Reviews PenFed Promise Visa review

PenFed Promise Visa review

Published: May 19, 2017
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Low Interest Rating:
2.4 rating
2.4 rating
2.4 / 5
Rates, Fees, Penalties: 2.4
Rewards: 3.9
Features: 1.0

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.

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Regular APR
8.99-17.99%

Introductory Purchase APR
None

Introductory Balance Transfer APR
4.99%

Fees

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

Penalties

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

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

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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 zero 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.

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 8.99 percent to carry a balance, which is one of the lowest interest rates you can get. By contrast, the average low interest rate card charges a minimum of 12.16 percent. The card’s maximum rate of 17.99 percent 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 7.99 percent 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.

Reasons to get it:

  • 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 it:

  • 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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