PenFed Credit Union Reviews | Features and Benefits
PenFed Credit Union Reviews often gloss over the size of the company. However, its size and business volume allow the company to offer multiple physical branches as well as online banking access and over 85,000 fee-free ATM locations across the country.
- Loan amounts from $2,000 to $50,000
- Pre-qualifying won’t affect credit score
- Direct lender payments are unavailable
- Repayment terms from 24 to 60 months
- Interest rates from 7.99% to 17.99%
- Autopay discount available
- Mobile app available
- No origination fees for personal loans
- Best for borrowers with good to excellent credit
- Joint borrowing available
- Co-signers allowed
- 50 physical locations nationwide
- Available in all 50 states
PenFed Editorial Rating
Trusted Company Reviews Rating Score for PenFed: 8.0
PenFed Credit Union ranks highly in our rating system that evaluates lending institutions based on critical factors, including convenience, business partnerships, customer service, overall review scores, banking and loan fees, and loan approval requirements.
The company rates well across many of our ranking criteria and scores highly among several other highly esteemed expert and consumer review platforms. However, PenFed’s lean towards approving loans strictly for borrowers with good to excellent credit knocks off a few points in our review.
PenFed Review Facts
PenFed Credit Union reviews for personal loans and debt consolidation describe a lender that’s not only growing but testing the boundaries that define a credit union—and not always with great fanfare.
An article in American Banker
from 2019 after the Progressive Credit Union merger states, “Not surprisingly, banking trade groups were none too pleased to see PenFed, one of the nation’s most prominent credit unions, which has already made a number of aggressive growth moves, granted a nationwide field of membership.”
That said, four years later, PenFed still appears to hold its own in consumer and expert ratings despite overwhelming growth.
Membership perks for customers include benefits often reserved for members of smaller credit unions, including lower-than-average personal and debt consolidation loan interest rates, high customer satisfaction ratings, and no origination fees on loans other than mortgages.
|7.99 – 17.99%
|24 – 60 months
|Minimum Credit Score
|$2,000 – $50,000
|1.16 / A+
PenFed Interest Rates
PenFed’s interest rates vary by loan type, loan term length, and the borrower’s creditworthiness. Interest rates range from 7.99 to 17.99%, with loan lengths from 24 to 60 months. With a maximum interest rate below 18%, the company beats nearly all competitors engaging in online lending.
Loan amounts range from $2,000 to $50,000, which is somewhat limited compared to many traditional lenders but aligns well with its online competition. While identifying a required minimum credit score for loan approval with the lender is tricky, the general consensus is that applying with a score of 700 or above will produce the best approval odds.
How to Get a PenFed Loan
Like many online lending companies, PenFed provides a pre-qualification step for consumers regardless of their membership status with the company. On its website, potential loan customers can input personal and financial information such as their social security number and income details.
PenFed will evaluate the information and perform a soft inquiry on their credit report. The inquiry won’t affect their score or appear in future inquiries. The company will present several loan or debt consolidation offers if the customer is a good fit and appears to have the necessary qualifications.
The customer can then formally apply for the loan option of their choosing and submit documentation proving the statements in the pre-qualifying step. PenFed will then issue an approval or denial response after performing a hard inquiry on the customer’s credit report, which will slightly affect the score.
To accept the personal or debt consolidation loan, the customer must be a member or become a member of the credit union by opening a checking or savings account with the company.
PenFed Credit Score Requirements
PenFed doesn’t directly state the minimum credit score requirements for loan approval. However, the average score for those who obtain loan funding through the company is between 720 and 740, and they tend to have relatively low debt-to-income ratios.
Joint applicants and co-signers are allowed when applying for a PenFed personal or debt consolidation loan. Joint applications are also acceptable for a number of other financial products from the company.
PenFed Loan Requirements
Loan application requirements for PenFed are similar to most other banks, except for requiring credit union membership.
