PenFed Gold Visa Card Review [2021]: Simple Benefits

This PenFed credit card offers cardholders a low ongoing interest rate, but there are some details to be aware of. Read this PenFed Gold Visa Card review to learn what you need to know.
Last updated May 28, 2021 | By Kevin Payne

FinanceBuzz is reader-supported. We may receive compensation from the products and services mentioned in this story, but the opinions are the author's own. Compensation may impact where offers appear. We have not included all available products or offers. Learn more about how we make money and our editorial policies.

Whether you’re a member of the military or just a fan of credit unions, you can now become a member of the PenFed Credit Union. On top of a host of banking solutions, PenFed is known for its no-fee credit card options. One of those cards is the PenFed Gold Visa Card. Although it’s not winning a lot of attention among credit card enthusiasts, it does offer some simple benefits that are hard to ignore — especially if you want to do a balance transfer.

In this PenFed Gold Visa Card review, we’ll walk through the perks and drawbacks of this credit card, who it’s meant for, and other credit cards you may want to consider.

Low Interest and No Annual Fee

PenFed Gold Visa® Card

PenFed Gold Visa® Card

PenFed Gold Visa® Card

Intro Offer

$100 statement credit

Annual Fee

$0

Benefits and Drawbacks

Benefits

  • $100 statement credit welcome offer
  • 0% intro APR offer on balance transfers
  • Low purchase and cash advance APR
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • No annual fee

Drawbacks

  • PenFed Credit Union membership required
  • No ongoing rewards for spending
  • No intro APR on purchases
Card Details
  • $100 statement credit after spending $1,500 in the first 90 days
  • Intro balance transfer 0% offer: 0% on balance transfers posted by September 30, 2021 for 12 months then 17.99%

In this PenFed Gold Visa Card review

Who should get the PenFed Gold Visa Card?

The PenFed Gold Visa Card is for people who need or want to do a balance transfer. This card is a good fit for doing a balance transfer to pay down debt because it’s a low interest rate card, both during the intro APR period and after the standard APR kicks in. Depending on your credit, you can get an APR ranging from 7.49% to 17.99% (variable). In general, you need an excellent credit score to be approved for this card.

PenFed membership is no longer exclusive to military and related organizations. However, the PenFed Gold Visa is still a solid option for members of the military who carry over a balance month to month.

The PenFed Gold Visa Card is not for everybody. It’s a basic, no-frills credit card with no rewards earning potential and few benefits outside of its low rates. If you like to earn cash back, points, or miles for purchases, this isn’t the right card for you. Other PenFed credit cards offer rewards, along with a host of rewards credit cards that offer much more than the PenFed Gold Visa.

It’s also not the card to get if you’re looking for 0% APR benefits for both balance transfers and new purchases. It does come with an introductory APR for balance transfers, but not for new purchases. And if you do move forward with a balance transfer, interest accrues on new purchases immediately. This is different than how interest works on other credit cards, as it’s typical to have a 21- to 25-day grace period when it comes to interest on new purchases.

The only way to avoid paying interest charges on new purchases is to pay your balance in full every month — and that includes the transferred balance. So, if you are transferring a balance to take advantage of the intro APR period, you should hold off on adding new purchases until the balance is paid off completely. Unfortunately, this may mean you’ll miss out on the sign-up bonus in the process, as you earn that by making $1,500 in purchases.

Card basics

Card type Low Interest
Card issuer PenFed Credit Union
Annual fee $0
Intro bonus $100 statement credit after spending $1,500 in the first 90 days
Recommended credit score Excellent
Intro APR 0% on balance transfers posted by September 30, 2021 for 12 months
Foreign transaction fee None

PenFed Gold Visa Card benefits and perks

  • Sign-up bonus: New cardholders can earn a $100 statement credit relatively easily. Simply spend $1,500 on your new card in the first 90 days to enjoy this bonus. Although there are no rewards for spending with this card, the ability to earn a sign-up bonus makes this card more attractive.
  • No annual fee: One of the upsides of this card is that there is no annual fee. In fact, none of the PenFed cards currently have an annual fee, which may be due to the requirement to have a PenFed membership to open this card (more on that below).
  • No foreign transaction fees: The PenFed Gold Visa is a good card to have when traveling internationally. You’ll never pay any foreign transaction fees on purchases made outside of the U.S.
  • No cash advance fees: There are also no fees for taking out a cash advance. Card issuers often charge a flat rate of $5 or $10 and/or a percentage of the advance amount. The lack of a cash advance fee is one of the lesser-used perks of this card, but it can come in handy if you need money quickly.

