that don’t offer rewards have no one-time offer at all.

How to Maximize Your Rewards

Make sure you spend enough to reach the minimum spending requirement for the welcome offer. Broken down, you’ll need to spend an average of $500 a month to make it happen. Also, note that cash advances, balance transfers, and credit card checks don’t count toward that $1,500 requirement.

Standard Benefits

  • Auto rental collision damage waiver
  • Roadside dispatch
  • Travel accident insurance
  • Lost or stolen card reporting
  • Emergency card replacement and emergency cash disbursement

Cardholder Experience

PenFed Credit Union isn’t a major card issuer, so it’s not included in J.D. Power’s credit card satisfaction studies. However, the credit union maintains an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau.

As a cardholder, you can manage your account online or from the PenFed mobile app. If you have questions or concerns, you can contact customer service via secure online messaging or over the phone. Unfortunately, the credit union doesn’t offer 24/7 access to customer service, which is standard among major card issuers.

When you join PenFed, you’ll get complimentary access to your FICO credit score, which is the score most widely used by lenders. This benefit is common among major card issuers, however.

Security Features

In addition to the standard security measures in the credit card industry, PenFed offers contactless payments, which allow you to tap your card to a contactless-enabled card reader instead of swiping or inserting it. This technology provides the same level of security as the card’s chip but is faster.

When you’re shopping online, you can also use the card’s click-to-pay function where available. This feature allows you to skip guest checkout and bypass the requirement to enter your credit card number on eligible websites.

Our Verdict

The PenFed Gold Visa Card can be a great option for consumers with excellent credit who often run a balance and want to avoid the high interest rates that are common among credit cards. However, with no ongoing rewards, it may not be the best choice if you habitually pay off your credit card in full.

Apply Now
For PenFed Gold Visa® Card
on PenFed Credit Union's Secured Site.
Compare This Card
See how this card compares to similar cards
CURRENT CARD
PenFed Gold Visa® Card
overall rating
3.4
Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Excellent
Regular APR (%) 7.49% - 17.99% variable
Annual Fee $0
Balance Transfer Fee A 3% balance transfer fee applies to each transfer.
Investopedia Credit Card Rating Methodology
Investopedia is committed to delivering the best credit card recommendations in the industry. We’ll tell you when a card is good, we’ll tell you when a card is bad, and we’ll only call a card the best if we would recommend it to our friends or family members.
Overall Star Rating Explained
To rate credit cards we objectively assess, score and weight nearly 100 individual card features which roll up into five major feature sets: fees, interest, rewards, benefits and security/customer service. Here’s how we weighted those feature sets for the overall star rating of a card:
We have applied our proprietary rating methodology to every generally-accepted credit card in the U.S. domestic market to allow consumers to make fully informed choices. It’s important to note that for our overall score that we make a number of assumptions about how you would be using your credit card:
  1. While we make no assumption as to whether balances are carried on a given card we do assign varying weights to all credit cards’ introductory APR (if present) in addition to the regular, long term purchase and balance transfer interest rates.
  2. We utilize BLS (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics) income and average category spending data to calculate annual earnings rates for rewards cards that offer cash back, points or miles rewards at a set rate on all spending or in consideration of bonus rewards for certain spending categories, like gasoline, groceries, restaurants or travel.
  3. We determine the maximum points value of rewards cards by dividing the points, cash back or miles required to exchange for the retail price of the most valuable redemption option (for example, in the case of a card that offers a domestic roundtrip airline ticket as a redemption option vs. another redemption option of lesser value that requires the same amount of points or miles to acquire, we would base the rewards value on the airline ticket).
  • Cards that are selected best overall in their respective categories generally feature most if not all of the following attributes:
  • Low or Reasonable Fees Credit card fees come in many forms but the primary ones involve those for annual card membership and balance transfer. There are a myriad of reward and non-reward card options that charge no annual fee but for the many that do assess an annual fee the cost is often justified by their lucrative ongoing rewards and initial signup bonuses. Balance transfer fees are occasionally waived during introductory periods with certain cards, a factor which is heavily and positively weighted in our scoring model for cards offering this benefit. When charged, balance transfer fees range between 3% - 5%, which we grade accordingly. Other standard fees can generally be avoided, such as those for paying late or taking cash advances but we rate those relative to other cards in the market for reference, though with less weight assigned
  • Competitive Interest Many cards offer 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for varying lengths and then revert to a permanent or regular APR (based on a variable rate tied to the prime rate) that applies to any balances not paid in full. We rate both introductory APR percentage and length (in months) along with the midpoint of the variable regular APR interest rate range.
  • Valuable Rewards Credit card reward programs can be based on cash back, points or travel rewards (which can be generic or travel partner-specific, as with airline and hotel co-brand card programs). For cards that offer rewards we determine the value per dollar spent along with average redemption values and assign more favorable ratings to cards that offer superior consumer value. We also assign value to sign-up bonus offers and their initial spending requirements, when present.
  • Excellent Benefits Credit card benefits cover a range of offerings like concierge service, TSA Pre-check, auto rental coverage, travel accident insurance, lost luggage assistance and free credit scores. We rate cards on the number and level of over a dozen standard and upscale benefits and provide extra weighting emphasis for those travel-related perks that apply to premium travel cards when present.
  • Solid Security/Customer Service Security and customer service features like lost or stolen card replacement, being able to lock one’s card from an issuer app and 24 hour customer support are becoming more standard across the card market and we provide a significant amount of weighting to features in this area.
  • You can also read the full version of our methodology for a more in-depth look at how we assess cards and award them the best in various categories.