Update: As of November 1, 2014, the PenFed Promise Visa® Card balance transfer is no longer for 48 months. It’s new promo is 4.99% promotional balance transfer rate for 12 Months on transfers made between now and September 30, 2019. After the promo, a 11.99% to 17.99% variable APR applies. While the simplicity and transparency is still great, there are other balance transfer offers that are longer and offering a lower rate. Go to our balance transfer table to review offers.
Today, we announced the creation of a new grade in our MagnifyMoney Transparency Score for Balance Transfers: an A+.
When we created MagnifyMoney, our goal was to help people save money, by making it easy to compare, ditch and switch financial products. But we also had a bigger goal. We wanted to reward simpler, more transparent products. So, we designed the Magnify Transparency Score.
Sometimes banks offer a great deal, but if you make just one mistake, a tsunami of fees, charges and penalties can wipe out any previous benefits that you enjoyed. Those fees and conditions are usually buried in the fine print. So, our Transparency Score is very simple: we reward credit cards that have fewer penalty fees and ambiguity.
When we created the site, we had reviewed hundreds of credit cards. And one credit card stood out from the rest. In fact, I couldn’t believe the simplicity of the card when I read the terms and conditions. It was the PenFed Promise Visa® Card.
- There is a 11.99% to 17.99% variable APR on purchases. You know the interest rate before applying.
- There is no foreign transaction fee
- There is a $0 annual fee
- There is no late fee, returned payment fee or risk-based re-pricing
When I started the product review many months ago, I never imagined we would find a card like PenFed Promise Visa® Card, which had literally removed all of the worst gotchas. But, given that PenFed is a credit union, we shouldn’t be surprised.
So, we decided to create a new category: an A+. Any credit card that waives all penalty fees and discloses your interest rate up-front can also receive an A+ rating. But, for now, we have only found PenFed.
If you think we have missed a card, please let us know. We continue to add products to our database every day, but none have come close.
Just a few bits of advice if you decide to apply for the card:
- You must have a good credit score. Based upon our conversations with PenFed, it sounds like 700 is the most likely minimum (although they will be testing lower).
- Your debt burden should be below 50%
- If you are not a member of the credit union, don’t worry. You can join as part of the credit card application process online. You just need to give a donation of about $15 (and you can give more!) to support our troops.
PenFed is very aggressive with low rates on other lending products. They have great deals on mortgages, auto loans and other personal loans. If you join the credit union for this credit card, then you will have access to their other market-leading offers.
PenFed has an ambition to reach $75 billion of assets. They really want to shake up the banking market in big ways. We will continue to watch their product set closely, but so far we are impressed. And we think a lot of Americans could save a lot of money if they joined that credit union and moved their debt.
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