Drawbacks to the PenFed Gold Visa Card

  • Membership requirement: Qualifying for a PenFed credit card does require being a member of the Pentagon Federal Credit Union. Membership used to be restricted to military and other select groups, but now anyone can apply. Opening a checking or savings account with PenFed with a $5 minimum deposit is required when you become a member.
  • No rewards: If you’re looking for a card that rewards your spending with either cash back or points, the PenFed Gold Visa is not that card unfortunately.
  • No intro APR on purchases: If you want a new credit card to finance a large purchase, there’s no introductory APR available with the PenFed Gold Visa. Although the APR is still low, it would be nice to have this type of perk to pair with the introductory 0% on balance transfers posted by September 30, 2021 offer.

PenFed Gold Visa Card FAQs

How do I join PenFed?

Applying for membership is easy with PenFed. Simply go to the website and click “join now.” You’ll be walked through a simple application process. Have your basic personal information available to fill out and submit your application, including your name, mailing address, birthday and Social Security number. Membership is free but does require opening either a checking or savings account with a $5 deposit.

What credit score is needed for a PenFed credit card?

The PenFed Gold Visa Card requires an excellent credit score to qualify. A FICO score of 800 or more is considered excellent.

Which credit report does PenFed pull?

PenFed pulls from a variety of credit reports, but mostly relies on Equifax for credit cards.

How do I pay my PenFed credit card?

Cardholders can pay their credit card bill by logging into their online account, through the mobile app, or by mail.

The PenFed mobile app is available on iOS and Android. Along with paying your card, the app connects you to all your PenFed accounts. Customers can manage accounts, pay bills, access digital wallets (Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, Google Pay), make mobile deposits, and more.

To mail payments to PenFed, use the following mailing address:

PenFed Credit Union
P.O. Box 247080
Omaha NE 68124-7080

Which PenFed credit card is best?

Which PenFed credit card is the best is a matter of preference. If you want to earn cash back rewards, the PenFed Power Cash Rewards Visa Signature Card is best. Another rewards card to consider is PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature Credit Card.


Other cards to consider

The PenFed Power Cash Rewards Visa Signature Card is a better option within the PenFed card family if you’re interested in earning rewards — and we consider it one of the best credit cards for military members. There are two different levels of cashback earnings with this card: 2% cash back on all purchases for PenFed Honors Advantage Members; 1.5% cash back on all purchases for other cardmembers. If you are or were part of the military, you’re eligible for PenFed Honors Advantage. You can also qualify by having a PenFed checking account. With a $0 annual fee, a $100 bonus after spending $1,500 in the first 90 days, and 0% introductory APR for 12 months on transfers made between now and September 30, 2021, there’s a lot to love about this PenFed credit card.

Always a solid choice for cashback fans, the Chase Freedom Flex is one of the most popular credit cards around. This $0 annual fee credit card earns 5% on Lyft rides (through March, 2022); 5% on rotating quarterly categories (on up to $1,500 spent) and travel purchased through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal; 3% at restaurants (including takeout and delivery) and drugstores; and 1% on all other purchases. On top of earning rewards, you can also earn $200 cash back after spending $500 on purchases in the first 3 months, plus earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including target or walmart; up to $12,000 in the first year). 

Low Interest and No Annual Fee

PenFed Gold Visa® Card

PenFed Gold Visa® Card

PenFed Gold Visa® Card

Special Offer

$100 statement credit after spending $1,500 in the first 90 days

See how these cards compare:

PenFed Power Cash Rewards Visa Signature Card
PenFed Power Cash Rewards Visa Signature Card
  • $100 statement credit welcome offer
  • 1.5% cash back on all purchases
  • 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 12 months
  • Additional cash back for PenFed Honors Advantage Members
Chase Freedom Flex
Chase Freedom Flex
  • $200 sign-up bonus
  • Up to 5% cash back on spending
  • 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (up to $12k your first year)
  • Lyft and DoorDash perks

Author Details

Kevin Payne Kevin Payne is a freelance writer specializing in student loans, credit cards, personal finance, and travel. He is a regular contributor to Club Thrifty, Millennial Money, and Student Loan Planner. As the budget and family travel expert behind FamilyMoneyAdventure.com, Kevin recently turned his writing side hustle into his full-time career. He lives in Cleveland, Ohio, with his wife and four kids.