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PenFed Gold Visa card review

PenFed Gold Visa card review

Published: April 18, 2018

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Ratings Policy
Balance Transfer Rating:
2.3 rating
2.3 rating
2.3 / 5
Introductory Offer: 2.3
Net Value: 3.0
Features: 1.0

In a nutshell:

The 12 month 0-percent introductory period for balance transfers is on the short side; however, the PenFed Gold Visa card can save you money in the long run due to its very reasonable rates and fees.

0% Introductory Period
12 months

Transfer Fee
3%

Introductory Purchase APR
None

Regular APR
8.99-17.99% (variable)

Annual Fee
$0

Other Notable Features: $0 fraud liability; $100 statement credit if you spend $1,500 in the card’s first 90 days

Low Interest Rating:
3.2 rating
3.2 rating
3.2 / 5
Rates, Fees, Penalties: 3.5
Rewards: 1.1
Features: 1.0

In a nutshell:

The PenFed Gold Visa card offers one of the lowest standard APRs you can get on a credit card and relatively few fees; but it’s only available to cardholders who qualify for Pentagon Federal Credit Union membership.

Regular APR
8.99-17.99% (variable)

Introductory Purchase APR
None

Introductory Balance Transfer APR
0% for 12 months

Fees

  • No annual fee
  • No cash advance fee
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • 3% balance transfer fee

Penalties

  • Up to $25 late payment fee
  • Up to $25 returned payment fee
  • 17.99% penalty APR

Other Notable Features: $0 fraud liability; $100 statement credit if you spend $1,500 in the card’s first 90 days

If you need to carry a long-term balance and can qualify for Pentagon Federal Credit Union membership, the PenFed Gold Visa credit card offers some of the most affordable terms you’ll find on a credit card.

It’s one of the few cards left standing that offers cardholders with excellent credit an APR below 10 percent.  Its maximum APR is also relatively low, making it a good choice for cardholders who have less-than-perfect scores, but still need a reasonably priced card.

The PenFed Gold Visa also offers a consumer-friendly fee schedule that caters to military families and cardholders who frequently travel. For example, unlike most low interest cards, it doesn’t charge a foreign transaction fee, nor does it charge a cash advance fee.

You won’t be able to get ahold of this card unless you qualify for Pentagon Federal Credit Union membership, though. To qualify, you or a family member must be a member of the military or employed by the U.S. government. Or you must be a member of an organization that provides Pentagon Federal Credit Union membership as a perk.

Very low rates

For cardholders who do qualify, this is a solid low interest card – especially if you have strong enough credit to qualify for the card’s lowest rate. Depending on your credit score, your APR could be as low as 8.99 percent. The average low interest credit card, by contrast, charges 13.42 percent.

The difference in rates could save you quite a bit of money – especially if you plan to carry a balance long-term. As credit card APRs continue to increase, it’s getting increasingly difficult to find a card that charges less than 12 percent. Cards that charge less than 10 percent, such as the PenFed Gold Visa card, are even harder to find these days and are worth snapping up if you can get them.

No foreign transaction fee

The PenFed Gold Visa card also charges fewer fees than the average credit card. For example, it doesn’t charge a foreign transaction fee, which is a rare perk for a low interest rate card. Typically, the only cards that waive foreign transaction fees are travel cards with high interest rates.

If you’re in a military family and spend a lot of time abroad – or if you just travel frequently – that perk alone should save you a significant amount of cash. Many low interest credit cards, by contrast, charge foreign transaction fees as high as 3 percent.

Relatively low charges

The PenFed Gold Visa also waives the card’s cash advance fee – a charge that can be fairly large on other cards. In addition, it charges just 3 percent for balance transfers, which is lower than many competitors, and caps late charges at $25. Unlike many low rate cards, it does charge a penalty rate. However, the 17.99 penalty rate is significantly lower than the penalty APRs that can be found at larger banks.

A decent balance transfer offer

The PenFed Gold Visa also offers a solid 12-month interest-free promotion for transferred balances. The yearlong balance transfer offer isn’t the most generous offer on the market. Many competitors, for example, offer interest-free periods for as long as 15 to 18 months or more. But if you have just a small amount of debt and only need a year to pay it off, it’s an attractive offer.

No introductory purchase offer

The biggest downside to the PenFed Gold Visa card is that it doesn’t offer a 0 percent APR on new purchases. This is a big deal if you’re looking for a way to finance a purchase as cheaply as possible. If you only plan to carry a balance for a brief period, then you’re better off looking for a card that offers a 0 percent APR for as long as 12 to 15 months or more.

However, if you’re looking for a longer-term card that you can use to carry a balance any time you need it, then the PenFed Gold Visa card is a good choice.

Why get the PenFed Gold Visa card?

  • You plan to carry a balance long-term and want a low rate credit card.
  • You have a small amount of debt to repay and want to transfer your balance interest-free.
  • You prefer a plain vanilla card instead of rewards.

How to use the PenFed Gold Visa card:

  • To capture the card’s sign-up bonus, be sure to spend at least $1,500 – around $500 a month – in the card’s first 90 days.
  • If this is the lowest rate card you own, use this card for any purchases you can’t pay off in full.
  • If you plan to transfer a balance, divide the total amount you need to repay by 12 and try to repay slightly more than that each month.

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All reviews are prepared by CreditCards.com staff. Opinions expressed therein are solely those of the reviewer and have not been reviewed or approved by any advertiser. The information, including card rates and fees, presented in the review is accurate as of the date of the review. Check the data at the top of this page and the bank’s website for the most current information.

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