- Must be a PenFed Credit Union member
- 18 years of age or older in most states
- Be a U.S. citizen or permanent or non-permanent resident
- Employed or able to provide proof of sufficient income
- Proof of legal residence
PenFed Loan Funding and Payments
After the pre-qualifying step, which generally takes under 10 minutes, the typical loan approval window is one to three business days. After receiving personal or debt consolidation loan approval from PenFed Credit Union, you’ll need to be a member or become a member by opening an account.
Your loan will be funded by direct deposit within one to five business days after approval and acceptance. New and existing customers can take advantage of an interest rate discount of 0.25% by signing up for autopay. There are no early payment fees. However, late payments will be penalized by a $29 late fee.
PenFed Credit Union Reviews
PenFed Credit Union Reviews and ratings are generally favorable to high. The Better Business Bureau awards the company an A+ grade for its responsiveness to consumer complaints—however, the review score at the BBB hovers just over 1 of 5 stars.
On the other hand, Trustpilot reviewers rate the company at 4.4 out of 5 stars. Customers awarding high marks stated the company’s ease of online access and application processes, as well as high-quality customer service, quick funding, and responsiveness.
PenFed Credit Card Review
PenFed offers four credit cards with varying benefits and risk-free pre-qualification, similar to its personal loan application process. The cards rate well with consumers, scoring between 3 and 4 stars across several ratings platforms.
The four cards include a Platinum Rewards Visa with no annual fee, up to 5x points on gas and EV charging expenses, and a 15,000 bonus point reward for spending $1,500 in the first 90 days. Other card offerings include a cash-back rewards card with a $100 bonus credit for spending $1,500 in the first 90 days, a Gold Visa card with a 0% introductory balance transfer interest rate, and the Pathfinder Visa with travel rewards benefits.
While PenFed rates highly on numerous review sites with consumers, no company is perfect. In fact, the BBB only gives the company 1.16 of 5 stars, reflecting customer complaints.
Trustpilot reviewers that give PenFed low ratings complain of miscommunication, poor website performance, and questionable advertising, including not realizing final loan approval after receiving a pre-qualifying notice.
Is PenFed Credit Union Legit?
PenFed is a legitimate credit union and lending institution in business since 1935. The company is expanding through acquisitions and mergers of other credit union organizations and has an estimated net worth of over $35 billion as of April 2023.
Is it Worth Joining PenFed?
PenFed is worth joining for those with good to excellent credit scores. Persons with lower scores will likely find better options at companies that cater to those with less-than-stellar credit histories. For those with poor credit, consider applying to one of the best personal loan lenders for bad credit.
Joining a credit union like PenFed offers a few benefits over working with a traditional bank. One benefit is the availability of more personalized banking services. While PenFed is a large credit union and a far cry from being a local neighborhood banker, the company maintains some of its credit union-like appeal through its website.
As a member of PenFed, customers with good to excellent credit can enjoy lower borrowing interest rates than they might find at a strictly FinTech lending company. PenFed checking accounts have low monthly maintenance fees that are waivable for meeting small minimum requirements. PenFed members also have access to the organization’s other financial products and a mobile app to manage it all.
PenFed Credit Union Locations
PenFed has 50 branch locations across the country and over 85,000 no-fee ATM locations. Branch locations are relatively evenly spread out over the country. However, PenFed services are available in all 50 states.
Find a branch or ATM location by visiting the company’s website and navigating to the Branches & ATMs tab.
PenFed Vs. Navy Federal
Credit unions typically serve a specific demographic of the population. Until 2019, PenFed membership was only available to military and government service members and their families. PenFed’s membership is now open to any United States citizen or permanent resident.
Navy Federal still serves only military and government personnel and their families. Navy Federal offers services similar to PenFed. However, its services are only available to a much smaller demographic.
Despite the size difference, the two companies aren’t far apart in their product offerings. Both have lackluster review scores at the BBB but rate highly on other review outlets. Both offer personal and debt consolidation loans up to $50,000 with relatively low interest and no origination fees.
|BBB Grade / Rating
|Average Reviews Rating
|Minimum Credit Score
|1.16 / A+
|7.99 – 17.99%
|24 – 60 months
|$2,000 to $50,000
|1.48 / NR
|8.99 – 18%
|6 – 180 months
|$250 to $50,000