PenFed Promise Visa Card Review [2021]: No-Fee Balance Transfer Card

The PenFed Promise Visa Card has no balance transfer fees, which is a rare find. But are there even more perks that make this the right credit card for you?
Last updated May 28, 2021 | By Kevin Payne

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This card is no longer being offered by PenFed. If you are looking for a card with little to no fees, then check out our list of the best no fee credit cards.

Being eligible for membership in the Pentagon Federal Credit Union used to be exclusive to the military and other select organizations. But recent policy changes have opened its doors to more people, giving almost everyone access to this credit union’s perks, including PenFed credit cards.

The PenFed Promise Visa Card is PenFed’s entry into the balance transfer credit card market. Balance transfer cards typically come with a 0% introductory APR and low fees for conducting a balance transfer. The Promise card flips the script by offering no-fee balance transfers with a low interest rate.

Keep reading this PenFed Promise Visa Card review to get a closer look at this card. We’ll go over the benefits and other points of interest offered by this credit union credit card.

An Actual No Fee Credit Card

PenFed Promise Visa Credit Card

PenFed Promise Visa Credit Card

PenFed Promise Visa Credit Card

Intro Offer

$100 statement credit

Annual Fee

$0

Rewards Rate

N/A

Benefits and Drawbacks

Benefits

  • $100 statement credit welcome offer
  • Low introductory APR on balance transfers
  • Absolutely no fees

Drawbacks

  • PenFed Credit Union membership required
  • No on-going rewards for spending
  • No 0% APR offer
Card Details
  • $100 statement credit after spending $1,500 in the first 90 days
  • N/A

In this PenFed Promise Visa Card review

Who should get the PenFed Promise Visa Card?

The PenFed Promise Visa Card might be a good card to get if you have credit card balances that are subject to a high interest rate and you are interested in doing a balance transfer. The PenFed Promise does not have a 0% introductory APR like many balance transfer credit cards, but it does have a very low intro APR of 4.99% and the benefit of no balance transfer fees. That 4.99% intro APR lasts for 12 months on transfers made between now and September 30, 2020. So you’ll need to pay off the transferred balance in that time to avoid a switch from the low intro APR to the regular APR, which is much higher and comparable with other credit cards.

Membership in the Pentagon Federal Credit Union is required to be approved for any of PenFed’s products, including credit cards. There’s good news, though. Although PenFed formerly served only the U.S. military and other Department of Defense-related groups, it has recently relaxed its eligibility requirements. Anyone is welcome to become a member of the PenFed Credit Union now. And the PenFed Promise Visa remains a decent credit card for military members. If you’re not interested in joining PenFed, you’ll need to look elsewhere for a credit card.

The PenFed Promise card is an excellent choice if you travel outside the U.S. as there are no foreign transaction fees on purchases made with this card. And although it does have a modest sign-up bonus, if you want to earn points, miles, or cash back on purchases, this isn’t the card for you.

Card basics

Card type Balance transfer
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 4.99% on balance transfers for 12 months on transfers made between now and September 30, 2020
Foreign transaction fee None

PenFed Promise Visa Card benefits and perks

  • Sign-up bonus: You can earn a $100 statement credit after spending $1,500 on your PenFed Promise card in the first 90 days. It’s rare to find a sign-up bonus with a balance transfer credit card, so that feature is a big plus for this card.
  • No annual fee: Enjoy using your PenFed Visa with no worries of an annual fee. In fact, if you are looking for a credit card that will save you from paying unnecessary credit card fees, the Promise Visa is a solid choice.
  • No balance transfer fees: Cardholders can make balance transfers without the hassle of extra fees. These fees can be 3% of the amount transferred or higher with other credit cards.
  • No cash advance fees: Getting a cash advance is easy with the PenFed Promise Visa Card — it charges no fees for this service.
  • No foreign transaction fees: With no fees on international purchases, this card is the perfect traveling companion no matter where you journey. For military members deployed overseas, having a card like this is a must. Plus, it’s a Visa card, which is accepted almost anywhere.
  • No late fees: Most people never plan to miss credit card payments, but it happens. It’s nice to know the PenFed Promise Visa has no late fee charges and no penalty APR (a higher APR that is instituted after you miss a payment).

Drawbacks to the PenFed Promise Visa Card

  • No ongoing rewards: Although it does offer a sign-up bonus, that’s the end of this card’s rewards earning. You won’t earn any points, miles, or cash back by spending with the PenFed Promise Visa Card.
  • Membership requirement: You must be a member of PenFed Credit Union to qualify for any of its credit cards. Although membership is free, it’s still an extra step and requires opening an account with PenFed.
  • No 0% APR offer: Other cards may offer you a 0% APR period on balance transfers and/or purchases. There are no balance transfer fees with this card, but there is a 4.99% APR on balance transfers for 12 months on transfers made between now and September 30, 2020. If you’re not able to pay off your balance in that time, you’ll lose out on any savings gained once the regular credit card interest goes into effect. If you need more time than that, it might make more sense to find a balance transfer card that offers a longer intro APR period.

PenFed Promise Visa Card FAQs

Is PenFed a good credit union?

Overall, PenFed Credit Union is a great choice if you’re looking for a credit union for all your banking needs. It offers competitive rates and a multitude of accounts, including savings, checking, money market, Coverdell Education Savings Certificates, and IRAs. It also has lending options to fit almost every need.

How much does it cost to join PenFed?

There is no cost for a PenFed Credit Union membership, but you do need to open a share account. There is a $5 minimum deposit to open a share account.

Which PenFed credit card is best?

Which PenFed credit card is best depends on your needs. For balance transfers, the PenFed Promise Visa Card is the best choice. If you want to earn points for your purchases, look to the PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature Credit Card. The PenFed Power Cash Rewards Visa Signature Card is the best choice for cashback rewards.

What credit score is needed for a PenFed credit card?

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

Does PenFed have a secured credit card?

PenFed Credit Union currently has no secured credit cards available to its members.


Other cards to consider

For cashback earning, the PenFed Power Cash Rewards Visa Signature Card is a much better choice. It earns 2% cash back on all purchases for PenFed Honors Advantage Members; 1.5% cash back on all purchases for other cardmembers. This is where it still pays to be in the military, as it's one of two ways to qualify for this extra perk. The other is by having a PenFed Access America Checking Account. You can also earn a $100 bonus after spending $1,500 in the first 90 days.

The Chase Freedom Flex is also an excellent choice if you're interested in earning cash back. This card has a $0 annual fee. Plus, you’ll earn 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, and you can 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). 

An Actual No Fee Credit Card

PenFed Promise Visa Credit Card

PenFed Promise Visa Credit Card

PenFed Promise Visa Credit 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.