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
Offers the chance of a low APR
Valuable introductory incentives
Light on fees
No guarantee you’ll get a low interest rate
No ongoing rewards
No introductory promotion on purchases
- Offers the Chance of a Low APR: The average interest rate on credit card accounts that charge interest is 16.28%, according to the latest available data (Nov. 2020) 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.
- 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
Motivated to create positive credit history
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.
- Roadside dispatch
- Travel accident insurance
- Lost or stolen card reporting
- Emergency card replacement and emergency cash disbursement
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.
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.
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.