PenFed Promise Visa® Card review

PenFed Promise Visa® Card review

Updated: May 4, 2020
Updated: May 4, 2020
Ratings Policy
Low Interest Rating:
2.1 rating
2.1 rating
2.1 / 5
Rates, Fees, Penalties:2.0
Customer Experience2.9

In a Nutshell:

Though it offers a low APR and zero fees, the PenFed Promise Visa unfortunately lacks a zero percent introductory APR for new purchases. This offer is no longer available on our site.

Regular APR
12.99%-17.99% (variable)

Very Good

Introductory Purchase APR


Introductory Balance Transfer APR
4.99% for 12 months (regular APR fixed at 17.99% thereafter; offer valid through 9/30/20) (If you take advantage of this balance transfer, you will immediately be charged interest on all purchases made with your credit card unless you pay the entire account balance, including balance transfers, in full each month by the payment due date.)



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


  • No late payment fee
  • No penalty APR
  • No returned payment fee

Customer Experience

  • Consumer Reports rating: 92 (21% of issuers ranked higher)
  • 24/7 customer service?: No
  • Online chat available?: No
  • Google Play Store mobile app rating: 4.4/5
  • Apple Store mobile app rating: 4.2/5

Other Notable Features: EMV chip, lost/stolen card protection, compatibility with Apple Pay

The PenFed Promise Visa may not come with sleek rewards or ample cardholder benefits, but it offers some very reasonable costs, including an ultralow interest rate and zero fees. Unfortunately, there is one other thing it doesn’t come with: a 0-percent introductory offer for new purchases. Cardholders looking to save money on interest may find better value with a card that offers a zero percent APR to new members.

Also, the Promise Visa isn’t available to everyone. Only cardholders eligible for a Pentagon Federal Credit Union membership – including military service members, government employees and their families – can apply.

No hidden fees

Unlike most credit cards that come loaded with back-end fees, such as cash advance and returned payment fees, the PenFed Promise Visa card sets itself apart by doing away with fees completely. The Promise card doesn’t even charge a late-payment fee or penalty APR, making it a much safer card if you occasionally forget a payment. It’s also a good card to take with you when you travel abroad, since it doesn’t charge a foreign transaction fee.

So-so balance transfer offer

The PenFed Promise Visa doesn’t charge a balance transfer fee either, making it much cheaper to transfer a balance. Most credit cards charge a minimum of 3 percent to transfer a balance, which can add up quickly if you consolidate a lot of debt. The card’s promotional offer is less generous than most balance transfer cards, though, so you may be better off with a more traditional balance transfer card if you plan to transfer a significant amount. Instead of giving cardholders an interest-free period, the Promise card only lowers the balance transfer APR to 4.99 percent for 12 months (regular APR fixed at 17.99% thereafter).

Very low APR

On the plus side, the Promise Visa’s standard APR is lower than that of most credit cards. The Promise card charges cardholders with excellent credit just 12.99 percent (variable) to carry a balance, which is one of the lowest interest rates you can get. The card’s maximum rate of 17.99 percent (variable) is also relatively low, making it a good choice if you can qualify.

No introductory APR for new purchases

The biggest downside to this card is its lack of a zero percent introductory APR for new purchases. Many credit cards offer a zero percent APR on purchases for the first 12 months of membership or longer. If you intend to build up a new balance, you could save hundreds of dollars with one of these cards, versus financing it at 12.99 – 17.99 percent (variable) with the Promise Visa card.

No extra perks

The PenFed Promise Visa doesn’t offer any additional cardholder benefits, so it may not be the best card if you plan to keep just one card in your wallet. In exchange for offering some of the least expensive terms in the business, Pentagon Federal Credit Union keeps its costs low by doing away with common credit card benefits, such as rental car insurance, and travel and emergency assistance. The PenFed Promise Visa also doesn’t offer any cardholder rewards.

Why get the PenFed Promise Visa card?

  • You plan to carry a balance and want a lower-than-average interest rate.
  • You want a safer card with zero fees.
  • You plan to travel abroad and need a card that won’t charge foreign transaction fees.

How to use the PenFed Promise Visa card:

  • Use this card for any purchases you can’t pay off immediately.
  • Do the math before transferring a balance. Despite this card’s zero balance transfer fee, you may be better off with a card that offers a zero percent APR on balance transfers.
  • Don’t let the card’s fee-free terms lull you into paying bills late. Pentagon Federal Credit Union might not charge a penalty APR or late fee, but it can still report the late payment to the credit bureaus, causing your credit score to drop.

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